Contact

Currently, Ahmer is creative director of Design Hierarchy NYC. A creative consultancy serving causes, NGOs and foundations.
For availability please email: ahmer@hierarchy.design

Previous Experience

2011-2015 mcgarrybowen, Dentsu
Executive Creative Director
Clients experience: JPMorganChase & Co, Chase, Chase Private Client, Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, Chase Ink, Chase Liquid, Mission Main Street, Chase Sponsorship, Chase Business, Marriott, Residence Inn, Courtyard, Fairfield, Springhill, Marriott Rewards, Maserati, Chevron, Brand USA

Global Creative Director / Executive Creative Director
Clients experience: Intel, Holiday Inn, Staples, Mastercard, General Mills

FOUNDER / CO-CEO / CO-CCO
Clients experience: Genworth Financial, Intel, Nokia, Kamik, Promotions.com, Gilda's club, Safe Horizon

Art Director to Executive Creative Director
Clients experience: 7up, Dr Pepper, Diet Dr Pepper, Sunkist, Pella Windows, Kraft, Computer Associates, AT&T, Citibank, Showtime, United Airlines, Wildlife Conservation Society, STP, Sony, Pepperidge Farm.

876 words that sum it all up.

Born in Karachi and raised in Hong Kong, Ahmer Kalam spent his childhood trying to decide if he liked dumplings more than samosas. It’s a question he’s been unable to answer to this very day.
Ahmer’s first job in advertising was at Moffatt/Rosenthal in Portland, Oregon, where he worked as an intern during his junior and senior years at Lewis & Clark College. His main responsibility, as he recalls, was staying out of the way, but he did eventually learn the basics of art direction. After graduating with degrees in art history and finance, Ahmer packed his bags and drove 3,000 miles to Atlanta to attend The Portfolio Center. He was a quick study, completing the two-year program in a single year.
His next stop was the obvious one: New York. In 1996, Ahmer managed to secure an interview at Young & Rubicam. During an interview with Ted Bell, the Worldwide Creative Director of Y&R, Bell gave him the opportunity to offer some art direction on an actual pitch Y&R was working on for the Bronx Zoo. Fourteen hours later, Ahmer presented those ideas to Bell. And then he was back on a plane to Atlanta.
Two days later, Linda Baff, Senior Talent Recruiter at Y&R, called with two pieces of news. The first: his work had helped Y&R win the Bronx Zoo account. The second: Y&R wanted to offer him a job as a junior art director. A ruthless negotiator, Ahmer insisted that he was not interested unless Y&R agreed to pay him a signing bonus of $500. The firm immediately agreed.
Ahmer quickly rose up the ranks at Young and Rubicam. It took him just three years to be named VP/Creative Director, and just three more to become Executive Creative Director on both the Dr. Pepper and Computer Associates accounts. His responsibilities for Computer Associates, a global account with billings of $120 million, included all advertising and marketing activities— television, print, radio, and direct mail—in 46 languages and 17 countries. His client experience at Y&R included AT&T, Citibank, Kraft, Pella Windows, Pepperidge Farm, 7-UP, Showtime, United Airlines, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Ahmer also served as Co-Executive Creative Director of Klamath Communications during his time at Y&R, in which capacity he helped launch GE Finance’s Investing and Insurance division, Genworth Financial, when it was spun off from GE in 2003—the second largest IPO of 2003, and the largest insurance IPO ever. The launch TV commercial featured Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, and the subsequent $35 million brand campaign featured in-depth profiles of real people—all centenarians—running across a variety of media, including television, print, Internet, and digital media.
In addition to being one of the youngest VPs at Y&R, Ahmer received two Emmy nominations as well as recognition in every major advertising show, including The One Show and Cannes Lion Festival. His work on Computer Associates and Pella Windows is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
In October 2006, Ahmer left Y&R to co-found Howald and Kalam with his writing partner, Rachel Howald. Their clients included Intel, Nokia, Kamik, Promotions.com, Gilda’s Club Worldwide, Genworth Financial, and Safe Horizon. The agency enjoyed strong growth in billings, and would surely have continued to do so, but opportunity knocked again in 2009, when McCann made the two partners an offer they couldn’t refuse: Global Creative Directors on the Intel account. That role expanded to include Holiday Inn and Staples as well as important work for both General Mills and MasterCard. Ahmer played key roles in the launch of Holiday Inn’s global identity campaign as well as MasterCard’s Priceless Cities campaign.
In 2011, it was time for another change. McGarryBowen offered him the opportunity to head up both the JPMorganChase & Co and Marriott accounts. For JPMorganChase & Co, he oversees all creative development for JPMorganChase & Co, the Chase Retail, Business, Sports Sponsorship, Credit Cards, and Private Client business. His work for Marriott Brands included all of Residence Inn, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill and Marriott Rewards. The integrated team for those two accounts includes over 40 creatives and 100 account support professionals.
After 20 years of helping Fortune 500 Brands solve their most significant marketing challenges, Ahmer decided to start Design Hierarchy. A purpose-driven communications consultancy for philanthropists, humanitarians, and change-makers.
Design Hierarchy's senior consultants from all over the world, come up with innovative ideas that help brands tell their stories through all forms of digital communications. From award-winning videos for the Obama foundations, PBS series focusing on #Metoo movement, and 360 VR videos for the Rockefeller Foundation, Design Hierarchy's branding and communications solutions have helped clients of all sizes and resource levels. Design Hierarchy's work can be viewed at www.hierarchy.design
Last but not least, he makes a fabulous chicken tikka masala. Optional appetizer: dumplings or samosa. But don’t ask him to decide for you, because he can’t.

