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Everyone wants more effective communications, but how do you get started when there’s so much to do and no time to do it?
First, take a breath. We begin every project with a simple conversation. Need a strategy? Start with a full assessment and planning session. Staff skills need a tune-up? Bring our trainers in-house for hands-on, customized workshops.
Heavy on words but light on visuals? Create an editorial strategy for images, infographics and video. Too much analog in a digital world? Sort out your social media and mobile strategies.
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The Story of Us
Every time Mark Ragan or Jim Ylisela gave a workshop or spoke at a Ragan conference, someone in the audience (often several someones) would ask: “Can you come to my organization and help us with that?” Uh, yeah. That’s why Mark and Jim created Ragan Consulting Group, and then invited their friends (who happen to be top consultants in their fields) to join them.
Mark Ragan is the CEO of Lawrence Ragan Communications and publisher of four daily news sites, including PR Daily and Ragan.com.
Mark began his career as a newspaper reporter and writer long before the term “content producer” had been invented.
During his 15-year career he covered business and politics for The San Diego Tribune, Copley News Service and New York Newsday.
In addition to his CEO responsibilities at Ragan, Mark is the co-founder of Ragan Consulting Group, along with long time business partner Jim Ylisela.
Together, Ylisela and Ragan have helped companies build their own news and brand journalism sites, beginning with the premise that businesses should “stop begging the media and become the media instead.”
Jim is an award-winning veteran Chicago journalist and former publisher of Ragan.com. He brings more than 30 years of experience in writing, editing, communications research and consulting.
Jim designed and organized newsrooms for many organizations, including Northwestern University’s Medill graduate School of Journalism, where he served as faculty member and co-director of the Medill News Service from 1988 to 2001.
Jim is a longtime communications trainer and well-known expert in launching corporate newsrooms—both internally and externally—around the concept of brand journalism. He has launched newsrooms and trained staff at such diverse organizations as Advocate Health Care, in Chicago; Baptist Health, in Jacksonville, Florida; Denver Water; Jones Lang LaSalle, in Chicago; Omaha Public Power District; Metropolitan State University of Denver; and the University of Alberta, in Edmonton.
He has worked with communicators and news teams around the world, including Aflac, Allstate, BlackRock, GE Health, PepsiCo, Siemens and USAA, in the U.S.; Standard Chartered Bank (London), the European Investment Bank (Luxembourg), adidas (Germany), Nokia (Finland) and Saudi Aramco (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).
Jim is the author of “Who Killed the Candy Lady?’ an investigation of the disappearance and presumed murder of candy heiress Helen Brach, Chicago’s longest unsolved murder mystery. He is a lifelong and long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan—until 2016, that is, when his Cubbies won it all.
Rebecca is responsible for the group’s growth strategy, operations, marketing and business development. Rebecca often joins fellow consultants on internal communications projects where she assists with benchmark studies, focus groups and vehicle analysis. She also oversees project management of large-scale client work, ensuring that projects are tracking on schedule and the client’s needs are being met.
Previously, Rebecca was a senior internal communications analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, where she managed special projects, Town Halls and leadership meetings, employee award programs and contributed news stories to the Bank’s intranet site.
Prior to joining the Fed, Rebecca spent seven years as a conference producer at Ragan Communications, creating tailored content for corporate communication professionals. In this role she worked with corporations such as Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, The Coca-Cola Company, Mayo Clinic, Chesapeake Energy and Southwest Airlines.
Justin Allen is Head of Production and Video Strategy for Ragan Consulting Group. He is a Chicago-based content strategist, writer, filmmaker, producer and entrepreneur. Most recently, he was VP of Creative & Production of ZMG / Ruckus Factory, a New York + Chicago digital video production studio, of which he is also a founder, where his team produced more than 1,500 short form custom news and entertainment videos per month, netting more than 100 million views per month.
