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Friday Forum

Black and white headshot of Jean Freeman
Friday, Oct. 25
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

VCU Institute for Contemporary Art
601 W Broad St

Jean Freeman

Principal + CEO / Zambezi

Topic: From Start-Up to Grown-Up

Thirteen year ago, Zambezi was a 3-person creative agency in Venice, CA. Today, Zambezi is one of the largest and most awarded female-owned agencies in the advertising industry. In this talk, Jean Freeman will cover requirements needed to start a business, the tools necessary to scale, and the lessons she learned along the way.


Jean Freeman is the Principal and CEO of Zambezi. The creatively driven, award-winning agency is one of the largest certified female-owned businesses in both the advertising industry and Los Angeles.

During her time at the agency, Jean has successfully grown Zambezi from a start-up to a thriving business with a focus on creating tailored solutions that propels brands forward. With Jean at the helm, Zambezi has attracted a number of blue chip clients including The TaylorMade Golf Company, The Coca-Cola Company, PayPal/Venmo, and Ultimate Software, been named Small Agency of the Year by Advertising Age twice, and been recognized as one of the “Largest Women-Owned Businesses” by the Los Angeles Business Journal four times. In 2017, Jean was included on Adweek’s “Disruptors List” as well as on the 4A’s “100 People Who Make Advertising Great.”Jean was recognized with the “3 Cheers Award” from The 3% Conference, and named a “Working Mother of the Year” by She Runs It for the positive example she sets as an accomplished working mother, and the progressive programs she has created at Zambezi to support working parents and their families.

A leading advocate for the advancement of women business leaders, Jean’s commitment to teaching women the skills to run and grow a business and thrive in their own leadership positions has led her to be a part of a number of female-focused initiatives, including serving on the MAKERS, The 3% Movement advisory boards, as well as serving as an instructor for 4As’ educational programs. Jean is also a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization and National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). 

Brandcenter Forum presentation