The First Responders Foundation is delighted to welcome Mary Ann O’Brien to its Board of Directors. Mary Ann is the CEO and Founder of OBI Creative – an internationally recognized research, strategic communications, and advertising agency with offices in Omaha, Des Moines, and San Diego.
Mary Ann O’Brien joins the FRF Board of Directors
She has been entrusted by some of the most successful brands in the world to help steer their strategic direction. Recognized as a pioneer in the world of marketing and technology,
she launched the company in 2001 with her first project, Digital Home Solution, for Gateway Computers. It was the first of many successes that led to the growth and capabilities of her agency. OBI Creative has since executed numerous other national and global strategic initiatives for companies including Microsoft, Sony, Viewsonic, Stericycle, Borsheims, Nebraska Crossing Outlets, Creighton Heider College of Business, and Travel and Transport.
Mary Ann’s experience and skill in bringing big picture strategy to world-class advertising campaigns will be priceless in directing the First Responders Foundation to fulfill our mission to serve and honor first responders, veterans, and their families and enhance public safety. Mary Ann’s insatiable drive to find new and better ways to market is matched only by her reverence for understanding the customer and in the case of the First Responders Foundation, our clients, donors, and volunteers. As a pioneer in the study of customers, she authored the O’Brien Voice of the Customer™ and O’Brien Voice of the Employee™ studies, which have served as the cornerstone for numerous business success stories globally and nationally.
Entrepreneurship runs in Mary Ann’s family. Her grandfather opened the first color printer business west of the Mississippi and her father started and ran several businesses. Mary Ann regularly tagged along and soaked up every word of wisdom she could. She believes that you make your own luck and that there are no limits to what you can accomplish.
Mary Ann earned a world-class education in how to build marketing campaigns and how to connect with the customer during her tenure at Gateway. She worked in Mergers & Acquisitions, serving ultimately as Executive Vice President of Marketing during a time when Gateway was one of the most recognized consumer brands in the world. In the late 1990s, Mary Ann was recruited by a Silicon Valley software startup called Hotpaper.com that developed one of the first mobile apps in the world. As Vice President of Sales & Marketing, she negotiated the acquisition of the company by GoAmerica Communication and stayed on as Vice President of Sales & Marketing with the parent company.
In 2001, when the Chairman of Gateway called with a vision for technology convergence, multimedia content, and the Digital Home, Mary Ann accepted the challenge and ran with it. She assembled a team of strategists, researchers, and big-time creative talent and launched OBI Creative. More recently, Mary Ann led OBI to win 2016, 2017, and 2018 Stevie International Business Awards for Company of the Year in the Advertising, Marketing and PR category (small) and won a Stevie Award for Women in Business and Company of the Year in Business Services.
After living on both coasts, the Iowa native gravitated back to the Midwest and decided to put down roots in Omaha. She served for six years on the board of the Omaha Chamber, was the Chairperson of the Small Business Council for the Executive Committee, sits on the cabinet for the University of Nebraska Omaha Business School, is on the Board of Trustees for Creighton University’s Business Ethics Alliance, serves on the Board of Directors for the Durham Western Heritage Museum and is the Board Director for the Halo Institute. She regularly speaks to business groups on marketing, convergence, entrepreneurialism, omnichannel strategy, and branding topics. Mary Ann was selected as a “40 Under 40” winner by the Midlands Business Journal.
First Responders Foundation
The Foundation’s goal is to provide the support and services needed to first responders, veterans, and their families. The Foundation aims to expand services by starting Chapters throughout Nebraska and surrounding states. Mary Ann’s expertise and leadership will help the Foundation’s success in the metro area along with growth in the Midwest and beyond.
Mary Ann lives by the mantra “Be Brave.” The Foundation and Board of Directors plan to glean bravery from Mary Ann, step out of our comfort zone and serve First Responders, Veterans, and their families in bigger and better ways. It is more necessary now than ever. The First Responders Foundation is proud to now have Mary Ann as part of our organization.
Click here to read about Mary Ann O’Brien in the Strictly Business Magazine.