Jane Newman | Adweek Jane Newman | Adweek
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Jane Newman

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Jane Newman

The visionary who brought account planning to the U.S. in the early 1980s is on another mission. After a year of "playing mom" to her son in high school, 53-year-old Jane Newman is traversing the world—primarily exploring places where people live without electricity. Since March she and her trusty 27-pound backpack have visited villages and towns in Nepal, Burma, Laos and Fiji. After years of examining consumer insights as vice-chairman at Chiat/Day and co-founder of Merkley Newman Harty, Newman has seen her insights about marketing and globalization change mightily during her travels. "To be successful in advertising you need to focus on your goal and see things in black and white," says the former strategic planning chief who retired two years ago. "It's hit me like a ton of bricks how much gray there is out here." After a brief stateside return to get her son situated at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., she's back on the road. This time to Africa. It's a far cry from business jaunts where she used to jet to France or England for a day. The freedom she enjoys during her trips is "unbelievable," Newman says, picking up friends and books as she goes. Lord Jim one week, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood the next. Traveling alone means "I'm meeting three times as many people as I usually would and can participate in anything that comes along. I can truly seize the moment."MagnumMatrixMagnumMagnumMatrix