Our mission, since 1936, has been to constantly collaborate with each other and industry experts to help evolve, innovate and grow our membership—small and mid-size independent agencies—in an ever-changing marketing landscape. To ensure we do this, we look for members who bring these Taan brand pillars to life:


Open – Fiercely transparent, genuinely interested, curious, humble, personable.

Inventive – Eager to create new solutions as a group and as individual agencies.

Connected – To each other, to experts, to the industry, to solutions, to the world.

Curious – About new methods, new solutions, varying perspectives, different cultures, each other’s business.


Ensuring our Taan culture is supported by agencies who believe in these pillars allows every agency to experience growth of intelligence, through the sharing of best practices, management information, processes and technologies; expertise, through cooperative use of the talents, skills and experience of each member; reach, through hands-on affiliations with local independent agencies around the world; personal effectiveness, through education and close, confidential, “trusted-advisor” relationships with other members, where assistance is provided agency operations, new business, cultural health, performance and overall problem solving.


photo from Peter Gerritsen

Peter Gerritsen

Taan Worldwide PresidentRichmond, Virginia, USA

Peter assumed the leadership position of our network in 2007, working with member agencies and promoting the network throughout the globe. We view our network as a key ingredient in assisting member agencies, and their clients, in improving their knowledge through better skills, insights and operational processes through a cooperative network of independent agencies throughout the world. The interactions between each member has brought valuable tools to the entire group by sharing ideas that affect the way each of us conduct business. As Global President, Peter’s role is as a facilitator of this shared knowledge. Continuously looking to bring innovative thinking, creativity and support to all the members and their clients.

Board of Governors

photo from Bob Goranson

Bob Goranson

Taan Administration and Resource ManagementAustin, Texas, USA
photo from Andrew Eklund

Andrew Eklund

Governor - Chair EmeritusFounder & CEO, Ciceron - Minneapolis, MN USA
photo from David Maricich

David Maricich

Governor - North AmericaPresident - Maricich Health - Irvine, CA USA
photo from Peter Colee

Peter Colee

Governor - EuropeFounder/CD - X-Ingredient, Netherlands
photo from Dezaree Vega-Garcia

Dezaree Vega-Garcia

Governor - ChairwomanPresident - Sunny 505 - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
photo from Brittany Steuer

Brittany Steuer

Governor - North AmericaEVP Client Services, C.O.nxt
photo from Fredrik Karlström

Fredrik Karlström

Governor - EuropeManaging Director/Master Magician, Magic Pencil

Legal Counsel

Nothing found...

Financial Counsel

photo from Jim Locatelli

Jim Locatelli

CPA, Taan Financial CounselPresident – Locatelli and Company Milwaukee, WI, USA

Certified public accountant and an entrepreneur himself, Jim Locatelli took his considerable experience in the marketing communications field and opened up his own distinctive boutique of financial management and accounting services.



It all Started

  • In the depths of the Great Depression
  • By Mason Barlow, a small agency guy in Chicago
  • The Goals:
    • “To share experience and expertise”
    • “To provide branch office services”
    • “To help clients expand from regional to national”

A humble beginning

  • Originally named National Advertising and Promotion Group (NAPG)
  • Began with 15 charter members
  • There were no dues
  • Barlow ran the show
  • There were no meetings


Barlow goes out of business

  • NAPG records were locked in a vacated office
  • Milwaukee member, Charles Meissner bribes doorman, gets records
  • Meissner volunteers to lead the group
  • Still no meetings, no dues


First Meeting held in Chicago

  • Meissner elected “National Director”
    • No salary
  • $50 annual dues
  • Name changed to Transamerica Advertising Agency Network (TAAN)



  • Annual meetings held in Denver and St. Louis in smoke-filled rooms (ahhh the good old days!)


1943 – 45:

  • No meetings during World War II
  • Communication and cooperation continue


Meetings resume

  • Charles Bohlan (St. Louis) named National Director
  • Proposes making TAAN a corporation – with him owning controlling shares
  • Idea is unanimously rejected
  • Bohlan quits


Meet in New Orleans

  • System of regional governors and regional meetings established
  • One network-wide meeting per year


1950 – 1963: Steady growth

  • But nobody takes notes for 13 years
  • Six agencies join
  • Regular meetings held


Mackinac Island Meeting

  • Vote to limit membership to 30 US members.


