What’s Next

The Launch of The Next Practice—A Founder-Driven Collective of Firms

July 5, 2020

Changing times lead to new mindsets and models. 

Technology is relentlessly evolving our patterns of content consumption, our ability to harness data to gain new insights and democratizing our ability to build new platforms, tools and techniques. 

COVID-19 is reminding us that talent is borderless.  Global human networks are replacing dots on a map.

Our personal experience has taught us how important it is for founders to always remain founders, so that innovation continues, forever, as we build the best value for our clients and our teams every day.

The answer, for us, is simple.  Build a new model that is ready for the future. 

Today, we are announcing the creation of The Next Practice, a founder-driven collective of firms that spans the marketing, communications and technology needs of organizations of all sizes.  Our teams can lead a business transformation process, create a new digital media or lead management campaign, build new analytics models, handle your technology needs from cybersecurity to server migrations and think through how social purpose can tie business and societal needs together in more innovative ways. 

The name, The Next Practice, reflects our belief that best practices are an exercise in studying the past, often leading to mediocre insights.  Industry leaders don’t accept this approach and constantly search for the next practice, hence one of two reasons for our name.  The second reason relates to how we work.  Our Founders are practitioners.  Instead of being delegated down, your biggest challenges will be delegated up, to the people who will put their experience into practice. 

Our approach requires a different business model so that our Founders remain focused on our clients and innovating their offering.  Operationally, the parent company, The Next Practices Group, exists to support each Founder and their firms.  The Group is at the bottom of the org chart looking up.  Financially, Founders will always have a significant stake in their firms and the parent company. 

Here is an introduction to our leaders:

Brain+Trust –  Tim Hayden is Founder & CEO and Tracy Arrington is Chief Operating Officer and Partner.  Tim has been a founder and is an advisor to many emerging technology companies, a past VP of Marketing at Zignal Labs, and he led the North American mobile operations at Edelman Digital.  Tracy is an author and a Professor and Director, Brand Marketing & Analytics, Program in China for The University of Texas at Austin.

CHANGExJohn McNeel is Founder & CEO.  John is also Co-Founder and Chairman of the charitable giving platform in/PACT.  He was previously President, Global Clients for TBWA, Worldwide Operations Director for Saatchi & Saatchi (P&G) and Chairman and CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Middle East. 

Ringer SciencesYash Gad, Ph.D. is Founder & CEO.  Yash has a PhD in Biophysics, Computational Biology and Neuroscience and was a key data science architect at W2O Group.  Yash’s first company he founded was Simvivo, also an analytics-driven firm.

RocketSauce Media LabsDave Pierpont and Julia Thuman, are co-Founders & CEOs.  Dave was most recently SVP of Performance Media and Julia was SVP of Client Partnership for Ansira, a marketing technology agency.  Dave started his career in the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Julia was also SVP of Marketing & Sales for Targetbase (Omnicom) and Vice President of Client Service for RAPP (Omnicom). 

The Next PracticeChris Foster is Founder & CEO.  Chris was Worldwide Chief Operating Officer for Saatchi & Saatchi, President, Asia for Young & Rubicam and President, Global Clients for Publicis Groupe. 

Victory CTOJohn Cunningham and Chris Chilek are Co-Founders and CEOs. Chris and John have a long history of building companies, and designed Victory as a Digital Transformation hub for clients internationally.  In the last five years Victory’s team has helped companies of all sizes gain momentum and achieve new capabilities.  

The Founder & Chair of the Next Practices Group is Bob Pearson, who launched GCI Health and was President and Vice-Chair at W2O Group.  Pearson is an author of four books, advisor to media software companies and lecturer at the State Department and the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School, University of Southern California and Syracuse University. 

The President of the Group is Colin Foster, who was Global Head of Social Media at Novartis and a Managing Director for Social Media at W2O Group.

Mike Gehb is our first advisor to the firm.  Mike was Chief Financial Officer for Copithorne & Bellows, Porter Novelli and Vice President of Finance and Operations for Omnicom/DAS (Diversified Agency Services). 

The Next Practice is the name that we will refer to for the collective.  It will become a global organization, over time, that can provide additional support to each Founding firm. 

Our offering has five key pillars — Analytics/Data Science, Digital Media (paid, earned, shared and owned), Technology Services, Software & Stories and Social Purpose.  Within Software and Stories, we are featuring software companies that can provide an edge for our clients.  The initial group includes AIMeCAST, Airtory, FractalFORGE, in/PACT, NextWorks and Proof

The firm’s founders live in Connecticut, Dallas and Austin, but work in Zoom, Teams and Ring Central for now.  Although revenue is not being reported today, we do expect to make the PRovoke Media top 250 list by the end of 2020.

We conclude our launch post with the sharing of The Next Practice beliefs, which all founders have helped shape.  We believe every word here and will live it each day as we set out to build a firm that is both rewarding to work at and increasingly valuable for our clients. 


Chris Foster, Yash Gad, Dave Pierpoint, Julia Thuman, Tim Hayden, Tracy Arrington, Colin Foster, John Cunningham, Chris Chilek, John McNeel, Tim Bahr, Michael Gehb and Bob Pearson

Our Beliefs

  • The Next Practice never ends, it’s a journey
  • The Founder’s mentality fuels innovation and drives growth… forever
  • Shared value means everyone wins
  • New times require new working models
  • Bottom up leadership drives intellectual equality
  • Our own tools and platforms help us walk the talk
  • Audience driven decision-making
  • Technology enabled the passion-economy, we give it it’s voice
  • Business can make the world a better place
  • No Assholes need apply (really)