Heather Kernahan is a global marketing expert and business leader who has been featured in Fast Company, Fortune, Thrive Global, Biz Women, PR Week and Ad Week. She currently serves as the Global CEO of Hotwire, an award-winning global tech communications consultancy. She was named one of the 2020 SF Business Times 100 Most Influential Women and is Board Chair of The PR Council, the PR industry’s premier association and advocacy group. Heather is currently writing a new business book on leadership to be published in early 2022.
Kernahan joined Hotwire in 2013. Most recently, in her role as CEO, North America, she led US offices in San Francisco, New York, and Minneapolis, in addition to overseeing Australia. As a member of the Hotwire global leadership team, she has been the driving force behind Hotwire’s three-year business strategy to expand the business which has led to winning 2021 Tech Agency of the Year from Provoke Media. Kernahan has challenged the status quo for Hotwire and has allowed the firm to think further into the future. She leads a team of consultants to technology leaders that include Pinterest, eBay, McAfee, Adobe, Avaya, and Kiva.
Kernahan is the executive sponsor of Hotwire’s three-year DEI strategy which includes the Hotwire Ignite Possibilities Program, a $1M pro bono commitment for communications services to tech organizations that are minority lead and/or provide services or benefits for minority communities. She is also the co-founder of the Say Gap, an industry program with The PR Council that provides free media and speaker training to women and leaders of color. Outside of Hotwire, Kernahan is a strategic advisor and mentor to many startups through NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center and with Women’s Startup Lab, Women to Watch Media, Boatsetter, and the LAGRANT Foundation. She is also an investment partner with Portfolia.
She is a sought-after speaker on marketing and business leadership topics. Kernahan’s most recent speaking events include:
- Fortune Global Forum – Innovation on the Fast Track
- Ragan’s The Future of Communications – The Future of Expert Voices
- International PRSA Conference – keynote panel on future trends for communications
- Women Future Conference – keynote speaker on the power of influence
- NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center – keynote speaker on unlocking authentic leadership
- Connection Silicon Valley – Finding Your First Enterprise Customer
- National Investor Relations Institute – Pre-IPO Readiness.
- The Holmes Report (PRovoke) Global PR Summit – panel on M&A in the communications industry
- Chief – workshop presenter on High Stakes Leadership
- Tech in Motion – keynote speaker at Tech in Motion
- Healthcare Business Women’s Association – workshop presenter on building your personal brand
- PRSA Silicon Valley – opening speaker on the Measurement that Matters to CMOs
Prior to Hotwire, Kernahan held senior marketing and leadership roles at Enphase Energy and Autodesk. She has focused on integrated brand communications strategies including campaign development, corporate marketing, product marketing, IPO and M&A communications strategy.
Kernahan received her Master’s in Business Administration in Sustainable Enterprise from Dominican University of California.