Tuesday, April 5, 2011


New York, NY — The Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF) today announced the five winners of its 2011 Rising Stars Awards, and the one distinguished company that has earned its 2011 Corporate Commitment Award.

This year’s five Rising Stars are: Shane Atchison, ZAAZ; Steve Froehlich, ASPCA; Avinash Kaushik, Market Motive | Google; Megan Pagliuca, Merkle; and Paull Young, charity: water. This year’s Corporate Commitment Award winner is Gerber Life Insurance Company.

The Awards will be presented at the Rising Stars Awards Dinner on Tuesday, June 21, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., at Gotham Hall in New York City. This event coincides with the ALL FOR ONE Marketing Summit, which will be held June 20-21 at the Hilton New York.

“Each year, we honor talented young professionals who are making their voices heard in the field of direct/interactive marketing,” said Richard Hochhauser, DMEF Chair. “This year’s impressive Rising Stars Award winners — Shane Atchison, Steve Froehlich, Avinash Kaushik, Megan Pagliuca, and Paull Young — are remarkable not only for their exceptional professional achievements, but also for their firm dedication to bolstering and supporting the education of future generations. Our Corporate Commitment Award winner, Gerber Life Insurance Company, exemplifies superlative educational leadership and a consistent dedication to nurturing up-and-coming talent.”


2011 DMEF Rising Stars Winners

Shane Atchison | Founder & CEO, ZAAZ, a division of Wunderman
Steve Froehlich | Vice President, Membership, ASPCA
Avinash Kaushik | Co-Founder, Market Motive & Analytics Evangelist, Google
Megan Pagliuca | Vice President of Display Media, Merkle
Paull Young |  Director of Digital, charity: water


This annual award pays tribute to the most talented professionals, 40 years or younger, in the field of direct/interactive marketing. Winning candidates have demonstrated superior leadership abilities, including a strong track record of outstanding results, and a stellar reputation for “giving back” through education and mentoring to support future generations in this field.

  • Shane Atchison, Founder and CEO, ZAAZ, a division of Wunderman — In 1998, Atchison co-founded ZAAZ to advocate a different approach to Web services — one that respects and delivers on the power of the individual and the promise of Web technologies. Atchison has worked hard at creating and maintaining a culture of learning at ZAAZ. Every new employee, prior to their first day, receives their own iPad that contains the Z-App, a program that provides newcomers with a meaningful understanding of the industry through videos (hosted by Atchison and others), presentations, and a library of books. Atchison has over 15 years of strategic consulting, business development, and advisory experience in Web marketing, design, and customer-relationship management. Atchison has lead efforts to develop compelling online experiences for clients such as Microsoft, Ford, Nokia, Converse, and National Geographic.
  • Steve Froehlich, Vice President, Membership, ASPCA — Froehlich has been with the ASPCA since October 2005. He began his nonprofit career in 1996 as a door-to-door canvasser, and still believes this is the most important job any career fundraiser can hold. He worked at Greenpeace from 2000-2003, as the manager of the monthly giving program. He has also worked for Sanctuary for Families, a domestic violence shelter, and the Brooklyn Historical Society. He currently serves as vice president on the board of directors for the Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA). Froehlich has been incredibly open with other marketers, sharing both his successes and failures. His willingness to teach others has made a significant impact on the nonprofit community. Many nonprofits have started DRTV programs because Froehlich encouraged them to think outside the box.
  • Avinash Kaushik, Co-Founder, Market Motive and Analytics Evangelist, Google —Through his blog, Occam's Razor, and his best selling books, “Web Analytics: An Hour A Day” and “Web Analytics 2.0,” Kaushik’s middle name is education, having become recognized as an authoritative voice on how marketers, executives teams, and industry leaders can leverage data to fundamentally reinvent their digital existence. 100 percent of proceeds from both of Kaushik’s books are donated to nonprofit organizations. Today, after three years, that amounts to more than $150,000 in nonprofit donations.
  • Megan Pagliuca, Vice President of Display Media, Merkle — Pagliuca joined Merkle in November 2010 to lead the display media division, which is focused on delivering targeting, measurement, and insights to advertisers on the Merkle Trading Platform. She is responsible for business development, servicing, and technology partnerships. Prior to joining Merkle, Pagliuca led the Professional Services team at the Right Media Exchange, a Yahoo Company. She was responsible for Right Media’s in-house demand-side platform, including servicing and platform strategy. Pagliuca is an active participant in leading and developing content for the IAB’s Professional Development Program and a member of Step Up Women’s Network which bridges communities of professional women and underserved teen girls through mentorship, networking and advancement, ensuring women and girls have the opportunities they need to create a better future.
  • Paull Young, Director of Digital, charity: water — Young serves on the executive leadership team of charity: water, with responsibility for all online marketing and fundraising, raising over $14 million in 2010. He has also served as senior account director at prominent social media agency Converseon, leading client campaigns for a wide range of Fortune 500 brands. Frequently quoted in the media on social media and online communication, Young has been blogging for five years, and has been ranked as one of Australia's most influential online commentators. Among other things, Young has played a critical role in supporting DMEF through education support at student-focused programs, as well as mentoring for the DMEF Blog.

2011 DMEF Corporate Commitment Winner

This award honors companies that regularly demonstrate a commitment to excellence in all areas of direct/interactive marketing education, creating a culture that nurtures talent and education — both internally and within the broader business community.

  • Gerber Life Insurance Company — Since 1967, Gerber Life Insurance Company has provided quality life insurance, especially for young families on a limited budget. Gerber Life’s mission is to be the brand that parents trust to help them achieve financial security and protection for their families. Today, Gerber Life is licensed to provide life insurance throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, with more than $37 billion of life insurance in force, and helping to provide financial security to over three million policies. The company has a long history of supporting education, both within the organization and in supporting initiatives in the field. For Gerber Life, training is more than just a transfer of knowledge and skills. It is fundamental to the culture of learning and development and to the fostering of Gerber’s corporate principles and values. Gerber provides world-class tools, resources, and support to enable employees to manage their own career path and reach their full potential.

“We are proud to be honored with DMEF’s prestigious Corporate Commitment Award,” said Wes Protheroe, Gerber Life Insurance Company’s president and CEO. “At Gerber Life, we believe education and creating a corporate culture that encourages ongoing learning, professional development, and career fulfillment are essential to nurturing talent — within the company, and across the broader marketing industry. We also recognize the great importance of leading-edge research. To that end, we are working closely with the DMEF through the Robert Kestnbaum Research Program to support in-depth academic research and exploration to develop new marketing models for corporations in today’s fast-paced marketing arena.”

To reserve a table at the 2011 Rising Stars Awards Dinner, please click here.

DMEF will provide complimentary Rising Stars Awards Dinner registration for editorial staff of media outlets that cover education and multichannel direct/interactive-marketing related topics. To request press registration, or for photos or further information on the Rising Stars winners, please email

About Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF)

Headquartered in New York City, the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF) works to attract, educate, and place top college students in the business of direct/interactive marketing and, thereby, expanding and enriching the talent pool of trained, market-ready marketers. Established in 1966 by members of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) who wanted to give something back to the community, DMEF is today a separate, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that is supported solely by tax-deductible contributions from individuals, companies and associations. Funds raised go toward a broad range of world-class educational programs.

Since its founding, thousands of students have taken advantage of DMEF’s educational programs, entering the field with the competitive edge of being “workplace-ready.” Many have gone on to become today’s marketing leaders, an indication of the Foundation’s success. In addition, more than 2,200 professors have participated in DMEF programs. For additional information about the DMEF, its mission, and its programs, visit

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Sue R.E. Geramian