Ishmael's responsibility will be in overseeing and strengthening communities, both online and offline, and aiming to "align all of those and make them more powerful rather than just a sum of the individual parts," she told Journalism.co.uk.
"For me the key thing is to understand how we can work across all the different bits of the business – across subscriptions, across education, across events – and make sure any of our community initiatives are really aligned with the goal of surprising and delighting those audiences wherever they may be," she said.
Ishmael had previously worked with the Financial Times in establishing the New York bureau of the FT's award-winning financial blog Alphaville and co-founding and editing the now-closed FT Tilt blog, described at launch as an "emerging markets news and analysis service". The experience gave her perspective not only on the FT's readership, she said, but in how modern, digital journalism has become a conversation rather than operating "on a broadcast model".
"[At Alphaville] we had drinks with our readers and engaged in lots of debates with them and it made us all better journalists," she said, "because it made us more responsive to what people are talking about, what they are interested in, what's resonating with them.
"When you have an active relationship with your readers you never fall into the 'ivory tower' trap because you stay close to them as sources. But you also stay close to them as an audience and you have a more sophisticated understanding of what they are expecting from high quality financial journalism, what that looks like to them."
Ishmael also stressed how important it is to follow readers onto different platforms, and understand the dynamics of each, to best engage and interact with an audience, who act as an "early warning indicator" for such networks.
Asked if she was overseeing community around the world, she replied: "The audience is everywhere. There is a tremendous FT audience interacting online but there's also a tremendous FT audience that's going to conferences around the world and they're not always the same people. If you do one at the expense of the other then you're alienating part of your community."