106-Year-Old Agency Announces New Ownership
Jan Kelley becomes fully independent and 100% Canadian with new ownership structure
Long-standing employees of Jan Kelley take ownership
October 22, 2019 (Burlington, ON): Jan Kelley (formerly JAN Kelley Marketing) (“JK”) announces today that marketing veteran and former co-owner Jim Letwin and former co-owner and CFO Ken Nicholson have sold the business and transferred ownership to its leadership team comprising Chantel Broten (President & CEO), Shannon Ballard (VP, Customer Innovation), Geoff Redwood (Creative Director), and Josiah Shelley (VP, Digital Strategy). In addition, WPP no longer has a minority share in the company, making it one of the very few fully independent, 100% Canadian-owned agencies of its size in the country.
“This progressive evolution of Jan Kelley ownership is of great benefit to both clients and the agency team,” stated Jim Letwin, former co-owner and now Executive Chairman. “Jan Kelley is now owned and led by a dynamic team of experienced, innovative and digitally driven individuals, who have also lived and shaped the values that are at the heart of our business growth and success,” he said.
JK, the result of a merger in 2001 between JAN Marketing (established in 1948) and Kelley Advertising (established in 1913), has long been known for its B2B demand generation and reputation-building expertise and is the agency behind such campaigns as Canadian Blood Services’ “Blood. It’s in you to Give” and ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s “Our Product is Steel, Our Strength is People.” More recently, JK has been working with FirstOntario Credit Union, Sheridan College, ROCKWOOL, Toyota Materials Handling and Revera Retirement Living, among others. While nestled in the relatively quiet Burlington, ON, JK has been working away at proving itself over and over as a strong, award-winning, performance-based digital marketing agency, transforming its clients’ businesses to answer the ever-changing needs of their audiences and stakeholders.
JK’s philosophy brings together the power of technology and the brilliance of humanity to spark ideas, generate momentum and drive lasting results.
“Fundamentally, we appreciate that a deep understanding of human nature has always been, and will always be, essential for creating strong and opinion-changing messages – and that’s what powers good marketing efforts,” shared Chantel Broten, new co-owner and President & CEO. “Technology allows us to go even further and transform these efforts into meaningful experiences and touchpoints that truly move the needle for brands.”
Details of the new ownership and team
JK prides itself on a corporate culture that empowers its people to think and act like entrepreneurs and to invest in their own innovations that result in proprietary solutions and technology for themselves and for their clients. Through partnerships (Communitech, Innovation Factory, National Research Council) and in-house product development (LeadHatch), JK has invested in adopting new methodologies (design thinking, lean startup and agile) and in creating digital marketing solutions for clients that didn’t otherwise exist.
The multidisciplinary JK team is made up of a healthy mix of experienced marketing experts and young changemakers, and the new ownership mirrors this composition to create a formula for success, bringing the best of both worlds to their client work – sound strategic marketing advice paired with expertise on the latest trends and technology. Specifically, the new leadership team and owners comprise a strategic marketer, a national CX leader, a tech entrepreneur and an agency creative veteran.
After being with the agency for over 20 years, Chantel was appointed CEO in 2018. As a gifted, bilingual brand strategist committed to lifelong learning, she’s relentless in her dedication to making all of her clients successful, having helped drive results for ROCKWOOL, Dörken Systems Inc., Export Development Canada and Reliance Home Comfort, just to name a few. Chantel earned an MBA in Marketing and Innovation from McMaster University.
With extensive experience in brand development and customer experience strategy, Shannon has a proven track record for helping organizations position, develop and differentiate brands to inspire employees and drive growth. Shannon graduated with honours from Queen’s University and has earned her CCXP designation.
Bringing over 20 years of experience providing AOR and project-based services, Geoff leads the creative team in developing and evaluating creative strategies and concepts for clients including Terrapure Environmental, Canadian Tire Financial Services and Revera Retirement Living. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University, is a graduate of the Sheridan College Graphic Design program and is a designated Registered Graphic Designer through the RGD.
Since starting a mobile marketing SaaS company at age 19, Josiah has become an entrepreneurial company builder who’s all about digital strategy, generating fresh ideas and leading high-performing teams. He obtained an MBA from University of South Wales. Josiah came to Jan Kelley 18 months ago as part of the agency’s acquisition of Rainforest Digital – a firm that he co-founded and helped rapidly build. He also brings experience in driving sales for eCommerce companies, developing data-science solutions to uncover insights and is leading Jan Kelley’s practice to build new products and bring new solutions to clients.
About Jan Kelley
Jan Kelley is an award-winning creative digital agency. We help businesses grow by using our proprietary growth framework to develop, implement and optimize strong digital-first marketing strategies and programs. Our philosophy brings together the power of technology and the brilliance of humanity to spark ideas, generate momentum and drive lasting results. On top of being named one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures™ in 2018, Jan Kelley has garnered numerous industry awards, including Media Innovation, MarCom Platinum, Hanley Wood Brand Builder, CASSIES, Shopper Innovation and an IABC OVATION Award of Excellence.
Contact: Kamila Karwowski
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