Office of Innovate Carolina

Dana McMahan

Creative Director, Office of Innovate Carolina, and Professor of the Practice, UNC School of Media and Journalism

Dana McMahan is the creative director of Innovate Carolina. She leads the organization’s branding, communication and strategic outreach efforts. Dana is a professor of the practice in the UNC School of Media and Journalism and serves as creative director of the UNC Office of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. She directs the MJ school’s Workroom FashionMash program and acts as an advisor for the Blackstone Entrepreneur’s Network.

Prior to coming to the school, McMahan began her own fashion and lifestyle company that included retail operations, new product design and interior design. She formed the company after more than a decade as an advertising and marketing creative.

McMahan began her career in advertising as an art director at New York’s McCann-Erickson and creative director at Charron, Schwartz and Partners. Upon moving to North Carolina, she consulted extensively with McKinney as a creative in new business. Her national and global clients have included L’Oreal, Tiffany & Company, GE, Coca-Cola, WestPoint Home, Nautica Home, ABC and Jameson Irish Whiskey, to name a few. She’s also worked with an extensive roster of local and regional nonprofits. Most notably she was part of the leadership teams that opened SECU Family House at UNC Hospitals and Chapel Hill’s Kidzu Children’s Museum.

A specialist in design thinking, she founded Workroom in 2009, a product and experiential design incubator in the School of Media and Journalism centered around fashion and lifestyle products. The program has expanded extensively, winning grants from the Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, the Triad Foundation, the Curtis Media Foundation and, in 2016, a permanent endowment from the Goodwyn Family Foundation.

She is the 2011 recipient of the Ed Vick Prize for Innovation in Teaching and was honored with the David Brinkley Teaching Excellence Award in 2014.