Kelly McGinnis | Influence 100

Kelly McGinnis 

Chief Communications Officer 
Levi Strauss & Co

Levi Strauss credits itself as the maker of the “quintessential American garment” — which is, of course, the blue jean. But CEO Chip Bergh (who McGinnis reports to) is the first say it takes more than the company's enduring brands to succeed. So, Levi Strauss is partnering with Google to design smart clothes and the company is continuing to showcase its sustainability mission, in addition to continuing to be on the forefront social issues. 

This is ultimately embodied in the company’s values: empathy, originality, integraity and courage. As Chief Communications Officer, McGinnis is responsible for making sure these are demonstrated in all of the 160-year-old company’s communication touchpoints. More specifically, she oversees corporate media relations, executive, internal and stakeholder communications, government affairs and community affairs. 

Previously, McGinnis was the vice president of global communications at Dell. She also held the senior communications position within WPP’s ill-fated agency-built-for-Dell Enfatico (and later, AxiCom). Prior to that, she was general manager of Fleishman-Hillard’s San Francisco office after working with the firm in various capacities in St. Louis and San Antonio. McGinnis recently earned a SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement. 

Please share a notable career highlight. 
That's easy. Many of my professional relationships have endured more than 20 years and some folks have worked with me again and again in role after role.

What is the most rewarding/challenging aspect about a career in communications/marketing?
The work and the needs are constantly changing and you can constantly redefine your role. 

What skills/experience will the CCO of the future need that may not be required today?
It seems like we're just on the cusp of a whole new generation of accessible data that will enable data-based decision making and insight.

What skill/experience is required of today's CCO that might not be as relevant in the future?
I hope there will be less emphasis on what you've already done and more on what you envision and can inspire in the audiences that matter to your business.

Who or what inspires you to be your best? 
Ed Presberg. A former newspaper editor and journalist whose curiosity, high standards and passion for client service inspires me every day.

What is on your must-read/view/listen to list? 
Everything I can get my hands on ...not really but I am always discovering and embracing new content.

Most interesting place you've traveled to?
Last year, I had the opportunity to see our Workers Well Being programs in action in Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Haiti. It is incredibly inspiring to see the impact we have on the communities where we make our products.