Jean-Baptiste had joined the 4A’s last summer from Wieden+Kennedy, replacing Singleton Beato as the organization's senior vice president of talent engagement and inclusion initiatives. Within the year, she helped streamline the 4A's legacy talent pipeline initiatives — Multicultural Advertising Talent Program (MAIP), the 4A's advertising high schools and its 4A’s Foundation — under one roof, and launched the Workplace Enlightenment Certification to foster more culturally-attuned agency environments.
Her departure signals an immediate void in showrunner of the 45-year old MAIP program, which this summer assisted a record 213 fellows obtain internships at agencies nationwide.
In an internal email to 4A's staff, Jean-Baptiste said: “I came to the 4A's a little over a year ago because I believed in Marla [Kaplowitz, 4A's chief executive]’s vision and I wanted to help bring the talent vision to the forefront.”
She added: “As I think about what I most enjoy doing, I miss building internal agency cultures, coaching leaders, managing org[anizational] change and creating new staffing models. So, I am heading to Hearst Magazines as [its] SVP of human resources.”
According to Jean-Baptiste's letter, Kaplowitz has planned to step in to cover the gap until a replacement is decided upon. She has announced her exit for October 30.
Kaplowitz has confirmed Jean-Baptiste's departure in a statement to The Drum. "I’m disappointed that Keesha is leaving the 4A’s. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Keesha and appreciate her passion for the industry and all of her contributions to the 4A’s as well as our members.
"Keesha created a new mission for the 4A’s Foundation as well as reinvigorated the purpose with a broader board of directors focused on the possibilities for students. She partnered to create the Workplace Enlightenment Certification Program — one we hope becomes a signature program for the 4A’s. And, she curated a great experience at this year’s Talent@2030. We wish her all the best and know she will continue to drive new and impactful talent initiatives."
This year has seen three senior-level staffers on the 4A's Talent Initiatives team depart, including Jean-Baptiste. Carl Desir, who was vice president of talent initiatives, joined R/GA in a global capacity as its director of diversity in August. A month later, Taylor Yarbrough, 4A's talent initiatives manager, joined FCB as its associate director of diversity and inclusion.