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John R Thompson

Chief Creative Officer at TrueSense Marketing

Specialty: Fundraising
Years in the Industry: 45
Areas of Expertise: Interpersonal Communications, Relationship-Building, Strategic Planning, Problem-Solving, Writing, Leadership, People Management,

John started his creative career as a caricature artist on the streets of D.C., with a BA in Art from the University of Maryland. He started his direct marketing career with The Richard A. Viguerie Company in 1978 as an art director, so he was lucky to learn the fundraising business directly from one of the masters. In 1982 John left to open Direct Design, a creative studio specializing in direct marketing with a focus in fundraising, publishing, and association marketing. Over the next 17 years, he began to learn the craft of writing from the seasoned copywriters with whom he was teamed by his clients.

John re-entered the agency world in 1999, and over the next 20 years, apart from a brief stint as the Director of Marketing for a nonprofit think tank, he worked at a number of agencies, including MGI, Merkle, Moore, and Russ Reid. Since 2017, he has been privileged to lead the creative team at TrueSense Marketing as Chief Creative Officer. John feels he was blessed to work for and with truly talented teammates and mentors. Thanks to them he has enjoyed being part of numerous industry awards for work created for some of the most recognizable nonprofit brands in the world today.

John gives back to the industry wherever and whenever he can, as a volunteer, content creator, speaker, judge, and mentor. He is a past Board member of the DMAW, and has twice been recognized by that organization with the Volunteer of the Year Award. He also co-chaired the 2021 Bridge Conference. John and his wife Lisa love to travel (without a laptop.) He enjoys biking, hiking, softball, and his regular pick-up basketball game. Mostly he loves hanging with his family, which has, in recent years, introduced him to a new favorite activity: grandfatherhood.

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