After 30 years as a key player in Havas Media's organization -- from SFM Media through MPG up to the current Havas Media Group -- Jason Kanefsky is leaving to become an independent consultant and to develop a new mentorship and recruiting practice aimed at transitioning promising diversity candidates from New York City's colleges to advertising and media industry pros.
Kanefsky, who most recently served as managing partner of marketplace intelligence for Havas Media Group North America, has a long history of being one of Madison Avenue's top media buyers, and says his consultancy will focus on all sides -- advertisers, agencies and media suppliers -- who have an issue they need to understand or resolve.
"See problem, solve problem," Kanefsky says of his new practice, explaining that after 30 years working for the same company, it was time to move on and try his hand at something different.
He says he's not interested in moving to another corporate position, but wants to leverage his experience and insights to help companies across the ad-industry spectrum.
"What I've learned over the years is most of the time a company's problems are masked by agendas and the solutions are driven by what they see available to them. And it is very rare for some organizations to have the objectivity to create an equilibrium," he explains.
Kanefsky, who began his career in advertising in 1988 in the media department of Lintas (now Interpublic's MullenLowe Group), also had stints at Truth North Media, and Della Femina Travisano & Partners, before joining SFM, which was acquired by Havas and merged into Media Planning Group (MPG), and ultimately Havas Media Group.
Before jumping into his new practice, Kanefsky says he is taking a vacation with his wife to Spain and plans to visit friends who are former Havas colleagues of his, including former MPG Global CEO Maria Luisa Francoli Plaza, and Former Havas Media Group CEO Fernando Rodés Vilà, who is also executive chair of holding company ispDigital, which late last year launched the Anagram media agency in the U.S.
As for his new mentorship program, Kanefsky, a graduate of New York City's colleges, said he plans to work with the schools to "create a pipeline of 25 to 30 kids" with multicultural backgrounds and help them find jobs in the advertising and media business.
"I want to help them develop the media skills and landscape skills necessary so that on Day One, they're already ahead," he says.
Wishing you the very best, Jason. I'm 100% sure you'll overdeliver!