McKinney Chief Operating Officer Joni Madison Heads to Washington as HRC's Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff - McKinney

McKinney Chief Operating Officer Joni Madison Heads to Washington as HRC’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff

March 9, 2016

Ad veteran has fought for LGBT equal rights in North Carolina for 30 years

Durham, NC March 9, 2016 — One of Madison Avenue’s only female chief operating officers is taking her firebrand style of leadership to D.C.

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights agencies, appointed Joni Madison Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff.

Madison, 53, will oversee and manage all operations, business functions and board relations, as well as manage HRC’s finance, human resources, diversity, general counsel, facilities and administrative functions.

“When Joni told me about this opportunity, my first reaction was that I couldn’t imagine McKinney without her. And then that I couldn’t imagine her not taking the job. It’s the culmination of her long-held personal ambition to have a position where she could literally change the world. Over the last 14 years at McKinney, Joni has had a lot of practice for this new chapter of her life, leaving an indelible mark on the agency and Durham. I’m sure HRC already knows it, but she’s an amazing catch,“ said Brad Brinegar, McKinney chairman and CEO.

“Joni has a 15-year demonstrated track record of leadership, both within and outside of LGBT movement,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Joni is already a loved member of the HRC family, and I am thrilled to get to work more closely with her in the fight for full equality.”

Madison came to McKinney in 1992 as senior broadcast producer. Appointed head of Broadcast Production in 1994, she developed the agency’s broadcast production offering while maintaining her senior producer status. Named director of Operations in 2001, she was promoted to partner and chief operating officer in June 2003. Only the second executive to hold the COO position in the agency’s 47-year history, Madison is one of just 37 female COOs in 1,326 offices of the American Association of Advertising Agencies members.

By moving McKinney to the American Tobacco Campus (ATC) in Durham, North Carolina, in 2004, Madison met the agency’s strategic goal of having a “destination space.” As one of the first ATC tenants, Madison and McKinney are often-cited driving forces for downtown Durham’s revitalization. She was appointed a chairperson of the executive board of Downtown Durham, Inc. in 2008 and again in 2013.

Madison is most recognized in the Triangle area as the founder and executive producer of McKinney’s Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands, which has earned over $1 million for Triangle charities.

Joni’s leadership extended to the area of human rights as an advocate for diversity in both the public and private sectors. Most notably, she has been an HRC volunteer leader for the past 15 years. She served as the co-chair of the HRC’s Board of Directors from 2012-2014. She was a member of HRC’s Board of Directors from 2007 to 2014. She served as co-chair of HRC’s Executive Director Search Committee in 2011-2012. She also served as co-chair of HRC’s 5-Year Strategy Plan in 2009-2010. And she served on the Board of Governors for three terms from 2001 – 2006.

“For 24 years, McKinney gave me an environment that encouraged my leadership and supported my passion for LGBTQ equality,” said Madison. “It has been a privilege to lead a group of wildly creative and passionate people. McKinney is that very rare and special place that invites us all to bring our best, most authentic selves to work every day.”

Madison will begin her appointment on May 2, 2016.


About McKinney

Founded in 1969, McKinney focuses on delivering influence through creativity. The agency’s work has been recognized by Cannes, Effie, The One Show and The One Show Interactive, ANDY, Art Directors Club, CLIO, D&AD and the IAB MIXX Awards. An Advertising Age 2015 Agency to Watch and one of the Best Places to Work in Marketing and Media, McKinney works with the following clients: Samsung, Nationwide Insurance, Nationwide Financial, ESPN, Sherwin-Williams, CarMax, Crocs, Sennheiser, Mentos, Big Boss Brewing, Dognition and Urban Ministries of Durham. The agency is part of Cheil Worldwide, one of the world’s leading marketing communications networks with 49 offices in 44 countries. Operating as one agency with two doors, McKinney has offices in Durham, North Carolina, and New York City. To learn more, visit, follow @mckinney and subscribe to Socializ’d, our Monday newsletter covering what happened in social the week before.

About HRC

The HRC Foundation and its programs have proven to be an invaluable force in driving real change in the lives of LGBT people. Some of the Foundation’s major initiatives include: the Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey and report benchmarking best practices in LGBT diversity and inclusion among the nation’s largest corporations and law firms; the Welcoming Schools program, which works with educators and publishes guides to help create LGBT-inclusive and supportive elementary schools; the Healthcare Equality Index, which reports on LGBT equity and inclusion in healthcare facilities across the country, and trains their staff to provide welcoming, knowledgeable care to LGBT patients; HRC Global, an ever-growing effort that seeks to strengthen the global equality movement through public education, advocacy, fellowships, partnerships, and research; and Time To Thrive, a nationally-acclaimed annual conference for educators and youth-serving professionals. The HRC Foundation also works with partners to create a range of resources addressing critical needs in the LGBT community, including: Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools; A National Crisis: Anti-Transgender Violence; What Do I Do? A Handbook to Understanding HIV and Health; and Growing Up LGBT in America.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.