EventsPress Release

Meet all 35 coaches at this year’s LIA Creative Liaisons virtual coaching program

NEW YORK, USA — The London International Awards created the exclusive and sought-after Creative LIAisons educational program in 2012 to give back to the industry that supports it. LIA funds the entire program in line with its mission to develop, educate, inspire and nurture emerging talent from around the globe. That, in a nutshell, is the driving purpose behind the Creative LIAisons initiative.  

LIA added this virtual mentoring/coaching program in 2021 to augment the onsite Creative LIAisons program held in Las Vegas later this year. This is part of LIA’s ongoing efforts to give back to the industry by supporting and nurturing the younger generation of creatives. 

Beginning in May and continuing through November, approximately 200 mentees will begin their Creative LIAisons Virtual Coaching journey. As part of the program, each mentee will have three one-to-one bespoke coaching sessions with three well-known, well-awarded, and well-established industry leaders worldwide. 


“Challenger, cheerleader, coach, confidant. Our coaches are all of these and more to the mentees. To the 200 mentees joining this program, we urge you to make the most of your sessions. Grasp your personal sessions with both hands. It’s a rare opportunity to be mentored by not just one but three industry greats. Push yourself (and your mentors) out of your comfort zone. Let it be your purpose to get the best out of yourself, and in time, you’ll be able to pass on the lessons you’ve learned to come generations,” said Laurissa Levy, Creative LIAisons Director and Events Director. 

“Life is a learning experience. Talking with older people is also a learning experience,” stated Sompat Trisadikun, Chief Creative Officer at GreyNJ United Thailand

This year, there are 35 mentors from Asia and MENA. Among the list of coaches are:   


  • Akrum Hossain, Executive Creative Director at Asiatic MCL, Dhaka 


  • Jon Ip, Executive Creative Director / Managing Director at AKQA, Shanghai 

Hong Kong: 

  • Reed Collins, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy APAC, Hong Kong 
  • Katheryn Lui, APAC Strategy Lead at Publicis Groupe, Hong Kong 


  • Swati Bhattacharya, Former Creative Chairperson at FCB India, Gurugram 
  • Ashish Chakravarty, Executive Director / India Head of Creative at McCann Worldgroup, Mumbai 
  • Birger Linke, Executive Creative Director at VML, Mumbai 
  • Mukund Olety, Chief Creative Officer at VML, Mumbai 
  • Josy Paul, Chairperson / Chief Creative Officer at BBDO India, Mumbai 
  • Umma Saini, Chief Creative Officer at Schbang, Mumbai 
  • Tista Sen, Creative Brand Consultant in Mumbai 

Tista commented, “LIA is an institution, and mentoring young creative talent on the cusp of their careers is an extremely rewarding and fulfilling experience for both mentor and mentee. The industry as we know it is changing, and its new technology, new tools, and the power of AI dominate every conversation. But we excel at brand building and creative ideas that grow the business we handle, and at the heart of advertising lies this truth. I am eager to share and imbibe, and I hope both sides get to take away something valuable and insightful. And yeah, make it fun.” 


  • Yasu Sasaki, Global Chief Creative Officer at Dentsu Group, Tokyo 
  • Doug Schiff, Chief Creative Officer at VML Ogilvy Japan, Tokyo 


  • Thomas Hongtack Kim, Chief Creative Officer at Paulus, Seoul 
  • Bill Yom, Chief Creative Officer at Jung von Matt Hangang, Seoul 


  • Donevan Chew, Chief Creative Officer at Havas Malaysia, Petaling Jaya 
  • Emir Shafri, Chief Creative Officer at Publicis Groupe Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur 


  • Atiya Zaidi, CEO/Chief Creative Officer at BBDO Pakistan, Lahore  


  • Merlee Jayme, Chairmom / Founder of The Misfits Camp, Makati City 
  • Joey David Tiempo, Founder & CEO at Octopus&Whale, Makati City 

Saudi Arabia: 

  • Tonie Tannous, Creative Director at Leo Burnett, Riyadh 


  • Joji Jacob, Regional Chief Creative Officer – SEA & NA at Havas  
  • Meryke Naude, Creative Director for Mullenlowe Beauty at Mullenlowe Singapore 
  • Guan Hin Tay, Creative Chairman at BBDO, Singapore 
  • Alfred Wee, Executive Creative Director at McCann Worldgroup, Singapore 
  • Firrdaus Yusoff, Head of Creative at Forsman & Bodenfors, Singapore 

“People often underestimate the impact the right mentor can have on a young creative. As a former LIA mentee, my message to all creative leaders out there is this: I urge you to make time. Give back. Even if it’s just for an hour. Because your words could potentially light up and stir something special in the next generation of creative superstars,” stated Firrdaus. 


