Leading healthcare advertising and marketing communications network AbelsonTaylor Group has hired innovative creative leader Janet Barker-Evans as executive vice president, chief creative officer.
She will build on and expand the company’s 42-year heritage of creative excellence in pharmaceutical and healthcare advertising, which includes driving the firm’s creative vision, developing and retaining top creative talent, and partnering with other AbelsonTaylor Group leaders and teams to deliver measurable business success for clients, the core tenet of the company’s “Return on Imagination” philosophy.
Barker-Evans assumes her new role from Stephen Neale, who is retiring after an acclaimed 36-year career with AbelsonTaylor, during which the agency cemented its reputation for creativity and generated some of the most powerful and iconic campaigns in healthcare advertising history.
Barker-Evans reports to Jeff Berg, president of AbelsonTaylor Group.
“This is a significant moment in the evolution of our company, and we are excited about the new perspective and ideas that Janet will bring to the network,” Berg said. “She has the right combination of knowledge, experience and curiosity to build on our legacy and to expand AbelsonTaylor Group’s creative capabilities and expertise as we advance into the future. She is an extraordinary leader and a valued addition to the company.”
Barker-Evans has more than 20 years of senior creative experience and has led successful, award-winning campaigns in all advertising and integrated marketing disciplines. She also has experience across a broad range of industries, including healthcare, technology, banking and finance, insurance, retail, consumer packaged goods, and the food industry.
Prior to joining AbelsonTaylor, Barker-Evans was senior vice president, executive creative director of Hawkeye, a creative agency with a focus on data-driven advertising and CRM. She also served as senior vice president, executive creative director of Epsilon, a global advertising and marketing technology company with multiple offices in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Both agencies are part of The Publicis Groupe.
Before that, she held senior creative leadership positions with a variety of advertising and marketing firms, including FCB and Ryan Partnership. She began her advertising career as a copywriter and still describes herself as a storyteller.
Barker-Evans’ work has received numerous creative awards, including Muse, Effie, DTC, OMMA, Hermes, Healthcare Ad, and Rx Club honors. She has also judged various creative awards, including categories of the Cannes Lions, Effie, and REGGIE competitions. Last year, she sat on the grand jury for the first Global Best of the Best Effie Awards recognizing the world’s most effective marketing efforts.
In addition to her corporate work, Barker-Evans has been an adjunct professor of advertising, digital marketing and social media at DePaul University in Chicago since 2014. She also served for two years as an adjunct professor of advertising at Governors State University in University Park, Ill.
A strong advocate for women in leadership, Barker-Evans is a founding member of CHIEF, an organization that connects and inspires women business executives across the country. She is also engaged with Take the Lead, a national group focused on achieving gender parity in corporate leadership. She writes and speaks on a wide range of business-related topics geared to women, including entrepreneurship and mentoring.
At the community level, Barker-Evans actively supports various youth organizations in Chicago, all of which focus on mentoring and providing a safe place for members to have fun and learn. These include Off the Street Club, the city’s oldest boys and girls club, and Chicago Hoop Squad, a youth basketball organization that mentors young men and boys on the southside of Chicago, providing alternatives to gangs and helping break the cycles of violence, incarceration and addiction.
Barker-Evans holds a Master of Arts in media communications from Governors State University and a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She is also certified in both levels of DePaul University’s Values-Centered Leadership program, which helps people across the world align their leadership skills with their personal values.