Laura R. Ansell, President and CEO

Laura has provided brand strategy development and consultation to a variety of Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial start-up brands across a wide range of disciplines. She has also worked on the client side for one of the world’s largest enterprises, giving her a practical, real-world approach to brand opportunities and operational challenges. Her expertise includes brand strategy and positioning, the development and management of global marketing programs, portfolio optimization, channel planning and market segmentation.

Previously, Laura was Head of Brand Strategy for Penn Schoen Berland where her work included developing brand positioning identification of optimal marketing mix for brand portfolios, and assessment of clients' new market/product opportunities. She has also worked as a managing consultant in the brand strategy practice at the Zyman Group.

Before joining the consultant side of the business, Laura spent 17 years at AT&T Corporation in a wide variety of roles and responsibilities. In her last position as a Director of Corporate Brand Strategy, she leveraged research to develop and implement multi-faceted marketing initiatives in both the B2B and B2C space for one of the world's most iconic brands.

Laura began her career honing her skills in rigorous and disciplined implementation as a lead design engineer with Texas Instruments in Dallas, where she spent two years designing the world's fastest large-scale integrated circuit microprocessor. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Ridenour, Principal – Market Insights

Elizabeth is a marketing strategy and research expert with a passion for the pursuit of deep customer and consumer insights that will drive growth for client’s businesses. She has over 17 years of experience across a variety of industries, both business-to-business and consumer-driven organizations.  Throughout her career Elizabeth has helped clients successfully develop and launch new brands and renovate existing brands that resulted in business growth.

Elizabeth has had a variety of marketing and research roles on the client, consulting, and research supplier sides, so she understands not only how to design and execute great research, but how to apply that research to develop marketing strategy and activation plans that improve business performance. Most recently she was Senior Insights Director at the Connell Group and Insights Director at Zyman Group where she worked with clients such as Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, Cargill, Samsung, Pfizer, and Dow to grow their businesses.

Prior to joining the Zyman group, Elizabeth worked on the client side where she had both Brand Strategy Manager and Research Analyst roles at Eli Lilly and Company. In these roles she was responsible for brand positioning, segmentation, marketing plan, salesforce targeting, marketing effectiveness measurement, forecasting, and message development. Her work at Lilly helped one brand grow at a 20% annual rate making it the 6th largest pharmaceutical brand at the time and another achieve the most successful neuroscience launch in US history.

In addition to her experience with Lilly, Elizabeth worked for The Coca-Cola Company conducting global advertising testing and for Merkely Newman Harty advertising in both account planning and account service roles. Elizabeth completed her Masters in Marketing Research at The University of Georgia and her Bachelor of Science from Auburn University.

Andrea Wyatt-Budd, Principal – Strategy & Communications

Andrea has more than 25 years of experience in Brand Marketing and Communications, both client-side and consulting. She is passionate about aligning an organization’s people with its brand strategy and vision, to accelerate growth or achieve change.

As a senior consultant, Andrea has worked to bring the brand to life with companies including a global B2B engineering company and a UK-based infrastructure organization. Prior to becoming a consultant, Andrea was COO of Marketing and Communication for a global investment bank, with budgets in excess of £50m. Andrea joined the bank having consulted to them for a year on their integration – at the time, the world’s largest financial integration.

Andrea’s B2B and B2C experience is in financial services, telecomms and technology, where her responsibilities included brand strategy, implementation and development. In her last role as Director of Engagement at BT, Andrea was responsible for many interventions across the businesses, focused on aligning employees to corporate strategy. Prior to that, she led marketing teams for both new and existing ventures, including brand guardianship.

Andrea holds a BA Joint Honours degree in Economics and Geography, specializing in econometrics and data analysis.

Blake Hawley, Sr. Brand Consultant

Blake is a seasoned marketing professional with nearly 20 years of experience across classic CPG brand management, consulting and retail management. Her work on the client side has led to base business growth, innovation and renovation of declining brands and she has leveraged this background in her consulting role to truly understand clients’ businesses and needs, helping them identify underlying issues and expansion opportunities. Blake is driven by a love of building fundamental brand foundations based on consumer insights and designing actionable strategies and programs that generate consumption and financial growth. 

Most recently, Blake led the Brand Marketing organization at Meda U.S., the Consumer Healthcare division of Meda AB, a Top 50 international specialty pharmaceutical company.  While at Meda, Blake led her team to revive acquired legacy OTC and Dietary Supplement brands by discovering hidden consumer insights and benefits and relaunching the brands to halt the portfolio’s double-digit CAGR decline, stabilizing consumption and sales. Blake also created and executed Meda’s first Stage Gate process, leading to a disciplined approach in assessing innovation and business development opportunities. 

Prior to Meda, Blake was a Global Marketing Director with CIBA Vision (contact lens division of Novartis) leading projects across innovation, base business and corporate strategy, helping translate brand architectures, positioning and identities into marketing programs and selling tools executed by regional teams against consumers and eye-care practitioners.  Blake was also a Managing Consultant with Zyman Group where she worked with clients spanning ConAgra Foods, Miller Brewing, Coca-Cola/Cargill, Alcoa Inc., Dow Chemical Company, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Grohe America/Grohe Intl to develop opportunities, growth strategies and marketing activation frameworks.

Blake began her brand management career with S.C. Johnson & Son Inc., developing consumer marketing strategies and programs against iconic brands such as Windex®, Shout® and Scrubbing Bubbles® and worked in retail sales management with Sears, Roebuck & Co.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts in German from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing from the Babcock Management School at Wake Forest University.