In Memoriam: ANA & WFA Remember Ben Jankowski | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

In Memoriam: ANA & WFA Remember Ben Jankowski


Industry veteran Ben Jankowski passed away over the weekend. For many years he was head of global media at Mastercard. Prior to that, he worked at agencies including OMD, BBDO, Wells Rich Green, and Grey. More recently, he was founder of Modern Media Solutions and consulted with R3. He touched many in the industry and, in these reflections compiled by ANA group EVP Bill Duggan, his friends at Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) fondly look back on our relationship with him.

Bob Liodice, CEO of ANA: In the past few days, we lost a dear friend and colleague – Ben Jankowski. Ben, most recently, was a senior media executive with Mastercard. While he was a terrific company executive, for many of us he was larger than life. An astute media student and outstanding media practitioner, Ben's sage advice and counsel made him one of the great media industry champions. He worked closely with ANA here in the U.S. and globally with the World Federation of Advertisers. Ben's goal was to always make us better and far more productive with our precious media investments. And he did so in his own unique style. Ben was more than just a media pro. He was a gentle, kind and giving man. He could make friends and conversation with just about anyone. He was a true delight to work with and I, for one, will miss him dearly. I know we all will. Rest in peace, Ben.

Stephan Loerke, CEO of WFA: Ben was respected the world over for being one of the most knowledgeable and experienced of media specialists. He had deep convictions; he was passionately committed to building a better, more responsible, more sustainable industry. Ben was the longest-serving Media Forum Chair in WFA history, serving almost 10 years. He simultaneously led both the ANA and WFA media groups, thereby doing what he did best. He built bridges between people and organizations and led them together with an ambitious vision for change. But my most enduring memory of Ben will be of a big guy with a big heart. A thoroughly decent man, he was caring, funny, and passionate. People liked Ben. He'll be deeply missed. My thoughts, and those of all who were involved with him at WFA, are with his family.

Michael Donnelly, EVP at ANA: I had the honor of working closely with Ben at Mastercard for nearly seven years, and as entrepreneurs afterward, and while we spent well over a thousand hours in meetings and traveled on several continents experiencing countless professional priceless moments together, the single memory of Ben that I am most fond of wasn't work-related at all. Hurricane Sandy had devastated the Jersey Shore very early in our friendship. I had only known him for a few months, and when my home was filled with eight feet of water, it was Ben, and only Ben, who immediately without any hesitation volunteered to help me bail it out. This selfless act spoke volumes about his character, as did his eternal loyalty to his beloved Temple Owls and Philadelphia Eagles, and of course to his wife and daughters, all of whom he spoke so proudly of often. Ben cared dearly about the marketing and advertising industry and was a passionate outspoken global leader among his peers in establishing principles and standards that we can all be proud of, and made a lasting positive impression on his students, once he chose to teach as well. Ben was a close friend whom I learned a lot from about work, and life, and he will be dearly missed.

Matt Green, director of global media services at WFA: Ben co-chaired the WFA Media Forum and was a key figure for us. His passion for industry issues and his incredible commitment to WFA – often travelling long distances to attend countless meetings around the world – was second to none. Ben was instrumental in driving a number of WFA initiatives including work on transparency, ad fraud, measurement and others. I will remember Ben for the friendship he extended to many in our network. Always available to help and always with a light and direct humour which was uniquely Ben Jankowski. Ben used to joke about how his characteristic bluntness landed him in trouble within a global role. The opposite was true. An exemplar of the international media lead role, Ben was always on a plane and was acutely aware of local sensitivities, navigating them with skill. A sports fanatic, including those that are played exclusively outside of the U.S., I often saw Ben use his passion and incredible knowledge for all sports, as a means of connecting with people. WFA and its members owe Ben a lot and we'll always be grateful.

Bill Duggan: I met Ben soon after he joined Mastercard. It was likely in early 2011. He had just made the move to the client side after a long and successful career with agencies. I learned that we both worked at Grey Advertising at the same time in the early eighties. I regretted that we didn't meet then. I ultimately met Ben in an industry meeting. While I don't remember the specifics, I do remember Ben being vocal and articulate with a strong point of view. As I got to know him more, I found him to be friendly and welcoming with a great sense of humor. Initially he was much more involved with the WFA. I later learned that Ben headed OMD in China, so that made sense. A while back, he attended an ANA conference and we had breakfast together. He was chair of the WFA Media Forum at the time. I told him that when his WFA tenure was over, that I would love him to consider chairing the ANA Media Committee. His response – "Why wait? I can do both!" And that began my working relationship with Ben. He was a strong committee chair (and ultimately co-chair sharing the responsibilities with Jeni Gardner). He spoke at and hosted the ANA Media Conference. A strong leader and always a gentleman. Funny that the "word of the day" for today (1/29) is "jannock." Kind of reminded me of "Jankowski." Its meaning – honest; fair; straightforward – just like Ben.

Bill Tucker, group EVP at ANA: This is such a terrible loss. I have known Ben throughout our careers, most recently at the ANA. I have had the delight to work closely with Ben on industry initiatives the last 7 years where he was a tremendous collaborator and passionate leader to make our industry better by tackling challenges with others. In our roles on the WFA Media Board, I saw how ready and tireless a leader he was to achieve brand safety via the building of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media coalition and to change the measurement paradigm via the industry's Cross Media Measurement efforts. Ben was the quintessential global media executive, with both agency and client-side experience, who understood the many nuances of global media management and the importance of relationships and mentoring others. A personal final highlight was working with Ben where he did impeccable consulting work for ANA on CMM when he had just opened his consultancy, which he was so passionate about. Ben was a trustworthy, humble, and caring leader and was a force of intellect and optimism who freely shared his love of his family, all Philadelphia sports teams, and his beloved Temple University.

Christine Guilfoyle, president of SeeHer at ANA: Knowing Ben Jankowski was an honor and a privilege. Although my relationship with him was long, it was not deep until I joined ANA's SeeHer. Ben, an industry veteran, leaned in, supporting gender equality and other work streams to better the industry. He gave his time, provided his depth of experience and advocated to get work done and to do it right. I will miss his generosity and big-hearted spirit.

Nick Primola, group EVP at ANA: When Ben was in the room, you knew the meeting was important. If you were there, you felt privileged to be a part of the discussion and always learned something new.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA. This piece was originally published at MediaPost.

Bill Duggan is group EVP at ANA.