Charles “Ram” Ramsey Elected to Lead

  • Retired head of Phillips-Ramsey,San Diego member
  • First head of network not also operating agency
  • Title changed from National Director to President


First International Member Joins

  • Howard Panton, Ltd., London


Second International Member

  • Harrison Marketing Counsel, Toronto


Third International Member

  • Sankosha Advertising Agency, Ltd., Tokyo
  • Instantly becomes TAAN’s largest member


First Non-US Meeting

  • Hosted by Howard Panton Agency in London
  • Jay Tallant’s Denver agency joins (would become TAAN president 1977 – 1987)


Regional Meetings Discontinued

  • Decision to meet twice yearly
  • Second Non-US based meeting held in Tokyo
  • Jack Warner’s New York agency joins (would become TAAN president 1987-1997)

Consultant Hired

  • To determine feasibility of incorporating as a holding company
  • Finding: Not feasible due to independence and diverse personalities of members


  • Capitalized billings: $36.4 million
  • 19 members
  • 283 employees
  • Largest member: $4.5 million capitalized


First “shared” client

  • Mr. Steak, client of San Diego member
  • 4 TAAN members handle regional media buying
  • Budgets dry up due to franchisee disagreements


TEAN Formed in Europe

  • Trans Europe Advertising Agency Network
  • Formed as sister network to US group
  • US network changes name to Transworld Advertising Agency Network
  • Network runs 3 ads in WSJ


Amsterdam Joint Meeting

  • TAAN President and Board of Governors attend TEAN meeting in Amsterdam
  • Network consists of 19 US members
  • 2 international
  • Average capitalized billings: $3.6 million (about $500K AGI)


Jay Tallant Elected

  • Head of Denver member
  • Required to extricate from agency management by end of first 5 year term
  • President to be paid salary for first time



  • First joint meeting held in Barcelona
  • Agree to meet “periodically”


New Mission Statement

  • Focuses on “improvement of management systems and skills.”
  • Minimum size established for new members: $4-million capitalized (about $600K AGI)
  • Exceptions considered


Winter Meet in Hawaii

  • Schedule changed from 2 day winter and 5 day summer
  • New schedule: 2 full days, one half day, twice a year, spanning weekend

Conflict Resolution

  • Policy established governing geographic exclusivity and conflicts
  • First Workshop held: In Memphis for creative directors

New Services

  • Computer co-op formed to create uniform accounting system
  • Newsletter begun ($25 fine for not contributing)
  • Expertise Audit begun


TAAN / TEAN Meet in London

  • 9 US members now own their own buildings
  • First joint venture between US agencies: Atlanta and San Francisco handle National Pecan Marketing account
  • Norman Field (London) becomes director of TEAN


Pooling Resources

  • Several members share costs of Dun & Bradstreet, Arbitron, Telmar services
  • Executive exchanges and seminars
  • Morton Simon named legal counsel


Joining hands

  • 4 TEAN members attend US meeting in Toronto
  • Australia, Japan and Hong Kong also attend
  • Gary Lessner’s Hartford agency joins (would become TAAN president 1997 – 2007)


First “Graduation”

  • Phillips-Ramsey (San Diego) outgrows its membership
  • Resigns in order to expand into existing TAAN markets
  • New presidents at nearly half of agencies

Sharing & Caring

  • Knoxville (Davis Newman Payne) produces TV spots for several members
  • Computers now being used for word processing, type-setting, research, media buying, financials
  • Collections become a huge problem: Interest rates top 16%!


