Brandmuscle leadership team

Brandmuscle’s leadership team is comprised of seasoned local marketing leaders with decades of experience developing and implementing local marketing strategies for the world’s leading brands.


Philip Alexander - Chief Executive Officer

Philip Alexander founded Brandmuscle in 2000. Under Philip’s leadership, Brandmuscle has grown to become the leader in distributed local marketing, empowering nearly 200 national and global brands to capitalize on local marketing opportunities with brand-compliant, customized messaging.

Prior to starting Brandmuscle, Philip spent over 20 years in senior marketing positions with national and international retailers, serving as vice president of brand management for Pearle Vision as well as vice president of marketing for Western Auto, a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Philip serves on the Visiting Committee of Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management and on the Steering Committee for Velosano, an organization focused on community involvement to fight cancer. Philip formerly served as a mentor for the Civic Innovation Lab, on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Management and Engineering, as a board member of Nortech, Jumpstart, Barkley USA and on the Steering Committee for the Regional Talent Network (RTN). Philip is a past chairman of the Northeast Ohio Software Association (NEOSA).

Philip's industry experience, combined with an MBA in Marketing and MIS from Case Western Reserve University, inspires his vision to revolutionize how companies manage their brands.


Paul Elliott - Chief Digital Officer

Paul was appointed to the newly created position of Chief Digital Officer at Brandmuscle in 2016 to lead key areas of the business including digital innovation and client strategy. Prior to Brandmuscle, Paul was EVP, Marketing & Innovation at Rosetta (the Publicis Group’s customer engagement agency) and Chief Strategy Officer at startup digital agency KINETiQ Digital. During his tenure at Rosetta, Paul held a variety of key leadership positions. He founded and grew the agency's Search & Media division and, most recently, led all agency marketing and innovation efforts. Prior to Rosetta, Paul founded eMergent Marketing which quickly became one of the fastest-growing search engine marketing firms in the Midwest. In 2006, eMergent Marketing was formally acquired by Brulant, where the search and media team continued to experience exponential growth under Paul’s leadership. In 2008, Brulant was acquired by Rosetta.

In 2012 Paul was named to Direct Marketing News’ 40 Under 40 list of influential young talents in marketing. He is an accomplished speaker and has been published in AdAge, Retailing Today, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, MultiChannel Merchant, Chief Marketer and Direct Marketing News.

Paul obtained his B.A. from The College of Wooster. He currently serves on the Board of the Cleveland Chapter of Minds Matter and founded The Web Association, a Cleveland-based professional organization for the digital industry.


Bo Shim - Chief Technology Officer

Bringing decades of experience in enterprise technology, digital marketing, and cross-channel integration experience to the Brandmuscle leadership team, Bo’s role as CTO includes managing Brandmuscle’s entire technology organization while focusing on business growth by delivering value for clients through digital innovation, cloud computing, and big data. His focus is on enhancing and modernizing Brandmuscle’s SaaS local marketing execution solution as well as supporting new technology innovation to enable Brandmuscle’s digital services.

Prior to Brandmuscle, Bo was VP of digital, store and omni-channel technologies at global luxury brand retailer, Signet Jewelers. He also brings experience leading successful IT and development teams at regional financial service provider KeyBank and digital marketing firm Rosetta. Bo started his career in application and software development and has a degree in biochemistry from Ohio University.


Clarke Smith - Chief Strategy Officer

Clarke Smith, a 20-year marketing veteran, is responsible for the vision and development of Brandmuscle’s technology platform and service offerings, ensuring they continue to meet the evolving needs of global brands that execute local marketing.

When Clarke joined Brandmuscle in 2009, his first assignment was to launch the media services division – a group that has evolved to provide industry-leading local marketing planning and execution services for dealers, agents, franchisees and more. Clarke’s role has expanded since then to serve the needs of Brandmuscle’s clients, where he is focused on developing and delivering a mix of technology and services that make local marketing more effective and efficient for global brands. In past roles at Brandmuscle, Clarke has led product development, acquisition integration, and sales and marketing efforts – all integral to shaping the company’s trajectory to become the clear leader in local marketing software and services.

Prior to Brandmuscle, Clarke held a variety of corporate marketing and agency leadership positions including roles with Hallmark Cards, Harte-Hanks and Sears/Western Auto. Clarke holds a bachelor's degree in advertising from the University of Kansas and was a founding member of ExactTarget’s Partner Advisory Council in 2011.


Kathy Heflin - Executive Vice President, Finance

Kathy rejoined Brandmuscle in 2016 and oversees finance and learning and development programs for the entire company.

Kathy was the Vice President of Finance at Brandmuscle from 2001-2012, ultimately overseeing the company through its successful acquisition and merger under Brandmuscle’s former owner. In February 2016, Brandmuscle welcomed Kathy back from The Albert M. Higley Co. where she served as Chief Financial Officer from 2012-2016.