Previously, Justin was head of content at TouchVision, an executive producer and showrunner at Tribune Media, as well as a regular speaker and consultant with Ragan Communications. He has created news, feature, documentary and comedy digital content and TV shows that were (and still are) syndicated nationally on CBS, FOX, NBC, the CW, the Huffington Post, Yahoo!, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Associated Press and many others.
Nick is an affiliate consultant for Ragan Consulting Group. He has spent his career telling stories — and helping clients tell theirs.
He started as a beat reporter on a suburban newspaper, then moved to financial journalism – including several years as executive editor of Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street, one of the highest-circulation investment letters in history.
A D.C. native, Nick next combined his political savvy and journalism chops as managing director at boutique public affairs firm LMG and as head of public affairs in the D.C. office of global PR agency Porter Novelli. As a freelance speechwriter, Nick has written for CEOs, political campaigns and an Oscar-winning actress. His opinion pieces have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and dozens of other outlets. As a coach and consultant, he’s led media training, crisis communications and writing workshops across the country.
Other than watching the Nats with his wife and two sons, Nick’s favorite thing to do is helping people tell stories more effectively. As he says, everyone’s got some good ones.
Katrina Gill is an affiliate consultant for Ragan Consulting Group. She has more than a decade of diverse research experience, from the planning and development of projects through the presentation of results and recommendations for action. She is an experienced manager of both qualitative and quantitative research projects in many fields, ranging from employee to consumer research. She is a formally trained focus group moderator and in-depth interviewer.
She is the owner of Gill Research LLC and has provided customized services, counsel and support to many organizations, including Ace Hardware, American Century, Baxter, Delta Air Lines, Eureka, Harrah’s Entertainment, Harvard University, Household, JPMorgan Chase, Merck & Co., Moody’s Investor Services, National PTA, Pergo, Quaker Oats, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, State Farm Insurance, St. Vincent Hospital System, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Group, Wells Fargo Home & Consumer Finance Group and the YMCA of the USA.
Prior to forming Gill Research, Katrina was Director of Research at L.C. Williams & Associates, a PR and research counsulting firm in Chicago, IL.
Katrina is formally educated in research methodology and has completed post-graduate study on a doctoral track in clinical psychology at the University of Missouri. She graduated with a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Missouri and a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology from the University of Illinois.
Rob Friedman is an affiliate consultant for Ragan Consulting Group. He loves how words and ideas can touch hearts and affect change.
He got his start in the late ’80s at Ragan Communications, editing Speechwriter’s Newsletter and teaching workshops on various forms of business writing. While there, he worked with Larry Ragan to put together the first national speechwriters conference.
Rob went on to become a speechwriter for Ameritech and the AMA, then spent more than 20 years at Eli Lilly and Company, his last nine as senior director of Executive Communications. At Lilly, Rob wrote for three CEOs and other senior executives – speeches, op-eds, annual reports, video-scripts and the occasional bar mitzvah toast.
Over 30 years, Rob has instructed thousands of professional communicators from around the world in speechwriting, storytelling, TED Talks, and more.
Bob is an affiliate consultant for Ragan Consulting Group. Equally accomplished as a writer and designer,Bob Zeni is an expert on the editorial process for developing high-impact, highly effective visuals.
The imprint of his design talent and editorial sensibility can be found on numerous commercial publications – The Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business and Advertising Age among them. Since founding Bob Zeni & Associates in 1988, he’s produced websites, visual identity systems, employee communications programs and cultural change initiatives. Clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations, including AT&T, Baxter, Exelon, Harris/BMO, LaSalle Bank, McDonalds, Morton Salt, Northern Trust and Walgreens.
He’s an instructor in the school of journalism at DePaul University and the department of visual communications at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Shannon an affiliate consulting for Ragan Consulting Group. She is an expert in media across all platforms and works with companies to analyze, create and execute strategies to grow and monetize video content. From network to local news to digital content her background as a news and entertainment executive allows her to identify content that people will watch and share and develop strong strategies to capitalize financially on it. Her experience running local and network newsrooms, documentaries and entertainment programming gives her expertise in evaluating and revamping editorial systems, maximizing content while minimizing cost, and hiring quality talent.
