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Lela Olds

Senior Account Director

Lela is happy to join the Hawthorne Strategy Group as a Senior Account Director with a decade of experience. She’s passionate about addressing client’s needs and delivering quality work, much like the entire Hawthorne team.

Prior to joining Hawthorne, Lela spent several years managing projects related to multi-million-dollar litigation cases at a midsize law firm. She then went on to advance in multiple roles at Burrell Communications working on national communications efforts for the agency’s longest-serving client, McDonald’s. She led media as well as influencer and celebrity relations for all McDonald’s marketing events for the African-American consumer market including the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, BET Experience, and ESSENCE Festival. She was a vital part of the team that launched the brand’s first multicultural social media handle.

Most recently, Lela served as Communications Director for the American Heart Association. In that role, she secured a diverse set of influencers in the health and wellness space who were relentless in delivering the organization’s mission via their social media channels and also at events including the Metro Chicago Heart Walk, the Black Women’s Expo and other multicultural programs. Throughout her vast career in communications, Lela has secured coverage for clients in local and national print and broadcast media outlets including People, E! News, NBC 5 Chicago, Telemundo, Chicago iHeart Media radio stations and many more.

In addition to her experience with event planning, content creation and strategic planning for clients, Lela also utilizes her writing skills as a freelance contributor for several outlets. She has bylines in the Chicago RedEye, Vibe Magazine, Travel Noire, Patch Media and more.

Lela graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and also holds a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University.

When Lela is not tending to client’s needs, she is enjoying her favorite musical acts in and around Chicago, watching sporting events, and spending quality time with family and friends.