Ava McDonald, Founder & CEO

Ava McDonald, a senior at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, is an entrepreneur who is passionate about ensuring a more ethical influencer marketing environment. Ava founded Zfluence in March 2019 to address the growing lack of authenticity that exists in “pay-to-say” influencer marketing on Instagram. Ava’s mission is to empower her generation—the largest group of social media users—to take a more active role in the $10 billion Instagram economy and make influencer marketing more authentic. Ava began working in marketing when she was a freshman in high school and served as a marketing intern at both a local cycling studio and an equity theater company. As a sophomore, she became the first and only high school student admitted into the college internship program at one of Austin’s leading public relations firms. Currently, in addition to running Zfluence, Ava is working with a professor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, which has adopted Zfluence as a case study in its MBA curriculum. In addition to running Zfluence, Ava is actively involved in her school’s dance and choreography programs; Model United Nations, where she serves as the delegation head for the United States; Quiz Bowl; and French Club; and she volunteers regularly with Interfaith Action of Central Texas, teaching English to local refugee children.