Kara Schwandner

Founder,
Chief Strategist

With 20+ years of deep marketing and brand strategy experience, Kara collaborates with the agency’s leadership team to set the strategic vision for Orchard and the delivery of its offerings to best meet client’s business challenges in an ever-changing digital world. Kara’s focus is customer-centric. She believes in the power of making a 1:1 connection with audiences by understanding the customer and discovering the qualitative and data-driven insights that lead to effective communications and compelling website experiences.

Kara’s considerable experience includes a wide range of national fortune-500 brands such as Procter & Gamble Novartis Consumer Health and Microsoft Health Solutions. She has leveraged her considerable expertise to help consumer and business to business brands including premier senior living communities across the US to generate leads to grow their business.

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-Kara Schwandner

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Richard Walker

Founder,
Chief Operating Officer

Richard began his career in production executing work with nationally recognized directors and photographers. During that time his right brain fought with his left brain and the left side won. With over 20+ year’s experience in agency operations, Richard has built and is dedicated to growing organizations rooted in a strong culture, diverse talent and the delivery of high-quality work. He is a visionary that leads client and agency teams alike in elevating the mindset of what’s possible and building toward solutions. As a Founding Partner of Orchard, Richards’s experience on national and global businesses has been paramount to the agency’s success and exponential growth rate.

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-Richard Walker

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Matt McKeown

Founder,
Director of Data Analytics

Matt is a Founding Partner at Orchard, leading the agency’s technology and analytics practice in the strategic integration of platforms that connect marketing activities to business results. Matt and his team develop, implement and optimize structured measurement models that provide deeper knowledge and insights for smarter, data-driven marketing decisions. He is an evangelist for digital transformation, guiding brands toward a mindset shift and a focus on developing a data-driven culture. With a background in economics, his expertise is rooted in a deep understanding of business analysis that began during his time as a risk analyst at a national leading investment firm.

Matt’s experience includes performance analysis and insight development across consumer and business to business verticals including many fortune 500 companies and premier senior living communities across the US.

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-Matt McKeown

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Cliff Schwandner

President

Prior to joining Orchard at the beginning of 2020, Cliff spent 25+ years in leadership roles with global advertising agency Leo Burnett I Publicis Groupe in Chicago.   Cliff’s career has been defined by his successes as a growth driver, client partner, brand builder, strategic integrator of data-driven and through-the-line advertising, champion of creativity as a business solution and a leader of multi-channel marketing programs and MarTech solutions for Fortune 500 brands and businesses.

Steve Stenken

Creative Director

Steve is an experienced creative leader with a history of building effective, multidimensional campaigns. His skill at identifying and teasing out relevant consumer and cultural insights drives compelling communication strategies. With a strong background in writing, Steve has extensive expertise in digital, social, and content strategy, integrated performance marketing, and traditional advertising. In addition to Steve’s expertise in senior living, his career spans over 25 years of creative guidance for clients as diverse as P&G, Comfort Keepers, Life Care Services, Southern Ohio Medical Center, Lexis-Nexis, IBM, Scotts, and Teradata.

As a kid growing up in Northern Kentucky, Steve fell in love with three things: sports, music, and the radio. Luckily, he was able to combine his interest in two of the three and parlay it into a decade-long career in broadcasting as an on-air personality and station program director. Eager to stretch his creative muscles, he left radio behind and entered the world of advertising and marketing, where he’s enjoyed creating multimedia campaigns and marketing assets for brands of all sizes for over 25 years. Steve lives in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati with his wife, four boys, and two dogs.

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What masquerades as a problem is just an opportunity to exercise commitment, unleash energy, and allow yourself to be a channel open to inspiration.

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-Steve Stenken

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Heather Volpenhein

DIRECTOR OF USER EXPERIENCE

Heather takes a user-first approach in overseeing the creation of high performing and engaging website experiences. With her deep expertise in understanding user needs and mapping those to business and brand offerings, she architects site experiences that are rich with design, relevant with content, and easy to navigate. Heather leads all website initiatives at the agency and has been at the helm in studying a depth of data in the senior living category to create the optimal senior living website experience; one that engages and drives inquiries.

