Courage hires Tom Kenny as partner and CSO

Three months after opening for business with a three-partner leadership team, Courage has added Tom Kenny as chief strategy officer and partner.

Kenny joins the agency from Ogilvy, where he was national CSO and worked on the Cannes Grand Prix-winning “Courage is Beautiful” for Dove. Before that, he held senior strategy roles at BBDO (working on “Parkscapes” and “The Paralympic Network”), Taxi and Leo Burnett.

Backed by No Fixed Address, Courage was launched by a three-person team of Niki Sahni (president), Joel Holtby (CCO), and Dhaval Bhatt (CCO).

“The great thing about Tom is that he’s not one of those CSOs who just shows up in big meetings, handles clients and walks away to the next one,” said Bhatt in a release announcing the hire. “Tom truly loves the work. You can tell that he actually likes to get his hands dirty, jam with the teams, and find smart ways to solve real problems for clients.”

Kenny told The Message he joined the young agency because of a shared vision for what Courage could be.

“It’s really all in the name of the agency,” he said. “Courage speaks to the type of people we want to work with, the type of work that we want to do, the type of relationship we want to have with our clients.

“It’s anchored in creating bold, courageous ideas for our clients, and the way we get there is through honesty and transparency.”

He said he’s already seen it in action in his short time with the agency. Dhaval and Holtby work very closely with their clients, talking on a regular basis in ways other creatives often tend to leave to the account team.

”That degree of honesty and empathy allows us to have what might otherwise be difficult conversations, and allows us to push through some of the roadblocks that stand between brands and doing some great work,” he said. “That’s something that has really blown me away just in the first week-and-a-half of working with them.”

Though the agency is just a few months old, it has already grown to 12 full-time staff and is working with Nescafé, Truss Beverages, Raising The Roof, and other “big name brands” it can’t yet disclose.

David Brown