James Bell 1

James Bell brings 30 years of global brand management experience to initiate-it. He first gained that experience in New York City at the iconic ad agency Ogilvy & Mather. He later served as a senior partner for 17 years at the international branding powerhouse, Lippincott.

James has a refreshingly straightforward take on the business of branding: It’s about helping companies become better known and better understood. He’s done just that for well over 100 leading brands including Citibank, Chevron, Delta Air Lines, Samsung, Comcast, American Express, Met Life, Georgia Pacific and The Hershey Company.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” James subscribes wholeheartedly to that adage. He also believes that most companies, despite what they think, don’t own their brands. They’re owned by a variety of audiences whose perceptions are shaped by communications and experiences with the company.

James received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. Today, he is an entrepreneur-in-residence at the university’s Darden School of Business, advising and mentoring regional startups through iLab, a business incubation program. He’s also a frequent lecturer who’s been quoted in “Ad Age,” “The Wall Street Journal,” “Forbes,” “Fortune” and “The New York Times.”