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Kelly McDonald

Customer Experience, Marketing & Leadership Expert

Kelly McDonald is a marketing and advertising specialist and considered one of the nation’s top experts in consumer trends, generational differences and leveraging the customer experience. She is the founder of McDonald Marketing, which has twice been named one of the “Top Ad Agencies in the U.S.” by Advertising Age magazine and ranked as one of the fastest-growing independently-owned companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine.

Denver, Colorado, USA


How to Work With & Lead People Not Like You
We all know that a diverse workforce leads to better decisions and solutions – it has been proven to grow business and profits. How do you work alongside someone who may be quite different from you, respect those differences and be effective in your role? How does one motivate and lead groups of people who come from different backgrounds? How do you do that when people are motivated by different values and view the world and work through different lenses?

This session will cover the many ways we can be different from one another and how those differences manifest themselves in work situations. It will show how employees can succeed in today’s diverse workplace without losing their minds or becoming frustrated by approaches to work that may differ from theirs. For those in leadership positions, or those who aspire to manage and lead others, this session will identify key ways in which you can effectively communicate, guide, and lead associates and colleagues who are not like you.

How to Market & Sell to People Not Like You
Our marketing environment has become more complex, and consumers have become more sophisticated. Diversity marketing is the new norm, and this doesn’t simply mean racial diversity. Diversity comes in many forms: gender, race, age, life stage, language preference, sexuality, and hobbies or special interests are all ways in which people’s differences are recognized. By recognizing these differences and tailoring your product, message or marketing efforts to reflect consumers’ uniqueness, you are validating the importance of a consumer group. It may be counterintuitive to focus on differences rather than similarities, but this can really stretch your marketing muscles and bring incremental results.

Specific strategies and tactics will be discussed for identifying your high-potential prospects and reaching them effectively. Learn the key emotional drivers for important target segments and how your business can leverage those in marketing messages. 

Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You: How to Delight & Engage the Customers Your Competitors Don’t Understand
This session will show how companies, brands and products struggling to differentiate them­selves in a sea of sameness can foster long-term loyalty and brand preference with excep­tional and customized customer service. A “one-size fits all” approach to customer service is no longer viable. Businesses competing on service need to understand and cater to customers’ racial, ethnic, religious, generational, lifestyle and geographic differences in order to meet or exceed customers’ service expecta­tions.

Core customer groups will be covered, including women, the five generations (Matures, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z), racial and ethnic segments, such as Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans, as well as those who are defined by key lifestyle and life-stage attri­butes. Includes consumer insights that will help you deliver a better business experience for every customer. Terrific customer service doesn’t have to break the bank: it’s about understanding your customer’s values and catering to their priorities. Best practices among leading companies and brands will be reviewed. Learn the latest techniques that innovative companies are using today to train their staff to deliver exceptional customer service.

Transformative Women’s Leadership:  How to Move the Business Forward with the Teams You Lead
What are the core capabilities for effective women’s leadership? Assertiveness is a key one, but it’s a widely misunderstood characteristic and a word with a lot of baggage, most of it negative. Some interpret it as being “bossy”; some interpret it as “standing your ground” or “speaking your mind” and some interpret it as “taking charge” or being aggressive. Assertiveness is none of these things, yet it’s an essential skill in business and a quality that all successful leaders have. And it IS a skill – it can be developed and honed, like any other skill. Effective assertive skills manifest themselves in better negotiating tactics, stronger leadership, better team performance and higher levels of employee engagement.

For many women, negotiating can be challenging because women tend to be “people pleasers” and often put the needs of the group (their team or your associates) before their own needs. Effective negotiating is not about “winning” – it’s about ensuring that both par­ties arrive at a place of mutual benefit. And being assertive is not at odds with teamwork- in fact, it is constructive for your team and your organization. Assertiveness is a management and performance quality that is highly charismatic and appealing. Kelly shares the four core capabilities for effective leadership and how they can differ or manifest themselves for women executives.

Finding Future Hires in a Gig Economy: How to Recruit, Hire, Retain and Get the Best from Workers Now
Whether your new hires and future employees are gig employees or not, you need to know how to find and recruit the best so that your brand survives and flourishes. And you need to know how to keep them and develop them once you’ve hired and trained them. Many industries have not done a great job of making their field attractive to new workers. You’ II learn what turns younger workers off about a company or an industry and how to ad­dress these issues to position your company competitively against other competing and attrac­tive professional opportunities.

This session will focus on key values of gig employees and younger workers and how you can harness their talent, ambition, skills and loyalty to generate high performance, today and tomorrow. Participants will learn what younger and gig workers look for in a position to have a framework for better understanding these coworkers and employees. Interactive exercises will foster discussion and solutions as audience members get to apply what they’ve learned to their own, specific recruiting and hiring situations

  • Of all of the speakers I’ve ever booked, Kelly is the best… and I’ve been booking speakers since 1996. Definitely the highest-rated speaker I’ve had this year. She was phenomenal, both in terms of content and delivery. And she had substance relevant to our audience. Kelly really knows her stuff. She delivered more than I thought was humanly possible.

    - National Education Association (NEA)
  • Our employees and managers have heard Kelly speak on many occasions and she is always welcomed enthusiastically. Her ability to interact with an audience and infuse them with knowledge and insight make her a popular choice over other speakers who simply ‘lecture’.

    - Subaru of America
  • Kelly’s understanding of the Hispanic market is amazing. She knows how to take a lot of information on a complex subject and bring it like a snapshot into clear focus for the audience.

    - YupiMSN
  • Great lady, great information and great delivery! As an educational development person, I certainly couldn’t ask for more! As you can see from the evaluations, our participants gave you high marks again. You ‘WOWED EM’, Kelly!!!

    - Illinois Credit Union League
  • Kelly, you did it again – and of course, I’m not surprised. You were one of the highest rated presenters of the conference…just like last year. Thanks again for helping make this a very successful travel conference. Your area of expertise will only become more and more relevant to AAA Travel.

    - AAA Travel Products

Summary Profile

Kelly speaks to organizations and associations of every size. Her style is a mix of high content and high humor. Kelly’s energy and humor keep audiences riveted and engaged. She employs audience interaction to foster learning and engagement, giving audiences a means of discussing the content and how it applies to their roles, their challenges and their opportunities.

There is no such thing as a “canned presentation” in Kelly’s world. She works with each client to customize the presentation for the client’s audience, industry (including language and terms specific to their industry) and geography, if applicable. Industry-specific and relevant examples are used, and audience interaction is welcomed.

As a marketing and advertising specialist, Kelly is considered one of the nation’s top experts in consumer trends, generational differences and leveraging the customer experience. She is the founder of McDonald Marketing, which has twice been named one of the “Top Ad Agencies in the U.S.” by Advertising Age magazine and ranked as one of the fastest-growing independently-owned companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine.

She has been featured on CNBC, in Forbes Magazine, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, on CNNMoney.com and on SiriusXM Radio. Her client experience includes iconic brands such as Toyota, State Farm, Nike, Harley-Davidson, Miller-Coors and Sherwin-Williams. In addition to her extensive public speaking experience, she is also the author of three bestselling books.

Kelly is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She now lives in Denver, Colorado. When she’s not speaking and traveling for business, she enjoys hiking in the mountains and being outside. And shopping for high heels.