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Stuart Ketelsen
VP, Business Unit Lead

Stuart is based in Tampa where he’s embedded within Ashley HomeStores’ business. In addition to the Ashley business, his Business Unit includes Jack Link’s and Rust-oleum. He is a proven leader in marketing, with broad experience managing top brands across Retail, CPG, QSR, CDR, Tourism and Real Estate. He and his exceptionally talented team’s ability to innovate, produce and manage outstanding work for Ashley has helped them achieve positive business results when the rest of the category has been down.

Stuart joined Empower from Carat where he was SVP, Managing Director for both the Atlanta and Chicago offices. He was a key executive responsible for growing the Dentsu Aegis agency to be one of the largest media agencies in the U.S. He has an incredible breadth of experience stretching across 20+ years in the industry. Clients include Mentos, Subway, O’Reilly Auto Parts, LongHorn Steakhouse, RE/MAX, Captain D’s, Aaron’s, Outback Steakhouse, South Carolina Tourism, Bonefish Grill, Family Dollar, Rescue Rooter, Carson Products (L’Oreal) and Carrabba’s. He also established a Retail Center of Excellence for Carat US which assisted with onboarding General Motors, Macy’s, Diageo and The Home Depot.

Interview.
Stuart Ketelsen
How do you approach client challenges?
Open and honestly. Your pain is our pain here at Empower. So, let’s first clearly identify the challenge together and agree on what success will look like for overcoming the challenge. Then let’s get at it. And to overcome any worthy challenge, you must collaborate and ideate with team members and clients. You must be continuously inquisitive in this business and ask “Why?” and “How does this work?” and “Tell me more so I can learn and so I can help you”.
What is your leadership style?
I may be the leader of client business and an office, but any good leader surrounds themselves with great team members. In other words, don’t let the word “leader” go to your head and think you know all the answers. In this business especially, be a good listener each day and take time to learn from those around you. As a good leader, I’m also effective at maintaining a strong balance of knowing when to listen to the team and seek advice while also knowing when to make the decision for the betterment of the team and client. The same can be said for my communications. I know when to speak plainly and directly to get the best results and when I can sense a pep talk is in order to boost morale and get the best out of everyone through difficult times.
Any good leader surrounds themselves with great team members.
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from working with my hands to reclaim, repurpose and reuse things where they are reimagined with a new and innovative purpose. Specifically, I love going to Estate Sales and finding old wood boards with a patina to them that I’m able to purpose it into a new table. I’ll add an industrial look to them with hairpin table legs. Or taking an old garage door that is destined for the dump and reimagining it into a new coffee table that opens up to hold blankets. And if I can’t imagine what to do with something I’ve picked up, yet I know it has value, I go to Pinterest for inspiration.