We are, at times, a strange brew. But this is what works for us — and inevitably, it works for our clients. The types of people who work at PARAGRAPH are strategists, anthropologists, artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, negotiators, students and builders. Herein lies our value. We are able to look at problems from many different perspectives and apply this diverse point of view to solutions for our clients.
Dan is the only biological child in a family of ten children. You can’t possibly imagine the effect his birth had upon his parents. As a result of growing up in such a large family he eats meals quickly and then sits quietly and listens to others talk. Dan likes fast things. He likes slow things, too, but he likes fast things better. After giving up hopes of playing basketball overseas, he landed a strategic planning job at Fallon Minneapolis. From there he moved to McKinney in North Carolina, where he became the youngest VP in the company’s 35 year history. His experience includes work with some of the world’s most progressive brands. Dan has become one of the most awarded strategists of recent years. It’s perplexing because he hates awards. “They’re the opiate of the insecure,” he says.
Dave is an artist from the South. But it’s not as cut and dry as this, because being from the South is rife with inconsistencies if not outright contradictions. Listening to The Geto Boys on the way to church. Humidity and suits and ties. Integrated schools and segregated towns (even today). New South. Old South. These cultural contradictions have always interested Dave a great deal and continue to feed his interest in how people connect to each other and the world around them. He’s been his own client as an artist, but he also has a bleeding heart for brands in need of new stories. For the past ten years he’s worked on a number of brands across multiple categories, including ESPN, Schlitz, Starbucks, Lowe’s and Quiksilver. Outside of PARAGRAPH, Dave serves on the board of the Durham Art Guild and enjoys distance running, practicing yoga and weekend stints in the kitchen.
Gwen McCarter NAGLE
Insights Director, Associate Partner
In a past life, Gwen pursued a career as a professional student that found her at UVA; Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Germany; Harvard; Dhofar University in Salalah, Oman; and finally Duke. It was an enriching time that stoked her enduring love of languages, coffee, and practicing the art of flânerie whenever interesting cityscapes present themselves. She’s not quite sure if it was all the moving, traveling, and studying that drove her interest in culture or the other way around. Regardless, her passions revolve around examining the different ways that people think, connect, say what matters, pick a fight, destroy what came before, and build up something new. Today, she's glad to be outside the academic bubble but still gravitates toward questions inspired by cultural anthropology, all with the aim of helping brands to tell powerful stories that feel relevant. Outside the office, Gwen can usually be found scribbling away on a writing project, decorating and redecorating the former tobacco warehouse loft she calls home, or walking Jibo the dog.
Michelle’s unicorn-esque experience as an accountant, account executive and senior project manager, comes in handy when making operational recommendations and overseeing diverse research projects at PARAGRAPH. Previously, Michelle spent over 10 years at McKinney where she was known for creating order out of chaos. While there she successfully led integrated and diverse advertising campaigns for big brands like Nationwide Insurance, Sherwin-Williams and CarMax. After graduating from East Carolina University with a BFA in dance, she regularly performed with Choreo Collective, a Durham-based nonprofit who was known for collaborating with local artists to create new work that pushed them beyond their comfort levels. Most evenings you’ll find Michelle creating colorful vegetarian and vegan dishes inspired by her recent haul from the local farmers’ market or her own vegetable garden.
Chelsey is a graduate from UNC Chapel Hill with a major in Psychology, Information Science, and minor in Cognitive Science. She started her career 4 years ago working with database segmentations and has since expanded that skill set to include graphic and web design. Now she spends her time doing a little bit of both. Whether it’s sorting through survey data or building a website, she says her goal with every project is to bring all the different pieces together in a way that makes the most sense for the audience. On the side, Chelsey enjoys doing design work for her friends and manages the web content for an art and culture magazine based in Raleigh.
With a brush in her hand and paint in her hair, MacKenzie was lucky enough to find a love for the arts at a young age. She was entranced by the way art and music could convey emotions that words could not. She spent her childhood in Upstate New York tagging along with her mom to develop film and throw on the wheel. MacKenzie found her calling as a Graphic Designer after realizing that she could use her passion for fine art to influence her design. As a multidisciplinary designer and recent graduate from Champlain College, MacKenzie finds excitement in fusing art with information. Her desire lies in the creation of visual languages and stories through informative design; adding meaning to every color, font, and shape. When MacKenzie isn’t exploring new ways to add information and creativity to her design work at PARAGRAPH you can find her roaming around Durham for inspiration, working on a new music project, or doodling on a multitude of surfaces.