Ilene Tanen


Keeper of the Flame

Ilene Tanen is a distinguished creative person and marketing leader. Co-founding the agency in 1985, she has been President and “Keeper of the Flame,” running Tanen Directed since 1994.

Located in a multi-leveled loft in SoNo, Ilene has attracted industry-leading clients such as MasterCard, PepsiCo, The New York Times, Citibank, including ambitious mid-size companies and start-ups.

In the changing world of business relationships, Ilene’s roster is a notable exception – many clients have been with the agency 10, even 20 years – extraordinary considering that the agency is project based. Similarly, she retains employees for a long time – the average tenure of employees is 17 years. Both these facts are perhaps the strongest endorsement of Ilene’s leadership.

Tanen Directed has won numerous awards, including Creative and Marketing Effectiveness awards from Summit, International Midas Awards, CTAM, Matrix Award from Women in Communications and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Ilene has also served as a DMA Echo Award judge.

Ilene believes in giving back. The agency has worked pro-bono for Save the Children, the United Nations, the Coalition for the Homeless, the Darien Tree Conservancy, the Mark Twain Library, Temple B’nai Chaim and POWER: Opening Doors for Women.

She is passionate about the role of women in business. On a business trip to Japan in 1981, she witnessed the blatant inequality of women in the workforce. To help inspire Japanese women, for two years Ilene wrote a series of columns about New York’s most successful advertising women for Sendenkaigi, Japan’s advertising magazine.

Tanen Directed is a Women Business Enterprise, nationally-certified by WBENC. She serves on the Board of Advisors of GoKnown, a technology company.