The Marketing Achievement Awards (MAA) has announced the three finalists for its 2024 Rising Star of the Year Award. This award recognises great marketers under the age of 35 who think differently, who disrupt the status quo and who challenge the way we think. It celebrates those young marketers on the rise. Those with an edge, who define the future of marketing and push the discipline forward.

The finalists are Amy Phillips, Brand Manager Omnichannel at Avon; Nastasje Cerbone, Marketing Activation Manager at Pernod Ricard; and Tony Pitso, Founder & CEO at eChamps.

In congratulating the three finalists, the Chairperson of this year’s Rising Star adjudication panel, Immaculata Segooa, Head of Integrated Marketing Communication at Discovery Limited, says the importance of this award should not be underestimated.

“I was once a young marketer, whose career was inspired and nurtured by leaders who believed in me. Recognition is important. Our profession is crucial for driving business growth, and the winner of this award must demonstrate a solid understanding of strategy, critical and analytical thinking, and use creativity to deliver outstanding business results. The credibility and efficacy of what we as marketers do every day pivots on this,” Segooa notes, adding that the Rising Star MAA award category is close to her heart and she was honoured to chair this year’s adjudication panel

She was joined on the panel by Thembisile Sehloho, Marketing Director, Rice and Pasta at Tiger Brands; Samantha Mokonyama, Senior Manager, Performance Marketing at Standard Bank; and Clement Motale, Head of Marketing & Corporate Relations at Absa CIB.

The panel was unanimous in what it was looking for this year: young ‘future leader’ marketers doing great things in their organisations or own companies; they were commercially minded with a focus beyond marketing communications or advertising. It sought marketers who demonstrated leadership, innovation, forward-thinking and an inherent ability to strategise for impact and growth as positive role models for other up-and-coming marketers.  This year’s three Rising Star finalists demonstrated exactly this.

In no particular order, the finalists are:

Amy Phillips, Brand Manager Omnichannel at Avon


Amy has driven Avon’s local marketing strategy, using TV, paid media and influencer strategies to promote the brand to key audiences. As a mother of two young children, including a daughter, working for a brand that supports the empowerment of women is a daily motivator for her career performance and love for the brand.

In 2023, Amy was part of the winning project team for the launch of Hydramatic Matte Lipstick, which went on to win a Product of the Year Award in 2023. She works closely with Avon’s agency partners, who have been nominated as finalists in the Bookmark and Generation Next Awards for their Hydramatic Matte Lipstick campaigns and also won Gold in the Shop! SA awards.

Amy previously held positions in strategy and client service within advertising agencies. One of her career highlights during that time was working with IMA Agency on the Momentum Shift campaign to inspire people and offer them solutions to finding a positive mindset and outlook during lockdown.

Amy was nominated for a Rising Star Award for her dedication to learning, application of industry best practices and willingness to experiment, all of which have contributed to significant improvements in brand performance. Her ability to take action and ownership in every situation, and intently listen to conversations, absorbing knowledge for solution creation, were also noted.

Nastasje Cerbone, Marketing Activations Manager, Pernod Ricard


For the past eight years, Nastasje has developed her career in brand and category management within the fast-paced FMCG industries of beauty and alcohol. With agility and perseverance, she has crafted robust, integrated marketing plans that leverage the marketing mix fundamentals and flex both strategic and innovative thinking. She has successfully collaborated on and led cross-functional teams to deliver high-performance campaigns.

As the Marketing Activations Manager working on premium gins, Nastasje constantly looks to integrate new touchpoints into her repertoire, like activating ambient OOH and influencer marketing. The success of Malfy Gin’s influencer-led campaigns reflects her ability to pivot plans to mitigate market fluctuations to better drive business goals. Most recently, Malfy’s efforts to be the lead market to launch a new global campaign – Immagina Malfy – supported by a balanced and strategically selected influencer collaboration, accumulated more than 25 million impressions and a reach of 3.8 million (+311% growth).

Nastasje also worked on the Inverroche Bee&Bee project, which won a bronze Cannes award for its sustainability packaging that turns into a bee hotel to protect solitary bees.

She has spearheaded female empowerment projects like the AWAfrica Future is Female Awards, which honour exceptional female thought leaders who empower their communities; and supported the senior leadership team in building the 2032 SSA company culture strategy, and has recently completed the Pernod Ricard’s SSA Female Leadership programme as one of only four females selected from within the business to the programme.’

Nastasje was nominated for a Rising Star Award for her contribution towards propelling the Malfy Gin and Inverroche Gin brand portfolios to new heights at every angle. From spearheading hugely impactful marketing campaigns to increasing marketing ROI and sales in stores, her strategic ability to develop a consumer-led vision and lead execution across all channels was described in her nomination as unparalleled.

Tony Pitso, Founder & CEO at eChamps


Tony’s career in the FMCG industry took him from being a marketing graduate at JSE-listed AVI and Junior Brand Manager at AMKA Products to being appointed Junior Brand Manager at the NYSE-listed multinational, Johnson & Johnson (now Kenvue) before he exited the industry to focus on fusing his passion for marketing and technology in his esports start-up, eChamps.

He describes his first big career win as conceptualising the strategy to reposition and scale AMKA Products’ Clere Pure & Protect brand following its rapid market growth after being launched as a sanitiser range during the COVID-19 pandemic. He worked with a perceived ‘pain point’ in the market to makeover the brand and reposition it for lifestyle consumers, spurring sales.

His second career highlight was crafting a three-year strategic plan for Johnson’s Adult portfolio at Johnson & Johnson (now Kenvue) to successfully reposition its face care range within the portfolio for renewed growth. As a result, the brand today enjoys a 30% market share of facial wipes and is the number 1 wipes brand in the market.

Tony was nominated for a Rising Star Award for his efforts to consistently elevate his brand portfolio, Johnson’s Adult facial care range, at Kenvue to unprecedented levels. By leading highly effective influencer marketing campaigns and driving growth in marketing ROI and sales, he has demonstrated what his nominator described as ‘an unparalleled ability to create a consumer-centric vision and execute it across various channels’.

His approach to blending textbook marketing knowledge with practical implementation and delivering well-defined action plans was also noted, and he is now drawing on his experience and industry knowledge to bridge the development gap in esports using console gaming.

The 2024 MAA Rising Star of the Year Award winner will be announced on 26 March 2024 at the MAA Gala Awards and networking cocktail event to be held in Johannesburg.

For further information, visit the MAA website for details on how to book tickets, please see the home page of this website, or email event(at)marketingawards(dot)co(dot)za

Thank you to our partners who make these awards possible.

Marketing Association of South Africa
Reveel Outdoor
Old Mutual
African Bank
Fresh Advertising and Marketing
The Forum - Alice Lane, Sandton