JWT Atlanta and The Marcus Graham Project Announce the Winner of the Inaugural Bill Sharp Award

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JWT Atlanta announced today the winner of the first Bill Sharp Award, a recognition and grant named after the famed African-American advertising executive.

JWT Atlanta announced today the winner of the first Bill Sharp Award, a recognition and grant named after the famed African-American advertising executive. The award will be presented at 5 p.m. today at JWT Atlanta's office.

The Sharp Award is named after advertising legend and industry diversity pioneer William “Bill” Sharp. His lasting devotion to helping young African-American students find careers in the advertising industry has been an inspiration to many in the field.

In response to the creation of this award, Mr. Sharp shared his gratitude by saying, “Thank you very much for supporting the idea of diversifying the personnel in a manner consistent with the realities of society.”

Bill Sharp was a group copy supervisor at J. Walter Thompson in the late 1960s, where he co-created and ran the Basic Advertising Course, which helped African-Americans learn the business of advertising. In 1969, Bill published a book, How to Be Black and Get a Job in the Advertising Agency Business Anyway. His work and lasting devotion to helping create opportunities in the business for African-Americans has touched thousands of individuals in the industry.

The winner of the inaugural Bill Sharp Award is Johnnie R. Lovett, who grew from a cart collector in the local grocery store to the founder of his own startup consulting company, StayFreshOnline, Inc., which specializes in image and brand development. Lovett is a senior at Illinois State University with majors in public relations and business. Lovett is also a recent graduate of The Marcus Graham Project’s iCR8 Summer Boot Camp, a 10-week program that gives aspirants in the field of advertising and marketing the exposure and experience necessary to solidify careers within the industry.

“As an industry we need to be better at luring the best and brightest and training those interested in how to succeed,” said Rob Quish, CEO of JWT Atlanta. “We love being associated with [Lincoln Stevens'] Marcus Graham Project and are very proud that it's built on the legacy of our own Bill Sharp.”

The Bill Sharp Award will become an annual grant coordinated by JWT Atlanta and in partnership with The Marcus Graham Project. Founded by Lincoln Stevens, The Marcus Graham Project (MPG) is a national, nonprofit association dedicated to providing resources for today’s diverse youth that will strategically develop a viable pool of talent and leadership within the industry. Bill Sharp is a current board member.

JWT Atlanta is also developing additional programs to support the development of students in their pursuit of a career in the advertising field.

About JWT Atlanta
Founded in 1864, JWT is one of the world's first and largest advertising agencies, with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries. JWT Atlanta, which also oversees offices in Dallas and Houston, offers an integrated suite of strategic, creative, media, digital, technology and analytic services. Current clients include the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism, Shell, Jiffy Lube, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program and SCANA Energy. More information about JWT Atlanta can be found at http://www.jwt.com/atlanta.

About The Marcus Graham Project
The Marcus Graham Project (MGP) is a national network of diverse professionals who have purposed themselves in developing the next generation of thought leadership within the advertising, media and marketing industry.
The vision of the MGP is to provide long-term access to information, technology, financial and people resources that will strategically develop a viable pool of talent and leadership within the industry. The MGP is a 501 (c) 3 organization. Additional information about MGP can be found at http://www.marcusgrahamproject.org.

Media Contact:
Billy Sanez
Billy(dot)Sanez(at)jwt(dot)com
(404) 365-7313

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