As my PR-man dad used to say, "You can't serve the public interest, if the public isn't interested." Through my writing, reporting, and strategic consulting, I’ve gotten to serve the public interest, and have learned how to get the public interested. I've helped organizations in Chicago and across the U.S. figure out what their public is interested in, articulate their value proposition and communications strategy, and make meaningful connections. My work continues to be all about powerful content, sharp strategy, measurable results and serving the public interest through ethical journalism, communications and the advancement of social justice efforts.
Throughout my adventure (career), I've gotten to know the ins and outs of raising audience awareness, getting individuals to engage and stirring them to act. As communications writer, editor and manager, and as a reporter, I've helped the public better understand the world around them, supported executives as they became thought leaders, and built high-achieving communications teams and modern technological infrastructure. I've also led key communications, public relations and grantmaking efforts within major foundations, helping to advance impact-oriented portfolios. As a staff member, as a consultant, and as a journalist, I've worked for entities of every size, and on efforts with local, national and international audiences and constituencies.
I began my career working at organizations that serve youth and immigrants, and leading key elements of communications and development within two large foundations. I managed the MacArthur Foundation's environment program communications before moving to California, where I helped establish the co-founder of Intel's foundation. At the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation I supported Bay Area executive communications, including serving as PR assistant to the former Mayor of San Francisco, and as lead writer and developer for an extensive San Francisco Bay Area portfolio.
As a consultant I traveled the nation helping leaders and teams develop communications and sustainability strategies. While finishing my masters, I joined a consulting team out of Seattle and became one of the pioneers developing business and communications approaches for nonprofits. For six years I traveled the nation helping leaders and teams develop communications and business strategies. An award-winning solo consultancy came next and its hallmark was a six-part model for achieving effective communications and long-term financial viability.
Social justice is the cornerstone of all my work. Supporting it are my training in writing and management. My undergraduate creative writing degree from Knox College has proved way more valuable than I could ever have imaged. For one, it has meant that I've been the resident writer at all my jobs. It is complimented by a master's from the University of San Francisco School of Management. Rounding it all out, I studied photojournalism at Columbia College Chicago and stand-up at Second City. I've used all of this to "interest the public" and advance social justice missions.
While I am a strategist, reporter and writer, I am also an active member of communications associations and community organizations. Three of them are the Public Relations Society of America, the Professional Speechwriters Association, and Rotary International. I have also served on a number of boards and committees, including as board director and president of the San Francisco organization Art with Elders, as a founding advisory committee member for the California State University Institute for Palliative Care, and as a board member and chair of Oakland-based LeaderSpring.
Living in the San Francisco Bay Area was a thrill, but I'll always be a prairie boy, and a student of Lincoln and Adams. I was born in Chicago and when my investigative journalist dad became a press secretary, he moved our family to Springfield. Growing up in the Land of Lincoln and going to Jane Addams Elementary School made me a life-long fan of both of these radical humanitarians. I still look to them as role models and when I need inspiration or professional guidance. Early in my career a job took me to the San Francisco Bay Area, but my husband and I moved back to Chicagoland when our son headed to college. Nobody in California could believe we were moving back to the cold of Chicago, but there's no place we'd rather be than the Midwest and Illinois -- out on the prairie. We love Chicago, with it's wonderful down-to-earth people, vibrant arts and culinary scenes, and its powerful sense of community and social justice. We love the dramatic change of season and even the cold. It's true that the hikes are different on the prairie than in California, but we enjoy them just as much, especially with our new Labrador pup, Lincoln.