Advertising chief executive Donald Alvin Coleman was born on January 11, 1952 in Toledo, Ohio to Augustus and Dorothy O. Bowers Coleman. He attended Monroe Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School and Robinson Junior High School, and graduated from St. Johns Jesuit High School in 1970. After completing his B.A. degree in journalism at the University of Michigan, Coleman was drafted to play linebacker for the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints in 1974. Traded to the New York Jets, Coleman, on injured reserve, earned his M.B.A. degree in marketing from Hofstra University. Retiring from the NFL in 1977 because of knee injuries, Coleman began a career in advertising.
Working at Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Warren, Michigan, Coleman became a Vice President in the early 1980s. Coleman then joined Chicago-based Burrell Advertising where he learned about target marketing. In 1988, he founded Don Coleman Associates (which later became Don Coleman Advertising), a company which has consistently ranked as one of the nation’s largest black owned advertising agencies. In 2002, Coleman joined forces with Hispanic agency Montemayor y Asociados and Asian agency Innovasia Communications to form GlobalHue Advertising. As President and Chief Executive Officer of GlobalHue, Coleman runs the largest minority-owned full service marketing communications agency in the nation. GlobalHue was awarded AdWeek’s “Multicultural Agency of the Decade” in 2009. GlobalHue’s clients include DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Verizon Wireless, American Airlines, and the United States Navy.
A member of the Adcraft Club of Detroit, the University of Michigan Athletic Department’s Board of Control and the National Football League Players Association, Colemen also Co-Chairs the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History’s Capital Campaign. Coleman lives near Detroit with his wife Jo and their daughter.
Donald Coleman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 6, 2005.