Talent Champion – Keesha Jean-Baptiste

Talent Champion Spotlight

AEF Talent Champion - Keesha Jean-Baptiste

Keesha Jean-Baptiste
Senior Vice President, Chief Talent Officer 
Hearst Magazines

Keesha Jean-Baptiste is senior vice president, chief talent officer for Hearst Magazines, overseeing the division’s people and culture, including talent, engagement, leadership and employee experience.

Before joining Hearst in 2018, Jean-Baptiste was senior vice president of talent, engagement and inclusion at the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). At the 4A’s, she led the production of thought leadership for the industry and member agencies around recruitment, professional development, leadership and inclusion. She also oversaw diversity-focused initiatives for the 4A’s Foundation, including the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program.

Prior to 4A’s, Jean-Baptiste spent six years at Wieden+Kennedy, first as a recruiting manager, and then as director of talent and human resources. During her tenure there, she executed a strategic reimagining of the agency’s human resources department. From 2005 to 2010, Jean-Baptiste held various senior-level human resources roles at Digitas. She started her career in marketing, also at Digitas, and previously was the business development director at Essence.

What prompted you to get involved with the AEF and why are you passionate about the future of the industry?

While at the 4As as the SVP of Talent and Inclusion, I led the 4A’s Foundations team. We had discussions with the AEF about how to collaborate on key university initiatives as we were aiming to educate students, professors and career counselors about the marketing and advertising field.. The combination of the two most prominent trade organizations ANA and 4As coming together to solve systemic issues and to change the trajectory of these industries gives me some encouragement.

What is the best career advice you've ever received?

When I became the head of HR and Talent at an agency, the Founder of the company and I met to discuss how to “do HR” in an environment that held creativity and their culture so close. His first and most valuable piece of advice for me was to not worry about fitting in. He asked me to do the opposite. It was in that moment that I knew he wanted me to bring all parts of who I am to the company and that would ultimately be the benefit to the people working there.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Evolving traditional HR practices into more progressive, more human and more purposeful people practices. I love analyzing problems, diagnosing and drawing insights from them in order to create large-scale organizational change. Although a long process that takes time to see the result, it is so fulfilling to drive workplace changes and to hear the impact changes have on people.

"I developed a much higher respect for social marketing by seeing the value and complexity of this function which seemed very ambiguous to me before."
— Student at Boston College after AEF sent speakers from DigitasLBi