E. Kinney Zalesne

CEO, Zalesne LLC.
Principal Strategist, Microsoft

Expert on CEO positioning – leveraging the CEO to improve performance.

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Kinney Zalesne is an expert on CEO positioning — how to leverage the CEO as not just the chief decision-maker FOR a company, but a strategic asset OF the company. This is critical because, among business influencers, the CEO’s reputation is responsible for nearly 50% of the company’s reputation (Burson Marsteller 2001).

Zalesne is also the bestselling collaborator with Mark Penn of the groundbreaking book Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes and the Wall Street Journal column of the same name. Just as CEO positioning must be customized to the leader and the company, marketing messages must be customized to the dozens of emerging communities whose tastes and lifestyles are shaping our future.

Kinney Zalesne graduated cum laude from Yale University and Harvard Law School, where she was Barack Obama's classmate.

CEO Positioning
Learn how your CEO — maybe that’s you — can give a big lift to your organization.

CEO Positioning recognizes that whether or not s/he wants to be, the CEO is the chief driver of corporate brand. More than any other voice of the company, including advertising, PR, press releases, or other corporate executives, the CEO’s words and deeds are the quickest way to shape impressions of the company, for good or bad. But too often CEOs underestimate this concern. That is at best a waste of a critical corporate asset, and at worst a serious risk to the company.

Using the lens of corporate communications with the tools and tactics of political campaigns, Zalesne helps companies leverage their CEOs for maximum performance.


  • CEO, Zalesne LLC — advisor to Fortune 500 and 1000 CEOs re positioning, change management, and alignment of their story with the company’s
  • Principal Strategist, Microsoft
  • Collaborator, Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes
  • Collaborator, Microtrends column, The Wall Street Journal
  • Contributor, The New York Times, Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek
  • Senior Advisor to Chief Campaign Strategist, Hillary Clinton for President
  • Senior Advisor to President’s Pollster, Clinton-Gore Re-Election
  • White House Fellow with Vice President Gore
  • Counsel to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno
  • President and EVP of two national social-change organizations, College Summit & Hillel
  • Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia
  • Honors graduate, Harvard Law School (Barack Obama’s class) and Yale University



The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes

Mark J. Penn with Kinney Zalesne

In Microtrends: The Small Forces Changing the World, Mark Penn shows that the most important trends in the world today are the smallest ones. Exploring everything from politics to religion, business, food and entertainment, Penn follows the numbers to uncover what's really popular, not what we think is popular. Because while these trends are shaping the world, they're relatively unseen — they're under-the-radar forces that can involve as little as one percent of the population. (Among them are: the growing number of office romances; the triumph of individual sports over team sports; the influence of Protestant Latinos; extreme commuters; Philo-Semites; and older fathers who are spending more and more money on their children.)

People have never been more sophisticated, more individualistic, or more knowledgeable about the choices they make in their daily lives. Yet it takes intensive, scientific study to find the logical patterns that underlie those choices. Mark J. Penn, the man who identified “Soccer Moms” as a crucial constituency in President Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, is known for his ability to detect relatively small patterns of behavior in our culture that are wielding large influence on business, politics, and our personal lives.

While helping you to refine your own trend-spotting skills, Penn pierces remarkably stubborn conventional thinking to find the counterintuitive trends that represent a portrait of society in the twenty-first century. A groundbreaking book about the way people think and how they act, Microtrends explores the practical implications of these trends for politics, business and society itself and shows readers how to identify the microtrends that can transform a business enterprise or spark a movement.

Twelve; Reprint edition (June 15, 2009)
Penguin Press ( Sept. 5, 2007)


Kinney tailors each presentation to the needs of her audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest her range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.


CEO Positioning