Olson Engage Names Two New Vice Presidents
CHICAGO -- Olson Engage has named Kara McArthur and Kelley Whalen vice presidents.
McArthur becomes a VP/Creative Director. She joined the agency as an intern shortly after graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 2007 and, over the last decade, has supported and grown a wide range of accounts, including MillerCoors and Wrigley. She became a creative director in 2015, helping to drive campaigns across the agency’s entire client portfolio, and will play an even larger creative and account leadership role as a vice president.
“Kara is not only one of our best creative minds, but also one of our best teammates and leaders,” said Olson Engage Executive Creative Director Josh Lohrius. “She is absolutely relentless about delivering for clients and embodies the accountability Olson Engage was built on.”
Whalen joins the agency with a diverse background of communications experience that encompasses stints at both full service and niche PR and social-media agencies. Most recently, she was vice president at Zocalo Group, where she led the agency’s largest account, Exxon Mobil. Previously, she spent nearly six years as a PR/social media associate director at HY Connect, working on accounts including Wahl and Indiana University Health, and as a PR account supervisor at Caffeine Communications. At Olson Engage, she’ll lead accounts including Jim Beam and Carvana, which were previously overseen by Olson Engage Vice President Kristen Thwaites, who is shifting into a business-development leadership role.
“The breadth of Kelley’s skillset and experience are going to be a tremendous asset to our clients and teams,” said Olson Engage Executive Vice President Jeff Olson. “She brings a great grasp of not just PR, but the broader marketing mix that is critical if you want to do progressive and effective work.”
McArthur and Whalen’s appointments follow February’s news of the agency adding former McDonald’s veteran Jenny Bulla and agency-sector veteran Briana Haas-Zak to VP roles in its Chicago and New York offices, respectively. The leadership appointments are occurring during a period of strong momentum for Olson Engage, which posted double-digit revenue growth in 2016 and was named a finalist for PR Week’s Midsize Agency of the Year Award for third time in four years and in recent weeks saw its client work win multiple SABRE, Shorty and One Show awards.
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