As the world prepares to say goodbye and good riddance to 2020, Mekky Media Relations Inc. is looking back on a year of unprecedented growth and several high-profile successes. The agency accomplished the difficult feat of growing during the pandemic by transforming to fit the unique needs of its clients as they adjusted to the challenging business climate, according to founder and president Michelle Mekky. She says her team jumped in with crisis management and communications and PR assistance for clients in need due to lockdowns or dealing with other consequences of COVID-19.
“We had early success in working with our existing clients to spread the word about the innovative ways they were pivoting to meet the needs of their communities. It was rewarding to be able to help them at this crucial time. And these efforts resulted in many new organizations wanting to partner with us,” Mekky says. “It’s been a tough year for small businesses, and I feel extremely fortunate to have brought on new clients and new staff and had some major wins for the agency.”
Mekky says when businesses are facing hurdles like those presented by COVID-19, strategic public relations can be more important than ever. “We’re glad our agency has been able to stay strong and help others tell their stories. That’s what we do best, and more organizations are discovering the value of this. We’re getting calls and emails from potential clients every day who have something to say to the world.”
Over the past few months, Mekky Media, which celebrated its fourth anniversary this past summer, has added several new partners to its already extensive client list, including PPE supplier Medivico, Edie’s All Day Café & Bar, Vosges Haut Chocolate, on-site self-care provider LISA, holistic wellness company Integrate Medicine, vision and new business toolkit See it to Life and new book release “Dad’s Great Advice for Teens” by Marc Fienberg. Mekky Media, a leader in representing many of Chicago’s top nonprofits, is also now the agency of record for Start Early, formerly The Ounce, a champion for early learning and care so every child can have the opportunity to thrive in school and life. In addition to the new partners, Mekky Media continues to work with the diverse organizations that have long been on its client roster, ranging from innovative start-ups to established businesses to leading nonprofits, such as Abt Electronics, Wealth Management Group, Chicago Scholars and The Ark. The agency also has supported the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and Triage Cancer and has provided pro bono services to some black-owned businesses in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
To support the new business that is steadily coming in, Bill Rossi, formerly chief financial officer of Mekky Media, has taken on the role of chief operating officer. In addition to handling financials, he is taking a leadership role with new business and agency operations. Mekky Media also has expanded the team with the hiring of senior account executive Rachel Shaykin and account executive Chelsea Rosenberg, both of whom come from top Chicago PR firms. And the agency has once again partnered with Northwestern University’s Journalism Residency Program and hired senior Ellie Taft as an intern.
“There’s so much fear and uncertainty right now, and these are scary times for all of us. That makes me even more grateful that my business is thriving, and I’ve been able to expand my team and provide opportunities for these talented individuals,” Mekky says.
In addition to new clients and staff, Mekky Media is celebrating some major awards, including senior account manager Carleigh Rinefierd being named to the PR News People of the Year list for 2020. The list showcases top PR talent and passionate professionals who have had outstanding achievements over the past year. “Carleigh has contributed so much to our company and has been a positive force both with the team and our clients – especially during the pandemic. We could not do what we do every day without her, so this award is very well-deserved,” Mekky says.
The agency also is celebrating the release of “Mission Matters: World’s Leading Entrepreneurs Reveal their Top Tips to Success.” The book features chapters by 18 women business leaders, including a chapter by Mekky about turning life’s challenges into gifts, detailing her journey from cancer survivor to CEO. The book, which was released on Oct. 15 and was an Amazon Best Seller within a week, is the inaugural edition of the Women in Business series presented by Adam Torres, co-founder of Mission Matters Media.