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AXIS 2023 | Judges Announced

In celebration of the 43rd annual AXIS Awards, the Communications Council is proud to announce the team of Executive Judges

In judging this year's entries, the 2023 Executive team is sure to bring a fresh perspective. The five presidents are Brigid Alkema, Chief Creative Officer of Clemenger BBDO Wellington, Matty Burton, Group Chief Creative Officer of DDB Aotearoa, Christie Cooper, Creative Director of The Monkeys Aotearoa, Raymond Otene McKay, Creative Director of RUN, and Jonathan McMahon, Executive Creative Director at SPECIAL.

Below are the full bios of this year's all-star team.


Leisa Wall, Chief Creative Officer - FCB Aotearoa

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During her 21 years in adland, Leisa has turned her hand to everything from brand campaigns for American Express in New York, to Family Violence in New Zealand. From training Pukeko's to paint to training men to check their balls.

Leisa has a collection of business cards from Ogilvy, Lowe Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi and FCB, where she has led the way for the last 10 years. She’s also amassed an impressive array of paperweights from Axis, Cannes, D&AD, AWARD, One Show, Spikes and was once voted “Most likely to be really, really good at advertising”.

At work, she proudly bears the title of Chief Creative Officer. But at home, that doesn’t carry much weight with her two young employees, Maemi & Lola. Instead, they refer to her as Chief Mummy Officer. That role doesn’t come with a business card.


Brigid Alkema, Chief Creative Officer - Clemenger BBDO Wellington

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Make stuff that matters. That’s Brigid’s mantra. And what she’s been doing for 20+ years; over half of which she’s spent as one of Australasia’s top creative leaders. 

As CCO of Clemenger BBDO Wellington, her passion lies in fostering her team of strategic, creative thinkers to continually reimagine social marketing; leading to some of the world’s most memorable, creatively awarded and effective behaviour change pieces: Hello | Belted Survivors | Tinnyvision | Blazed | GhostChips | The Conscious Crossing | Give Nothing | Voice of Racism | Unite Against COVID-19.

Brigid and her team’s work reflects the nuances of culture; and culture keeps reflecting their work right back – being taken, shared, owned and replicated the world over. In galleries. In songs. In universities. In law reforms. In vernacular. From being immortalised in LEGO, to claiming New Zealand’s most searched Google term (‘Ghost Chips’); being shared on-stage by TED; used as educational tools in classrooms; and being inducted into galleries from New Zealand to New York.

Having been a longstanding member on the boards of both Clemenger Wellington and Clemenger Group, she now brings her insight into people and culture to the Global BBDO Creative Board, helping to grow our next creative leaders across a 289-agency, 81-country-wide team. 


Christie Cooper, Creative Director - The Monkeys Aotearoa

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Christie is a Creative Director at The Monkeys Aotearoa.

During her 20 years in advertising, she’s created work for everything from charities to banks, including an online Animal Strike that changed New Zealand’s animal testing laws, a Reverse April Fools’ for BMW, and the world’s first live-broadcast free diving event for Steinlager.

She has been judged on many juries and her work has won awards at all the big shows, including Cannes, D&AD, One Show, Clio, Webbys, Effies, and of course - most importantly, AXIS.


Matty Burton, Group Chief Creative Officer - DDB Aotearoa

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Hello. I’m Matty and am the Group Chief Creative Officer of DDB Aotearoa where I work across a group of best-in-class agencies to deliver a seamless creative brand experience for our clients and their customers. I basically help brands live in the world in all sorts of creative ways.

Previously I was APAC Creative Chief at Google, leading a specialised team of creatives, engineers, designers, producers and strategists working across Asia Pacific on Google’s most valuable and strategic partnerships.

For the last 20+ years, I have worked in the creative fields at some of the world’s most renowned creative agencies, including The Glue Society, Droga5 NYC and Droga5 Sydney.

Before joining Google I co-founded Special Group in Australia, an independent multi-disciplined creative agency and before that, I led and co-owned the Whybin TBWA Group in Australia.

I have produced award-winning creative work throughout my advertising career which has seen me, judge, speak and be awarded at all major award shows with things like a Black Pencil at D&AD and Grand Prix and 2x Titanium Lions at Cannes. The innovation work I have been involved with has been exhibited at the World AI Conference in Shanghai and in the Developer Keynote for Google’s I/O.

Outside of ‘work’ I co-founded Refill Magazine, a design and art-based publication that has received international acclaim and was voted one of the best independent magazines from the last decade by the Tate Modern in the UK.


Raymond Otene McKay, Creative Director - RUN

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Raymond Otene McKay is an Indigenous Chief Creative Officer based in Aotearoa (NZ). He helms the RUN agency waka (canoe) with his hoa rangatira (Chiefly other) and Co-Founder Laura Cibilich. McKay has been acknowledged locally and internationally at awards ceremonies and judged at D&AD, Clios and the NZ Best Awards. Raymond is of Ngāti Mahuta / Ngāti Rongomaiwahine / Ngāti Porou / Ngāti Pūkeko whakapapa (genealogy)on his father’s side and Irish and Scottish on his mother’s side. He has worked at the highest level of advertising for close to 20 years, in some of the world’s most awarded creative agencies, now his own.

After graduating from AUT University Raymond worked on global brand and retail accounts including The FAO of the United Nations, The Government of Niue, Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand, Pacific Blue, Emirates, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, TV3, TVNZ, Sky TV, Toyota, The Warehouse, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Frucor, Fonterra, PlaceMakers, Les Mills and various other international brands.

Raymond is passionate about championing Māori, Pacific and BIPOC whānau (family), and recently launched an online platform called Orator Circle, where he shares his knowledge of the advertising and design industry, particularly with an Indigenous focus.


Jonathan McMahon, Executive Creative Director - SPECIAL

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Jonathan is passionate about creating work that is not only engaging but makes a difference. Throughout his career, he’s encouraged overseas New Zealanders to meddle in their own election, helped a man living with Motor Neurone Disease sell his unusable belongings in a digital timeline reflective of his deterioration, brought the dead back to life to be spokespeople for Partners Life, created the ‘Most Entertaining Recruitment Film’ (and most successful) for the New Zealand Police, and once charged male politicians 10% more than women for their coffee to bring awareness to pay inequality.  

Jonathan has worked across the Australian, New Zealand and North American markets, including Droga5 New York, DDB Aotearoa and Colenso BBDO. And his work has won at Cannes, D&AD, Effies, and One Show, to name but a few. When he was young, Jonathan has named one of Young Guns Top 10 Creatives of the Decade. Ah, those were the days. Or were they? Because he very much likes being part of the team at Special and helping them claim such accolades as Campaign UK Global Creative Agency of the Year like they did last year.