Born in Karachi and raised in Hong Kong, Ahmer Kalam spent his childhood trying to decide if he liked dumplings more than samosas. It’s a question he’s been unable to answer to this very day.
Ahmer’s first job in advertising was at Moffatt/Rosenthal in Portland, Oregon, where he worked as an intern during his junior and senior years at Lewis & Clark College. His main responsibility, as he recalls, was staying out of the way, but he did eventually learn the basics of art direction. After graduating with degrees in art history and finance, Ahmer packed his bags and drove 3,000 miles to Atlanta to attend The Portfolio Center. He was a quick study, completing the two-year program in a single year.
His next stop was the obvious one: New York. In 1996, Ahmer managed to secure an interview at Young & Rubicam. During an interview with Ted Bell, the Worldwide Creative Director of Y&R, Bell gave him the opportunity to offer some art direction on an actual pitch Y&R was working on for the Bronx Zoo. Fourteen hours later, Ahmer presented those ideas to Bell. And then he was back on a plane to Atlanta.
Two days later, Linda Baff, Senior Talent Recruiter at Y&R, called with two pieces of news. The first: his work had helped Y&R win the Bronx Zoo account. The second: Y&R wanted to offer him a job as a junior art director. A ruthless negotiator, Ahmer insisted that he was not interested unless Y&R agreed to pay him a signing bonus of $500. The firm immediately agreed.
Ahmer quickly rose up the ranks at Young and Rubicam. It took him just three years to be named VP/Creative Director, and just three more to become Executive Creative Director on both the Dr. Pepper and Computer Associates accounts. His responsibilities for Computer Associates, a global account with billings of $120 million, included all advertising and marketing activities— television, print, radio, and direct mail—in 46 languages and 17 countries. His client experience at Y&R included AT&T, Citibank, Kraft, Pella Windows, Pepperidge Farm, 7-UP, Showtime, United Airlines, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Ahmer also served as Co-Executive Creative Director of Klamath Communications during his time at Y&R, in which capacity he helped launch GE Finance’s Investing and Insurance division, Genworth Financial, when it was spun off from GE in 2003—the second largest IPO of 2003, and the largest insurance IPO ever. The launch TV commercial featured Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, and the subsequent $35 million brand campaign featured in-depth profiles of real people—all centenarians—running across a variety of media, including television, print, Internet, and digital media.
In addition to being one of the youngest VPs at Y&R, Ahmer received two Emmy nominations as well as recognition in every major advertising show, including The One Show and Cannes Lion Festival. His work on Computer Associates and Pella Windows is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
In October 2006, Ahmer left Y&R to co-found Howald and Kalam with his writing partner, Rachel Howald. Their clients included Intel, Nokia, Kamik, Promotions.com, Gilda’s Club Worldwide, Genworth Financial, and Safe Horizon. The agency enjoyed strong growth in billings, and would surely have continued to do so, but opportunity knocked again in 2009, when McCann made the two partners an offer they couldn’t refuse: Global Creative Directors on the Intel account. That role expanded to include Holiday Inn and Staples as well as important work for both General Mills and MasterCard. Ahmer played key roles in the launch of Holiday Inn’s global identity campaign as well as MasterCard’s Priceless Cities campaign.
