D. Mark Hornung

Senior Employer Brand Strategist
Half Moon Bay, CA, US
Mark is a Senior Employer Brand Strategist with exaqueo, after a 20+ year career helping clients discover, articulate, and communicate their employer brands. He has worked with clients from start-ups to FORTUNE 100 multinational corporations in industries ranging from aerospace and defense, consumer packaged goods, health care, and high tech, as well as government agencies. Mark also taught Branding and Copywriting at San Jose State University. The students rated him in The Tower Book of faculty ratings as “tough, but fair” and he’ll take it.
Get to Know D. Mark

My career began as an advertising agency copywriter. I joined a recruitment advertising agency, and rose steadily to become their National Creative Director, winning awards for creative excellence from the Employment Management Association, the Business/Professional Advertising Association, the Western Art Directors Association, the San Francisco Advertising Club, and the San Jose Ad Club. My work was published in ADWEEK, Print, and other media publications.

As the web took off, I joined J. Walter Thompson to open an office of their recruitment marketing subsidiary in San Francisco. They sent me to the JWT Brand School in Chicago to learn their fabled branding methods. It was an epiphany, and I saw the relevance for employment, i.e., employer branding. The essence of the JWT brand philosophy is that - at their core - all brands are relationships. That belief was fundamental to our expression of employer branding, and continues to be for me to this day. We began to preach the employer brand “gospel” and soon won high profile accounts such as Bank of America, Cisco, Gap Inc., Intel, Microsoft, and others. 

My former employer then made me the proverbial offer I couldn’t refuse to open an employer branding practice for them. I went on to work with a fascinating variety of clients in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and elsewhere in aerospace and defense, consumer packaged goods, energy, health care, high tech, and medical tech.

In 2015, I jumped over to the client side, heading up employer branding worldwide for data analytics leader Informatica. Two years later, I was recruited to do the same thing for a competitor, Teradata. In both of these roles, I learned how to work across functions to develop and implement employer branding, recruitment marketing, and social media recruiting to work in North America, Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, India, and Australia. I really enjoyed getting to know the people in each of these markets, their cultures, and how to craft expressions of the employer brand that will resonate in various cultures and with different disciplines.

Most recently, I worked with Blue Shield of California to help as they moved their headquarters from San Francisco to Oakland across the Bay. I produced a video about the move, and then developed an employer brand and recruitment marketing (career website, digital display advertising, paid search advertising) to promote their careers.

On the personal side, my wife and I live in Half Moon Bay, California, with our lovable mutt, Milo. We both enjoy cooking and baking and barbecue. I am a big sports fan - mostly motorsports, baseball, and hockey.


BA, Philosophy
John Carroll University

Industry Experience

Blue Shield of California, Employer Brand Consultant

Teradata, Global Director, Employer Branding & Recruitment Marketing

Informatica, Global Manager, Employer Branding & Recruitment Marketing

Symphony Talent (formerly Findly LLC), Employer Brand Consultant

Bernard Hodes Group, Senior Vice President, Employer Branding

JWT Inside, Senior Partner, Western Region Manager

My First Paycheck

“An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.” - Bill Bernbach (co-founder of legendary ad agency DDB, which many consider the prototype for the hit series “Mad Men”)