Gatesman Names Karen McKinley EVP, Chief Creative Officer

McKinley Becomes First Female CCO of a Top 10 Agency in Pittsburgh, and Joins Ranks of Only 11 Percent of Women in CCO Roles Nationwide

PITTSBURGH – Oct. 25, 2017 – Gatesman, one of the fastest-growing, privately owned agencies in the U.S., named Karen McKinley EVP, chief creative officer in a move that reflects a shift in the industry to bring more female leadership to the top. McKinley will be charged with elevating the agency’s creative identity, enhancing client work and inspiring connectivity, innovation and collaboration across the agency’s Pittsburgh, Chicago and Springfield, Mo. offices

Her career spans two decades of experience at venerable big-brand agencies, boutique creative firms and digital shops. Most recently she was creative director at Made Movement in Boulder, Co., but has also held leadership positions at Leo Burnett, Martin/Williams, Carmichael Lynch, Campbell Mithun, Doe Anderson and McKee Wallwork Henderson.  Her work with brands such as Porsche, Subaru, Clayton Homes, American Standard, KOHLER, TGI Fridays, Church’s Chicken, Kellogg’s, General Motors, Key Bank, Pfizer, Tractor Supply Company, Jim Beam, Verizon, Lyft and Under Armour has been widely recognized and awarded.

“Karen takes smart, original and breakthrough ideas to another level,” said John Gatesman, CEO, Gatesman.  “She is a tremendous creative leader with raw talent, diverse experience, sharp wit and a side-splitting sense of humor, and on top of all that, she is an inspirational leader who embraces the change the industry is going through and will collaborate with our diverse disciplines to push the work and business to a new level.”

McKinley’s appointment to CCO is another demonstration of Gatesman’s commitment to evolve and stay ahead of the industry pack. In November 2016 Gatesman named Shannon Baker agency president, and together the two run the 125-person shop. Since the turn of the year, the Pittsburgh-based agency has expanded its presence to Chicago and Springfield, Mo. through its second successful acquisition, secured $4M in new business wins including two, new high-profile brands, and announced relocation plans for new office space in both Pittsburgh and Chicago.

“While not yet fully embraced industry-wide, the shift to elevate and promote talented, creative and ambitious women to positions of power is a no-brainer,” said Gatesman. “One of the most counterintuitive statistics is that women control nearly 80 percent of consumer spending, yet very few women make it to the c-suite in business. In addition to Shannon and Karen, our agency’s leadership team is comprised of more than 60 percent women. That makes a statement to young women trying to break in to the industry about our agency and our culture.”

“I’ve spent 20 years in advertising, the last four working with some of the greatest talent in the business,” said McKinley. “I’m beyond excited to lead a creative department at an agency like Gatesman. The potential here is impressive. Besides creating innovative work for our clients, I hope to take what I’ve learned and make it the kind of work environment that’s respectful, inspiring and fun.”

For more information, please visit or join in on the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

About Gatesman:
Gatesman is one of the fastest-growing, mid-size, privately owned agencies in the U.S. With offices in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Springfield, Mo., Gatesman is an independent marketing communications agency with expertise in strategy/branding, advertising, public relations, social media, digital and analytics. Gatesman is a partner in 
AMIN Worldwide, an alliance of over 50 independent marketing agencies, and IPREX, a global communications network. Gatesman acquired Quest Fore in 2014 and Noble Communications in 2017.


# # #