In 2011, it was time for another change. McGarryBowen offered him the opportunity to head up both the JPMorganChase & Co and Marriott accounts. For JPMorganChase & Co, he oversees all creative development for JPMorganChase & Co, the Chase Retail, Business, Sports Sponsorship, Credit Cards, and Private Client business. His work for Marriott Brands included all of Residence Inn, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill and Marriott Rewards. The integrated team for those two accounts includes over 40 creatives and 100 account support professionals.
After 20 years of helping Fortune 500 Brands solve their most significant marketing challenges, Ahmer decided to start Design Hierarchy. A purpose-driven communications consultancy for philanthropists, humanitarians, and change-makers.
Design Hierarchy's 20+ senior consultants from all over the world, come up with innovative ideas that help brands tell their stories through all forms of digital communications. From award-winning videos for the Obama foundations, PBS series focusing on #Metoo movement, and 360 VR videos for the Rockefeller Foundation, Design Hierarchy's branding and communications solutions have helped clients of all sizes and resource levels.
When he’s not coming up with innovative ideas for clients, Ahmer is likely either on the tennis courts or on his computer. A tennis pro while in college, he also used to be one of the top-ranked players in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft. Proficient in both human and computer languages—including Urdu, Cantonese and HTML—Ahmer has coded and built numerous websites for a clientele that includes non-fiction authors Jim Frederick (Black Hearts), Duff McDonald (Last Man Standing, The Firm), and Douglas Rogers (The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe.) He likes books and dogs, too: Ahmer photographed, designed, and published 2013 Dogs of McGarryBowen.
Last but not least, he makes a fabulous chicken tikka masala. Optional appetizer: dumplings or samosa. But don’t ask him to decide for you, because he can’t.

Nice quotes from bosses!

“Ahmer exemplifies everything I believe makes a great – yes great – Creative Director.  He creates ideas, yes, really big ideas which he then executes flawlessly.  He is a team player, both internally and externally and builds trusted relationships with clients and peers.  On a one to ten he’s a 11.5.  And most of all a great great person with integrity and values that are rare indeed.”
Gordon Bowen, Global Chairman, dentsu mcgarrybowen
"Ahmer Kalam has exactly what I look for in an creative director:  a great eye and a big heart. He approaches even the most challenging projects with enthusiasm and a drive to do something remarkable. For that, he’s won awards (at Cannes and elsewhere), the trust of clients and the admiration of his bosses and peers."
Joyce King Thomas, President/CCO, McCannXBC
"Ahmer was simply one of the very few at the top of my list of ‘go-to’ art directors when I needed something in a hurry and was absolutely confident he could deliver. He always did, and it was always first rate. In addition, he is one the most exceeding nice people I have ever worked with. A true gentleman."
Ted Bell, Vice Chairman, Worldwide Creative Director, Young & Rubicam