Top Women in PR 2014: Kathleen Henson

Kathleen Henson, Founder and CEO, Henson Consulting, Inc.

There is no greater brand advocate than Kathleen Henson. She acutely understands the immense power of relationships, particularly with influencers in the upper echelons of the media. She delivers on messaging and creativity, whether it’s in a formal meeting or a casual check-in phone call. The conviction of her delivery — and innovation of her follow through — assures results for her clients.

Navy Pier is the Midwest’s top tourist attraction, with 9 million annual visitors. Kathleen secured the firm’s role as agency of record for the Pier and serves as the account’s primary point of contact. In July 2014, Navy Pier asked Kathleen to generate widespread public recognition for a $20 million legacy gift from local philanthropist and former business community leader, the Polk family. The gift was a considerable contribution toward phase one of Navy Pier’s 2016 centennial celebration redevelopment. To meet this goal, Kathleen secured the support and participation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the public gift announcement and provided on-site support at the July press conference, which was designed to elicit Chicago media coverage that the Pier could leverage in its fundraising efforts, in order to encourage future gifts from potential corporate and private donors. Kathleen and her team dominated the day’s news coverage by securing more than 20 million local media impressions, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, as well as televised spots on CBS2, ABC7, NBC5, Fox32, and WGN.