Meeting on Cape Cod in Nor’easter

  • New TAAN Plan redefines primary objective: “To promote a vital, confidential, personal resource for the CEO managing his/her agency profitably”
  • Now 23 US members; 4 international


  • TAAN legal counsel upgraded as Doug Wood is appointed
  • Atlanta member, Bowes-Hanlon, is named by Adweek as Southeast’s “hottest agency”


Jack Warner, President

  • Bowes-Hanlon declares bankruptcy (The lesson learned: “We believed our own PR.”)
  • Bill Ling hosts meeting in Hong Kong.
  • First female-run agency joins (Martz, Phoenix)


Managing growth

  • By-Laws changed to eliminate territorial protection
  • Gentlemen’s Agreement to govern competition; conflicts referred to president and board of governors to arbitrate
  • Guest speaker from Apple demonstrates “desktop publishing”


New Service

  • Dallas-based CPA named as first financial advisor to TAAN
  • Average size of members: $17 million capitalized (about $2.4 million AGI)


  • First (and only) TAAN agencies merge: Denver and San Francisco members join to handle Hewlett-Packard business
  • Robert Jan Anjema (Netherlands) becomes president of TEAN



  • Major meeting topic is survival
  • Rampant downsizing
  • La Agencia de Orci (Los Angeles) is TAAN’s first (and only) Hispanic agency
  • New financial counsel: Dwyne Willis


Recession Worsens

  • Many members now at half size
  • Dan Wieden (Wieden & Kennedy) guest speaker
  • TEAN changes name to TAAN Europe
  • Special workshop held: “Managing Mac in Creative & Production”


Ongoing improvements

  • TAAN Plan 2000 developed
  • Upgrading membership and meeting content emphasized
  • “Integrated marketing” new buzz phrase
  • CFO Workshop held


New ideas

  • Meetings focus on creativity
  • “Re-engineering” concept introduced as LA knocks down all walls in agency
  • Other emerging issues: account planning, database marketing


  • Members report increasing movement to fee-based compensation
  • LA reports failure of re-engineering. Walls rebuilt.
  • Two workshops held: Creativity, Productivity


TAAN’s 60th Anniversary!

  • Lake Tahoe meeting: something called “the Internet” comes up
  • CPA Jerry Langsner named new financial advisor.
  • Pete Gerritsen’s Boston agency joins (would become TAAN president in 2007).



  • Dramatic drop in membership: 3 agencies bought, 2 out of business, 1 no longer viable – only 13 remain
  • Gary Lessner assumes presidency
  • New members in Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Wilmington recruited


Meet in Sydney

  • Members vote to pay for guest speakers
  • US meeting schedule changed to one full day, 2 half days
  • Side trip to Great Barrier Reef
  • At Napa meeting, agency websites discussed (only 2 members have one)


Sankosha fails

  • Largest TAAN agency ($258-million; 5 offices) collapses amid scandal
  • First TAAN website developed by Allen & Gerritsen
  • Email becomes dominant mode of network communication
  • Most members now have websites


TAAN US & Europe Unite

  • At Dusseldorf meeting, Europe members vote to centralize operations with US
  • TAAN president Gary Lessner to run united network; US and Europe meetings
  • TAAN joins 4 other networks as charter members of Network Summit


9/11, Dot.Com Bust

  • World Trade Center attack and dot.com bust suppress growth, activity for 3 years
  • Agencies struggle to survive, grow, adapt to new technologies


Global Meeting in Amsterdam

  • Vote to hold global meetings every 3 years rather than 5
  • New website goes online
  • US meeting schedule changed to 3 half-days


New looks

  • New TAAN Plan developed: emphasis on improved meeting content, recruitment
  • TAAN recruitment video shot at Kiawah Island meeting
  • Two workshops held: Media Directors in Memphis, CFOs in NY


Asian Expansion

  • India joins – recruits new members in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok
  • Credit card payments for dues, meeting expenses now accepted


Global Meeting in NYC

  • Members vote to hold global meetings every 2 years
  • Argentina, Brazil and Mexico City join, opening TAAN to Latin America
  • CFO Workshop held in NY
  • US capitalized billings: $314 million ($47 million AGI; Avg member $2.8 million)


Mid-east, Africa join

  • Pete Gerritsen elected to become TAAN president in 2007
  • Dubai, UAE and Lagos, Nigeria join, extending TAAN’s global reach to Middle East and Africa


Global growth

  • Global meeting in New York City attended by 28 agencies from 16 countries
  • TAAN membership now at 46 agencies in 29 countries… and growing
  • Pete Gerritsen is new President
  • New website designed by DigitalDay, TAAN’s first all-interactive agency, goes online


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