Our Team

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Carolyn Grisko

President & CEO
terri cornelius

Terri Cornelius

VP of Public Relations
bill utter

Bill Utter

VP of Public Affairs
Photo of Beth Yates

Beth Yates

COO
Gretchen Wahl

Gretchen Wahl

Senior Account Director
Photo of Elisabeth Woodard

Elisabeth Woodard

Director of Marketing
Photo of Anne Marie Purdy

Anne Marie Purdy

Creative Director
Joe Barsness

Joe Barsness

Web Development Consultant
molly holcomb

Molly Holcomb

Business Manager
Photo of John Holden

John Holden

Public Affairs Strategist
Photo of Kat Kuda

Kat Kuda

Junior Designer
Photo of Monica Lawton

Monica Lawton

Senior Account Executive, PR
Photo of Meredith Lusher Fleece

Meredith Lusher Fleece

Senior Designer
jared lyons

Jared Lyons

Account Executive, Marketing
Photo of Adorn Lewis-Mitchell

Adorn Lewis-Mitchell

Community Outreach Consultant
Lauren Miskella

Lauren Miskella

Media Strategy & Execution Consultant
Photo of Kristin Monroe

Kristin Monroe

Account Executive, PR
Lisa Shelnitz

Lisa Shelnitz

Office Manager and Executive Assistant
Margarite Wypychowski

Margarite Wypychowski

Public Affairs Consultant
Photo of Carolyn Grisko

Carolyn Grisko

President & CEO

An expert in communications strategy and messaging, Carolyn draws on her deep background in government, broadcast journalism and politics to counsel Grisko’s clients on reputation management, crisis communications and building relationships with community, corporate, civic and government leaders. Carolyn has established working relationships with independent communications agencies in the global marketplace through IPREX, which she serves as secretary-treasurer. Carolyn is a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow and active in Chicago’s civic community. She invites you to bring her your most pressing communications challenges.

terri cornelius

Terri Cornelius

VP of Public Relations

As Vice President of Public Relations, Terri Cornelius utilizes her extensive communications and broadcast media experience to provide public relations strategies for clients. Terri leads her team in developing impactful messages and targeted media plans to reach priority audiences and elevate awareness of client initiatives. Terri’s clients include Willis Tower, Chicago Public Media, Rush University Medical Center and the Illinois Public Health Institute. Before joining Grisko, Terri spent more than 25 years in broadcast news and programming.

bill utter

Bill Utter

VP of Public Affairs

Bill brings extensive experience in news, public affairs, media relations, marketing and crisis communications to Grisko, where he provides account leadership and senior counsel to clients. His work both inside government and in agency leadership provides a unique perspective in tackling challenging reputation issues and strategic communications programs. Prior to Grisko, Bill led an agency public affairs team, directed marketing programs for Chicago’s hospitality industry and served in a senior role inside Chicago City Hall. Early in his career, Bill spent more than a decade in print and broadcast journalism.

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Beth Yates

COO

Beth oversees Grisko’s finances, contractual arrangements, human resources and company policy matters. She also teams with client account leads to ensure our services are provided on time and on budget. Since joining Grisko in 1997, she’s worked closely with CEO Carolyn Grisko to steward the agency’s growth from a three-person public affairs firm to the full-service integrated communications agency it is today; ardently maintaining the agency’s signature collaborative culture through more than two decades. Prior to Grisko, Beth managed the public relations and media outreach for a Chicago hospital, giving her an invaluable understanding of the agency’s needs on the operations side.

Gretchen Wahl

Gretchen Wahl

Senior Account Director

Gretchen is an experienced public engagement, internal communications and journalism professional with a passion for listening. She works with leaders to clarify their goals, understand their audiences and craft messages and communications strategies to help them achieve their goals. Gretchen is especially skilled at distilling complicated information to facilitate conversations between experts and the public. She has led public involvement processes on environmental cleanups from Tennessee to Alaska, and she’s worked on infrastructure projects that touch every neighborhood in Chicago. Before joining Grisko, Gretchen managed international safety communications for an engineering and construction firm.

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Elisabeth Woodard

Director of Marketing

Elisabeth brings integrated strategic experience and an expertise in marketing to Grisko that enhances our clients’ brands through a commitment to business objectives, consumer insight and effective activation in all media types. She ensures all creative work upholds our clients’ brand standards down to the smallest detail by immersing herself in all facets of business—always learning the intricacies of their processes/products and understanding their target audiences to the core. She has led successful campaigns for both local and national clients including Ventra, the American Heart Association, the Coca-Cola Company and Cingular Wireless. Her experience spans retail, consumer package goods, banking, cellular, technology, transportation and nonprofits.

