The International Advertising Association head of business strategy and operations brings experience and objectivity to the awards.

The Epica Awards are delighted to announce that Dagmara Szulce, Global Executive Director of the IAA, will preside over the jury this year.

Dagmara has been in her current role since 2017, following several major posts in the advertising industry – including 15 years at J. Walter Thompson. Before joining the IAA, she run her own consultancy with focus on building global brands with purpose in the luxury and beauty sectors.

Commenting on the Epica Awards, she said: "It's an honour to be a part of a prestigious jury of journalists who monitor and write about our industry. They are objective, they celebrate creativity, and they bring a sophistication of taste and refinement to their judgement that comes with their knowledge. Their job requires them to have an opinion, as well as high standards."

Underling the contribution of the IAA, she added: "As with the Epica Awards, objectivity is at the heart of the IAA. We don't advocate for a specific sector or a specific country, but the industry as a whole. Like the journalists on the jury, we support and believe in the power of creativity."

An association representing marketers, ad agency professionals, tech specialists, educators and the media, the IAA offers thought leadership, education, professional development, events and networking.

Born in Poland, Dagmara was one of the first five employees of J. Walter Thompson there, shortly after the end of the Communist era. "I originally wanted to work as a photographer, which was my passion, but my aunt – who was a professor of economics – told me that marketing was the next big thing. In 1991, three years after the fall of Communism, I graduated with a degree in marketing, which was a completely surreal concept in Poland at the time."

She later transferred to New York, where she worked on the De Beers account, notably on the ground-breaking campaign, "Women of the world, raise your right hand" – which emphasized that women didn't need to be engaged or married to wear a diamond ring. In a later role at McCann Erickson, she helped to launch Nespresso in the US.

Her passion for photography remained undimmed, and while running her own consultancy she was able to work with one of her heroines – Annie Leibovitz – on the ground-breaking "Live Who You Are" campaign for The Corcoran Group.

Describing her role at the IAA today, Dagmara said: "My goal is to oversee our long term purpose as the global compass of the industry, while ensuring we help the industry navigate through the challenges it faces more frequently than ever. I also strive to strengthen the IAA as a single global brand, as well as a constellation of Chapters around the world. I want to make sure our entire network is aligned behind our vision so we can add value to our members around the world in a consistent, high quality way."

The IAA is committed to building strong brands and forging meaningful relationships with consumers and society, driven by the core belief that "what's good, is good for business". Dagmara adds that the association is open and accessible, with many different voices. "We are a dynamic, entrepreneurial group of people, where diversity is prized celebrated."

The Epica Awards Grand Prix jury meeting will take place on December 5 2023. The online ceremony take place on December 7, with the full results published on December 8.