Celebrated design studio becomes one of the industry’s few POC-led, women-run agencies, championing new perspectives on how to build and grow modern, culturally-resonant brands
Industry thought leader Jessie McGuire has been named the first-ever Managing Partner of New York-based brand design studio ThoughtMatter. It’s just the latest milestone in McGuire’s career spent building purposeful brands. In this new role, she will lead her diverse team of designers, writers and strategists in collaborating with today’s global brands, local communities, art museums and foundations, institutions and non-profits.
Formerly ThoughtMatter’s Managing Director, McGuire has been instrumental in helping the studio more than double in size, growing its creative and strategic capabilities. Her passionate approach has also informed ThoughtMatter’s work with cultural institutions like Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and innovators like Web3 diversity pioneers World of Women, as well ascompanies like Viacom, Procter & Gamble and many others. Now, in addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, McGuire is squarely focused on realizing a shared vision for the future of ThoughtMatter that continues to amplify the capacity of purpose-driven brands to spur meaningful changes in society.
“Building brands with purpose, brands that actively bring value to the world, is more important than ever,” says McGuire. “Too often brand-building has happened without close attention being paid to the diverse perspectives critical to addressing the areas where social and business challenges intersect. Now, as one of the few women of color to lead an agency, beyond seeing this as a huge honor and responsibility I recognize it’s also an opportunity to push for an even larger impact on the brands that make up and shape our world. Working with our team, I want to act as an advocate for anyone eager for brands that reflect their needs and experiences – whether that’s through crafting inclusive messaging, coming up with sustainable packaging solutions, or helping brands to use design to foster stronger communities.”
Throughout her career at ThoughtMatter McGuire has spearheaded projects and campaigns that reflect the agency’s culture and mission. Those have included everything from a modern redesign of the U.S. Constitution, lauded by everyone from PBS to Fast Company, to protest posters for the Women’s March and March for Our Lives. She has raised awareness and support for socially progressive causes such as Girls Write Now and The Joyful Heart Foundation, as well as on community-minded efforts for The New-York Historical Society, Downtown Staten Island and The Center for Arts Education.
Before joining ThoughtMatter, McGuire produced and designed projects for billion-dollar brands belonging to Kimberly-Clark, P&G and Colgate Palmolive. Moreover, McGuire has shared consumer insights at conferences like Social Media Week and acted as a SXSW Mentor, an experience that will serve her well as she looks to mentor the next generation of creatives.
“Because of my life’s experiences, I’ve always looked at our work through a lens of inclusivity,” McGuire stresses. “At ThoughtMatter, that extends to how we support designers and strategists from diverse backgrounds, both through our work and how we approach staffing—making those voices heard, letting them know they’re being listened to. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had some amazing mentors, and enjoyed opportunities that empowered me throughout my life and career. But many others in our industry still don’t have those same opportunities. For me, what’s really important, then, is recognizing that privilege and paying it forward.”
“The world is ready for new brands and brand stories,” continues McGuire, “but they’re still too few and far between. That needs to change, and I think my approach can help make that happen. I believe my point of view can bring a brandsuccess, and at the same time make a difference. It’s why I’m excited to work with everyone from big corporations to scrappy challenger brands, to come up with creative ideas that drive growth and help shift consumer behavior in ways that lead to a better, cleaner, more inclusive world.”