Digital 40 Over 40 2017: David Shulman, CEO, Organic

David Shulman
David Shulman
CEO, Organic

David Shulman has sold everything from Jaguars to software, but perhaps his biggest coup was wooing BBDO CEO Andrew Robertson. Robertson told Adweek that he met Shulman in 2011, when both were guests of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong at the Whitney Museum of American Art Gala. After that meeting, Robertson said he wanted to find a way to work with Shulman, which he now does since Organic is part of BBDO Worldwide. 

Shulman’s winning streak has continued at his current post, where he has evolved the agency from a digital shop focused on tactical output to one that is data-inspired and seeks to deliver individually relevant personalized interactions. Shulman has used that template to tackle problems on behalf of clients including AT&T, Kimberly-Clark, Wells Fargo and PepsiCo. One of Shulman’s favorite campaigns Organic has created was Big Kid Academy, a platform for parents to use during potty training that was created for Kimberly-Clark’s Pull-Ups brand.

"What really excites me about this project is how we were able to create a platform that educates, supports and creates a meaningful relationship between the brand, parents and their children," he told HubSpot.

Shulman’s background is an unusual one for an ad exec: A psychology major who applies that learning to management, Shulman started his career by launching a software development company in Ukraine. Later, he moved to advertising, founding and building Digitas Detroit. Prior to joining Organic, Shulman was president at Wunderman. Shulman’s approach to management is that "entrepreneurship plus imagination equals magic." At his various posts, he has sought to instill that idea in his workforce. "l challenge every employee to treat Organic like it’s their company," he likes to say.

In addition, Shulman is an active mentor. Many current executives credit their ascension in part to Shulman’s guidance back when they were recent college graduates.

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