Who We Are

A Network of Professionals

O’Connell Consulting Group employs a network of independent experts to work with our clients. We draw from the best of the best. Unlike with many agencies, there are no beginners working on your programs. All our partners are recognized experts with decades of experience in their areas of expertise and a history of producing results.

However, if you’re in the fortunate position of having a trusted expert or internal resource to accomplish a specific task, we’re more than willing to team up with your preferred resource to get the job done and get it done right.

Lauren O’Connell, President 
Demonstrated leadership in financial services and small business marketing

Lauren is a business and marketing strategist who has devoted over 30 years to helping financial institutions and small businesses grow and thrive.

For the last ten years, as President of O‘Connell Consulting Group, she has worked with small businesses and community banks in agricultural communities, small towns and large metro areas in nine states. As Executive Vice President of Marketing at Vectra Bank Lauren led successful branding, marketing and communications initiatives that took the bank from a start-up to 60 branches throughout Colorado. Prior to Vectra, she served as marketing Vice President at Citicorp Retail Services, developing and managing private label credit card acquisition and activation programs throughout the country.

Her focus is on developing and implementing marketing, branding, product development, public relations and communications programs that retain customers and increase business from new customers.

Lauren earned her MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, has served as the President of the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association, has presented at the Independent Bankers Association of Colorado annual conventions and has served on the Board of Directors of the IBC Education Foundation. She currently serves as a Director of the Denver Advisory Board, on the Denver Medical Study Group Advisory Board, and on the Colorado State Banking Commissioner’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Lauren can be reached at 303-795-3539 or lauren@oconnellconsultinggroup.com.

Strategic Partners

EllenEllen Lidsky, Marketing Consultant 
Marketing and bank communications expert

Ellen Lidsky has over 25 years in all aspects of financial services marketing, with a special expertise in communications, media and public relations. Ellen’s experience includes marketing program development and implementation, strategic analysis and planning, product development, and business unit management.

As Vice President of Marketing at Vectra Bank, she developed PR and media strategies, and managed internal communication efforts, e-commerce initiatives and branding efforts throughout a 60-branch network.

Prior to joining Vectra Bank, she served as Assistant Vice President, Marketing, at Citicorp Retail Services, developing and managing private label credit card acquisition and activation programs using direct mail and telemarketing for various retail entities.

As a marketing consultant, she has successfully implemented marketing communication programs to support banks through mergers, acquisitions and public agreement announcements by regulatory agencies. In this capacity, she has also worked in the healthcare and non-profit arenas to develop effective communication plans. Ellen can be reached at 720-271-5790 or ellenlidsky@comcast.net.

Donna Furman, Creative Director and Copywriter

Considered one of the area’s premier copywriters, Donna has 40 years experience in writing, marketing and editing. She began her career in direct marketing at Fingerhut Corporation – and while she’s moved easily into the worlds of branding and interactive marketing – that background still leads her to produce copy that is highly motivational and results-oriented.

With decades of experience, she has worked in virtually every medium in every industry: financial services, retail, publishing, telecommunications, energy, consumer products and services, entertainment and hospitality, sporting events, cultural institutions, business products and services, high tech, real estate, and many more. Some recent favorite projects were for Paradise Pen, Aspen Skiing Company, Vail Associates, G.A. Wright Retail Services, Sterling Bank & Trust (San Francisco), Group Publishing and National Cinemedia.

A former adjunct professor at Colorado State University, she is currently the lead instructor for the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association’s Certified Direct and Interactive Marketer program. That organization named her the first recipient of its highest honor, the Direct Marketer of the Year Award. Donna can be reached at 303-870-3743 or donna@directresultsllc.com.

Gina Solano (Chavez Gilliam), Senior Art Director

Gina_Solano 2013Gina is a conceptual, award-winning senior art director who takes her love of strategy, and mixes it with a natural creative ability. The result? A powerful punch of great creative that delivers and provides quantifiable results. With over 15 years in the advertising industry, her standards are always set at the highest level when jumping into any project. Her past experience includes conceptualizing numerous national direct mail campaigns that pulled double digit response rates, running national promotions for financial services firms and Fortune 500 companies, and establishing brands for banks, numerous resorts, non-profit companies and local businesses.She has won an an International ECHO Direct Response award for work she conceptualized for a national credit card company, and also received the United Post Office’s highest award for Direct Mail.

Gina’s passion for great ideas and strong creative drives her continual success. She’s an enthusiastic partner whose number one priority is getting great results for the client. Gina can be reached at gina@magicspellmktg@gmail.com.


James A. Swanson, President, Bank Strategies LLC
Loan and credit risk management services for community banks

Jim is acknowledged to be a leading expert in special assets and problem loan resolution. As a consultant, he performs independent loan and documentation reviews, ALLL review and consultation, loan policy and procedure review and development, credit analysis training and other assistance with compliance with supervisory actions related to credit quality and credit risk management.

His experience is unique in that he has held banking, regulatory and consulting positions, and this experience gives him a 360-degree viewpoint of his client banks’ issues and the appropriate solutions. He has served as Chief Credit Officer for a major regional bank, Director of Compliance for a leading credit consulting firm, and Commissioned Bank Examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Jim can be reached at 303-903-9369 or jimswanson@q.com.