PRSA Chicago Officers and Committee Chairs, 2017
Kelly came to Aon in Jan. 2009 from the agency world, where she oversaw KemperLesnik’s top financial services and technology public relations accounts as well as media relations for The Art of Food & Wine Palm Desert annual festival in California.
She most recently served as the global leader of internal and external communications for Aon Risk Solutions, the $6+ billion global risk management business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), the professional services firm ranked 420 on Fortune’s Global 2000. In this role, Kelly focused on strategic positioning and executive communications, working closely with the CEO and his leadership team to help drive the short- and long-term objectives of the business.
Previously, Kelly served as director / global head of public relations for Aon Risk Solutions, senior director / head of global marketing and communications for Aon Broking and in a chief of staff role for the CEO of Aon Risk Solutions.
She counseled Aon’s top leaders and experts on messaging, branding and delivery on topics ranging in scope from the risks inherent to doing business in Brazil to those facing filmmakers in Hollywood. In her tenure at Aon, Kelly led the early charge on social media channels such as Twitter as well as the integration of search engine optimization tactics into news release development on a global basis.
Prior to KemperLesnik and Aon, Kelly served as a consultant to business-to-business and media clients in Chicago and spent several years in New York City with ABC television network, where she cut her teeth in production and ultimately oversaw advertising for the network’s sports division.
Virginia V. Mann, Etc.
Virginia Mann is an award-winning corporate communications, public relations and public affairs professional with a solid understanding of business. A strategic leader, she is able to interpret information and create programs that persuade and motivate internal and external audiences. Her experience includes substantial work with CEOs, Boards of Directors and the media. She has extensive experience in executive speech-writing and coaching. Virginia has done award-winning work in media relations, crisis communications, investor communications and employee communications. Media successes include placements in The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; U. S. News & World Report; Crain’s Chicago Business; USA Today; and numerous newspapers, television stations, radio stations and trade publications across the nation and around the globe.
Virginia’s broad range of experience includes extensive work with blue-chip, Fortune 500 companies in a variety of industries including: Brunswick Corporation; Hewitt Associates; Sears, Roebuck & Co.; United Airlines; Topco Associates; Fujisawa Pharmaceuticals; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; National Association of Manufacturers; and others. She also has extensive experience in animal health and welfare, working with organizations such as the American Kennel Club, The Puppy Mill Project, Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center/MedVet Chicago and many others. Mann began her career with former Illinois Secretary of State Jim Edgar. She is a graduated with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science.
Director, Advertising & Public Relations Program
Loyola University of Chicago
Herb Ritchell is Director of the Advertising and Public Relations major at Loyola University Chicago. He has 25 years of professional experience having held senior positions on both the agency and corporate side. He also operates a consulting practice.
He began as a copywriter with the Marsteller advertising agency, became a vice president and worked closely with Burson-Marsteller colleagues. He was also a vice president with Ogilvy Chicago. Ritchell moved to the corporate side as vice president, head of consumer communications with First Chicago (now Chase) and later headed marketing communications for International Trucks.
In 1998 he joined Edelman Public Relations where he helped launch six new start-up companies. His work has helped clients generate hundreds of millions in sales and earned numerous industry awards.
Ritchell has a MBA in Marketing and Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and a Bachelor’s in Advertising from the University of Illinois. He’s been a speaker and delegate at the PRSA International Conference as well as a judge for the American Marketing Association’s EFFIE Awards. He is on the board of directors of the Streeterville Chamber of Commerce and a member of CAF (Chicago Advertising Federation), and CADM (Chicago Assn. of Direct Marketers).
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Alison is a vice president within the brand practice at Ketchum Chicago, working with the Whirlpool and U.S. Cellular teams.
Specializing in consumer home goods and service industries, Alison has spent almost a decade building and executing brands’ communication strategies. She is known for her creativity and superior attention to detail.
Alison joins Ketchum from L.C. Williams & Associates (LCWA) in Chicago – a mid-sized public relations agency with a home specialty. Alison began her career at LCWA where she most recently served as group manager. In her last role she led client relationships predominately in the home industry including Jarden Safety & Security, Snow Joe and Trex, among others. Previous experience includes work with Graber Blinds, La-Z-Boy and Owens Corning.
