Cutthroats in Media and Communications: Nina Tooley '94

Community School Alumna Nina Tooley '94

Nina Tooley ’94, the Chief Marketing Officer of High Wide & Handsome, a Los Angeles-based advertising agency, traces her strong communication skills back to her days as a Cutthroat. 

“I’m responsible for bringing in new clients and raising awareness of the agency, which involves a lot of outreach and relationship building,” explained Nina. “Communication and interpersonal skills are critical to my job and so is resilience, which I definitely learned at Community School. When I’m faced with challenges at work or life, sometimes I think, ‘I lived in a snow cave, I can handle this!’”

Nina fondly remembers her Senior Seminar class with Bob Brock, Jon Maksik, and the late Bob Doyle. “They helped us understand and appreciate some of the great literary works and challenged us to become better writers,” Nina said. She also credits Upper School math teacher Mike Wade for teaching the analytical skills she uses on a daily basis as a marketer. “Marketing is both a science and an art, so I feel like Community School set me up perfectly for my current career,” she explained. “As competition increases, it will be critical to have strong communication and soft skills if you want to succeed. With its focus on Senior Projects and Speeches, and outdoor trips that require teamwork, Community School does a great job at developing those skills.”

After graduating from Princeton in 1998, Nina started a clothing line with the brand Body Glove as well as her own handbag company. She earned her MBA at Pepperdine University, and while there, interned with Yahoo! Entertainment, which ignited a passion for digital marketing. She then landed at direct response marketing giant Guthy-Renker, managing the digital marketing and e-commerce for its top brands. From there, it was onto Sole Society, a direct-to-consumer women’s shoe brand partially owned by Nordstrom where she was a key figure in turning a concept into a multi-million dollar business. 

In her current role, Nina works with both large consumer packaged goods brands and startups. But no matter how busy work becomes, her family is her priority. Married to fellow Cutthroat James Tooley ’90 (and sister to fellow alum Perrin Anderson ’97), the couple has two young sons, Mac (2 1/2) and Anderson (1), who Nina hopes will one day experience what she and James did at Community School. “It felt like there were no limits to what I could experience or accomplish at Community School. We were allowed to be ourselves, and that enabled our minds to open up and learn.”


This profile was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of CS Magazine.