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Anne Marie Purdy

Creative Director

Anne Marie is an award-winning creative director. She unlocks compelling creative solutions for Grisko’s clients, overseeing all digital, print and broadcast efforts for client branding initiatives, advertising and marketing communications campaigns. She has worked on some of the most recognizable brands like Boeing, Samsung and Bud Light, and after fifteen years in the industry, believes that design and branding can change the world in powerful ways. On Thursday nights, you can find her teaching advanced design classes at the Chicago Portfolio School.

Joe Barsness

Joe Barsness

Web Development Consultant

Joe and his team at fjorge bring our creative ideas to life by developing customized web applications, optimized content-managed websites, integrated mobile apps and data-backed digital strategy solutions. As a trusted partner with more than a decade of experience delivering digital products that consistently outperform expectations, fjorge helps us determine the best possible solutions not just for the web, but for our clients’ business as a whole. Joe’s team has supported the successful website development for Commonwealth LNG and the Illinois Attorney General, built content management solutions for Echoes & Reflections and ComEd, and facilitated digital needs across our client base.

molly holcomb

Molly Holcomb

Business Manager

Molly brings her vast experience of managing finances for law firms, architectural firms, nonprofits, manufacturers, real estate developers and entrepreneurs to Grisko. She works with the account staff to ensure that our projects stay on budget. In addition, she processes all payables and receivables for the agency and assists with onboarding new accounts.

Photo of John Holden

John Holden

Public Affairs Strategist

John brings his extensive experience in local political and policy issues, reputation management, media relations and community outreach to Grisko. When working with today’s overextended news media professionals, he practices the art of cutting through the clutter to get to the bottom line as quickly and thoughtfully as possible. He approaches all clients and news media with a sense of balance and integrity. John has worked in leading communications positions with the City of Chicago’s financial departments, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and DePaul University.

Photo of Kat Kuda

Kat Kuda

Junior Designer

Kat has experience in integrated marketing, including branding, social media, digital and print. She helps create visual brand stories for each client. From crafting the idea to executing a user-centric approach to every project, Kat is able to draw upon her foundation in traditional design and experience in the print and packaging world to create compelling work. She has developed designs for the American Heart Association, Ventra, Echoes & Reflections and Commonwealth LNG.

Photo of Monica Lawton

Monica Lawton

Senior Account Executive, PR

Assisting in the development and implementation of public relations strategies, Monica helps uncover, shape and share clients’ stories. Her expertise is in turning complicated subject matter into easily digestible, on-brand content that is then used in a variety of ways to further the client’s mission. Whether it’s for press conferences, community meetings, event promotion, social media or media relations, she crafts compelling stories that resonate with target audiences. Her extensive media relations experience spans various sectors, including healthcare, transportation, food and beverage, nonprofit, engineering/architecture and media.

Photo of Meredith Lusher Fleece

Meredith Lusher Fleece

Senior Designer

Meredith helps clients tell their stories visually through the design and art direction of compelling branding, digital and print pieces. Drawing from her background in art and design, she infuses a fresh creative view on all projects that come across her desk, and strives to make all clients’ work feel as compelling and accessible as possible. Meredith helps lead the creative team with her process of methodical and innovative thinking, and has developed campaigns and designs for clients such as Ventra, ComEd, Generation All, PATF, Commonwealth LNG and Echoes & Reflections.

jared lyons

Jared Lyons

Account Executive, Marketing

Jared brings a passion for building strategic communications plans to our team, which he uses to develop impactful and measurable marketing strategies for our clients. Working closely with Grisko’s creative team, his attention to detail ensures materials are delivered on brand, on target and on time. Through his background in journalism and public relations, he helps clients develop comprehensive, cross-channel marketing plans. His experience in corporate, nonprofit and government communications allows him to meet the needs of our diverse client base.

Photo of Adorn Lewis-Mitchell

Adorn Lewis-Mitchell

Community Outreach Consultant

Adorn helps Grisko’s clients connect and share important messages with key audiences, particularly those in the African-American and Hispanic consumer segments. She leverages her relationships with influential Chicago community stakeholders and knowledge of cultural nuances to build traction and positive perceptions for brands and organizations across non-profit and private sectors. She started her career at City Colleges of Chicago, went on to Burrell Public Relations, then to Miller Brewing Company, the National Council of Negro Women and Flowers Communications Group.

