President & CEO
Location: St. Louis, MO
While working as a business consultant, Tina VonderHaar was so impressed by one of her clients that she joined their firm as chief operating officer. Then, four years later, she bought them. Since 2008, VonderHaar has led as the president and CEO of Brighton Agency, a full-service marketing agency that has shifted into a consultancy-driven approach to marketing since she took the helm.
“Tina has fostered an agency-wide approach that begins with insights that shape the strategic direction of a brand and build toward a comprehensive planning, development and management framework that connects people to the brand with relevant content at a relevant time,” said her staff.
The Brighton mission is to solve business problems as marketing partners, and it’s a mission that VonderHaar fulfills daily by challenging herself and her team to earn client business by helping them build their business, said her staff.
“I believe it’s important to stay in the business, playing an active role and not separating from the day-to-day activities of servicing clients,” said VonderHaar. “The further away from the work you get, the less you know about the best way to do great work.”
This belief of active participation is what inspires VonderHaar on a daily basis. “I’m a more effective leader when I’m right there alongside my team in the weeds of a project, as opposed to managing those who are doing the work from the sidelines,” she said. “I earn respect by appreciating and fostering the value that each individual brings to a team.”
According to her staff, VonderHaar’s management style and generosity have helped them to grow and ascend. “From yearly training stipends to paid sabbaticals, she regularly invests in her team, and this investment is why we have multiple employees with 20+ years of tenure, eight former interns who have ascended to full-time employees and several who have returned to Brighton after stepping away.”
It’s no surprise that VonderHaar is behind why the company was named one of St. Louis’ Top Workplaces for 2018. She was also named a Top Women Business Owner by the St. Louis Small Business Monthly and one of the Most Influential Business Women by the St. Louis Business Journal. VonderHaar also shares her desire to give back to the community with her staff. This has led to employee contributions to worthwhile St. Louis nonprofits.
For her unending commitment to employee and company growth, VonderHaar has been named a Titan.
Tina did not begin traveling internationally until her 40s but once she started exploring other corners of the globe, it didn't take her long to fall in love with Africa.