FLASHBACK: MMS in the Big Apple! A Trip to JWT Ad Agency

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On a frigid Friday morning, a few of us courageous MMS members bundled up and took a trip to the office of J. Walter Thompson Ad Agency in New York City. We were welcomed by Charae Warner, HR Business Partner for JWT New York. She led an informative and perceptive tour of the office that left our attendees enthused about working in the advertising industry.

We were also introduced to Keni Thacker, Executive Producer for Differenter & Sr. Event Technology Specialist, and Ralph Florio who is HR for Account Planning. (Ralph is a Rutgers Alum 🙂 and earned his Masters in Management!) Charae, Keni, and Ralph shared vital information about their job responsibilities and the culture of the J. Walter Thompson Agency, making it an attractive place to consider starting a career. Charae described JWT as the “most collaborative environment… it’s about working with people who care… I’m always able to learn what’s going on”. They also shared insightful advice about marketing careers, challenges, and qualities business students should be cultivating to ensure success. Keni spoke about the lack of diversity in the advertising industry. He mentioned that the main challenge of bringing diversity is “lack of awareness and preparedness”. However Keni is involved in combating that challenge through the Differenter Program at JWT:

  • Differenter creates programs, events, and content promoting diversity which has been running successfully for 5 years and counting
  • Differenter offers a 16 week advertising program designed for high school students every spring
  • Differenter hosts a Fall College Art Battle/Career Fair for college students where they make live art using raw materials and paint (6 schools are invited to participate)

A few things we learned about the J. Walter Thompson Agency:
  • A “C to the 4” (C^4) value set is implemented in their culture: COURAGE, CURIOSITY, CAPABILITY, COLLABORATION
  • Project Management at JWT is the glue between creative, account planning, and clients
  • JWT outsources freelancers to work for creative
  • In-house production is done at the JWT New York office
  • JWT’s current challenge is competing with small business however they are implementing strategies that will keep them attractive and reputable towards clientele

Special thanks again to Charae for providing our MMS Members a pleasurable experience at the vibrant and stunning office of J. Walter Thompson New York! Thank you to Keni and Ralph for their considerable time of answering the questions of our members. MMS would also like to extend our gratitude to Kiera McBride for organizing and making this trip possible!

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– Post By Jymeca Louissaint

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