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Duncan Channon Adds Two New Creative Directors and Design Director to Bolster Creative Leadership

Advertising Agency
San Francisco, USA
Kelly McCullough and Jessea Hankins join award-winning agency as creative directors; Darlene Gibson steps into design director role

Left to Right: Kelly McCullough, Jessea Hankins and Darlene Gibson. Courtesy of Duncan Channon. 

Duncan Channon today announced three new hires to bolster its creative and design leadership: creative directors Kelly McCullough and Jessea Hankins, and design director Darlene Gibson. The new directors will report to chief creative officer Michael Lemme and executive creative director Anne Elisco-Lemme, and join a creative leadership team dedicated to building ideas and teams that put people first in solving client problems. 

Kelly will be responsible for leading and winning new business, and join the creative leadership for the agency’s largest account, Covered California, the country’s first and largest health insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act. Jessea will lead the CA Department of Public Health Covid-19 vaccine education campaign, and lead creative for Ferrara Candy Co. brands SweeTARTS and Black Forest. 

Darlene is tasked with leading the agency’s design practice, which works across brand identity, packaging and UX design for clients. She will also serve as a thought partner to creative leadership on opportunities for design in advertising to make brands more distinctive and engaging. 

“We’re building something at Duncan Channon with people who are wired to care about the same things we do: empathy, collaboration, and humour,” said Michael Lemme, chief creative officer, Duncan Channon. “Kelly, Jessea and Darlene are not here because we needed to fill a role on a specific piece of business. They’re here because we want to grow with talented people who care about people and craft. Each brings leadership that naturally aligns with our ‘feeling first’ philosophy, to make work that moves people on a gut level.” 

Kelly joins Duncan Channon after most recently serving as a creative director at Eleven. She has held creative director roles at meal delivery company SunBasket and FCB, and honed her craft over three years as an art director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. She has worked on major brands such as Cheetos, EA Games, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Progressive Insurance and Clorox, including its Liquid Plumr ‘Double Impact’ campaign which was a Cannes finalist and Ad Age’s Funniest Viral Ad of the Year. 

“I’ve worked at a number of great agencies, but Duncan Channon stands out because their values mirror my own. They put people first, make honest work, and cultivate a collaborative environment,” said Kelly McCullough, creative director, Duncan Channon. “I’m excited to contribute to the creative vision, and to build on the momentum of the DEI group by seeking out and elevating BIPOC and emerging voices so we can solve problems in new ways.” 

Jessea returns to Duncan Channon, where she began her career in production, transitioned to her first creative role as copywriter and grew to become an associate creative director in 2017. The rise of remote work during the pandemic created an opportunity for her to re-join the agency from Portland, Oregon. Hankins has worked on brands such as JP Morgan, Grubhub, United Nations and John Muir Health. She is a two-time author of young adult fiction novels, and a published poet.  

“I wanted to come back to DC because it’s a place where everyone shares a heartfelt belief in the power of creative to accomplish things,” said Jessea Hankins, creative director Duncan Channon. “It’s amazing how the agency has grown in the past four years with new offices and new departments, but the shared vision is the same. There’s a sense of instinct and trust between disciplines to champion work that takes creative risks.” 

Darlene steps into the role at Duncan Channon after more than a decade of working in a freelance capacity with agencies, including Eleven, R/GA, McGaryBowen, FCB, and Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. She has worked on brands including, Apple, Google, CommonSpirit Health, and Nike, and her work has been published by Rockport Press, The New York Times, and Print magazine, among others. 

“I’m excited to partner with great people who care about their audience, and love the craft,” said Darlene Gibson, design director, Duncan Channon. “It’s a privilege to work closely with talented designers like Michael Lemme, Shannon Burns and J. Moe, and to have the opportunity to expand a practice that designs from a place that’s real, inclusive and evocative.”

Work from Duncan Channon