Heather A. James

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Heather A. James
Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer
Advertising Research Foundation, New York City

Heather A. James, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at the Advertising Research Foundation, says she takes life as it comes and tries to live without regrets. “I have truly learned from the good and the bad, and consider them character-building experiences,” she says.

The foundation that employs her, an international trade association known as Madison Avenue’s “knowledge think tank,” brings together advertisers, agencies, media organizations and researchers. James is its No. 1 brand ambassador, responsible for brand strategy and strategic planning, integrated marketing and communications, public relations, membership marketing, social media footprint and Web 3.0 site redesign. She is leading its 75th Anniversary Project.

James earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business and a master’s in business administration — marketing — from Clark Atlanta University. She holds a certificate in global leadership development from the University of Virgin Islands, St. Thomas.

With her long experience in marketing and a passion for knowledge and people, she would like to establish a global marketing company that
measures and reports the consumer behavior of emerging segments in a respectful manner. There’s a real need to represent the large number of consumers of color who, she says, are the most loyal and generous with their discretionary dollars. “The advertising industry is so very influential and the multicultural consumer segment is not getting its fair share of advertising dollars,” she says.  She points out that there’s a huge opportunity for the use of standardized measurements worldwide, adding that without proper data, multicultural consumers will have unlimited influence.

Next to branding, James derives a great deal of enjoyment from initiatives of a multicultural nature, which explains her enthusiasm for diversity. “I truly appreciate my Guyanese heritage because it afforded me a very healthy global curiosity and a continuous desire to learn and embrace culture,” she says.