Firm News

Highlights and activities of the Reputation Partners team.


Reputation Partners, LLC Acquires Words&Pictures, Inc.
June 21, 2017

Reputation Partners, LLC, a strategic communications firm with offices in Chicago and Milwaukee, announced today its acquisition of Words&Pictures, Inc., a leading marketing, brand development and web design agency based in downtown Chicago. The combination of the two firms will offer full-service marketing and public relations services and provide clients with a broader and deeper range of capabilities, expertise and experience. Terms of the transaction, which is effective July 1, were not disclosed.

Reputation Partners is nationally recognized for its expertise in building, protecting and restoring organizational brands and reputations. Since its founding nearly 15 years ago, the firm has served more than 350 public, private and not-for-profit clients across the country with corporate and consumer public relations programs, digital strategies, issues/crisis management, financial/IR communications, employee/labor communications, and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Founded in 1982, Words&Pictures specializes in creating dynamic and creative strategies for both print and digital channels, including brand and identity creation, website development, marketing and sales collateral, annual reports, print and online advertising campaigns, corporate events and more. The firm has worked with dozens of leading Chicago-based and national clients including The University of Chicago Medicine, Walgreens, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The University of Arizona Medical Center, Ingalls Hospital and more, and has a particular depth of expertise in healthcare and real estate, among other industries. The agency’s work has won myriad design, writing and strategic campaign awards, garnering recognition from many of the industry’s most respected organizations.

“Forward-looking organizations understand that reaching and engaging stakeholders requires a combination of strong, strategic messaging and compelling visual design across multiple channels,” said Nick Kalm, president and founder of Reputation Partners. “In Words&Pictures, we have found a strategic partner that shares our values of quality and high-touch client service, combined with a creative spirit and track record of excellence in design, marketing and brand strategies. As our collective client base requires ever more integrated marketing and communications programs, this combination of our two firms will allow us to provide a more complete and robust offering and broader industry expertise to meet their needs.”

“When effective communications strategy is combined with creative, dynamic design, our clients can realize truly exceptional results,” said Nick Quirke, president of Words&Pictures. “Our team is thrilled to join the Reputation Partners team, and we look forward to harnessing the combined expertise of our respective firms to benefit our current and future clients.”

Nick Quirke joins Reputation Partners as senior vice president and director of creative services. The entire Words&Pictures team of designers and account managers will office at Reputation Partners’ office in downtown Chicago at 30 West Monroe Street, and will serve clients out of both the Chicago and Milwaukee offices

This marks the second acquisition by Reputation Partners in as many years.  In May 2016, the firm acquired Vollrath Associates, Inc., a Milwaukee-based corporate communications and investor relations firm.

About Reputation Partners, LLC
Reputation Partners, LLC is a strategic communications firm established in 2002, with operations in Chicago and Milwaukee. The firm employs more than 20 professionals and was named a Top Place to Work in PR by PR News. In consistent client satisfaction surveys taken since 2009, more than 97 percent of the firm’s clients say they would recommend Reputation Partners. The firm’s client base is diverse, representing clients in a wide range of industries, including real estate, retail, food and beverage, financial services, professional services, manufacturing/industrials, hospitality, non-profits, and universities, among many others. Since Reputation Partners’ founding, 100 percent of clients – more than 350 – have come from referrals or because of the firm’s reputation.

About Words&Pictures, Inc.
Words&Pictures, Inc. is an award-winning strategic marketing and brand development agency. For nearly 35 years, the firm has developed memorable marketing communications materials that deliver measurable results. Our experienced staff includes full-time strategists, designers, writers and web specialists. Our company’s philosophy is simple: No one cares more about your success than we do. No matter the medium, every communication starts with the words and pictures.

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Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Featured in Wall Street Journal’s “Crisis of the Week” Column
March 27, 2017

The Wall Street Journal recently turned its focus to McDonald’s Corp. after its company Twitter account posted a tweet calling President Trump “a disgusting excuse of a President.” As part of its “Crisis of the Week” analysis of how the company handled communication surrounding the incident, The Wall Street Journal turned to Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm for his thoughts. Read more here.


Reputation Partners Hires Sarah Lind as Account Director in Chicago Office
March 8, 2017

Reputation Partners has hired Sarah Lind as account director in its Chicago office. Sarah brings more than 5 years of communications experience in reputation management and client relationship management for clients within a variety of industries, including food, agriculture and finance. Sarah received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and a master’s degree in international business from St. Mary’s University College Twickenham in London. Fun fact? She considers herself a master of the oldest board game, backgammon.


