The Talented Team That Drives the ARF
EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Scott McDonald, Ph.D.
CEO & President
Scott McDonald became the CEO and President of the Advertising Research Foundation in March 2017. Prior to joining the ARF, he held senior research positions at leading global media companies, including 18 years at Time Warner, and 14 years at Conde Nast, covering both the consumer and the advertising sides of the media business. Throughout his career, he has kept a foot in both the academic and business worlds, teaching for 5 years at NYU and for 18 years at Columbia Business School. He serves as an adviser to the Social Science Matrix Program at UC Berkeley, and is on the Board of the Population Reference Bureau. An avid art lover, he also is on the board of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He holds an A.B. degree from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. CEO & President Member Newsletters
Chief Research Officer
Paul Donato joined the ARF as Chief Research Officer in October 2017. Paul is a highly-regarded leader in media and advertising research with more than two decades of industry experience. Earlier in his career he co-founded WPP’s Media Research Business Unit, served as CEO of Kantar Media, and Technical Director of IBOPE Latin America. He was the EVP and CRO for The Nielsen Company for more than a decade, overseeing Nielsen retail, consumer, mobile, and media measurement methodologies. Upon leaving Nielsen, Paul founded Jatopond, a media and market research firm. He also has led business units at Simmons, and at Audits and Surveys Worldwide. He currently sits on the Future State Committee of the National Air and Space Museum. In addition to leading the research team, Paul will also play an active role in overall ARF leadership, helping to guide our future direction.
Rachael is the Senior Vice President of Events at the ARF where she leads two teams responsible for all program content and attendee experiences as well as event marketing. This includes conceptualizing and executing both in-person and virtual programming, building and managing judging committees, activating board involvement in events and overseeing event communication. She also spearheads ARF Women in Analytics, which hosts events and community-building initiatives throughout the country. Rachael is also part of the ARF Leadership Team.
Barbara Kahn is Baker Professor of Marketing at Wharton at UPenn. She was Dean at University of Miami’s School of Business and is Executive Director of Marketing Science Institute. She has a PhD and MBA from Columbia University.
Chief Growth Officer
Michael Heitner joined the Advertising Research Foundation in 2011 and is the ARF’s Chief Growth Officer responsible for Membership, Sponsorship and New Member Development. Key to achieving our growth and revenue goals is delivering strong member value. Michael is integrally involved in working with the ARF Board and Executive Team to grow and build the organization. Prior to the ARF, he spent most of his career on the advertising agency side of the business. Most notably, Michael founded and ran his own agency, Heitner Weiss, for 14 years. When not working, Michael is an avid tennis player and photographer.
Chief Financial Officer
Elyssa Rubin has served as ARF’s Chief Financial Officer since August 2021, drawing on an ample resume of media and advertising finance experience. She was previously the CFO of an out-of-home media agency and a full-service advertising agency. Elyssa was also formerly a General Manager at the Hearst Corporation, where she actively developed and executed advertising programs and was instrumental in launching digital applications, which extended offerings to advertisers and provided ample growth opportunities for both her brand and the larger Hearst Corporation. Prior to her role at Hearst, Elyssa worked on multiple brands at K-III Communications. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Marketing Science Institute Leadership Team
John G. Lynch, Jr.
Distinguished Professor, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado-Boulder
John G. Lynch, Jr. is University of Colorado Distinguished Professor at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado-Boulder.
Lynch received his BA in economics, his MA in psychology, and his Ph.D. in psychology, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a member of the faculty at University of Florida from 1979-1996, where he was Graduate Research Professor. From 1996-2009 he was the Roy J. Bostock Professor of Marketing at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
Lynch is a Fellow of the American Marketing Association, the Association for Consumer Research, the American Psychological Association/Society for Consumer Psychology and one of five Fellows of all three organizations worldwide. In 2015 publications tracked by the Web of Science, Lynch was one of the 25 most cited marketing scholars in the world. He has been a recipient of the Paul D. Converse Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Science of Marketing and the Society for Consumer Psychology’s Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award. Six of his papers have been honored as outstanding article of the year: he has been recognized once each by the Journal of Marketing Research and by the Journal of Marketing, and four times by the Journal of Consumer Research for papers written in 1988, 1991, 2010, and 2015. Two of his papers this last decade are the most cited papers in any marketing journal in the year of their publication: his 2010 Journal of Consumer Research paper on mediation analysis, his 2013 Journal of Marketing Research paper on simple effects in moderated regression, and his 2014 Management Science paper about financial literacy and downstream financial behaviors.
He has served as president of the Policy Board of the Journal of Consumer Research, president of the Association for Consumer Research, associate editor for the Journal of Consumer Research, and associate editor and co-editor for the Journal of Consumer Psychology. He was the founding Director of the Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making and founding co-chair of the Boulder Summer Conference on Consumer Financial Decision Making. He is a member of the Academic Research Council of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
As Managing Director of the Marketing Science Institute (MSI), a division of the Advertising Research Foundation, Sherry is responsible for overseeing the organization’s full expanse of day-to-day operations, including delivering value through member-facing content and programs (e.g., podcasts, webinars, conferences and round tables). Sherry plays a vital role in creating events and competitions that develop the academic network of MSI through relevant, leading-edge research.
Sherry has more than 25 years of experience in the publishing and media industries. At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, she served as the Director of Program Innovation and Director of Product Strategy, where she oversaw research and product development and launched award-winning digital products. Sherry is a certified Project Management Professional, Scrum Master, and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.
Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement Executive Leadership Team