Jennifer Landers, senior VP-director of reputation management at Grey New York, died Tuesday of cancer, Grey said today. She was 45.
Ms. Landers began working with the WPP shop in 2010 and became a full-time employee in January 2011. Previously, she was Reputation Director at Redscout, managing business development and public relations. Before that, she spent eight years at KBS+, where she worked on PR, media planning, business development and communications. She started her career at the Walt Disney Company.
Born in Teaneck, N.J., Ms. Landers grew up in Wyckoff, N.J. She graduated from Skidmore College in 1990 and most recently lived in Jersey City.
"It is a very dark time at Grey, as Jennifer was loved dearly and she had such a profound effect on our positive, optimistic culture," said Tor Myhren, worldwide chief creative officer at Grey.
Below is an internal memo sent from Grey North America CEO Michael Houston:
From the time she joined Grey in November of 2010 as SVP, Director of Reputation Management until a couple of weeks ago when she could no longer hold her iPhone, Jennifer was part of virtually every piece of communication to, from and about Grey New York. She was the distinctive, witty voice of the agency via Twitter, Facebook, askGrey and many other outlets. She either wrote or provided the strategy behind our messages to get exactly the right content, tone and timing. To be writing an email like this without her counsel would have been unfathomable when she was here; to have to do it today because she is not is heartbreaking.
So I'm not going to.
If you knew Jennifer, you know that she liked to have the last word, and she shall have it one last time. What follows is an email Jennifer sent about a month ago. Rest in peace, Jenny Mayla.
I've had this big deep thought in my head about personal and professional milestones and whether it's irony/coincidence/cosmic joke that I got diagnosed with cancer on the same day A-List came out. That thing became such a goal in my head and so important to get for the agency and for me too. But all of a sudden that didn't matter, that thing that was so huge and had meant everything. Once word got out about the cancer, messages from Grey started pouring in and flowers and notes and silly treats, and I realized that THAT is what mattered, that this in fact was a way bigger and better work and personal achievement than an industry award. To know that you work with people who love you and will tell you so, to know that people will drop everything to help you, and to have the benefit of being able to hear it and enjoy it -- because we don't do that enough on even the best of days -- is better than anything. So in the end, I've realized how blessed I am.
Ms. Landers is survived by her parents, John and Jane Landers, her sister and brother-in-law Alyssa and Christopher Gillen of Los Angeles and their children, Chloe and Eamon Gillen and her brother and sister-in-law Mark and Lisa Landers of Franklin Lakes, N.J., and their children Charlie and Annabel.
Below is a tribute that Ms. Landers' family will be showing at the funeral to celebrate Ms. Landers' "happy" and joyful countenance.