Three Women on the Move

VMLY&R Strengthens Leadership Team Across Key KC-based Client Teams
KC Women Managing Directors

Pictured L-R: Kelly Gartenmayer, Kara Nelson, and Morgan Paisley

VMLY&R has announced three senior-level female promotions for its Kansas City office designed to deliver on the agency’s strategic growth priorities and enhance its ability to drive significant value for its clients Wendy’s, Sam’s Club, DICK’S Sporting Goods, and BASF Agriculture.

“We are thrilled to promote Kelly, Kara and Morgan into their new roles,” said Jen McDonald, chief client officer, VMLY&R North America. “All three women have proven track records and strong roots in the agency that demonstrate they can partner with our clients to deliver on the promise to create culturally connected brands and drive business results.”

Kelly Gartenmayer has been promoted to managing director, client engagement, and account lead for Wendy’s. In her new role, Gartenmayer will continue to be wholly dedicated to the Wendy's account, where she will bring her proven record of building strong client partnerships and cross-agency teams, advocating for awarding-winning creative work, as well as her passion for talent development. Throughout her tenure on the business, the Wendy’s brand and VMLY&R have been recognized at The Clios, Effies, Andy’s and Cannes Lions, including a Cannes Grand Prix.

Gartenmayer began her career at VMLY&R Kansas City as an intern in 2005 before working at VMLY&R New York for several years. She then moved to San Francisco to work for AKQA, leading the Target and Levi’s businesses. In 2015, Gartenmayer returned to Kansas City and rejoined VMLY&R on the Wendy’s team. In a career spanning more than 15 years, Gartenmayer brings a diverse range of brand experience, working across numerous clients, including Colgate-Palmolive, Sam’s Club, Hershey Company, and Dell.

Gartenmayer will report to Jen McDonald, chief client officer, VMLY&R North America.

Kara Nelson has been promoted to managing director, client engagement, for the Sam’s Club and DICK’S Sporting Goods business. Since joining the agency in 2007, Nelson has brought detail orientation and strategic acumen to everything she does. Throughout her nearly 15 years at VMLY&R, Nelson has played a key role with client partners, including DICK’S Sporting Goods, YRC Freight, Kashi and NAPA Auto Parts. While working on a variety of accounts ranging from CPG to tech, her passion has always been with retail. Prior to joining VMLY&R, her first advertising job was working agency-side for McDonald’s and Walmart at Bernstein-Rein. Now, moving onto the Sam’s Club business and retaining DICK’S Sporting Goods as managing director, Nelson will serve as a connector to bring the best of the agency and utilize her experience in social, media, and ecommerce to achieve the client’s goals this year.

Nelson reports to Steph DeCelles, executive director and Kansas City office lead, VMLY&R.

Morgan Paisley has been promoted to managing director, client engagement, on the BASF Agriculture business. The promotion recognizes Paisley’s accomplishments onboarding and growing VMLY&R’s relationship with the agriculture arm of BASF. Paisley is responsible for all aspects of the relationship, which includes campaign development, customer experience, brand building, public relations, social strategy, and platform development. Prior to joining VMLY&R in 2013, she worked at MMGY Global, managing interactive clients in destination, tourism and hospitality fields. Since joining VMLY&R, Paisley has worked in the New York and Kansas City offices across a variety of clients, including Unilever, Rolex, Colgate, New Balance, Castrol oil, PepsiCo, and U.S. Bayer Animal Health. With experience across different industries, markets, and consumer types, Paisley brings a flexible and nimble approach to problem-solving, a deep understanding of agency and client financial management practices, and the ability to ensure marketing excellence through data-driven insights, breakthrough creative, and connected experiences for consumers.

Paisley reports to Jordan Cochran, managing director, client Eengagement.


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