McKinney Appoints Matilda Ivey & Rhonda Nelson as Group Client Directors


Amid a record setting year of tremendous agency growth, including new client signings (Blue Diamond Growers) and a new practice opening (McKinney Health), McKinney has added two key hires to their expanding team: Matilda Ivey and Rhonda Nelson. Both have been hired as group client directors and will report to Gretchen Walsh, chief client officer.  As account leaders they will help set the vision for their clients and teams, partnering with creatives and strategists to create work that will generate attention in the market. Matilda will be based in the New York City office and will lead Stop & Shop and Sherwin-Williams. Rhonda will be based in the LA office and will lead West Coast operations for Blue Diamond Growers.

“I’m thrilled that McKinney’s growth created the opportunity for us to hire these two incredible senior account leaders who will have an immediate positive impact on our clients’ businesses and on our culture,” said Gretchen Walsh, chief client officer. “Their strategic acumen, creative drive and diverse viewpoints will make our people and our work more powerful.”

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“Representation matters and having Matilda and Rhonda as part of our leadership team, holding decision making seats, means so much to McKinney, our clients, and this industry,” said Chandra Guinn, executive director, equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging. “These two insightful and experienced women are game changers. The mainstream is multicultural and clients need to embed EDIB consciousness into their marketing, Matilda and Rhonda as empowered, experienced senior leaders are positioned to do just that. Tremendous value has been added to McKinney, we are better with Matilda and Rhonda”

Matilda joins McKinney from VMLY&R where she served as a group director of client engagement for three years. Prior to VMLY&R she also served at Vigilante (Publicis), UniWorld Group (WPP) and Walton Isaacson. Her interest in the industry started when during college one summer she joined a regional sports cable network in D.C., her responsibilities included managing and executing programs with advertising partners. She was immediately drawn to advertising’s fast-paced environment, the creative process, the interesting people and the challenge of finding unique and relevant ways to connect with audiences. She quickly decided to pursue advertising as a career. She started as a hybrid copywriter / client manager and worked her way up via a stint in strategy, her well rounded agency background allows her to seamlessly lead cross-functional teams.

Over her 20 years of experience, Matilda has developed a reputation as a strategic, non-traditional thinker and authentic leader who can simplify complex problems. At McKinney, Matilda will be leading the Stop & Shop and Sherwin-Williams accounts amongst others. Matilda will also focus on driving growth for the New York office, helping clients realize the business potential of inclusion, supporting McKinney’s EDIB (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging) initiatives by creating a McKinney Marcom Inclusion Playbook and leveraging data to discover unique brand insights and new creative territories. Her previous clients include: Amtrak, US Marines, Lexus, Disney, Home Depot and Colgate. Her work has resulted in numerous award wins including the Effies and ANA. Outside of work, Matilda is an avid global traveler.

“Although McKinney has been around for over 50 years, it feels like a start-up in the sense that the agency is lively and dynamic,” said Matilda. “I was really drawn to the agile, innovative and growth-focused mindset of the leadership team. It isn’t an agency just aimlessly chasing the moment, but rather one that is crafting smart and strategic creative solutions that generate a lasting impression and business results.”

Rhonda has over 20 years of experience in the industry and joins McKinney from TEN35. She will lead the Blue Diamond Almonds account and support growth in the agency’s LA office. Her previous clients include: Meta, FX/Disney, Microsoft, Lincoln, TikTok, Starz and more. Throughout her 20 years of experience, Rhonda has created environments where innovative strategic thinkers thrive while building fully integrated campaigns that evoke an emotional response. Her work has won her team numerous awards including Best Technology Online Campaign for Verizon & Kevin Hart Share Everything This Holiday Season (2013). She worked with broadcaster Tavis Smiley and led brand integration across his TV, radio, publishing and events all of which were instrumental in empowering the Black community.

Rhonda enjoys developing campaigns that appeal to diverse audiences, she thinks it’s important that teams understand cultural nuances so that work resonates without being pejorative. Being part of a collaborative team that brings creative ideas to life brings her great joy. In her free time, she is an active member of We Are One Rising, a group that started during the pandemic out of a need to do something meaningful. The goal being to create shared experiences between music artists and fans. She is also in the process of developing a podcast that focuses on empowering women and navigating relationships.

“I love McKinney’s work, it’s edgy and it’s clear the company is looking to make an impact in the industry through client work and intentional EDIB initiatives,” said Rhonda. “I can’t wait to work alongside the driven, collaborative team and to be part of the agency’s growth, especially in the LA office where I’ll be based.”

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