Mariana O’Kelly

Mariana O’Kelly

EVP / Executive Creative Director at Leo Burnett
Chicago, United States

About me

Mariana O’Kelly is an awarded Creative Leader with 27 years of Industry experience.

Recognized by the Gunn Report as one of the best performing ECDs in the world, she proves the power of Big Ideas to drive business results and create buzz. She’s won multiple Grand Prix at Cannes as well as over 70 globally recognized awards.

Her creative leadership on brands like KFC, Cadbury, Kimberley Clark, MTV and Philips have earned her a seat on Ogilvy’s Global Creative Council.

Her favourite work usually involves insights and stories that evoke emotion and are connected to culture.

A mother of two who puts her family first, Mariana is at the forefront of Ogilvy’s gender-transformation agenda. Between 2015-2019 she hired more female creatives at Ogilvy Johannesburg than any other ECD in the WPP network. She is proof that parents can balance family and workplace demands (with the help of her husband of course).

She challenges the industry to expand its understanding of diversity.

“People are so much more than their cultural, racial and gender signifiers. Our diversity lies in our unique stories.”

Mariana is committed to growing the next generation of creatives. She loves to champion individuals from all walks of life and all disciplines. She believes anyone can be creative, as everyone has a unique story to tell.

“Great ideas are authentic real conversations, not presentations.”

She joined the Ogilvy Chicago family in 2019 as Global Executive Creative Director running one of their largest pieces of business.

In her spare time she likes to eat ice-cream with her family, doing watercolor, going to galleries, being outside and exploring her new city.


EVP / Executive Creative Director
Chicago, United States
January 2023 - Present (2 months)
Global Executive Creative Director
Ogilvy Chicago
Chicago, United States
September 2019 - Present (3 years 6 months)
Executive Creative Director
Bryanston, South Africa
June 2010 - September 2019 (9 years 3 months)
Creative Director
Johannesburg, South Africa
2003 - 2010 (7 years)
Creative Director Jan 2010 – Jun 2010

Art Director Jun 2003 – Jan 2010
Art Director
Johannesburg, South Africa
2000 - 2003 (3 years)


BA/BK - Information Design

1991 - 1994 (3 years)

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