At LCWA, Alison specialized in social media, including managing strategies, overseeing channel approach and implementing influencer outreach programs. She also regularly led media relations efforts and trade show logistics.
Currently serving as president of the local Chicago chapter of Public Relations Society of America – Alison is passionate about public relations and its role in marketing. She often serves as guest lecturer to area university students and mentors others looking to break into the public relations industry.
Alison attended the University of Wisconsin (Madison) where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and leadership certificate. She was named student leader of the year in 2007.
Edward M. Bury, APR
Coordinator of Public Information
University of Chicago, Urban Transportation Center
Edward M. Bury, APR, is a senior Chicago-based communications professional/strategic thinker with proven experience in marketing, public relations and related disciplines. He currently manages all internal and external communications for the Urban Transportation Center, a transportation research unit at University of Illinois at Chicago. During his career, he’s helped build the brand for leading Chicago-headquartered and international commercial real estate associations and developed and nurtured strategic alliances to reach goals and provide solutions. One of 3,800 PR professionals to hold Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential, he’s passionate about the value of Accreditation in modern public relations. He’s served on three PRSA national committees and has been an active member of PRSA Chicago for more than a decade. He blogs about “public relations and other stuff” at www.prdude.wordpress.com. Bury got his career start at the legendary City News Bureau of Chicago in 1977. He’s the principal of a communications consultancy serving restaurant/hospitality, real estate, mortgage and other businesses.
Senior Vice President, General Manager
With more than a decade of consumer brand-marketing and public-relations experience, Brian Flad plays several key leadership roles within Olson Engage, PR Week’s 2014 Agency of the Year.
Brian leads the agency’s oldest and highest-profile client relationship, MillerCoors, a business he’s helped to grow and drive since 2006, when he joined Olson Engage (then known as Dig Communications). In addition, he serves as senior counsel to a broad range of accounts across the agency in order to ensure clients are creating connected consumer experiences on- and off-line through events, content and activation.
Brian served as an account director for Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, Inc., a global entertainment-marketing company, where he connected PR agencies and their clients with relevant celebrities. Previously, he worked in the consumer brand division of Ketchum’s Los Angeles division, and on the McDonald’s account at Golin in Chicago.
Brian received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from San Diego State University, where he graduated magna cum laude.
Global Marketing Manager & Account Supervisor
Manager, External Communications
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CHAIR
Shane Winn is general manager of Allison+Partners’ Chicago office, and has built a two-decade career in consumer public relations, brand development and corporate communications on both client and agency sides of the business. Shane previously managed the day-to-day operations of Chicago-based Alpaytac PR, and before that, was a Senior Director at Burson-Marsteller, where he led the Chicago Consumer and Brand Marketing practice.
Prior, he spent two years with MetLife in New York, leading all brand communications in the Americas, including all sports marketing PR, primarily supporting the title sponsorship of MetLife Stadium. Shane has represented brands such as Oakley, JLT Specialty U.S., IKEA and Discover Financial Services.
While in-house at Washington Mutual, Shane helped drive the growth of the regional public relations team inside the company, eventually managing the national team. While much of the early work with WaMu was proactive and consumer-focused, the financial industry crisis facing the U.S. in 2008 led him deeply into the world of crisis communications and reactive media relations.
Shane began his agency career at the boutique public affairs agency, Jasculca Terman and Associates, where his clients included banks, insurance companies, universities, hospitals and myriad not-for-profits. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University and bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Public Administration from Augustana College.
Kristie Heins Fox
Senior Vice President, Corporate Technology
Taylor Trovillion is an Account Supervisor in Finn Partners’ Chicago office. Taylor joined Finn Partners in October of 2014 to serve FP’s Technology and Professional Services clients where she conducts corporate communications for clients in the private equity, health care, B2B technology and legal sectors. Taylor’s work includes managing investor and analyst relations programs and coordinating executive visibility programs with an emphasis on top tier media relations work. Taylor has managed media relations programs related to fundraising rounds, earnings, spin-offs, sales, regulatory and legislative news, executive appointments, labor union agreements and product launches. Taylor has secured media placements with the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg and dozens of other top tier and top DMA media outlets.
