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Creating Award Winning Work: Houston Creative Leader Panel Discussion

  • Junior League of Houston 1811 Briar Oaks Lane Houston, TX, 77027 United States (map)

Join AAF-Houston as a few ADDY winners and Houston creative leaders discuss their processes and challenges in producing award-winning work.

Meet the Moderator

Damon Yerian
Vice President, Creative Services, Gilbreath Communications

As Gilbreath Communications’ vice president of creative services, Damon Yerian oversees the concept, development and execution of a multitude of projects involving print, broadcast, multimedia and web design. An award-winning creative strategist and design expert, Damon has more than 15 years’ experience at Gilbreath spearheading several award-winning creative campaigns involving public outreach and community advertising for a range of public entities such as the Port of Houston Authority, the Texas Department of Agriculture, the City of Houston, the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the Houston Airport System and Workforce Solutions.

A current member of the AAF-Houston’s board of directors, Damon serves on committees for diversity and multicultural initiatives and awards competition. Originally from the Chicago area, Damon earned a minor in architecture from Drury University before transitioning to graphic design. He earned his fine arts degree in design from Missouri State University.

Meet the Panelists


Alex Garcia
Multicultural Creative Director
Tippit & Moo

Multicultural Creative Director Alex Garcia can be considered a jack of all trades. He has worked in two different continents and four different markets including Spain, Mexico, the U.S. and both General and Hispanic Markets. Above the line, below the line, digital, strategic planning, art direction, copywriting, editing… it seems there’s little he can’t do or hasn’t done.

His career as an Art Director started in Madrid, where he got to work for some of the best agencies in Spain, and he achieved international awards with Direct Marketing and Multimedia Campaigns in the late 2000s.

Later on in Mexico, he explored his copywriting skills while leveraging his art director eye on multiple TV productions and digital projects. After some years in San Antonio, working in one of the pioneer Hispanic agencies in the U.S., and receiving national recognition in the Multicultural arena, he moved into the General Market/Multicultural field by way of the young Houstonian agency Tippit & Moo, where he rapidly started to leave his creative mark on works for local and national clients.

U.S. brands in his portfolio include General Mills, NBA, Western Union, Enterprise, Sonic, Gabbanelli Accordions and American Cancer Society.

Ann Lee
Founder and Agency Principal
The Lee Group

Ann Lee founded The Lee Group in 1980 as a freelance practice after working for a year as a copywriter at Goodwin, Dannenbaum, Littman and Wingfield.

Under her direction, the agency has grown from a small shop to a strong regional firm that has served more than a thousand clients across the U.S. and garnered more than 310 national, regional and local creative awards.

After 36 years in the industry, Ann remains as passionate about the work as she was when she started her career. She credits the creative recognition the firm has achieved to surrounding herself with a high-performing, fully-integrated team driven by strategy and some of the top creative talent in Houston and beyond.

Ann holds a degree in Advertising from the University of Texas. She has served on many boards and has earned individual recognition for her valuable contributions including “Young Careerist for the State of Texas” by the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women, “Humanitarian of the Year” by the American Red Cross, “Mother of the Year” by the March of Dimes and as one of 10 finalists in NAWBO’s Houston Woman’s Business Owner of the Year.  

Fernando Osuna
Chief Creative Officer
Lopez Negrete

FerO, as he’s affectionately known, has built an impressive career spanning a number of decades, a couple of countries and several multinational advertising agencies, including DDB Mexico, Lowe + Partners Worldwide, and TBWA, where he was director and vice president of creative. The beneficiaries of his creative vision, brand insight and years of experience include Sol Beer, Coca-Cola, Apple, Burger King, Absolut Vodka, Adidas, Axe, Volkswagen, and MetLife, to name just a few. Along the way he’s earned literally hundreds of awards in the United States and internationally, including FIAP, El Ojo, New York Festivals, and Cannes. FerO now leads all the creative efforts for every one of Lopez Negrete Communications’ clients, including the world’s largest retailer – Walmart, Verizon, Samsung, Bank of America and Chrysler among a number of other blue-chip brands. It’s quite a job, but FerO handles it with both determination and, despite the pressure, an irresistible charm. Under his keen CCO eye Lopez Negrete campaigns are not only getting attention from award shows, but more importantly, from client. Of course, we’re not surprised.

Jose Lopez
Creative Director
Houston Rockets

Jose Lopez is an award-winning Creative Director and highly skilled graphic designer with more than 17 years of experience in the creative field. His unique design perspective and keen understanding of brand guidelines have earned him numerous honors - both for his work with the NBA's Houston Rockets, and global brands such as Nokia, Pepsi, Jose Cuervo and Nestle. Jose is currently in his 12th season with the Rockets where he serves as the club's Creative Director, overseeing all creative aspects for the team.

Josh Okun
Partner / Executive Creative Director
The Company

Josh has more than 16 years of experience in marketing and design, and leads the creative and digital teams at The Company of Others. He connects the dots between brand, media, creative, and digital. Josh has received honors from One Show, Communication Arts, The Webby’s, Adobe, AIGA, OMMA and AAF. He recently served on the board of AAF-Houston and the iMedia Data Driven Creativity Conference, and is a member of ANA, AMA, and AIGA.

He collaborates regularly on cross-genre creative projects, most recently developing a location-based mobile storytelling platform called The Invisible City Project with his wife and creative partner, Lacy M. Johnson, for the Houston CounterCurrent time-based art festival.

Josh has worked with a broad range of clients, including: 24 Hour Fitness, Bausch & Lomb, Bertolli, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, Cerner Corp., Central Garden & Pet, ConAgra Foods, Dell, Direct Energy, Hess Energy, H&R Block, HP, Lee Jeans, March of Dimes, McDonald's, Mission Tortillas, Minute Rice, NASA, New Era Caps, Phillips 66 Aviation, Sonic Drive-In, Sony, Success Rice, SunShare Community Solar, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Waste Management, and Windstream Communications.