Diversity & Inclusion

Ovative Names Executive Sponsors for Internal Diversity Resource Groups 

Through Ovative’s Champions of Change program, we seek to build an equitable and inclusive culture where all team members can maximize their potential. Ovative’s Diversity Resource Groups (DRGs) BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and Women exist to create a space of community and belonging for employees who share a common identity. Through these spaces, team members are provided with organizational support and access to decision-making spaces to help drive sustainable change within and beyond Ovative’s walls 

Ovative recently announced Executive Sponsors for each DRG: Jas Stevens (BIPOC), Beth McKigney (LGBTQIA+), and Annie Zipfel (Women). These sponsors are responsible for providing support and guidance for their respective DRG members, representing DRG interest in executive leadership discussions and holding Ovative accountable to advancing DRG goals

Jas Stevens – BIPOC 

Jas is the VP of Ovative Marketing, with more than 20 years of experience in the Marketing field. For her, there is nothing more rewarding in life than helping others. When asked about her role as a DRG Executive Sponsor, she said, As a Woman of Color having navigated my own challenges throughout my career, I was never offered this outlet. The importance of seeing yourself represented and having the space within your organization to foster inclusivity is incredibly valuable.” She hopes the DRG acts as a low-pressure space for team members to discuss anything, exchange advice, build connections, and enjoy each other’s company. 

Beth McKigney – LGBTQIA+

Beth is the SVP of Measurement at Ovative, responsible for building Ovative’s unified marketing measurement tool, MAP. She is excited to be an ally and a voice for this DRG at the executive level and to advocate for inclusive policies, support company-wide education, and foster an inclusive community at Ovative. Beth told us that she is “passionate about elevating inclusivity for members of our Ovative LGBTQIA+ community so that they can bring their full self to work.”

Annie Zipfel – Women

Annie is the EVP of Media at Ovative, with more than 30 years of experience in media, marketing, and more. She is passionate about DEI and deeply values the opportunity to engage, inspire, and retain female leaders at every level at Ovative. When asked about her role, she remarked that this is a labor of love for me and a true honor to serve as the Executive Sponsor for the Women’s DRG.” Being fortunate enough to have had many female mentors, she hopes to pay it forward to Ovative women through this Executive Sponsorship. 

About Champions of Change 

Ovative’s Champions of Change program seeks to foster a culture inclusive of all dimensions of difference, within and beyond our walls. We enable our team members to engage in driving social impact through four pillars: Cultural Agility Education, Equitable Operating Practices, Charitable Giving, and Skills-Based Partnerships. These pillars provide personal and relational learning opportunities, assess and increase equity of our internal operations, foster employee time and financial commitments, and provide pro-bono marketing services to community organizations. 

About Ovative Group

Ovative Group is an independent media and measurement firm that helps clients drive and deliver measurable marketing performance. Founded in 2009 by Dale Nitschke, Ovative brings media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to measure the holistic impact of marketing on clients’ total business using its proprietary metric, Enterprise Marketing Return (EMR). Ovative’s team of marketing experts serves as a trusted partner for its national world-class client base of marketing leaders across many industries. Ovative is recognized as an industry leader and has received awards including Star Tribune’s Top Workplaces, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Fast 50, and Inc. 5000. For more information about Ovative, visit ovative.com or follow Ovative on Facebook, Instagram,LinkedIn, andTwitter. 


Lindsy Steinberger

Sr. Manager, Paid Search

About the Author

Lindsy is a Sr. Manager on the Paid Search team at Ovative.

Tyler Spiwak

Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Tyler is an Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Dale Nitschke

Dale Nitschke

CEO & Founder

About the Author

Dale is the Founder and CEO of Ovative. After years of operating a large omni-channel business and leading a customer data initiative, Dale knew there was an opportunity to create a marketing firm that helped clients become more customer centric and drove better performance outcomes. A gap existed between business consultancies and advertising agencies that modern marketing approaches demand. He also believed that a strong, healthy culture could attract and develop smart, talented team members. In 2009, he formed Ovative to bring media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to enable an enterprise approach that drives more revenue and grows clients’ customer base.

Prior to founding Ovative in 2009, Dale spent 23 years at Target Corporation where he served as President of Target.com and grew the ecommerce business from start-up stage to a $1 billion+ business and established the foundation of Target’s Guest database capabilities. Previously he served as SVP Merchandising at the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson. Dale has advised retailers and brands globally on business, growth, marketing, and measurement transformation strategies.

Outside of Ovative, Dale is a leader on topics including business strategy, change management, and team leadership. He serves on the board of Allergy Amulet and on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison.  He enjoys spending time with his family, up north in northern Wisconsin, playing golf, and cheering on Wisconsin sport teams.