Prior to joining Finn Partners, Taylor was with Edelman’s Chicago office in their Corporate Affairs practice where she conducted financial communications and media relations for Fortune 50 clients spanning the private equity, specialty finance, defense, industrial, pharmaceutical, and cleantech sectors.
Taylor graduated from Marquette University, magna cum laude, where she double majored in corporate communication and broadcast journalism and minored in political science. Taylor consistently works with Marquette, DePaul and Loyola of Chicago communications students as a mentor and guest lecturer.
Taylor currently serves as a Co-Chair of PRSA Chicago’s Programming Committee (having previously served as Chair of PRSA Chicago’s Young Professionals group), the Head of Scholarship Fundraising for the Marquette University Alumni Club of Chicago and is an active member of the Junior League, leading one of its service projects in the West Logan Square neighborhood.
SENIOR LEADERS CO-CHAIR
Senior Communications Consultant
Former Chief Communications Officer, McDonald’s Corporation
Bridget Coffing has more than 35 years of communications experience including public affairs and issues management, marketing communications and public relations for both major corporations and public relations and advertising agencies. She most recently served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations for McDonald’s Corporation. In this role, Coffing was the company’s Chief Communications Officer and reported to McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer.
As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, she oversaw the Global Government and Public Affairs department; Global External Communications, encompassing media and public relations, marketing communications, and global digital communications; and the Global System Communications group, including internal communications, meetings and events, creative services and McDonald’s archives.
Earlier, as Vice President of Global External Communications, Coffing developed communications strategies to reinforce McDonald’s commitment to children’s well-being, Ronald McDonald House Charities, marketing leadership, sports and entertainment alliances, and consumer brand activities including McDonald’s FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games sponsorships.
Coffing joined McDonald’s in 1985 from Golin/Harris Communications, where she specialized in food and consumer marketing. Coffing previously worked at Stephan and Brady Advertising and Regal Ware, Inc. concentrating on retail promotions and reputation management.
Coffing has received numerous industry awards and McDonald’s recognition, including the McDonald’s Presidents’ Award, annually awarded to the top one percent of employees, and McDonald’s Team and Circle of Excellence Awards. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Publicity Club of Chicago, and the Distinguished Senior Leader Award from the Chicago Public Relations Society.
She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and the Public Relations Society of America, Chicago Chapter; on the Executive Committee of the Board of Visitors of the University of Wisconsin School of Human Ecology; and a member of the Arthur Page Society.
SENIOR LEADERS CO-CHAIR
The Jernstedt Company
President and CEO
Rich’s experience includes military public affairs, corporate and marketing communications for a large corporation, and public relations agencies. His operates a consulting firm, The Jernstedt Company, and has been a senior counselor to Porter Novelli for the last five years.
He is known for developing and leading successful integrated communications programs across a variety of disciplines and geographies. Rich’s professional focus is reputation management and marketing communications for organizations who desire specific actions from key audiences. His background includes strategic planning, event marketing, crisis management, internal communications and thought leadership. He was CMO during part of his seven years at FleishmanHillard. For more than 25 years at Golin he helped build the one-office firm in to one of the largest in the world. He was the CEO for 12 years.
He has been on Silver Anvil-winning teams, management supervisor of the 2015 Skyline Awards “Best of Show” program, and the “Distinguished Senior Leader” honoree at the Chapter’s 2015 Senior Leaders’ event.
Rich was a board member of the Arthur Page Society, and a founding board member and then chairman of the Council of Public Relations Firms. He is a member of the board of Off The Street Club. Formerly, he served on the boards of The Institute for Public Relations and the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Rich’s journalism degree is from the University of Oregon. He was a trustee of the University for eight years.
