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San Diego
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Carrie Jones Named CEO at Mari + Gold

SMALL BUSINESS: Longtime Leader Was CCO at Sister Agency Raindrop

Carrie Jones has been named the first-ever CEO of Mari + Gold, a local hospitality, tourism and lifestyle agency.

Carrie Jones
Mari + Gold

Jones, a co-founder of the agency that launched early last year, has been serving Mari + Gold in an advisory capacity while acting as Chief Communications Officer of its sister agency, Raindrop.

As CEO, Jones will be responsible for driving the agency’s overall vision and business strategy. She will work alongside the agency’s president Nicole Bushnell to provide operational and client leadership, supporting client strategy across various service lines.

“The past year-plus, I’ve been able to pour a lot into getting the business established and running in my role as co-founder and advisor,” Jones said. “We were blessed with some amazing growth in our first months of business so I focused a lot of my energy supporting (Bushnell) and our team in scaling, hiring, and refining our operations and systems. I also stayed close to our Mari + Gold clients that have been with us for years.

“But being I was still in a full-time position at our sister agency Raindrop as CCO, there was a limit to how much time I could pour into the everyday work and needs at Mari + Gold. Now as CEO I can give Mari + Gold my full-time support and energy, and I am so grateful and excited for the opportunity.”

Nicole Bushnell
Mari + Gold

Bushnell said that Jones’ expertise and passion have already been instrumental in Mari + Gold’s growth and said that Jones joining the company on full-time basis “further strengthen(s) our female leadership presence.”

“It is an honor to be a part of the female leadership team at Mari + Gold,” Bushnell said. “It is not only our goal to provide best in class marketing creative and strategy to our clients but to also foster an inclusive, diverse and positive agency environment, for which Carrie and I share equal passion. We look forward to this new chapter as an agency and seeing how the agency evolves under her guidance.”

Jones, a 2001 graduate of San Diego State, has been a PR professional for more than two decades, cultivating relationships with media, clients and colleagues across local, regional and national markets and various industries including wine, real estate and direct-to-consumer.

As CCO at Raindrop from 2020 to February 2023, Jones played a pivotal role in the agency’s growth and success. In 2022, Jones, Raindrop CEO Jacques Spitzer and COO Adam Wagner co-founded Mari + Gold.

Jones said that Mari – Gold was launched to best meet the needs of restaurant, destination, hotel and lifestyle clientele with a holistic, tailored approach and carefully selected team of experts.

Jacques Spitzer
Founder and CEO

“Carrie is a special leader, world-class communicator, and her background in the hospitality tourism and lifestyle industries is second to none,” Spitzer said. “With Raindrop, her leadership was transformative and Adam and I were thrilled to partner with her when launching Mari + Gold. We are excited to see her thrive in a CEO role and take our team and partners to new levels of success.”

When the company first was founded, the founders said that the name Mari + Gold is “meant to evoke vacation feelings and represent all things joyous, fun and sophisticated about its home city of San Diego and the industries in which the agency will specialize.”

Jones said, “There is so much about our city that makes it special and sharing that with media helps put San Diego on the map and I think San Diegans feel a sense of pride when they see their favorite hotel/restaurant/museum/neighborhood in an article or featured nationally.”

While the company is based in San Diego, its clientele spans the nation, Jones said, but for San Diego-based clients, the Mari + Gold team works closely with local organizations like San Diego Tourism Authority when its clients have relevant news and events.

That ensures that its clients “have a membership presence and that our team provides SDTA with information and content for marketing materials,” Jones said.

She said that when the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hosts Breeders’ Cup – an event that draws international travel and tourism to San Diego – the Mari + Gold PR team partners closely with SDTA to promote the event.

“We also collaborated with SDTA in their marketing efforts for the city of San Diego, providing them with social media content and coordinating advertisements featuring our clients,” Jones said.

Mari + Gold also helped coordinate with the San Diego Symphony to feature The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park in one of their video ads last year, she said.

Mari + Gold

CEO: Carrie Jones
BUSINESS: Full-service creative marketing agency specializing in hospitality, tourism and lifestyle industries
NOTABLE: Although Mari + Gold launched in 2022, the longest-standing client relationship with the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club spans 20 years, with Jones spearheading their public relations and influencer efforts.


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