ELITE 2023 Transformational Leader Jeanine Koch of AbelsonTaylor

Jeanine Koch

EVP, Director of Project and Resource Management

AbelsonTaylor

Mastering Project Management

In 2014, when doing more with less was part of every conversation in the industry, Jeanine Koch proposed a radical idea—making project management at AbelsonTaylor a separate discipline equal with account management and creative. At the time, many creative agencies had not adopted a PM model similar to their digital counterparts; creative agencies had been operating much the same way for decades—creative and account management were the axis of the agency, with management of workflows, financial management, and processes embedded across departments, or designated to a smaller support role.

Jeanine’s proposal called for creating a department that would ensure appropriate oversight and leadership to the execution of the work by putting a project management team and leader on every brand and agency leadership team. Staff would be carefully chosen and recruited for specialized skills, and new systems, tools, and processes were explored, identified, and implemented to support enhanced project management oversight and offering in the department. The goal was to ensure a level of focus and accountability for the agency’s quality of work, efficient workflow management, risk and contingency management, and financial oversight. No longer would project management be just a necessary function buried within other departments or a temporary way station for junior staff.

Jeanine skillfully navigated the internal challenges that come with a change of this magnitude, bridging the functional and cultural differences between departments and bringing all teams closer together. Within a few years, she had built a successful new project management department that is now 50 people strong, represents all levels of management from EVP to Associate Project Manager, has a place on every agency leadership team, and is critical to AbelsonTaylor’s performance and reputation.

For example, when a potential client received a quick FDA approval, they turned to the AbelsonTaylor PM team who was able to deliver 33 projects for four upcoming medical conventions in six weeks (typical turnaround time is four months), all on budget. As a result, AbelsonTaylor went on to become the AOR.

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