Reputation Partners Promotes Brendan Griffith to Vice President
February 28, 2017

Reputation Partners congratulates Brendan Griffith on his promotion from account director to vice president! Brendan originally joined Reputation Partners’ Chicago office as an account coordinator and has since held a variety of roles with progressively increasing responsibilities. He leads communication efforts for local and national clients in a variety of industries including financial services, commercial real estate, retail and professional services, and manages the firm’s junior team in Chicago. Brendan earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations from Illinois State University. He lives in Chicago and in his free time enjoys reading and running on the lakefront.


Reputation Partners Promotes Chelsea Katz to Account Coordinator
February 28, 2017

Reputation Partners congratulates Chelsea Katz on her promotion from intern to account coordinator! Chelsea started as an intern in the Chicago office in August 2016 and currently supports communications efforts for public and private companies, organizations and non-profits. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science with a focus in public relations from Indiana University. Originally from Chicago and Jacksonville, Florida, Chelsea now resides in downtown Chicago. In her spare time, Chelsea loves to cycle, figure skate and cheer on the Indiana Hoosiers and Chicago Cubs!


Reputation Partners Executive Vice President Megan Hakes Featured in Milwaukee Business Journal
February 1, 2017

RP Co-founder and Executive Vice President Megan Hakes weighed in on the public relations pros and cons of hosting a president. The Milwaukee Business Journal shared insights from a few local Milwaukee PR experts after Harley-Davidson was thrown into a potential PR crisis surrounding a possible visit with President Trump at one of the company’s manufacturing plants. Read the full article here.


 

Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Featured in Wall Street Journal’s “Crisis of the Week” Column
January 4, 2017

Wall Street Journal Crisis of the Week

Photo credit: Reuters

How well did Odebrecht SA, a Brazil-based construction company that recently agreed to pay billions of dollars to the U.S. Justice Department for illicit business activities, communicate in a crisis? Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm shared his thoughts in the Wall Street Journal‘s “Crisis of the Week” Column. To read the full article, click here.


Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Featured in O’Dwyers Public Relations News
November 28, 2016

Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm shared reasons why corporate communication jobs often go to former White House employees in a recent byline for O’Dwyer’s Public Relations News. A few reasons include their broad thinking capabilities, willingness to sacrifice and their ability to be nimble, quick and mobile. To read the full article, click here.


Reputation Partners Vice President Lynn Sheka is Featured NEWaukeean of the Week
November 7, 2016

Reputation Partners Vice President Lynn Sheka was the featured #NEWaukeen of the week in early November. NEWaukee, a Milwaukee-based social architecture firm, highlights different young Milwaukeeans each week and asks them to share some of the reasons why they love their job and Milwaukee. When asked why she loves working at Reputation Partners, Lynn said, “My favorite things about my role are that I get to help people and organizations share their stories, and that no two days are ever the same.”

Learn more about why Lynn loves Milwaukee and working for RP here.


Reputation Partners Discusses Crisis Communication with Healthcare Leaders
October 28, 2016

IMG_3055Reputation Partners Executive Vice President Jane Devron and Account Director Lisa Soard presented on managing crisis communications for hospitals and health networks at the Illinois Society for Healthcare Marketing & PR Annual Conference. Key points included: having an actionable plan, taking responsibility, showing compassion, balancing legal and reputational risk, and investing in reputation-building initiatives.


Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Featured in Fast Company
October 28, 2016

Reputation Partners’ Founder and President Nick Kalm was featured in a Fast Company article on how to answer difficult questions. His key piece of advice: bridge from a difficult question to your key messages. To read the full article, click here.


Reputation Partners Turns 14
October 9, 2016

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the founding of Reputation Partners. Co-founders Nick Kalm, Jane Devron and Megan Hakes are grateful to every employee, client, referral source, partner and friend of the firm for their years of support. To learn more about the firm, click here.


Reputation Partners Promotes Weston Banker to Account Coordinator
September 29, 2016

Reputation Partners congratulates Weston Banker on his promotion from intern to account coordinator! Weston started as an intern in the Milwaukee office in June 2016 and provides daily account support for local and national clients in a variety of industries including financial services, manufacturing and retail. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a certificate in digital studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, Weston now resides in downtown Milwaukee. In his spare time, he enjoys grilling; outdoor activities including watersports, hunting, and boating; anything competitive; Milwaukee sports and is an avid Green Bay Packers fan.


