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Biography

Kellie Cummings

Biography

Kellie Cummings is a management consultant, entrepreneur, and innovator with more than 18 years of experience in marketing, business communication, and business operations.

Kellie specializes in practices that foster empathy and fortify trust during times of change. Much of her work is rooted in mindset segmentation, a process that illuminates the human side of customers and enables more effective and empathetic customer communications. Through this approach, companies acquire tools that help them develop trust-based relationships with all of their stakeholders.

Previously she served as assistant vice president of a global investment management firm. Her experiences in that role during the 2008 U.S. financial crisis led her to develop business practices and methodologies for creating trust with customers and employees during periods of extreme uncertainty. Today, she shares these practices through her writing, speaking engagements, and her consulting practice.She currently writes for the Huffington Post, the American Society of Training and Development, IABC, Simply Communicate, and American Banker. She is accredited by the International Association of Business Communicators.

Corporate Marketing and Communications

From 2005 to 2011, Ms. Cummings served first as associate editorial director and later as assistant vice president and associate content marketing director for T. Rowe Price, a global investment management organization. In these roles, Kellie:

  • Provided speech writing and platform message development for senior leaders, set best practice standards for the editorial team, conducted training sessions, and created an editorial online collaboration space to ensure consistent messaging and reduce rework.
  • Served as managing editor of Planlink Magazine.
  • Developed a talent pipeline with the company's proofreading group.
  • Created a syndication strategy for intellectual capital and developed internal processes for search engine optimization across the company's websites.
  • Based on insights gained during the financial crisis, she collaboratively established an enterprise communications team and a corresponding audience-centric communications methodology that was widely embraced across the organization.
Entrepreneur

From 1998 to 2005, she worked as an independent marketing consultant, serving a variety of government and private sector clients. Ms. Cummings began her business in the New York area and specialized in film, video, and interactive media. After moving to Annapolis, Maryland in 2001, she progressed to websites and eventually expanded into business strategy and corporate communications. In addition, from 2001 to 2004, while also working as an independent consultant, she started and ran a handmade pottery company, imported from Portugal and sold to wholesale and retail customers.

Specialties
  • Business and communication strategy
  • Change management
  • Content and message development
  • Executive communications
  • Internal communications
  • Media production
  • Mindset segmentation
  • Process design and improvement
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Trust literacy
Client History
  • Ameritrade (now TD Ameritrade)
  • Blue Ridge Risk Services
  • Brook Group Ltd.
  • CASA for Children
  • Grant Architects
  • Comcast Marketing
  • Comcast Sales
  • Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
  • Manning Selvage and Lee
  • Network Security Consulting
  • Palm Beach
  • Showtime Networks
  • The Santa Maria
  • The White House, Office of Management and Budget
  • Woodbridge Builders
Awards

2009 Platinum MarCom 2000 Telly Award Team-based awards include: 2009, 2010 MarCom Gold; 2009, 2010 PSCA Gold; and 2007 PSCA Bronze.

Personal

Raising two adolescent children recently adopted through the foster system Served on the board of directors for CASA for Children A longtime advocate and volunteer for Special Olympics

The Path Leading to Emotional Marketing

Kellie Cummings began developing crisis communication and leadership strategies during the financial crisis when customers were awash in fear. Through a process called “mindset segmentation,” she created tools that establish an emotional understanding of customers and enable businesses to communicate effectively in a time of stress. As an associate editorial director at a financial services firm, she and her team were steeped in behavioral economics and the financial impact of emotions. Because of the extreme magnitude of the crisis, each manager she contacted became an advocate for the project and her role in the organization expanded dramatically. At the same time, the company’s 401(k) division was in a unique state of crisis, struggling with information overload internally and constant requests for insight and perspective externally. By applying mindset-based segmentation strategies, Ms. Cummings developed a framework that she eventually applied to the enterprise. This audience-centric method placed customers at the center of communication strategies, established a unified messaging approach for internal and external audiences, and increased internal efficiencies by as much as 50% percent. Together the two processes enabled an empathetic understanding of customers and a unified messaging strategy that spanned silos. As a result, the business gained measurable tools for building trust with customers, particularly at a time of vulnerability when trust is poignantly at risk. Her innovative ideas were widely embraced in the organization, and received praise from senior leaders. For example:

“[This] process facilitates a structured approach to considering a communication according to the audience…and empowers more targeted & meaningful collaboration.” “The assessment criteria, between relevancy and engagement, helped me evaluate the effectiveness of a marketing strategy.” “Your thoughtful approach to dovetail communication segmentation, client needs, and enterprise collaboration through this new process is impressive. And it’s wonderful to see such visible support from the [marketing leads]."