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Lori H. Schwartz

Senior VP, director of Interpublic Group's Emerging Media

Impact: A massive, complex conglomerate of advertising, marketing and PR agencies, Interpublic’s core product can be described in one simple word: messages.

And, understandably, the communications giant sees it as imperative to know — at a time of great media upheaval — just how consumers are getting messages.

That’s where Schwartz, a former digital filmmaker, dedicated Trekkie and off-hours improv comedy performer, comes in.

In a plush office space in midcity Los Angeles — four floors up from Variety‘s main office — Schwartz oversees a lab chockful of the latest DVRs, vidgame consoles, flat-panel TVs, disc players, digital jukeboxes, iPhones … just about any new in-home or out-of-home entertainment-related gadget you can think of.

Here, in what Schwartz calls “a sanctuary for technology,” Interpublic’s creative army and its clients can get hands-on experience with the entertainment gadgetry that will dictate the future of their work. Even more important, they get data, with Schwartz’s lab rigorously focus-grouping all of these toys to better understand how consumers are using them.

POV: “The most important thing we do is translate technology into behavior,” Schwartz explains. “If you’re a marketer and you’re going to be crafting messages over the next few years, you have to understand these trends.”