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Kurt Karlenzig

Adjunct Lecturer

Kurt has built his career at the intersection of marketing and technology. With over 25 years of experience, he has had a career that spans from entrepreneur to global corporate strategist. He has led teams from boot strap start-ups to successful acquisition and growth across multiple geographies. Kurt prides himself on identifying and building world case solutions and providing focused leadership to deliver exceptional results. His unique approach utilizes a combination of design thinking linked with technology and business acumen.

In his most recent role as Global Senior Vice President of digital strategy for TMSW, Kurt helped drive digital transformation by developing and deploying a wide range of technology innovations. He founded and led a global software product team that has changed the agency mix of revenue from less than 10% digital product and services (in 2014) to more than 60% in 2020.

For the past 9 years, he has been working with McDonald’s US and Global IT teams on integrated, mobile engagement and loyalty efforts. His leadership has helped shape key global software products for mobile offers and frequency programs reaching more than 40 Million customers daily across 4 continents.

Rapidly evolving connected customer opportunities led to one of TMSWs largest clients- T-Mobile.

Kurt formed a product solution team to develop T-Mobile Tuesdays, the carrier’s customer appreciation App. Now in its 5th year, T-Mobile Tuesdays is a key driver of their customer retention strategy and has won numerous industry awards while continuing to add new growth.

Kurt’s team also helped productize a software recommendation engine and dealer customer management tool for Nissan, Infiniti and Mitsubishi. The recommendation engine, (CIC) is currently in its second version, runs optimized data models in more than 9 global markets for Nissan.

Prior to joining TMSW, Kurt founded 3 businesses, two of which were funded or sold and later joined larger organizations. Kurt also held leadership roles at global marketing and advertising companies (Leo Burnett, Omnicom) and helped develop digital capabilities in Japan, North American and EU. He has primarily been based in the US (Chicago) but also spent two years working in Tokyo, Japan. He currently is working on advising several businesses on marketing, branding and software product development.

Earlier in his career, Kurt worked as a designer and creative director following his visual communications education from Southern Illinois University. He has taught at design and advertising at Columbia College and American Academy and frequently has been a guest lecturer. Kurt has been a regular speaker at industry conferences including GlobalShop, SXSW, ad:Tech, ANA mobility as well as a Keynote Speaker, University of Michigan Business Forum.

Previous clients include Adidas, Coca-Cola, Disney, Infiniti, Gatorade, GM, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, Mitsubishi, Navistar, Nissan, P&G, T-Mobile, US Army.