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Marcus Thomas Announces Promotions of Industry-Recognized Leaders

August 11th 2022

Cleveland, Ohio, July 10, 2022 – Award-winning independent Cleveland agency Marcus Thomas has named Heidi Modarelli-Frank its Chief Relationship Officer, and Raphael Rivilla its Chief Media Officer. Both are also agency partners and members of the agency’s Executive Leadership Team. The promotions of both Marcus Thomas veterans reflect their decades of industry success as the agency continues to focus on being a top independent agency to work at and with, as well as increasing its visibility on the national advertising stage.

Marcus Thomas, a fully integrated agency founded in 1937 and headquartered in Cleveland, has 270 employees across the U.S. and South America. Its clients include 2021 Super Bowl advertiser Dexcom, Gold Star Chili, Ohio Lottery, Moen, Vitamix, Stanley Black & Decker, KeyBank and KraftMaid Cabinetry. Marcus Thomas’ client tenure averages 14 years, and revenue at the agency was up 72% over the past five years, including 21 percent in 2021.

“Cross-disciplinary innovation has always been a crucial part of our growth in the constantly-changing landscape of marketing, advertising, and public relations,” said Marcus Thomas CEO Nancy Hill. “Both Heidi and Raphael have brought extraordinary insights and leadership over the years, and the work they’ve shaped with their teams has been recognized by our clients and peers time and again.”

Modarelli-Frank has been with Marcus Thomas since 1992, when the agency’s public relations group consisted of just four people. She has led the Marcus Thomas PR practice since 2015 and overseen its growth and diversification to a 27-person department that includes specialties in strategic public relations planning, media relations, social media, influencer programs, content marketing, and corporate communications. The Marcus Thomas PR team has won multiple Silver and Bronze Anvils from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and Modarelli-Frank is currently serving in her second year as president of the Greater Cleveland Chapter of PRSA.

As Chief Relationship Officer, she will focus on continuing to evolve the agency as one that creates value for its people and builds on its reputation as a best place to work in Northeast Ohio and nationwide. “Marcus Thomas has for a long time typically been ahead of the times in its approach to creating a strong workplace culture, and it’s important that we keep striving to remain that kind of agency,” she said. “Even as other organizations take notice and implement strategies we’ve had in place for years, we need to ask every day how we can continue to push ourselves, improve, and grow.”

Rivilla joined Marcus Thomas in 2011 after working at digital ad shops in San Francisco and Atlanta. Since then, he has overseen the agency media department’s growth from five people to 26, with a media spend increase from $20MM to more than $125MM in 2021. Eight years ago, he established Marcus Thomas’ programmatic practice, providing an invaluable competitive edge and setting the framework for owning and controlling performance and media investments in-house. Marcus Thomas is now the largest media buyer in Ohio and the first Cleveland agency with its own real-time media trading desk. It also boasts a completely Google AdWords Certified media department. Under Rivilla’s leadership, the agency’s media team has been recognized with Content Marketing Awards (2016, 2017), a MediaPost Creative Media Award (2018), and Gold and Silver honors in the Campaign.US Media Awards (2021). Rivilla was also named to the Campaign US 40 Over 40 list of honorees in 2018.

“Media today is an incredibly exciting place to work especially in these environments where anyone can create content and make it part of the media ecosystem,” Rivilla said. “Every day, we’re looking at fantastic new opportunities to connect the real and virtual worlds in ways that really do bring value to people.”

“Heidi and Raphael reflect the best of what makes Marcus Thomas a great place to work, and a smart, creative, and valuable partner to our clients,” Hill said. “It’s difficult to capture in words all that they bring to the agency every day, but the difference they make in our work and culture are irreplaceable, and these promotions reflect all that they’ve earned.”


Marcus Thomas LLC, with 270 professionals in its offices in Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Santiago, Chile, is among America’s leading independent integrated agencies. Marcus Thomas is a recognized leader in creative, media, public relations, and digital strategy and technology and is Ohio’s largest media planning and buying agency. It recognized by the Content Marketing Institute as one of the world’s leading content marketing agencies and is regularly honored for its award-winning creative, public relations, media, and social media campaigns, and as a best place to work.

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