CMA CEO Honored with Rider’s Leadership Legacy Award

CMA CEO Honored with Rider’s Leadership Legacy Award

Jeffrey Barnhart, Creative Marketing Alliance (CMA) CEO and president, was recently presented with the Leadership Legacy Award by Rider University’s Center for the Development of Leadership Skills.

“It’s truly an honor to receive an award for leadership from my alma mater,” Barnhart said. “Leadership to me is providing the right direction, the right motivation and the right ideas to achieve desired results. It’s being able to explain your vision to people so they can see the value.”

Since launching CMA, a full-service, award-winning strategic marketing and integrated communications firm, Barnhart has set the direction and charted the course with strategic leadership. He grew his firm into the thriving business it is today with 35 employees. The company was recognized as the 2016 Outstanding Small Business of the Year by the MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce for generating results for clients through digital marketing, public relations and social media.

“Jeff’s exemplary career made him a natural for this award,” said Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., president and CEO, New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), who served as a judge on the university’s Leadership Legacy Award committee. “As the name connotes, this ‘leadership legacy’ award is all about someone whose life quest leaves a true mark. Jeff’s leadership among his colleagues, his staff, in his industry and in the greater Mercer County community is invaluable. He has touched many, inspired many and blazed a path for many.”

Prior to founding CMA, Barnhart had an extensive background that included the integration of sales and marketing through three mergers at Philips Lighting as the director of marketing communications.

During the last 30 years, Barnhart has continually helped clients achieve success with integrated marketing and public relations programs designed to increase their visibility and strategically grow their businesses.

“The committee felt that Mr. Barnhart fully captures the spirit of the Leadership Legacy Award for a community member,” said Laura Seplaki, associate director, Center for the Development of Leadership Skills and director, Leadership Development Program at Rider University. “He has demonstrated strong leadership in all aspects of his life, worked to assure that those whom he mentors are supported and nurtured, and has been thoughtful in the establishment of his legacy. His contributions and commitment to the community are significant and enduring.”

As a result of its employee-first approach, CMA has employed more than 10 individuals for more than 10 years, and a few of those have been with CMA for more than 20 years, contributing to the economic well-being of Central New Jersey residents. Under Barnhart’s leadership, the firm has implemented a number of programs—performance reviews, employee-of-the-quarter, individual quarterly goals—that have led to employee recognition and empowerment. Encouraging leaders to develop from within the organization, each team member has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive in an economically secure environment. The structure of CMA allows employees the opportunity to communicate their desired career path to upper-management, whether lateral or vertical, to foster an environment conducive to growth and role expansion.

Thinking to the next generation, CMA has a robust intern program to mentor and prepare future leaders, welcoming several students each semester who work alongside CMA’s professionals to get hands-on, real-world experience in their chosen field.

Barnhart was previously recognized by Rider University with an Alumni Achievement Award for professional excellence. He has also been named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce and as an Entrepreneur of the Year finalist by Inc. Magazine. He was also recently inducted into the Hopewell Valley Central High School Distinguished Graduate Hall of Fame for his outstanding career and accomplishments.

To learn more about CMA, visit


About Creative Marketing Alliance
Creative Marketing Alliance (CMA) is a full-service, award-winning strategic marketing and integrated communications firm that builds reputation, relationships and return on investment. It creates and manages results-driven marketing programs using Marketecture, a strategic analysis that helps clients understand how their company can best be positioned in the marketplace. For 30 years, CMA has provided innovative solutions, which include public relations, social media marketing, and publications along with an in-house studio for digital and creative design. If you’re expecting results, please visit, call 800-852-4269 or email us
About Rider University
Rider University, founded in 1865, is a comprehensive, private, coeducational university located in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey. With approximately 5,500 students studying at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of business, education, liberal arts and sciences, music and the fine and performing arts, Rider’s academic experience offers a personal approach that is celebrated for educating talented students for citizenship, life and career success. More information can be found at