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Kelly McDonald

Marketing and advertising specialist considered one of the nation’s top experts in consumer trends, generational differences and leveraging the customer experience

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Fee Range: 20000-39999
  • One of the nation’s top experts in consumer trends and marketing trends
  • Named #1 on the list of “26 Hot Speakers” by Successful Meetings Magazine
  • Named one of the 10 Most Booked Speakers and Top Business Women Speakers You Need at Your Next Event
  • Author of “It’s TIme to Talk About Race at Work” (#1 on the list of 2021 Bestselling Business Books), “How to Work With & Lead People Not Like You” ( #9 on the list of 2017 Bestselling Business Books), “Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You” ( #5 on the list of 2013 Bestselling Business Books, and “How to Market to People Not Like You” ( #7 on the list of 2011 Bestselling Business Books).
  • Advertising Age has twice named her company one of the top ad agencies in the U.S.
  • Has been featured on CNBC, in Forbes, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, on and Sirius/XM Radio
  • Kelly made the list of Top Ten Business Book in 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2021 – the list is for the top 25 and Kelly is in the top ten!

*Fee ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice. For an exact quote, please contact your Speaker Exchange Agency representative.

Kelly McDonald is considered one of the nation’s top experts in diversity & inclusion, leadership, marketing, the customer experience and consumer trends. She is the founder of McDonald Marketing, which has twice been named one of the “Top Ad Agencies in the U.S.” by Advertising Age magazine and ranked as one of the fastest-growing independently-owned companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine.

Her client experience includes brands such as Toyota, Chubb, NASA, Kimberly-Clark, Nike, Harley-Davidson, Miller-Coors, and Sherwin-Williams.

Kelly was named one of the “10 Most Booked Speakers in the U.S.” and ranked #1 on the list of “25 Hot Speakers” by Successful Meetings Magazine.

She has been featured on CNBC, in Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fast Company, on and more.

She is the author of four bestselling books on diversity & inclusion, marketing, the customer experience and leadership.

Her latest, “It’s Time to Talk about Race at Work: Every Leader’s Guide to Making Progress on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” debuted as the #1 Bestselling Business Book in the U.S.

Kelly lives in Denver and when she’s not on the road speaking, she enjoys boxing (yes, boxing, not kickboxing) – and shopping for high heels.

It’s Time to Talk About Race: Every Leader’s Guide to Making Progress on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (based on newest book)

A must for businesses trying to do better and be better

How to Work With and Lead People Not Like You

Diversity in the workforce is a hot topic. Many employers are under pressure to make sure their workforce and employee base is diverse, inclusive and representative of the customers they serve. The most progressive organizations value diversity because they realize that a diverse workforce has positive impact on the bottom line. Such a workforce doesn’t just lead to better decisions and solutions and innovation – it has been proven to grow business and profits. And a diverse workforce doesn’t just mean employees of different racial and ethnic backgrounds; it can also mean diversity of thought.

There are numerous ways we can be “diverse”: A new mom is in a very different place than one who is an empty nester. Someone with a master’s degree is very different than someone who went to a vocational/technical college. Someone who is foreign-born is different than someone who is U.S. born. “People not like you” takes away the baggage that is often associated with the word diversity and frames the subject in a more relatable way. We are ALL dealing with people “not like us”. Sometimes that can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be.

When the person in the next cube or office is different from you, friction can arise. Different people may not see eye-to-eye on an issue. They may have vastly different approaches to work. Their communication styles may be very different. Their comfort in working with technology may be miles apart. Cultural backgrounds and norms can differ. Even men and women can see situations differently. How do you work alongside someone who may be quite different from you, respect those differences and be effective in your role?

And what about leading a diverse team? Leaders face daily the challenges of inspiring, communicating and executing strategy with their teams. Now imagine the challenges of leading teams that may be incredibly diverse! How does one motivate and lead groups of people who come from different backgrounds? How do you do that when people are motivated by different values and view the world and work through different lenses?

There are dozens of speakers and sessions on management, leadership, and working with difficult people, yet none tackle these business issues from the standpoint of working with people not like you. This is a fresh take on a very important topic – and a timely one. Much news coverage is devoted to what companies are doing to make their workplace more diverse and inclusive. But what is that like for the people who work there, day in and day out? How do they adapt to different people and work approaches?

This session takes the topic of work and leadership to a new place – one that is getting more attention every day and will continue to do so.

