The 2020 faces of First Five Rungs

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AUCKLAND, Thursday: Comms Council industry support group The First Five Rungs will head into the New Year with a new chair, new deputy chair and five new members on its committee.

Lloyd Thomason (FCB) has been named the 2020 chair of the committee following the departure of current chair Jed Misa (Fuse/OMD), while Sophie van Duiven (Wavemaker) takes on the role of deputy chair from long-serving member Bonnie Shum (formerly Special Group).

Jack Close, Danielle Moeke, Chloë Tonkin, Becky Dawson, and Harrison Stone have also joined the now 11-strong team working to connect with and support new talent in the communications industry.

Comms Council industry development director Marlen Smith says the appointments come from a variety of sectors within the industry, all with different experiences and levels of expertise, bringing invaluable insight to the committee as it begins its 2020 planning.

“Bonnie and Jed have been instrumental in building the First Five Rungs momentum over the last few years and we are grateful for their passion, dedication and hard work,” she said. “They leave behind a very strong, well equipped team to continue the initiatives they’ve committed so much of their time to.

“Jack Close, Danielle Moeke, Chloë Tonkin, Becky Dawson, + Harrison Stone have also joined the now 11-strong team.”

“We’re very proud of the work that the First Five Rungs continues to do and are thrilled to have members with experience from media buying, content creation and PR, in addition to the suits and creatives of the advertising industry.

“The expertise they’ve gleaned from the first five years of their career will provide the team with important insights to help develop their support tools for new talent.”

New chair Lloyd Thomason said: “I’ve been meeting up with everyone for coffee to find out about the kinds of projects and changes they want to get behind next year. It’s been really inspiring, and the coffee’s been good too.

“2019 was a big year for FFR. With the help of TRA, we carried out a research project that uncovered new ways to ensure industry newcomers get the best possible start. This has given us a strong focus and sense of purpose going into next year.”

Senior account manager at Wavemaker, and the new deputy chair, Sophie van Duiven , said: “It was exciting, and very moving, to be in a room with people who are so passionate about this industry, and motivated to make it the best it can be.

“I am honoured to follow Bonnie as deputy chair, she has done incredible things for the committee over five and a half years.”

The new team join existing members Abel Banda (Vizeum), Maxine Douglas (DDB), Sarskia Melville (King St Advertising), and Shreta Mala (MBM).


Lloyd Thomason: Lloyd Thomason is a strategist at FCB NZ and has been with the FFR since 2017. You’ll often find him at Battle of the Ad Bands taking it all too seriously.
Sophie van Duiven: senior account manager at Wavemaker.
Abel Banda: FFR Member since 2017, Abel Banda is a business manager at Vizeum.
Maxine Douglas: a senior business manager at DDB, she joined the group in September 2018.
Sarskia Melville: She is a graphic designer and studio manager at KingSt Advertising.
Shreta Mala: Joined the committee in early 2019. She is a junior implementation specialist at MBM with a background in marketing.
Chloë Tonkin: Mango Communications senior account manager.
Becky Dawson: Becky Dawson, account manager at Mango.
Jack Close: Wellingtonian Close is an account manager at Special Group.
Danielle Moeke: Account manager at Wunderman Thompson.
Harrison Stone: Fresh from university, Stone is an account coordinator at Colenso BBDO.
About the First Five Rungs committee

The Comms Council Young Leadership Group, under the guidance of Marlen Smith, has identified an essential need for the industry – to connect with and support new talent in order to future proof the industry.

The First Five Rungs is their project arm, under which the YLG members have committed their personal time, resource and support of one another to create initiatives to demonstrate how valued newbies are in the advertising industry.

The YLG’s mission is to engage, challenge and inspire the brightest young talent.

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