In 2011, Kathy was named as a Crain's Cleveland Business - Forty under 40 Award Recipient and was a Crain’s Cleveland Business CFO of the Year nominee in 2014. Kathy is a CPA and has an M.B.A. in Finance and Strategy from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management and a B.B.A. from Ohio University.

Kathy serves on the board of the American Heart Association and is a member of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants.


Chris Hesburgh - Executive Vice President, Client Service

Chris Hesburgh joined Brandmuscle in 2012 with two decades of marketing and promotion management experience to lead client service activities for on-demand marketing solutions across the beverage/alcohol and consumer packaged goods verticals. Now serving as Executive Vice President of Client Service out of the Chicago office, Chris oversees key consumer brand and supplier accounts including Jim Beam, Wrigley, Mars, Campbell’s, Brown Forman and Diageo, where he is in charge of developing, implementing and growing national and channel marketing programs across Brandmuscle’s suite of services.

During his time at Brandmuscle, Chris has shown strong leadership skills and the ability to grow partnerships among current and prospective clients. Prior to joining Brandmuscle, Chris spent most of his career working for marketing and advertising agencies, including DDB and most recently working as a Group Account Director for TracyLocke. During his time there, Chris managed multiple business units for Pepsi where he activated national and regional promotions across grocery, food service and convenience store channels. Chris received his Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame.


Mark Hunter - Executive Vice President, Consumer Brands

Previously the President and CEO of Saepio Technologies (now Brandmuscle), Mark now serves as Brandmuscle’s Executive Vice President of Consumer Brands where he leads the Kansas City office and oversees marketing and client service for the entire company. With two decades of marketing technology and client service experience, Mark is a recognized thought leader on topics related to distributed marketing, customer experience and marketing automation. Prior to Brandmuscle, Mark led client-facing and analytics teams at Service Management Group, a marketing research and technology company focused on the restaurant and retail industries.

Mark serves on the Board of Directors for The Children’s Place, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Kansas City children who are survivors of abuse and neglect. He is a member of the Kansas City chapter of the Young President’s Organization and was recognized as one of Ingram’s magazine’s 40 under Forty – identifying Kansas City’s executives under the age of 40. Mark graduated Cum Laude from Harvard University with a degree in American History.


Rhonda Parouty - Executive Vice President, Channel Management Solutions

As a recognized thought leader with more than a decade of pure-play software and channel marketing experience, Parouty brings extensive knowledge of building, innovating and selling products across various channels, both geographically and vertically. Prior to Brandmuscle, Parouty served as the head of revenue and business development for Hewlett Packard’s Application Delivery Management business. In this role she was the key strategist across sales, product, marketing, support, Finance and IT. Previous leadership roles included strategy and operations roles in the security software space and global client services focused on Fortune 100 clients.

Rhonda’s deep expertise with channel management and incentive programs make her an excellent resource for Brandmuscle’s clients. In her role, she leads all efforts related to channel marketing optimization and helps to ensure that Brandmuscle’s products and services continue to support clients’ evolving needs while pushing innovation in local and channel marketing.

Rhonda is a certified facilitator and has traveled globally delivering leadership and management training to software leaders. She is an active part of the Austin Children’s Shelter, Dress for Success and the Girl Scouts of South Texas, and she sits on the board of the Women In Tech Summit in Austin.


Raymond Trantina - Executive Vice President of Client Service, Distributor Channel

Raymond began his career at IRI (Information Resources) focusing on consumer analytics and later became Director of Account Management at Spectra Marketing. Raymond joined the company in 2005 and has played a pivotal role in growing Brandmuscle’s presence and service offering within the wine and spirits distributor channel.

Raymond received his Bachelor of Science and MBA in Marketing from DePaul University.


Brian Hartley - Senior Vice President, Client Service

Brian oversees client experience at Brandmuscle by helping brands enhance and streamline their local marketing efforts through innovative technology solutions. Having joined the company in 2011 as part of Saepio Technologies, Brian has led teams in account management, client support and graphic operations, consistently working to build and strengthen client relationships. Brian currently serves on the board of KCDowntowners, an association dedicated to downtown development and positive community spirit. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in business administration and an emphasis in marketing.


Kiesha Ruth - Senior Vice President, Client Service

Kiesha draws from nearly a decade of client success at Brandmuscle to lead the company’s client development team, which works strategically to optimize local marketing for many of the world’s leading brands. Managing a team of client service account directors and managers, Kiesha is responsible for all aspects of client accounts, including strategic recommendations, solution implementation, client relationship-building, project management, adherence to quality standards, problem resolution and financial management.

Prior to joining Brandmuscle, Kiesha led large client accounts with marketing recruitment firm Bernard Hodes Group and managed more than $4 million in digital advertising sales for American Greetings Interactive.

Kiesha holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baldwin-Wallace College.



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