Powerhouse St. Joe Agency Marks CEO’s 30-Year Milestone

She cut her teeth in the early days with major agencies in Chicago and L.A., but having interned early on with her own father’s agency it was very likely pre-ordained that Jackie Johnson Huie would ultimately migrate back to the shores of Lake Michigan to work side by side with the team that her father created more than 50 years ago, eventually ascending to the very top of the firm as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JohnsonRauhoff, affectionately and even professionally known now by the simple initials of JR.

On the heels of the firms 50th anniversary last year, there’s still a lot of major anniversary news in the house at JR. Jackie Huie, the Chair & CEO is marking 30 years aboard the JR train, and her colleague Amy Hemphill is celebrating a quarter of a century on board. Reality is that long tenure is quite common at JR with nearly a third (28-percent) of JR employees having spent at least a decade on the team.

It was 30 years ago in the month of January that Jackie Huie officially joined the JR team. But as the daughter of Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Don Johnson, Jackie has truly been a part of JR for her entire life, gaining first employment as an Intern all the way back in 1976.

Having been duly inspired by her father to pursue a career in the ad industry, Jackie left Michigan for agencies in Chicago and LA, working at top-notch houses at Ogilvy & Mather, Frankel, and TraceyLocke. She worked the redesign of the McDonald’s Hamburglar, assisted promo campaigns for Pepsi’s Michael Jackson Tour and the Jovan Rolling Stones World Tour. In 1982, she was selected for an exclusive training camp in New York with ad legend and O&M Worldwide CEO, Norman Berry – a true game changer in her life.

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After honing her skills working on such global accounts as Pepsi, AT&T, and Disney, Jackie returned to fill a Corporate Creative Director void at JR, and to help her father run the business. Within a few years, JR was gaining national attention and by 1997, was ranked #8 in the industry’s prestigious PROMO 100.

New clients continued to sign-on and the JR team continued to grow as Jackie rose through the ranks from Creative Director, to Vice President and on to President, before stepping into her current role as CEO in 2016. With a constant push for improving the client’s return-on-investment, or ROI, expanding services, and growing internal talent, Jackie’s leadership has had a transformational impact on the entire company.

Jackie tells us, “Today, JR is a thriving Strategic Content Agency that combines the strengths of a full-service agency with the added value and efficiency of an in-house studio. Clients are global brands spanning retail and manufacturing channels. Our team consists of talent from Google, Harley Davidson and Whirlpool Corporation,” a legacy that gives her tremendous pride every day.

Her leadership extends well beyond the hallowed halls at JR. As a proud Rotarian, she is a Global Speaker on Mentoring, an Advisor to the Interact Club, and coordinates an annual mission trip helping Haitians in the Dominican Republic. She also founded the Rotary Student Program, a global mentoring initiative that matches students with business professionals in dream careers. As an advocate of animal rescue, she opens her home and JR offices to all forms of furry companions.

Also on the celebratory docket at JR this winter is Amy Hemphill’s 25th anniversary with the team. JR’s crew says, “We all know a workplace is only as good as its people, and our Human Resources Director, Amy Hemphill, has been making sure we’ve had the best for the last 25 years.”

Amy herself will tell you, “My goal at JohnsonRauhoff has been to create a working environment that is overflowing with talent, forward thinking, and feels like home. I can instantly tell if a person would thrive at JR, which has helped create an exceptional culture.”

It has been an exceptional culture as JR continues to attract major clients across the landscape from right here at home in Michigan’s Great Southwest, an enviable track record for the past 50 years and running.