What did you dream you would be when you grew up? I am fascinated with true-crime and wanted to be an investigator or lawyer when I was younger. While agency life is quite the opposite of that, there are similarities in the research, focus, and problem-solving required for both disciplines.

Is there any one book, person, place or thing that has influenced you the most? Raised in a Catholic family of seven, I am the second oldest of four brothers. Growing up with all boys definitely contributed to my competitive nature.

What excites you about the agency business & marketing? The fast-paced, thinking on your feet atmosphere excites me. Problem-solving paired with creative thinking are two of my favorite pastimes.

Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Northern Kentucky. I went to an all-girls Catholic high school and UK for college where I studied Integrated Strategic Communications and Digital Media and Design.

Do you have any passion projects outside of Orchard? I love working on my craft and Cincinnati has a great UX community that is constantly hosting events and workshops led by SME that I always try to attend. In my free time, I enjoy organizing, working out, playing all and any sports (especially soccer) and running while listening to true-crime podcasts.

Describe your family (husband, dog, cat & bird….) My fiancé is an English teacher and basketball coach at Beechwood High School. It’s amazing to see the passion he has for his job and gives me such a respect for teachers.

Any special awards or recognitions? I am the proud recipient of the “Most Likely to Rule the World” award presented at the 2018 Orchard Christmas party.

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Empathy is necessary when advocating for users by gaining a deeper understanding of their perspectives & finding solutions for their obstacles through proactive research & creative problem-solving.

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-Heather Volpenhein

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Billy Kissel

Account Director

Sam Markle

Senior Account Manager

With deep experience in senior living, including exceptional knowledge of digital marketing programs for Life Plan and rental communities, Samantha is dedicated to building strong relationships with clients and helping them utilize marketing to meet their occupancy goals. She is responsible for day-to-day account management, as well as financial management of projects, overseeing all aspects of integrated marketing programs to ensure strategic, creative and performance delivery. Her goal is to exceed client expectations in communication and project outcomes.

What did you dream you would be when you grew up? Well, a few different things. In third grade we went to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and I wanted to be an astronaut. Then when I was older and started babysitting, I thought I wanted to be a teacher.

Is there any one book, person, place or thing that has influenced you the most? My dad! He was the kindest person I have ever known. He was smart, funny, and incredibly supportive no matter what I did!

What excites you about the agency business & marketing? Being able to build relationships with my clients and help deliver on their business needs and goals.

Where did you grow up? Fun Fact: I was actually born in Canada and have dual citizenship. My family moved to Florida when I was two and lived there for eight years before moving to the Cleveland area, where I lived until I went to college.

Do you have any passion projects outside of Orchard? Nothing big, but I am trying to read and get outside more. I also like to try new restaurants + bars!

Describe your family (husband, dog, cat & bird….) I am not married and don’t have any kids yet! I think about getting a dog almost daily, so that will surely happen soon?

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Always try to leave things better than you found them.

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-Sam Markle

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Tammy Gambrel

Business Manager

Matt Weinland

Director of Media Integration

With 20+ years of demonstrated success, Matt is a strategy-oriented media, direct marketing and digital expert focused on results. His work with C-level business and industry leaders creates paradigm shifts in the digital marketing value equation, delivering award-winning B2B and B2C organic and paid social, trade show, direct response, lead generation, customer acquisition, content marketing, and brand awareness campaigns. His certifications include all major social media platforms, plus AdWords, Google Analytics, DoubleClick, Hubspot, SharpSpring, Acquisio, WordStream, Sizmek, Marketo and Eloqua. Matt has extensive experience with a variety of healthcare accounts, including Anthem, EyeMed, Johnson & Johnson, Asensia Diabetes Care, and Skin Cancer Center.