Today, Thesis announces that Keely York has been appointed as the new CEO of the Portland-based digital agency Thesis, formerly known as eROI. Effective immediately, York will assume day-to-day leadership of the agency. Ryan Buchanan, founder and exiting CEO, will move into a senior advisory role on Thesis’s Board of Directors and more fully devote his time toward creating a community that helps close the equity gap.
York and Buchanan’s working relationship began more than a decade ago when York started as an Account Coordinator at eROI. Her talent, tenacity, and commitment to people were immediately evident.
“Leadership is the ability to influence and inspire others,” says Buchanan. “Keely has been doing that for as long as I’ve known her.”
York quickly progressed in her career. She was promoted to Account Manager, where she established an essential partnership with the world’s largest shoe brand, earning her the Director of Partner Services title. During a tumultuous time in the agency’s history, York played a pivotal role in establishing a critical leadership nucleus and DEI-centric initiatives while also landing and expanding another cornerstone partnership with Adobe, one of the largest multimedia and creativity software companies in the world. York eventually progressed into Chief Operating Officer, then President.
“When I came back from maternity leave, I was in a position to see my vision through,” York says. “I wanted to eliminate the agency stereotypes — unhealthy competition, passive communication, and power imbalances — and prove you can have a highly profitable business that nurtures an inclusive, direct, and authentic culture. And I was given the opportunity to make it happen.”
As President, York first spearheaded the rebrand of eROI to Thesis in 2019. Since then, she’s been progressively hell-bent on the mission to elevate and expand Thesis, leaning into the core values of problem-solving, redefining full-service, working toward a better world, and humanizing any shape of digital.
Under York’s leadership to date, the company has experienced significant growth — from 120 employees and $24 million in revenue to nearly 300 employees and more than $40 million in revenue — while staying true to its roots and her vision.
“Whether it’s financial planning or cultivating agency culture, Keely is ready, willing, and able to put her whole being into everything she puts her mind to,” says Buchanan. “I’m excited to see what the next 20 years of Thesis will look like under her guidance.”
York’s promotion represents the future-forward focus that Thesis strives to embody. She has proactively established the agency’s C-suite, now composed of three women and two men who identify as people of color (Keely York, Chief Executive Officer; Sara Cocco, Chief Operating Officer; Joe Carolino, Chief Creative Officer; Scot Thompson, Chief People Officer; Alison Tierney, Chief Brand Officer). York has also reconfigured Thesis’s Senior Leadership team to foreground strength-based responsibilities and channel-focused ownership over the agency’s roadmap (Michael Barrett, Head of Technology & Innovation, focused on innovation initiatives; Tyler Stenson, Head of Writing & Communications, focused on internal and external communications; Audra Brown, Head of Partner Services, focused on the financial picture and practices; Jim Nowierski, Head of Strategy, focused on capabilities expansion).
With this new flying formation at the leadership level, the agency is ready to become a model for others in the industry.
Thesis is an award-winning digital agency in Portland, Oregon. Founded initially as eROI in 2002, Thesis evolved past its email origins and has become a full-service digital resource for some of the world’s largest brands, bridging the global gap between people and pixels through strategic planning, creative problem-solving, and meaningful relationships. For more information, please visit https://thesis.agency.