Derek McCracken

Derek McCracken

TRAINING DIRECTOR / VP OF CREATIVE CONTENT

Summary

I refer to myself as a creative problem solver. It's a combination of strategy and branding, but with creative flair. I assess an agency's or company's current state, envision a better future state, and lead a team to implement systems and ensure growth toward either stabilization or advancement.

At Hallmark, a $4B company, I tapped into the hearts and minds of people in today's diverse world, helping them expand their emotional "portfolio" and express sentiments in multiple communication media. I conceptualized, initiated, and led several game-changing initiatives in a highly competitive market and kept the company at the forefront of consumers' choices. Proud to say that I was promoted 5 times in 5 years, leading to yet another promotion, two levels up.

On the business scope side of my role, I managed a total budget of $2MM. I collaborated with Marketing, Analytics, Design, and our Supply Chain groups to gain new businesses, leverage profitable opportunities, and shore up or close unprofitable businesses. I place a dual emphasis on bottom-line and top-line excellence.

I'm the 'front man' for developing alliances, partnerships, and collaborative efforts; often requested to interface with the media for public relations. Projects include penetrating and establishing presence in international markets.

On the leadership side of my role, I am definitely a servant leader; I am much more interested in helping teams reach a stellar result than grabbing the glory for myself. Inspired by daunting challenges, I love to work under pressure, while keeping a calm head. I take my work very seriously but try not to take myself too seriously.

I would say my secret sauce is Tabasco. It's always a calculated risk to try it, but the adventurous taste adds zip to many types of cuisine. In the end, it’s all about fulfilling consumers' needs and wants. My track record proves my ability to analyze markets, develop custom strategies, and execute programs for standout results.

Work History

Work History
Jan 2014 - Present

Strategic Skills Course Developer and Facilitator

Fred Pryor Seminars and CareerTrack

–Adapt and deliver interactive training content to business professionals seeking individual and team growth.

–Specialize in creative problem solving, strategic thinking, and change management.

Jan 1991 - Jan 1996

Communications Supervisor

H&R Block

Managed team of client relations representatives (seasonal, part-time and permanent) to resolve escalated consumer issues, earning trust of clients, field associates and corporate executives.

• Wrote and edited internal and external articles and video scripts.

Jan 2001 - Jan 2013

Creative Director

Hallmark

–Promoted 5 times in 5 years in privately held company – ultimately as Divisional Leader, catapulting growth of 5-7% during economic downturn and competitive threats.

–Managed and grew the largest division of the company, valued at $973MM.

–Grew business substantially in 3 of 5 platforms, earning Hallmark Vendor of the Year Award from Walmart and Disney. 

–More than doubled business area by focusing resources, reshaping workflow, and creating mentoring relationships while eliminating non-essential positions.

–Grew profit by 3-5% ahead of industry performance levels by taking over competitive space, opening new accounts, and developing partnerships.

–Maintained a 98% retention rate amongst divisional employees by revamping teams and responsibilities and allowing them to pave their own path of success.

–Created products for International Markets. Hired bicultural staff to service multicultural markets, yielding a 30% growth in market share.

–Asked and often recruited to speak on company’s behalf to national and international news sources as well as leading, participating or consulting on special projects.

–Conceived aggressive cut, maintain, or grow strategy with one division that reduced waste by 80%. 

–Drove Lean Processes that reduced product development workflow by 50% and staff by 25% without sacrificing morale.

–Embarked on 5-year initiative to replace content management systems to a new cloud-based system, reducing processing time by 30%, and reduced staff by 15%.

–Authored and delivered change management curriculum that was ultimately adopted and rolled out division-wide to support a billion dollar business.

ROLES:

•   Writing Studio Manager

•   Innovation Leader

•   Writing Recruiter

•   Senior Editor Licensing

•   Humor Card Editor

Education

Education

Benevon Fundraising training

Specialized training

UCLA LGBT Leadership Course

Specialized trianing

LEAN training

Specialized training

H&R Block tax course

Specialized training

MA, English (emphasis on professional writing)

University of Missouri, Kansas City

BA, English (emphasis journalism)

University of Missouri-Kansas City

Honors: Chancellors Scholar, Curators Scholar

Awards

At Hallmark, received Vendor of the year from Walmart, Disney, and other notable companies * Diversity Leadership Award * Hallmark Digital Asset Management Award * Hallmark H&R Block Spotlight Award for Superior Customer Service * Bronze Quill Award (while at H&R Block) for excellence in scriptwriting * Facilitator of the Year: MOCSA * Volunteer of the Year: MOCSA * Graduate Teaching Assistant Award: UMKC

Various publications, see: www.linkedin.com/in/derekmcckracken