Reputation Partners Promotes Lynn Sheka to Vice President
July 28, 2016

Reputation Partners congratulates Lynn Sheka on her promotion from account director to vice president! Lynn previously worked in Reputation Partners’ Chicago office and two years ago rejoined the firm to help open a dedicated Milwaukee office. She leads communication efforts for local clients in a variety of industries including health care, financial service and education, and manages the firm’s junior team in Milwaukee. Lynn earned her bachelor’s degree and MBA from Marquette University and serves on the boards of Woodlands School, a National School of Character charter school in Milwaukee, and Impact100 Greater Milwaukee, a women’s collective of philanthropy organization. Lynn lives in Milwaukee and in her free time enjoys traveling, reading, running and cheering on her hometown Green Bay Packers and the Marquette Golden Eagles.


Reputation Partners Promotes Katie Doan to Senior Associate
June 28, 2016

Reputation Partners congratulates Katie Doan on her promotion from associate to senior associate! Katie joined the Chicago RP team in May 2014 and leads communications efforts for local and national clients in a variety of industries including housing, financial services and hospitality. She provides daily account support on media relations, thought leadership and research initiatives. Katie holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Texas at Austin. Outside the office, she enjoys cheering on the Chicago Blackhawks, playing tennis and exploring the city with friends.


Reputation Partners Promotes RJ Bruce to Account Coordinator
June 1, 2016

Reputation Partners congratulates RJ Bruce on his promotion from intern to account coordinator. RJ started as an intern with the Chicago RP team in March 2016 and has already made significant contributions to several accounts. In his role as account coordinator, RJ supports communications efforts for public and private companies, organizations and non-profits. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Columbia College Chicago and a master’s of science in communications from Northwestern University. In his spare time, RJ enjoys camping in northern Wisconsin and Michigan; acting and seeing shows in Chicago’s “Off-Loop” theatres; cooking; and playing guitar, piano and singing.


Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Discusses Response to Cyberattacks in The Wall Street Journal
May 31, 2016

Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm was featured in The Wall Street Journal’s “Crisis of the Week” column as one of three public relations experts who analyzed the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)’s communication response to a massive security breach that resulted in a series of thefts of tens of millions of dollars from banks in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Ecuador. To see the full article, click here.


New Colleagues from Recently Acquired Vollrath Associates, Inc. Win PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin Paragon Award
May 19, 2016

Our new colleagues from Vollrath Associates won a Public Relations Society of America – Southeastern Wisconsin chapter Paragon Award for their work on the USS Milwaukee Commissioning.  The Vollrath Associates team led the public relations and marketing efforts of the USS Milwaukee Commissioning leading up to the November 21, 2015 ceremony event. The team assisted in video production, which included obtaining the film crew, managing production and selecting government spokespersons for the Milwaukee Brewers commissioning video and others, as well as media relations activities including coordinating press conferences, preparing media kits, informing local media of the most newsworthy elements such as ticket sales and primary events, and generating media interest and buzz leading up to the Commissioning.

Our team’s efforts resulted in a total of 33.2 million media impressions from 77 placements in broadcast, online and print media outlets. Vollrath Associates also coordinated media visits to Marinette, Wisconsin, for tours of the USS Milwaukee, with WDJT-TV CBS58, WISN-TV 12, WTMJ-TV 4, WLUK-TV Fox 11, Green Bay and the Milwaukee Business Journal.

For more information on the USS Milwaukee Commissioning, please visit: http://www.ussmilwaukeelcs5.org/.


Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Elected Vice Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation Board of Directors
May 5, 2016

Reputation Partners Founder and President Nick Kalm was recently elected vice chair of the board of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation (ALPLF) for a term of two years.  Nick has served on the board of the ALPLF since 2012.  The ALPLF is the primary means of support for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL, the only presidential museum to receive no Federal funding.  The Museum fosters Lincoln scholarship through the acquisition and publication of documentary materials relating to President Lincoln and his era. For the past four years, Reputation Partners has provided pro bono media relations support to the ALPLF’s annual Lincoln Leadership Prize, its main fundraising event.  The Lincoln Leadership Prize recognizes outstanding individuals for a lifetime of service in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln. Past recipients include President Bill Clinton, civil rights leaders “The Little Rock Nine” and filmmaker Steven Spielberg. Since Reputation Partners’ pro bono involvement with the event began, tables have been sold out and a record amount of donations has been raised. In 2015 alone, Reputation Partners secured 588 stories about the Lincoln Leadership Prize, totaling 47,368,331 impressions. Of those, 64 were unique stories totaling 23,183,531 impressions. Notable coverage appeared in the Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times, and WTTW’s Chicago Tonight (a 20-minute segment).


