Kantar’s motto is “Understand People. Inspire Growth.” Janelle James, a director at the research firm, does both exceptionally well. Born to a family from Guyana, this Caribbean American businesswoman has an understanding of different cultures that makes her a natural “voice of the consumer.” This talent enabled her to make the risky career switch from fifteen years in Advertising and PR general management to becoming a consultant and qualitative research expert where she is often seen as a pioneer.
Listening and taking cues in a new language as an expat in Italy, are what furthered her empathy and passion for diversity and inclusion (D&I). A few years later while working at Leo Burnett’s global headquarters, that ethos fully permeated her work and she implemented a critical D&I initiative: Burnett’s first employee resource group focused on recruiting and retaining diverse employees, which she grew to over 200 members.
Today James has taken years of intercultural and organizational lessons, along with her academic research at Harvard and thousands of consumer interviews and studies, to become an expert on D&I issues, leading panel discussions as co-chair of the cultural effectiveness council for the ARF (Advertising Research Federation) and helping clients, many of which are billion-dollar brands, uncover barriers to inclusion in the workplace, reach underrepresented audiences, and develop inclusive products and communications.
“When I am doing work for underrepresented segments, I often have to tactfully help clients recognize the bias in their own research, marketing, and even finance processes so we can then get the resources and approvals needed to actually do the work I am hired for.”
To coordinate an interview please reach out to JanelleJames@krystalcovington.com