June 10, 2020

New WPI Board of Directors Share Their Vision for the Future of Our Network

Written By: Angie Pascale

Our global network of independent agencies continues to see impressive growth despite the recent challenges. This growth is thanks in large part to our Board of Directors. The 2019 Board, chaired by John Keane, CEO of Ardmore in Belfast, helped to welcome six new agency partners over the last 12 months, bringing our network to more than 70 independent agencies across 40 countries on five continents. Worldwide Partners also welcomed eight new multinational clients this past year, raising our network’s global billings to US $5 billion. 

“I am excited and encouraged by our ability to continue to grow and increase our value and relevance to Agencies and their Clients, as we at the same time continue our rapid evolution within the changing global marketing landscape,” says John Keane. 

This growth will only continue as we welcome two new production partners--Syn World, an Emmy Award-winning music agency and Picture Farm Production, a full-service global production and post-production company--and usher in our new Board of Directors for a two-year term beginning in July. Right now, more than ever, brands need the agility and freedom that independence provides, and our network is composed of the best indie agencies in the world. 

“The very nature of holding companies is that their shareholders and bottom line come first. Independent agencies, of course, are focused on the opposite: driving business impact for our clients,” says Fletcher Whitwell, Chief Media and Publishing Officer with R&R Partners and incoming WPI Chairman. 

“This pandemic has highlighted the incredibly close relationships that independent agencies and clients share - in fact it has caused them to only grow stronger. Because when our clients’ businesses are at stake, our business is at stake. So we are constantly working in lockstep to ensure we don’t just come through this, but that we come through this positioned to recover stronger than ever. That’s what partnership and WPI is all about.”

Power of the Indie Agency Network

These independent advantages don’t happen by chance. “We come together in the spirit of learning, networking, growth and mutual support. It’s the culture of entrepreneurship that WPI offers that makes me most excited,” says Stephen Brown, CEO with FUSE Create and incoming WPI Vice Chairman.

The entrepreneurial spirit of each of our partners is harnessed and multiplied by the network. A single independent agency can be powerful. Backed by a global network of other independent agencies with local expertise, vertical focuses and service specialities, it’s unstoppable. 

“What excites me and makes me really proud is when we [WPI Danish Agency Partner Advance], with our network partners, help a client develop and execute a successful campaign across five markets in South East Asia,” says Ann-Louise Rosen with Advance and incoming EMEA Director. “We would not be able to do this on our own without the WPI network. It gives us the feeling that we are truly part of something bigger, and it also gives us a clear competitive edge in our market.” 

WPI Vision for the Future

Planning long-term is difficult right now, yet our new board members have a clear vision for the year ahead. Championing the current agency partners is a key goal. “We will continue to build the leading independent agency network from its solid foundation by supporting our partners to learn, collaborate and grow together,” shared Brown.  

Bringing together other like-minded partners is another focus. “We will keep on developing our great network by finding new regional partners with strong expertise and the right collaborative spirit,” Rosen adds. 

Welcoming the New Worldwide Partners Board of Directors     

Outgoing Chairman John Keane is looking forward to everything the new board will bring to the network. “I am confident that under the stewardship of our wonderful new Board, carrying on from the great work of the outgoing Board, we will continue to attract more fantastic partners and grow the skills, capabilities and value of our network.” 

The new board will have several new faces, including Stephen Brown of FUSE Create as Vice Chairman, Lori Bartle of Mering as North America Director, Dooley Tombras of Tombras as North America Director, and Ann-Louise Rosen of Advance as EMEA Director. Board members continuing on for a second term include Fletcher Whitwell, who will become Chairman, Mikeal Rubinsson of Blomquist, Stefen Hawes of Wasserman + Partners, Ian McAteer of The Union, Eduardo Perez of PM3, Viveca Chan of WE Marketing Group, and Former Chairman John Kean will continue his service as Ex-Officio Director. 

This is an exciting time for WPI and for all indie agencies around the world! We’re incredibly grateful to the outgoing Board for their expertise, dedication and passions for the network. Thank you again to John Keane, and the other outgoing board members Erin Michalak of Godfrey in Pennsylvania, USA, Jean-Paul Treguer of BIGSuccess and TVLowCost in Paris, and Francois Dery of Tequila Communications in Montreal. 

We look forward to learning, growing and collaborating with our new agencies and our new board in the year. Stephen Brown summed it up best: “There’s never been a better time to be an independent agency. We’re nimble, smart and thriving at a time that’s tough for the clunky behemoths.”

Written By: Angie Pascale