A Step Ahead PR Consulting and Coaching, Lincolnshire, Illinois
2011 - Present
Senior Consultant and Executive Coach
A 35-year PR strategist and executive coach, she heads a global Chicago-based consulting practice that specializes in crisis communications, strategic planning, business strategy, special events, internal communications, media relations strategy, and executive coaching. She facilitates strategic planning processes and board retreats. She is an expert media and presentation trainer. Her niche areas are corporations, higher education institutions and national non-profits.
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
2009 - 2011
Vice President, Public Relations and Communications
With more than 25,000 students, DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, non-profit university in the Midwest. The university offers more than 275 graduate and undergraduate programs of study on two Chicago and four suburban campuses.
For two years beginning in the fall of 2009, she closed her consulting practice to accept the newly created position of vice president, Office of Public Relations and Communications, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois. Reporting to the president and a member of his cabinet, Cheryl was charged with creating the new department and was responsible for integrating and strengthening university-wide communication efforts to promote and enhance DePaul’s visibility. She oversaw media relations and internal, external and presidential communications.
During the two years, she led a university-wide collaboration to implement the award-winning Illinois Monetary Award Program advocacy campaign, garnering seven public relations industry awards; established an internal network of DePaul public relations and communications professionals where more collaborative teams were formed to benefit the university; launched the Daily Digest to inform the university community of relevant news each morning by 9 a.m. In addition, she expanded the well-regarded reputation of DePaul nationally through special events and initiatives with the Chicago Bulls; the Bud Billiken Parade; the Lights Festival and Parade; the Emmy Award-winning CBS television series "The Good Wife" and the PBS WTTW-TV documentary "DuSable to Obama: Chicago's Black Metropolis," to name a few.
She led the team's support of faculty work with new events such as the Faculty Book Tasting event. She formed a New Media unit--adding the critical skills of a web content administrator and digital media specialist to the new department. This unit made significant strides in just a year. They served as a resource to other units on web design and content, and in addition, increased visits to the faculty and staff news and information website, Newsroom and President’s website three-fold through a remarkable content strategy using print, video and photography. Their work covered more than 100 individual university projects and events, creating hundreds of hours of video and thousands of photographs.
Building on the goal to move DePaul's communications efforts forward, she commissioned the building of a video studio with green screen and production capabilities that will serve the needs of the university for years to come.
She served as professional advisor to the College of Communications when three students won the McDonald’s Frappe competition for the Best PR and Marketing Campaign. DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media’s Game Development Program is yielding internationally recognition and top five rankings as a direct result of the public relations strategy she implemented.
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