2015 Rising PR Stars: Kristal Sauer, Account Manager, Gagen MacDonald

As a strategy execution consulting firm, Gagen MacDonald specializes in internal communications, employee engagement, culture change and leadership development. In recent memory, no junior consultant has embedded themselves so deeply and successfully with its clients than Kristal Sauer.

She joined Gagen in 2012 after a stint in book publishing at HarperCollins Publishers, an industry well-known for its recent disruption and pressing need to reinvent itself for a digital era. Early on in her career, Sauer displayed the cool head and canny vision needed to help her employer rally its troops internally around upsetting and fundamental changes to their industry – an internal communications task that put the company on more solid footing for its future.

Sauer’s first and most sustained client engagement at Gagen was with ITT Corporation, a $2 billion global diversified manufacturer of engineering and technical solutions. When Sauer joined the ITT account in 2013, the focus was to articulate the company’s strategy in a story that all employees could tell – The ITT Way. It became the cornerstone story integrated into everything the company did – from the five-year operating plan and employee performance goals to recognition, leadership competencies, external marketing and collateral, and CEO positioning.

The initial engagement was hugely successful, winning the team a Global SABRE Award in 2013, and thus opening the door for even more work that was further linked to the CEO’s aggressive growth agenda. Since then, Sauer has showcased the engagement on behalf of the client and firm at the 2014 Communications Leadership Exchange and 2013 PRSA International Conferences in Philadelphia.