Kelly McMurray

Founder & Creative Director

Kelly McMurray

Why do you enjoy working with clients in education? Okay, let’s be honest. We all know there is more money in healthcare and finance. But at the end of the day it isn’t money that drives this studio (don’t get me wrong, we do like to get paid for our work). But it is the people. Time and time again I find that the people who select to work in the education sector are curious, intellectual, and respectful of other people’s ideas. And those are our clients. 

What is a memory from your school experience? I have so many memories, from an amazing social studies teacher in 8th grade to a phenomenal advisor in Graduate School. But one memory that always stands out to me is from undergraduate school at VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University). As a senior I was the art director of the school arts magazine, Richmond Arts, and had to ask a faculty member to be an advisor. I asked one of my favorite professors from junior year, Phil Meggs. He willingly said yes and I figured that because he was so busy that he didn’t really have time to participate. But I was wrong. He asked me one day why he wasn’t invited to meetings. I felt terrible and quickly invited him to our next meeting. Which happened to be in a snowstorm (not typical in Richmond, VA). But I remember when he walked through the door in big snowboats and his usual upbeat attitude.

Where do you find inspiration? My team. Their work, curiosity, and ambition inspires me to do my best work and to be the best leader I can be.

What’s an example of a time when you took a risk and it paid off? Starting this firm. In 1998 I left my salaried job at the men’s magazine P.O.V. I worked with an amazing group of people but I knew that I wanted to run my own firm. I lined up one client and took the leap. Shortly after that I met the editor of MIT’s Technology Review and it was clear that we had a similar vision of where to take the magazine. But I told him I was committed to starting my firm. MIT became my second client and the firm was firmly launched!

Favorite word? Engaging. I always need to use thesaurus.com to find alternative words.

Favorite song? Golden Slumber by the Beatles.