Shaper: MT Rainey

Show aired on 21st February 2015


MT Rainey

MT Rainey is a Director of Channel 4, Chair of TH_NK, Founder of and Vice Chair of Creative Skillset.

Born in Scotland, she began her career in advertising as an Account Planner at TBWA then at 80’s start-up Gold Greenlees Trott. In ’83 MT was headhunted by Jay Chiat to join his eponymous agency Chiat/Day in California to work on the Apple account team which launched The Macintosh with Steve Jobs. She rose to become Head of Planning at the agency, across three US offices, and was named Advertising Woman of The Year by Adweek in ’88.

In 1993, MT launched her own agency, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, which grew quickly with clients like Virgin, BT and Scottish & Newcastle. Having built the agency to a secure top five brand position in the UK, she resigned from her role as Chair of the company in 2005. Since leaving advertising, MT has built a social enterprise called, inspired by the potential of new media to create significant public value. is an online social network for safe, informal one-to-one mentoring and now has over 85,000 members.

Last year she was in instrumental in creating the Let’s Stay Together campaign on social media which gave a voice to those in the UK who supported Scotland remaining in The Union at The Scottish Referendum.

She is a former Chair of the Marketing Group of Great Britain and a former President of The Thirty Club of London.

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Advertising was a booming industry, it was creative and it was also analytical.  It was very commercial and competitive, but it was full of interesting, creative people and I thought ‘what a great business to try and get into’, so I did.

Steve Jobs was a really fantastic person to have met so early in my life and my career.  He was blessed with a great chip on his shoulder that really drove him. Nothing practical got in the way of his ambition.

I really wanted to do the right thing. I wanted to not conform to practices that I thought were antediluvian or wasteful or inefficient.

I picked some fantastic partners and that really is the key to it. I could not have done it on my own and neither could they.

What effectively happened when we sort of helicoptered in to Young and Rubicam London was that we became bosses as well as leaders.

I just thought, this is probably the time – I’ve got the wherewithal, I’ve got the opportunity, I think I’ll step out because everything is in good shape.

I was very interested in social media and something that would be giving something back.

I have absolutely no interest in money.

I have always been fairly impervious to what other people think.