Who Kerry Fitzmaurice
New gigCMO, kbs+
Old gig Director of new business and communications, Mother
Your stint at Mother was pretty quick?
I was there 14 months.
Why move so quickly?
I had such an amazing experience at Mother. I have a lot of love for the founding partners— they’re really wonderful, smart, creative people. I moved to New York to head up their new business and communications, which is kind of what I’m doing here. But ultimately, this opportunity came up, and it was just such a great fit for me because I have a business background as well and it was the marriage of two things that I love to do. It was far more holistic on a larger stage, and it’s also great to be part of the MDC Partners family again.
So what does the CMO at kbs+ do?
I’m very close with a lot of agency CMOs, and we’re each very different in our strengths and focus. Again, my passion is communications—that’s my muscle, along with relationships and new business. And I’m fascinated by branding decisions. For instance, is this agency kbs or is it kbs+? Is it kbs lowercase or uppercase? Is it Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + or Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners? What are the colors that match our mission? What is our website? How does this align back to who we are? What is our promise? How do you feel when you say our name? The other side of my job is new business—who do we work with and who do we want to work with?
You’ve worked at independent shops and ones run by holding companies. Are there big cultural differences?
Every great agency has its own culture. 72andSunny was independent when I was there. When MDC came in, nothing changed. If you had been a junior art director and didn’t have ties to upstairs, you wouldn’t know that anything was different. MDC is really great about preserving your culture and letting you be you. They just give you the infrastructure to build quicker and faster. Mother has this ironic, quirky, fun culture that comes from this English spirit that clearly resonates within the halls of the agency today. And then you come to kbs+, where I think the culture has shifted under Lori [Senecal, chairman and CEO], who has been able to infuse the maker culture. There’s always been a entrepreneurial spirit here, but she has been able to renew it and imbue it toward the future of what invention and marketing will be.
How has your background in PR
[she ran her own PR agency before joining 72andSunny] helped with your role?
It’s about being nice and kind and always having time for people. It’s about really listening to what the problems are and working to figuring out how to fix them.
Where did you go to college?
I went to undergrad at the University of Michigan. I had a friend who went there, and I had a huge crush on him. He knew. I went out there as an excuse to visit. I really wanted to go to UVA. But I went out there and just fell in love with the school.
That’s kind of the plot line to Felicity.
She followed someone to college?
That’s the plot of the whole first episode.
Well then, I’m Felicity. I didn’t know I was Felicity.
You lived in Los Angeles for 15 years. L.A. vs. New York, do you have an opinion?
I always used to get really angry with people who bash either. They’re each uniquely amazing. Though I would have to say that this past winter left me a little California dreaming.
Photo: Alfred Maskeroni