Bryant is an affiliate consultant for Ragan Consulting Group. He’s a global communications leader who is passionate about the power of standout employee communications to help organizations achieve business objectives and become the companies that people clamor to join. He works with organizations to design and manage employee communications strategies that increase engagement, especially during times of transition, growth, and crisis. His firm Great Communicate, helps organizations find their unique story, create compelling efforts to tell it, build employer brands, and increase employee engagement.
He spent four years leading global internal communications for CHC Helicopter—an offshore helicopter operator working primarily with oil and gas companies. There, as part of a corporate turnaround, the creation of an employee communications function increased job satisfaction scores by 22 points and overall engagement by 12 points.
Before that, Bryant led several communications roles for Dell including creating the company’s corporate responsibility communications function covering sustainability, diversity and philanthropic efforts, and leading consumer market communications for the company in the U.S. and Europe.
Kim Clark is an affiliate consultant with Ragan Consulting Group. Kim has always been focused on messaging, audiences and how communications shape people’s experience. Her career spans radio, documentary filmmaking, agency partnerships with Discovery Channel, marketing, brand strategy, writing, training and teaching at a University. Since entering corporate cultures at KLA-Tencor, PayPal, NetApp and GoDaddy, she has taken full advantage of the various mediums to engage employees and facilitate transparency and trust in organizations. While at GoDaddy, she built an infrastructure and internal communications strategy from scratch and moved the needle 13 points in trust in just six months as measured by their annual engagement survey. She is now working on practical thought leadership ideas on how culture and communications play together to co-create an intentional workplace culture that’s inclusive for all.
Carlos Gill is an affiliate consultant with Ragan Consulting Group. Carlos has 8+ years of professional experience in B2B and B2C social media marketing as a Start-up Founder, Brand Marketing Executive, and Public Speaker. Previously, he served as Senior Social Marketing Manager for LinkedIn. His proven track record includes leading consumer-facing digital and social media programs as Social Media Manager for Winn-Dixie, where he developed strategy and led the launch of all Winn-Dixie’s social channels, social listening, and blogger influencer program. In addition, Carlos served as the Head of Digital Marketing for Save-A-Lot food stories. A true digital native, Carlos maintains an active presence on Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube in addition to speaking at industry conferences such as SXSW and Social Media Marketing World.
Eileen Ryan is an affiliate consultant with Ragan Consulting Group. Photography is Eileen’s entry to so many worlds. In the same week she has photographed in a homeless shelter, in the ER of a major trauma center and photographed President Bill Clinton. The stories she tells through the lens, reveal the human spirit and the journeys we all make through this life. Eileen has photographed for corporations, universities and not for profits, worldwide.
Eileen has received numerous grants and has exhibited internationally. She has taught school children, college students and adults to express their story through the lens of photography.
Deonna Gallucci joined Ragan Consulting Group in 2018. She handles a variety of administrative duties including helping to book consultants at events around the U.S., assisting accounting with billings and expenses, organizing company-wide events and handling special projects for client work.
She has over 10 years of experience providing administrative support in industries including hospitality, events and technical industries. She is passionate about helping others to make their lives easier.
Prior to her position at RCG, she served as a Senior Client Relations Manager for Total Coordination Professionals, servicing over 500 clients and vendors through North America.
Kristin leads the sales and marketing team for RCG, listening to prospective clients tell stories about the interesting challenges communicators face today.
In addition to Kristin’s work with RCG, she also heads the sponsorship sales team at Ragan Communications. She teams up with top communications vendors for Ragan’s conferences and online content marketing programs.
Prior to joining Ragan Communications and RCG, Kristin worked three years in corporate communications for PepsiAmericas, where she wrote stories, produced videos, planned conferences. She worked through Pepsi rebrand in 2008 and the three-way merger of PepsiCo and its bottling system in 2009.