Steve Benson

Steve Benson

Chief Financial Officer

About the Author

Steve is the Chief Financial Officer of Ovative. Steve is responsible for the company’s IT, corporate accounting, treasury, tax, financial planning and analysis, and Business Operations

Prior to joining Ovative, Steve provided finance and accounting advisory services to clients. Before that, he spent 23 years at Target Corporation, leading Finance and Accounting teams.

Steve enjoys distance running, woodworking, and traveling. Steve and his wife have two sons, and they enjoy escaping to the Minnesota north shore.

Annie Zipfel

Executive Vice President, Media

About the Author

Annie is the Executive Vice President of Media at Ovative. She oversees delivery and growth across paid and owned media (digital, traditional, and retail media) and creative services.

Annie has more than 30 years of experience in media, brand management, insights/analytics, marketing, and product. She has also developed large, high-performing teams and built new measurement capabilities. Annie led the marketing team at Andersen Windows & Doors, leading the digital, social, content, customer insights, and creative functions. Prior to that, Annie served in multiple marketing leadership roles at Starbucks, REI, Target, and General Mills, with a keen focus on brand, media, insights, analytics, and measurement.

Annie is an industry leader in brand management, customer insights, e-commerce, social media, and analytics. She enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, fishing, and spending time with her sweet dog and two sons.

Bonnie Gross

Executive Vice President, Talent Services

About the Author

Bonnie is the Executive Vice President of Talent Services at Ovative. She is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent and creating a culture in which our team thrives personally and professionally. Under Bonnie’s leadership, Ovative has defined an industry leading leadership and development program and transformed our approach to talent recruitment with a focus on diversity, equality and inclusion. Prior to her current role, Bonnie led Ovative’s Client and Business Development team overseeing client satisfaction and new growth opportunities.

Before joining Ovative in 2014, Bonnie spent 13 years at Target Corporate as the VP of digital and Digital Marketing where she led the launch of Cartwheel, an industry-leading social shopping application. Bonnie was the VP of Marketing for Fingerhut for 15 years prior to joining Target.

Steve Baxter

Steve Baxter

Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

About the Author

Steve is the Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Ovative. Steve has been with the company since 2010 and launched Ovative’s media practice in 2012.

Prior to joining Ovative, Steve worked at Target for 8 years where he led development of Target’s CRM initiatives, Digital media analytics and Target’s Media Network. In 2005, Steve developed Target’s proprietary in-house capabilities to both measure in-store sales impact from digital brand investments and personalize marketing messages across both digital and non-digital channels.

Steve is an industry leader on topics including marketing, advanced measurement, ecommerce, and monetization. Steve enjoys fishing, camping, golfing and trying to stay competitive in any sport with his three boys. Steve enjoys escaping to the MN north shore with his wife, boys and dog whenever possible.

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

Lillian is a Senior Analyst on the Paid Social team at Ovative.

Beth McKigney

Senior Vice President, Measurement

About the Author

Beth is the Senior Vice President of Measurement at Ovative. She is responsible for developing, implementing, and supporting proprietary technology products that enable clients to unlock insights across marketing channels and devices. Since joining Ovative in 2013, Beth built Ovative’s Site Analytics & Optimization practice and Ovative’s unified marketing measurement tool, MAP. She is spearheading development of new technology products focused on advanced analytics, testing and reporting.

Prior to joining Ovative, Beth spent 9 years at Target in multiple digital and marketing analytics roles. She defined and delivered Target’s email and mobile marketing strategies, identified and defined Target.com guest-facing technology enhancements, and managed site-wide promotional marketing plans.

Beth is a thought leader in advanced analytics and optimization strategies. She regularly advises clients on strategies to improve their marketing effectiveness and is a published thought leader. She lives in Brooklyn Park with her husband, two boys and dog, Sota.  Beth’s an avid University of Minnesota sports fan (especially football – Row the Boat!) and enjoys downhill skiing, biking, hunting and fishing.

Dianne Anderson

Senior Vice President, Media

About the Author

Dianne is the Senior Vice President of Media at Ovative. She is responsible for delivery and growth across paid digital media, traditional media, marketplaces, and creative services. Since joining the company in 2013, Dianne has been a key leader in establishing new channel practices, a strategic voice in media and marketing strategy and a driver scaling best in class teams. She regularly advises clients on ecommerce, retail, digital media and measurement strategies.

Prior to joining Ovative, Dianne spent 8 years at Target leading strategy and activation of digital e-comm and brand marketing initiatives.

Dianne is passionate about music, leading ukulele lessons for the team and participating in office musical collaborations.  Her happy places are Northern Wisconsin, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where she enjoys making memories with her family.

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