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MacDonald, Maril

Optimized Maril MacDonald

Maril is a nationally recognized leader in communication, strategy execution and business transformation. She’s pioneered a discipline that collaborates with corporate leaders to energize and mobilize their workforce behind a company’s strategic goals, culture and brand in order to optimize business performance. Her clients have included some of the world’s leading companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Coca-Cola, DuPont, GE, Johnson & Johnson, and United Airlines. 

In addition to being Founder and CEO of Gagen MacDonald, she’s also founder of Let Go & Lead, an online community dedicated to new philosophies and strategies for leadership. Until its successful sale in 2016, Maril was also the CEO of Son&Sons, a leading branding and identity firm.   

Maril is a current board member of American University and the Women Presidents’ Organization, a non-profit international membership organization for successful female entrepreneurs. She’s a past chairman and long-serving board member of the Arthur W. Page Society and the Institute for Public Relations and serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Museum of Public Relations and the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Relations.  

Maril previously served as Chief Communication Officer and Executive Management Committee member for Navistar, and its operating company, International Truck and Engine Corporation. She worked closely with CEO John Horne to direct the company’s highly successful cultural turnaround, a key factor in Navistar’s resurgence from the brink of bankruptcy to being named in the Wall Street Journal’s “top 10 Performers” list and Business Week’s “Top 50 Companies.”

Prior to joining Navistar, Maril was vice president of communications for Pitman-Moore Inc., and held several leadership positions spanning operations, communications, and human resources with Bayer USA Inc., and The Standard Oil Company / British Petroleum. Her broad range of corporate experience has allowed her to claim “the white space between the silos” as her ultimate functional expertise.

Maril is a recipient of Arthur W. Page Society’s Distinguished Service Award and has been recognized by PR Week as one of the top 25 leaders in the industry, and one of “The 50 Most Powerful Women in PR.”  In 2018, Maril was named to PR Week’s Hall of Femme.  She was also recognized as a “PR All-Star” by Inside PR. Maril is frequently invited to speak at major conferences and universities. 

Education:

  • Purdue University (B.S. – Communication)
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Women of the Year Award

Innovator of the Year

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