Brad Jakeman: with great privilege comes great responsibility
Brad Jakeman


Brad Jakeman: with great privilege comes great responsibility

November 19, 2019

2019 Alumni Award Winner – International Achievement

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Mass Communications), 1989
Founder and managing partner of Rethink Food

Now. More than ever. We need free thinkers. And we need people who are prepared to make a difference in the lives of those who don’t enjoy the privileges many of us take for granted. Brad Jakeman is one such man.  

Brad Jakeman knows the power of advertising and marketing; the power of mass communication. In a global context. Inside out. The former president of PepsiCo Global Beverage Group, Brad has held senior marketing roles at Ogilvy, Citi, Macy’s and Activision Blizzard. In his words, he has been ‘very fortunate to work with such formidable and well-known brands.’

With the exception of Macy’s, he has always held global roles, but it wasn’t his intention to remain overseas – Brad jokes easily that he left Australia 23 years ago to spend six months in London. Now based in New York, the move has proved ‘an incredible experience – the scale and impact of being able to shape pop culture and build successful businesses has been amazing,’ he says.

But it is not Brad’s impressive CV that strikes you most. Nor is it his involvement in not-for-profits, helping them thrive and fundraise for bigger impact. (Brad serves on the boards of The Humane Society and Reporters Without Borders and is Co-Chairman of the Board of the New York LGBT Centre.) Rather, it is the way all his experience – academic, career, personal – dovetails into a man who is not afraid to stand up for those who don’t enjoy the same privileges as him.

He says, ‘Some of the traditional apparatus (like government) that we once relied upon to shape and protect society has proven less eager to do so, and groups such as the LGBT community, women and immigrants to name a few, are rapidly losing hard-won civil rights. In this environment, it is important that companies and individuals step up and fill that void.

‘We have the power to shape the kind of society we want to live in. And, it is the responsibility of all of us who enjoy any form of privilege as a consequence of our race, education, gender or otherwise, to pay it forward and help those who don’t enjoy the same privileges.

‘This could be by serving on not-for-profit boards, using any platform you may have to speak out in support of marginalised communities, donating your time or money to a charity you believe in, and most importantly, by voting.’

It has been said that when we lift another up, we all rise – Brad Jakeman is one very global citizen who is doing just that by making sure that all voices are heard in a very crowded world.

Words: Megan English

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