Unsworth Leaves Arnold for Boston Idea Group

Lisa Unsworth, new president of the Boston Idea Group, hopes to end recent membership stagnation and spark new interest in the regional trade association among smaller shops and freelancers.

Unsworth, 40, took the helm of the 6,000-member trade organization last week after nearly five years at Boston’s Arnold. She was one of nine managing partners at the Havas-owned shop and oversaw the $100 million American Legacy Foundation account. That job now falls to svp Paul Nelson, formerly Unsworth’s chief deputy.

Marc Gallucci, president of Bos ton’s Fort Franklin, offered some suggestions for his former Arnold colleague in her new job: “The first [order of business] would be to make Boston the place where clients want to go for business. As a business owner, I want [Idea Group] to work harder [for agencies].”

Unsworth said she is up to the challenge, promising to expand Idea Group’s reach and make the organization more relevant to small agencies, freelancers and clients. New networking programs and efforts to help unemployed ad professionals are planned, she said.

Unsworth cited the opportunity to run an organization as a key factor in her decision to take the position, but declined to elaborate. Beth any Kendall served as Idea Group president for five years before departing in June.

A mix of personal and professional issues prompted Unsworth to leave Arnold, sources said. After years of 16-hour days running the Legacy business, she wanted more time with her family. She also may have felt she had gone as far she could at the agency after the recent promotion of managing partner Karen Driscoll to operations manager, which positioned Driscoll as the logical successor to Arnold president Fran Kelly, sources said.

Unsworth said she had not been eyeing Kelly’s slot. “I think he’ll be in that position a good 10 years,” she said. Kelly described Unsworth as one of the agency’s “outstanding executives” and said he regrets, though understands, her decision to depart.