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 Executive Vice President Bill Duggan, his friends at ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and WFA (World Federation of Advertisers) fondly look back on our relationship with him.

Bob Liodice, CEO, 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, 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, Senior Vice President, ANA: I had the honor of working closely with Ben at Mastercard for nearly 7 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 8 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, Global Media Services, 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 Executive Vice President, 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, SeeHer, 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 Executive Vice President, 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. 

ANA and WFA will all miss Ben, and our sincere sympathies go to his family. We invite others to “pile on” with their remembrances of Ben. 

8 comments about "In Memoriam: ANA, WFA Remember Ben Jankowski".
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  1. Katherine Freeley from Boehringer, January 30, 2024 at 3:09 p.m.

    Ben was an extroardinary Global Media Leader and the example for many of us to follow. 
    He will be greatly missed by many who knew him. His legacy will be forever present in our Media Community. 

  2. Jenn Timmer from Ascension, January 30, 2024 at 4:20 p.m.

    Ben will be remembered not only for his leadership in the media community, but his generosity of spirit and time to help so many grow professionally and personally.  He had a way of helping you believe in yourself and never question if you should have a seat at the table.  

  3. Cliff Marks from CMarksco, LLC, January 30, 2024 at 7:09 p.m.

    Great tribute guys--beautifully written.  Ben was a great man and both a champion of media and a champion of treating people with respect and dignity.  He was so happy in his new consulting company and loved what he was doing.  Sure, we lost a media visionary and great mind, but as so many have said, we lost a truly good man!  I will hear his laugh forever, one of the truly great laughs that still makes me chuckle thinking about it.
      May his memory be a blessing.

  4. Lisa Schoder from Former Ford/Lowe’s, January 31, 2024 at 11:06 a.m.

    I think everyone who knew Ben feels the loss of him in a big way as he touched so many of us as a trusted advisor and friend.

  5. DJ Perera from The Ad Council, January 31, 2024 at 12:13 p.m.

    My deepest condolences to Ben's family. Ben's passing is a huge loss for so many of us. I learned through mutual friends and was able to connect (via text message) with Ben prior to his passing. He impacted the media community in exceptional ways including consulting for me when he went out on his own. Ben will be sorely missed. We are all business colleagues but our care for each other is what always makes me thankful for our connections, and Ben connected many of us in the most caring and considerate ways. Ben’s light will always shine in the industry.

  6. marla skiko from Ford Motor Company, January 31, 2024 at 2:08 p.m.

    Ben was such a strong leader within his own company and across the industry.  He brought people together to solve big issues with a strong point of view and constant kindness in approach.  We will miss him very much.

  7. Don VanFossen from Procter & Gamble, February 1, 2024 at 6:40 a.m.

    I partnered with Ben a good amount over the past 5-6 years.  As others have called – he was impressive in many ways as a leader and simply as a person.   Will miss him.

  8. Nadine Karp Mchugh from Evolve Up, Inc., February 1, 2024 at 9:03 a.m.

    What to say about my friend Ben that hasn't already been said? It is a sad sad time in our business for those of us that knew Ben and considered him a friend. It goes without saying especially after all of the accolades already expressed that Ben was a top notch marketing and media professional. He jumped in with both feet to help drive industry initiatives forward. That is how we met. We both worked on many key initiatives with the WFA and ANA, often times Ben taking the leadership role. He did this with commitment and passion. He truly cared about the people and the work that needed to be done in order for us to all move forward in productive and meaningful ways. He was most importantly a real mensch which only begins to capture the essence of who he was.  I loved when we got together at industry events or in Manhattan to compare notes or just keep in touch. We had real conversations that went beyond media topics often to life in general. He was authentic, honest and a decent. Human being. He had a great sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye which was always there especially when he talked about his kids and his wife who he was so proud of. It was a real pleasure to be in his orbit. i am gutted by the idea that he is no longer here. A true loss for anyone who knew him and was lucky enough to call him a friend.

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