For three decades, Mark McKinnon has been helping to solve complex strategic challenges for causes, companies and candidates, including George W. Bush, John McCain, Ann Richards, Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong and Bono.
McKinnon is an award-winning media producer and communications strategist who has served as principal media advisor for hundreds of corporate and political campaigns around the world. McKinnon has helped engineer five winning presidential primary and general elections. He has been awarded more than 30 Pollie and Telly awards, honoring the nation's best political and public affairs advertising.
According to Broadcasting and Cable magazine, McKinnon is one of "a handful of players behind every big decision, consensus or roadblock in Washington...putting a unique, sometimes hidden stamp on the outcome of today's debates." Politics Daily writes: "He's known for his originality in a field typified by copy-cats, a mellow personality in a world populated with high-strung brutes, and ecumenical urges in a profession dominated by its unadulterated partisans."
"McKinnon is evidence that principled centrism is not an oxymoron," wrote John Avalon in a Daily Beast column about the 25 Best Centrist Pundits. "McKinnon piloted John McCain's 2008 primary campaign to victory. But he announced in advance that if Barack Obama won the democratic nomination, he would ride off into the sunset rather than participate in the negative attacks he knew would be required. This is unheard of in the world of modern politics, where partisanship trumps principle as a matter of course."
Former President George W. Bush says of McKinnon, "I was really impressed by Mark's creativity, and I was particularly impressed by his honesty." Senator John McCain, in his typical straight-talk fashion, remarks, "He's almost a genius." And President Barack Obama calls McKinnon "a class act."
McKinnon is co-founder of No Labels, a non-profit organization dedicated to bipartisanship, civil discourse and problem solving in politics, and is co-chair of Arts+Labs, a collaboration between technology and creative communities that have embraced today's rich internet environment to deliver innovative and creative digital products to consumers. President Bush appointed McKinnon to serve as a governor of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He currently serves on the boards of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Change Congress, an organization dedicated to campaign finance reform, and has taught at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
McKinnon attended the University of Texas at Austin and served as editor of the award-winning university newspaper, The Daily Texan. He spent several years in Nashville working as a songwriter with Kris Kristofferson (and was wildly unsuccessful). McKinnon also is a two-time Ironman finisher. His quality of life is exceptionally enhanced by the enduring love and patience of his wife, Annie (whom he met before he could drive), and his daughters, Brita, 26, and Kendall, 24.
McKinnon is a regular columnist for The Daily Beast and the London Daily Telegraph.