Learner Outcomes:

  • You’ll learn why diversity at work is important, but why it seems so hard to work with people not like you. And why that makes you NORMAL, not a bad person. You’ll learn why it often comes with stress, complex emotions and even fear for some people.
  • Specific tactics will be shared for how employees can succeed in today’s diverse workplace without losing their minds or becoming frustrated by approaches to work that may differ from theirs.
  • For those in leadership positions, or those who aspire to manage and lead others, three key steps to make a diverse team work more cohesively, more productively and enjoyably.
  • The four key words that will transform how you interact with your colleagues and associates in tough situations to get the best outcome. How to troubleshoot the complex issues and address the “derailers” and naysayers that lurk within every organization and threaten its success.
How to Market to People Not Like You

If you could grow your business simply by marketing to your existing customers, making money would be a cakewalk. But to generate new revenue, you have to win over the customers you’re not getting. The 2010 Census reveals that one in three Americans is not White. Now, more than ever, it’s important to reach diverse market segments to grow your business.

Diversity marketing is the new norm, and this doesn’t simply mean racial diversity. Diversity comes in many forms: gender, race, age, lifestage, language preference, politics, religion, sexuality, and hobbies or special interests are all ways in which people’s differences are recognized. By recognizing these differences and tailoring your product, message or marketing efforts to reflect consumers’ values, you are validating the importance of a consumer group. It’s about marketing to values, not demographic profiles.

Using real-world examples from successful businesses, “How to Market to People Not Like You” demonstrates how to create a deep, emotional connection between your products or service and new consumers.

You’ll learn:

  • The do’s and don’ts of marketing to women, immigrants, Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, gays and lesbians and different generations
  • How to tweak your product or service to be relevant to a new customer group
  • How to communicate in a relevant manner by showing respect for others’ cultures, values, language and priorities
  • How to create messaging that resonates with each generation’s unique values
  • How to make your business or product operationally ready and operationally friendly, meaning that you can make a customer feel comfortable throughout a transaction

Understanding your customers’ values is the key to truly reaching them on an emotional level, because who you are is not defined by your age, your country of origin, or the color of your skin—it’s about your values. Understand that, and you will reach new customers’ hearts, minds, and, ultimately, their wallets.

Why do you need to attend “How to Market to People Not Like You”?

The world is more diverse than ever before. For the first time in the U.S., one in three Americans is not White. Every brand, company and product is scrambling to learn how to tap into new and diverse market segments to grow business.

You will learn exactly how to cultivate new and diverse customer segments with confidence. Do’s and don’ts are covered in detail. Dozens of real life, real world examples – good and bad – are shared so that you better understand how others have done this successfully.

Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You: How to Delight & Engage the Customers Your Competitors Don't Understand

Deliver a better business experience, for every kind of customer.

This session will show how companies, brands and products struggling to differentiate themselves in a “sea of sameness” can foster long-term loyalty and brand preference with exceptional and customized customer service.

A “one-size fits all” approach to customer service is no longer viable. Businesses competing on service need to understand and cater to customers’ racial, ethnic, religious, generational, lifestyle and geographic differences in order to meet or exceed customers’ service expectations.

Core customer groups will be covered, including women, generations (Matures, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y), racial and ethnic segments, such as Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans, as well as those who are defined by key lifestyle and life-stage attributes. Includes consumer insights that will help you deliver a better business experience for every customer.

You cannot control the economy, the stock market or the costs of goods and labor. But you can control your organization’s customer experience. It’s an empowering thought. Customer service is 100% in your control at all times and it’s more important than ever in today’s competitive business environment.

And terrific customer service doesn’t have to break the bank: it’s about understanding your customer’s values and catering to their priorities.

• Learn 5 key aspects of delivering an exceptional customer experience

• Identify the personality characteristics of terrific employees / associates

• Best practices among leading companies and brands will be reviewed

How to Wow, Work With & Win Customers NOW

Right now, your customers need you more than ever. But not in the usual way. What your customers want and expect from you now is radically different because we’ve changed the way we work in some fundamental ways. Now, more than ever, you must differentiate yourself and your company on the experience that your customers have, rather than simply the products and services you offer. You now have a unique opportunity to “wow” your customers, by demonstrating that you have their back and that you’re here to help and serve them as they navigate whatever is around the next corner.

You can work with your customers in new ways by being “quietly helpful”. The work you do now, in this way, will position you for the WIN: how you, your company, brand, people and products will be seen long-term, not just when times are difficult or uncertain.

In this session, you’ll learn new approaches and mindsets that will make you better, smarter, and more effective in serving your customers – and you’ll cement the bond for increased sales and loyalty.

This session will cover:

  • How to address the concerns your customers have right NOW – and how you can tie those into exceptional sales and customer service
  • How to stay visible without spamming your customers
  • 5 low-cost, no-cost action items that you can apply immediately
  • What to do – and NOT do – when things go wrong
  • Consumer trends and insights to leverage to grow business now
Terry Cavanaugh, President and CEO
“We’ve had Kelly speak for us 4X – for our agents, our executive leadership meeting, our Employee Resource Group and our top producers meetings. Her topics always generate enthusiasm and translate into great team conversations and effective practices and sales. That’s why we keep having her back. Our agents and associates love her, but more importantly, she shows us how to grow our business.”
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