SKYLINE AWARDS CO-CHAIR
Aggie is a Senior Associate at Greentarget, a strategic public relations firm focused exclusively on business-to-business organizations. As a media relations specialist, Aggie has shaped and executed communications campaigns on behalf of professional services firms across the country. She maintains strong relationships with key reporters in top-tier and trade media across a number of industries and has significant experience positioning thought leaders as experts in their respective fields. Aside from her account work, Aggie helps manage Greentarget’s Community Investment commitment, which includes the organization and coordination of pro bono client accounts and service outings on behalf of the larger group. She also serves as the firm’s Washington, D.C. media ambassador and regularly travels to the D.C. market to build strategic relationships with reporters on behalf of the firm’s clients.
Aggie holds a B.A in Strategic Communications and Marketing from Miami University, where she graduated magna cum laude.
SKYLINE AWARDS CO-CHAIR
David M. Zapata is President and Founder of Zapwater Communications, a public relations agency specializing in lifestyle brands and with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Zapata is an award-winning public relations executive with diverse government, political and agency experience. He has advised clients ranging from major consumer brands to Fortune 500 companies and technology start-ups to elected officials. At Zapwater, he continues to work with a unique blend of clients in a wide variety of categories. The list includes numerous global and trendsetting lifestyle brands. Under Zapata’s leadership, the agency has won 90+ major industry awards including HSMAI Adrian Awards, Holmes Report Gold Sabre Awards, PCC Golden Trumpets, PRSA Skylines, PRSA PRism and Bulldog Awards.
In 2013, Zapwater won Grand Prize/Best of Show at the Bulldog Media Relations Awards. In 2016, Zapwater won The Platinum Award/Best of Show at the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Golden Trumpets. The award is given to the public relations campaign of the year in the Chicagoland area.
Zapwater was named “A best agency to work for in the U.S.” by The Holmes Report in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The agency was also named to the “50 Best Places to Work in PR” list by PR News.
SKYLINE AWARDS CO-CHAIR
Christie Zielinski, APR
Christie Zielinski is a vice president with KemperLesnik, serving clients in the consumer products and services, travel, real estate and technology industries. She is responsible for providing strategic PR counsel and support to such companies as Aon Affinity, Brunswick, RESTORE, and Streamsong Resort.
Christie has 20 years of public relations industry experience, bringing a focus on driving bottom line results for clients and expertise in strategy and message development, media relations, media training, social media, corporate social responsibility, issues management, and crisis communications. At KemperLesnik, she has led the teams responsible for driving media results for the NFL Draft in Chicago, revealing Brian Urlacher’s bold new look to the world, educating consumers about the importance of flood insurance on behalf of Aon National Flood Services, opening Streamsong – one of the nation’s most critically acclaimed golf resorts, and more.
Previously, Christie spent 15 years at Cushman/Amberg Communications in a variety of leadership positions, working on behalf of such clients as BainUltra, DeVry, GE Healthcare Financial Services, Protiviti, Sandals & Beaches Resorts and U.S. Cellular.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University and is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America.
Vice President/Account Director
Dane has more than 15 years of experience working in corporate communications. His experience spans a range of communications activities, including business-to-business communications, corporate reputation management, employee communications and integrated marketing. He began his career in the Corporate/Marketing Communications department of The Timken Company, where he managed the company’s year-long global centennial celebration.
After moving to Chicago from Ohio, Dane worked SPSS (IBM) and then at GolinHarris, leading various corporate accounts in his four-year tenure there. Since February 2004, Dane has worked Ketchum Public Relations, where he has managed industry communications, executive leadership initiatives and integrated PR/marketing efforts for a number of clients including Navistar, United Airlines, Walgreen’s, ConAgra Foods, Kellogg and FedEx.
Caiti is an account supervisor within the brand practice at Ketchum. Aside from her account work, Caiti is also a member of the Ketchum Global Media Network and serves as an associate planner across accounts. Outside of Ketchum, Caiti holds an ACE group fitness certification, teaching classes at her alma mater.
Caiti earned her bachelor’s degrees in Public Relations and Advertising and Communication Studies from DePaul University.