  • Lulu Lu, Chief Creative Officer at VML Taiwan, Taipei 


  • Nopparath Eksuwancharoen, Executive Creative Director / Head of Art at SOUR, Bangkok  
  • Fajar Kurnia, Co-Founder/CEO/CCO at GOODSTUPH Thailand, Bangkok 
  • Sompat Trisadikun, Chief Creative Officer at GreyNJ United Thailand, Bangkok 
  • Ohm Dissara Udomdej, CEO / Creative Founder at Yell Advertising, Bangkok 

United Arab Emirates:

  • Paul Banham, Chief Creative Officer at MullenLowe Mena, Dubai  
  • Sebastien Boutebel, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi ME, Dubai 
  • Federico Fanti, Chief Creative Officer at FP7 McCann, Dubai 
  • Ali Rez, Chief Creative Officer at IMPACT BBDO, Dubai 

Emir commented, “Being a Creative LIAisons mentee nine years ago has got to be one of the most pivotal moments in my career. The mentorship I received, the lessons I learned, and the connections I made have fast-tracked my career and shaped me into the creative leader I am today. This is why when LIA asked me to join this one-of-a-kind program as a coach, it was an instant yes. I am simply thrilled and honored for this opportunity to pay forward the lessons I learned from my own coaches to the next generation of rising stars while learning a thing or two from my mentees as well.”

This virtual mentoring/coaching program has become integral to the Creative LIAisons program. The importance of mentoring cannot be overstated. Some of the most famous people had mentors. For instance, the film director, J.J. Abrams, has always been inspired by Steven Spielberg. As a teenager, Steven hired J.J. to clean old reels and organize the former’s old films. Over time, Steven came to appreciate J.J.’ passion for the craft and agreed to help him. J.J. credits this mentorship for assisting him in production and opening up opportunities for him. J.J. has been called the next Steven Spielberg. 

These mentoring/coaching sessions aim to cover all disciplines, emphasizing skill development, elevating ideas, and boosting creative confidence to fast-track careers. Creativity is fluid, so the sessions have no set rules or a prescribed formula. Each mentee and their mentors are at full liberty to design how they want to conduct each session.

The end game? To hone the skills of young creatives so they can reach their full potential and rise to greater heights. 

Fajar commented, “Some people are lucky to meet great mentors early in their careers. I was one of them, and looking back, I couldn’t be more grateful to have had these mentors guide me on the fast-growth path as a creative. Now, more than ever, our industry needs the best people to push boundaries further. The LIA Coaching Academy is such a great initiative I’m privileged to be a part of. I hope I can be as useful to the new generation of creatives as my mentors were to me.” 

How are mentees matched with their respective mentors? 

While mentees are able to submit their wish list from the list of 200 mentors, there are a few criteria we abide by. The rule of thumb is: no mentee will be mentored/coached by someone in their own company, either locally or globally.  

The focus is on the mentees – to give them greater length, breadth, height and depth with these sessions. So careful consideration is given to the mentees’ requests.  

Creative LIAisons endeavors to make matches based on interests, goals, and their fields within the industry. LIA begins by ensuring they have at least one among their coaches in their field of expertise. The other two can be from different backgrounds, regions, and different disciplines to broaden mentees’ perspectives. Each coach has a different mentoring style based on their strengths and experience, so being assigned three different coaches leads to the mentees gaining valuable insight that ultimately benefits their career goals and growth. 

Selection process 

To be eligible for the program, mentees have to be currently working in the industry or a related business and be between the ages of 21 to 30 years old. 

LIA does not directly select mentees. The organization leaves it up to Companies and Agency Networks that support LIA to put forward candidates. Additionally, LIA collaborates with different Ad Clubs, Associations, and Trade Press by generously allocating spaces to winners of their creative competitions. This ensures that everyone gets a fair shot at a place in the virtual program. Winners from these regional competitions, selected by local creative leaders based on their creativity, will then become part of the Virtual program cohort.   

To cast the net even wider, the Creative LIAisons Virtual Program does accept a certain quota of self-nominations.  

View all 2024 coaches and 2024 mentees

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