Lauren Miskella

Lauren Miskella

Media Strategy & Execution Consultant

Lauren is a media strategy, planning and buying expert focused on helping brands of any size build relationships with their customers across all communication touchpoints. She leverages her unique combination of agency and sales experience to build, negotiate and execute consumer or B2B-focused plans. She is a Chicago media market expert. Her background also includes technology innovation, shopper marketing, retail execution and experience across all major industries at a local, national and global level. She’s worked with brands such as Procter & Gamble, MillerCoors, ESPN, Hewlett-Packard, Ventra and the American Heart Association.

Photo of Kristin Monroe

Kristin Monroe

Account Executive, PR

As an Account Executive, Kristin lends her communications expertise and keen attention to detail to Grisko’s public relations and public affairs teams. She helps lay the foundation for thoughtful media outreach strategies through news analysis and social listening — ensuring a client’s message reaches the right people. Kristin has secured placements in leading publications for clients such as Rush University Medical Center, WBEZ Chicago and the Illinois Public Health Institute. In addition to public relations, she creates and curates social media content that resonates with client-specific audiences across multiple channels.

Lisa Shelnitz

Lisa Shelnitz

Office Manager and Executive Assistant

Lisa brings a wealth of experience in office management and executive administration from many years with advertising agencies and financial services firms. She is focused on the importance of anticipating and meeting client needs. Curiosity and attention to detail come naturally as she evaluates systems and processes to make them more efficient. Whether it’s an existing relationship, new initiative, event or review of how things are done or might be improved, Lisa’s constant goal is clear: help Grisko maximize customer service and internal progress.

Margarite Wypychowski

Margarite Wypychowski

Public Affairs Consultant

Margarite has spearheaded successful communications and public affairs initiatives for major clients such as the American Cancer Society, ComEd, PhRMA and the Chicago Bar Foundation. She draws on her deep expertise in strategy, message development, stakeholder outreach and public relations to help organizations enhance their reputation, increase awareness, influence policy and increase revenue. Margarite most recently led communications for the Innovation unit at NORC at the University of Chicago, a leading national research institution.   

Our Expertise

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Public Relations

Creating and telling your story is just the beginning. You have to be able to be own it, too. Grisko leans on its “insider edge” to generate comprehensive and targeted, positive media coverage for clients. Our senior leadership draws from years of newsroom experience and trusted reporter relationships to shape narratives and raise awareness around issues, campaigns, initiatives and organizations—and their leaders.

We have the skills, contacts and savvy to protect and elevate the reputation of our clients. Whether it’s digital or traditional, broadcast or print, Grisko knows how to weave client stories to solve the stickiest business challenges.

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Public Affairs

In public affairs, strategy and nuance can make or break an issue. Grisko knows how to identify crucial stakeholders and develop highly targeted strategies that achieve policy goals.

We have spearheaded successful legislative and regulatory campaigns on a host of high-profile issues—ranging from energy and tax policy to infrastructure development to healthcare access. Our keen understanding of how business, civic groups and government intersect allows us to anticipate challenges before they happen and spot opportunities that others may miss.

When it comes to our public affairs clients, we measure success in minds changed, votes earned and laws passed.

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Marketing

We believe that human stories are the source of big ideas. Our marketing team combines decades of experience in branding, marketing communication, design and digital media, and pairs it with a full-service, award-winning creative team.

At national and local levels, Grisko has helped clients launch initiatives, maximize their impact, and develop their brands from the ground up. We’re consistently developing creative campaigns that elevate brands and educate diverse audiences using one unified message.

We view obstacles as opportunities. We’ve turned skeptics into believers. And we’ve convinced holdouts to become adopters of change.

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Digital Services

Now more than ever it is imperative for clients to have a strong digital presence. Grisko helps you get there by developing customized digital strategies—from nuanced website development to social media management to tailored e-communications—and everything in between.

Our customized interactive experiences deliver seamless user engagement that is dynamic, compelling, responsive and relevant to the audiences who matter most. We developed a website that helped our clients position themselves as disruptors in an established global market. We revolutionized a dated business model by leveraging educational offerings through strategic interactive development. And our social team serves on the front lines of customer engagement for Chicagoland’s public transit payment system.

Our Global Network

Grisko is proud to be a member of IPREX—the world’s leading network of independent communications agencies. With 1,800 staff in 115 cities worldwide, IPREX allows us to tap into the deep expertise of our partners, from technology to education, cyber security to healthcare and consumer to industry-specific crisis communications. We tap into our partners for everything from local implementation in New Orleans to consumer counsel in New York—and you can, too.

Carolyn Grisko also serves on the IPREX Global Board of Directors as its secretary/treasurer. Learn more here.

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Representative Clients

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