Strategic Communications Firm Reputation Partners, LLC, Acquires Vollrath Associates, Inc.
April 28, 2016

MILWAUKEE – Reputation Partners, LLC, a full-service strategic communications firm with operations in Chicago and Milwaukee, announced today that it has acquired Vollrath Associates, a public relations and investor relations firm based in Milwaukee. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Chicago, Reputation Partners has had a dedicated presence in the Milwaukee market since 2004. Founded by Nick Kalm, Jane Devron and Megan Hakes, Reputation Partners is nationally recognized for its expertise in building and protecting brands and reputations, and has helped more than 350 public, private and not-for-profit clients across the country and around the world drive greater recognition for and buy-in to their strategies, brands, thought leadership, executive teams and investment/philanthropic merits. Reputation Partners is also known for effectively guiding organizations through challenges that threaten their reputations, such as litigation/disputes, regulatory/legislative challenges, product recalls, incidents and accidents, financial situations (funding shortfalls, bankruptcies, restructurings, etc.), among other issues.

Reputation Partners has enjoyed years of incremental growth in Wisconsin. Led by co-founder Hakes, a Brookfield, Wisconsin, native and current resident, the firm’s Milwaukee office serves clients in the health care, social services, cultural, manufacturing, education and financial services industries. With Wisconsin operations representing more than 25 percent of the firm’s total 2015 revenues, Reputation Partners made the strategic decision to deepen its local reach and capabilities through the addition of experienced, local professionals.

“Vollrath Associates is a firm we have long admired, and as we’ve come to know them better, we’ve been thoroughly impressed by their work and longstanding client relationships,” said Hakes.  “Our combined local market knowledge, industry expertise and commitment to driving results make a powerful combination that will benefit clients of both firms.”

Vollrath Associates brings more than 35 years of experience in strategic communications, public relations and investor relations. Founded by Phil and Marilyn Vollrath in 1979, the firm works with leading public companies in telling their stories to shareholders and the investment community. Other services include corporate public relations, marketing communications, media relations and major events. Vollrath Associates serves clients in industries including hospitality, entertainment, manufacturing, shipping, and professional and consumer services.

“We are thrilled to be joining Reputation Partners, a firm that has earned a terrific reputation in this market,” said Marilyn Vollrath. “Our clients will continue to receive the same senior-level counsel and personalized attention they have come to expect, with added resources and expertise that are even more compelling. This is the right decision for Vollrath Associates, at the right time and with the right partner – one who shares our values and is committed to Wisconsin for the long term.”

Marilyn Vollrath, president and CEO of Vollrath Associates, joins Reputation Partners as an executive vice president, Jessica Vollrath Huebner as vice president and Samantha Orne as associate, all on May 2, 2016. They join Lynn Sheka, account director at Reputation Partners, Frances Fyten, associate, at Reputation Partners and Hakes in Reputation Partners’ Milwaukee office, located at 322 East Michigan Street. Phil Vollrath, co-founder of Vollrath Associates, is pursuing his goal of transitioning out of the firm to focus on his work as an adjunct professor at Marquette University, consulting and volunteer activities.

About Reputation Partners, LLC
Reputation Partners, LLC, is a full-service strategic communications firm established in 2002 with operations in both Chicago and Milwaukee. The firm employs 18 professionals and in 2015 was named a Top Place to Work in PR by PR News. The firm’s client base is diverse, representing clients in a wide range of industries, including real estate, retail, food and beverage, financial services, manufacturing/industrials, non-profits, private universities and other education institutions, religious institutions, among many others. Since Reputation Partners’ founding, 100 percent of clients – more than 350 – have come from referral or firm reputation. Learn more at: http://www.reputationpartners.com/.

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Reputation Partners SVP Courtney Harper Shares Insights on Managing Social Media during a Crisis in PRWeek
April 26, 2016

In a “point, counter-point” piece on PRWeek’s website, Reputation Partners Senior Vice President Courtney Harper shared insight on how brands should best manage social media during a crisis. In addition to highlighting the value of digital channels for disseminating a message, Harper stressed the importance of using these platforms appropriately and with careful judgement. To read her full commentary, click here.


Reputation Partners Promotes Frances Fyten to Associate
April 4, 2016

Reputation Partners congratulates Fran Fyten on her promotion from account coordinator to associate. Fran has been with the Milwaukee RP team since June 2015 and has already made a big impact. Fran supports communications efforts for public and private companies, organizations and non-profits and helps drive proactive thought leadership and strategic relationship building in the community, in addition to developing content for Reputation Partner’s social media accounts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and French from Marquette University. In her spare time, Fran enjoys traveling, reading, practicing yoga and ice skating, exploring Milwaukee, learning new languages, growing her knowledge of the craft beer industry and cheering on her hometown Minnesota Wild.


Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Discusses Lawsuit Communications Strategies in The Wall Street Journal
March 14, 2016

Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm was featured in The Wall Street Journal’s “Crisis of the Week” column as one of three public relations experts who analyzed Marriot Hotels’ response to a lawsuit brought against the company by sports reporter Erin Andrews. To see the full article, click here.


Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Discusses Improving Chicago’s Image in Chicago Magazine
March 9, 2016

Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm was featured in an article in Chicago Magazine about ways Chicago could improve its image and attract tourists to the city. To see the full article, click here.


Reputation Partners SVP Courtney Harper Speaks about Employee Engagement to Boston University Alumni Association
March 3, 2016

Reputation Partners Senior Vice President Courtney Harper recently spoke on a panel at the Boston University Alumni Association Chicago Chapter titled “Employee Engagement and Career Development in the Digital Era.” Courtney discussed how she approaches employee engagement from two perspectives: her role advising organizations on culture and employee engagement, especially during times of change and growth, and her day-to-day approach to employee engagement at Reputation Partners, which has a small, more entrepreneurial environment.


Reputation Partners Named a Finalist for 2016 Insight + Innovation SABRE Awards
February 16, 2016

Reputation Partners was named one of five finalists for the 2016 Insight + Innovation SABRE Awards North America in the “Best Use of Innovative Channels-Internal Communications” category for its work with Exelon. The awards were judged by industry experts from companies, including Salesforce, Xerox, RedPoint Ventures, Intel, and others, with five finalists chosen from hundreds of entries. For a full list of finalists, click here.


Reputation Partners Hires Lisa Soard as Account Director in Chicago Office
January 8, 2016

Reputation Partners has hired Lisa Soard as account director in its Chicago office. Lisa brings 15 years of communications experience and has worked with clients in a variety of industries such as education, health care and real estate. Lisa graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. Outside of the office, she enjoys playing with her two kids, singing in her church choir and running.


Reputation Partners Opens a Dedicated Milwaukee Office
January 3, 2016

Reputations Partners has opened a dedicated Milwaukee office, located in the historic McGeoch Building at 322 East Michigan Street. Click here to view photos of the new space. Headquartered in Chicago, Reputation Partners has had a dedicated presence in the Milwaukee market since 2004.  Led by co-founder and Executive Vice President Megan Hakes, a Brookfield, Wisconsin native and current resident, Reputation Partners has enjoyed years of incremental growth in Wisconsin, serving clients in the health care, social services, cultural, manufacturing, education and financial services industries.  With Wisconsin operations representing more than 25 percent of the firm’s total 2015 revenue, Reputation Partners made the strategic decision to open a dedicated office to better serve its Wisconsin clients. Hakes, Account Director Lynn Sheka and Associate Fran Fyten work in the Milwaukee office. To view photos of the new office, click here.


Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Featured in The Wall Street Journal’s “Crisis of the Week” Column
December 21, 2015

Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm was one of three public relations experts who analyzed statements made by Third Avenue Management after the company announced it was liquidating one of its funds and preventing investors from withdrawing money. To see the full column, click here.


Reputation Partners Named a “Top Place to Work in PR” by PR News
December 9, 2015

Reputation Partners was named a “2015 Top Place to Work in PR” by PR News for its sabbatical benefit, training opportunities and continuing education support, among other benefits. From providing interesting and challenging work to ample advancement opportunities to flexible work practices such as working from home, Reputation Partners’ senior management team strives to attract and retain talented public relations professionals.


Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Comments on Chipotle’s Handling of E. coli Outbreak in PRWeek
November 2, 2015

Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm spoke with PRWeek about the distinct lack of online messaging from Chipotle after it closed 43 restaurants in Washington and Oregon due to an E. coli outbreak. He recommended multiple actions Chipotle could take to appropriately communicate why the stores had closed and reassure customers the issue is limited to the specific area. To read the full article, please click here.


Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm Discusses Firing of USC Football Coach in The Wall Street Journal
October 19, 2015

Reputation Partners President Nick Kalm was featured in The Wall Street Journal’s “Crisis of the Week” column as one of three public relations experts who discussed how the University of Southern California handled its decision to fire football coach Steve Sarkisian. To see Nick’s full commentary, click here.