About

Founded in 2003, CSG is a strategic communications consulting firm headquartered in Chicago with offices in Milwaukee. Our focus is on our clients; our approach is undeniably driven. Our team of professionals provides counsel for Fortune 500 companies, professional services firms, associations and non-profit organizations.

“Communication Strategies has worked with us to ensure the power of the power of the Girl Scouts 21st century brand is well understood in many circles. Candice and Lynda are more than partners to us—they are a genuine extension of our brand efforts in strategy and execution. They are on the lookout always for opportunities to get our message out in the market. I know they are very busy with many other client engagements but, if I did not know better, I would say we are the center of their universe.”

— Maria Wynne, CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

Focus

Our mission is to create best in class strategic communications programs that help our clients meet their organizational goals and ultimately add value to their bottom line. As a group of seasoned communication professionals, we are passionate about our vision to remain creative, dynamic, flexible and results oriented. We continue to build on our reputation of achieving award winning results for our clients and expand our services to meet your evolving needs.

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At CSG, we believe:

  • effective marketing communications is behavior-driven
  • successful communications moves target audiences along a continuum, from awareness to action
  • there is power in conveying the right message at the right time, using the right method
  • it is no slight feat to connect, motivate and change

Approach

Our clients represent all different industries, from mid-sized corporations to nonprofits to associations and even other marketing, advertising and PR firms. Some view us as an extension of their team. Others involve us on a project-by-project basis. We’ll work with you to find the right fit.

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Our most successful client relationships are true partnerships. In a time when marketing budgets are shrinking and communications departments are diminishing, CSG provides solutions focused on results, without increasing your company’s headcount.

We offer smart, strategic advice by avoiding the “one size fits all” trap. We make solid recommendations that aren’t handed off, but are implemented by those who designed them.

Team

With CSG, what you see is what you get. The senior level people that you initially meet are those people that will continue to be your day-to-day contacts and manage your account.


Candice Warltier is the Founder and Principal, Communication Strategies Group, a Chicago-based strategic communications firm. Candice and a team of individuals work with clients to achieve their business and communications goals by creating awareness, changing opinions and influencing behaviors of key audiences through targeted, effective communications programs.

For more than 17 years, Candice has developed and implemented public relations programs, which include both a traditional and social media component, for a variety of clients including professional services firms, corporations, associations, and nonprofit organizations.

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For these clients, she has provided ongoing strategic counsel and has designed and implemented programs including media relations, crisis communications, public affairs, creative services, and change management. She has garnered media attention for her clients in high-profile outlets including USA Today, CNBC, People Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review’s Green Blog. She has even worked with the producers of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy who dedicated an episode to her client.

Among her former and current clients include, Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, Steven Hall & Partners, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, Italian Trade Commission, the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, USDA and the Ocean Energy Institute. For these clients, she has provided ongoing strategic counsel and has designed and implemented strategic public relations programs, which include traditional and social media relations, crisis communications, public affairs, creative services, and change management.

Her expertise includes monitoring the media for opportunities on which her clients can comment on newsworthy topics. As the media landscape evolves, Candice continues to develop and maintain relationships with media via Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Candice has developed leadership campaigns and speaking platforms for numerous CEOs including Gene Smart and the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

She continues to serve as spokesperson for selected clients and is invited to speak on marketing and communications to a variety of organizations. She has won a number of awards include Aegis Awards, Skyline Golden Trumpets, National Telly Awards, Bulldogs, Communicator Awards, IABC Golden Quill, CIPRA Awards of Excellence, and an Emmy.

Candice was previously a Director at Citigate Communications, where she oversaw a portfolio of clients and was responsible for developing client strategy and managing their budget. Prior to that position she served as a VP at MSI Strategic Communications and assistant marketing director for a national hospital network. She was also a reporter for a community newspaper and served as public affairs director for a congressional campaign.

Candice graduated with a BA in journalism from Marquette University. She also attended the University of Grenoble, France.

When she isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her daughter, who she recently adopted from Nepal. She remains connected with her daughter’s culture and is a Founding Board Member of the Ani Foundation. Candice is also involved in advocating for international adoption and has appeared on NPR and The Talk. Candice enjoys sailing in the summer and skiing in the winter.


Lynda Baldwin is an accomplished communication professional with a passion for developing award-winning campaigns and advancing organizational goals.

As a partner at Communication Strategies Group, Lynda provides experienced counsel and fully integrated support to her clients. Always one to think beyond borders, Lynda strives to create new ways to approach common challenges. Each client goal is uniquely theirs; so solutions can come from a variety of avenues: garnering media coverage in national media outlets, including CNN and The Today Show; securing millions of dollars in media sponsorships in major markets; crafting key messages and coaching leadership during organizational restructuring; introducing clients to celebrity spokespeople; creating social media campaigns to reach specialized audiences; and establishing mutually beneficial marketing relationships among top companies are some of the ways Lynda brings perspective and experience to her clients.

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Lynda focuses on high-impact results through her relationships with industry leaders. Her client list includes Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Experian, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Chicago’s Field Museum, Kendall College, Moose International, Children’s Home + Aid, American Institute of Architects Illinois and the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality, among others.

Prior to joining CSG, Lynda led a team of highly skilled professionals as director of communications for the American Cancer Society, Illinois Division. Under her tenure, the department grew from a one-woman show to a well-revered team of five, responsible for marketing, internal communications, graphic design, online communications and media relations for the state. Lynda was responsible for the strategic national branding efforts in Illinois, and directed award-winning public service health campaigns that increased awareness of cancer prevention and early detection, and moved people to take action. Lynda served on the national marketing and communications committee, garnering increased national exposure for the Illinois Division. She led the creation of large-scale marketing programs and awareness events targeting audiences with disproportionate risks or incidence of cancer. Lynda also oversaw state-wide marketing strategies for national campaigns, including the Polyp Man advertising and colon cancer awareness campaign; Mi Vida (My Life); Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk; and Relay For Life events across Illinois. She introduced the concept of major media sponsorships to the Illinois Division, and secured more than $1.5 million in pro-bono coverage and media involvement for large-scale events and programs.

Previously, Lynda managed the public relations and fund development initiatives for Trinity Services, a nonprofit organization serving people with developmental and mental disabilities. She also worked on the public and media relations for the Sue exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago. In addition, Lynda provided corporate communications and media relations support for the telecommunications company McLeod USA, and has written for several newspapers, including the Charleston Times-Courier.

Lynda is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and has served on the Board of Mt. Assisi Academy. She is the recipient of Silver Quill, Bronze Quill, Golden Trumpet and Skyline awards. She earned her Master’s degree in multi-cultural and corporate communications from DePaul University, and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. She also studied at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England.

Outside of the work that pays the bills, Lynda tries to keep up with her two young daughters and their latest interests. She enjoys backyard gardening, a keen eye for photography and artful design of the written word.


Julia Brady is a senior marketing leader with extensive brand-building experience in the consumer products, services and not-for-profit sectors. Her 20+ year career spans many business areas, ranging from the creation and implementation of integrated marketing platforms to consulting on new product and services growth strategies. As a marketing strategist, Julia has extensive experience developing insights-driven programs to strengthen brand awareness, reputation and loyalty.

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Most recently Julia was the top marketing officer at NorthShore University HealthSystem, leading an extensive team of brand, communications and interactive professionals for the second largest health system in the region. During her leadership tenure, Julia grew NorthShore brand awareness by 25% and consideration by 70%.

Julia built her strong marketing foundation during her eight years at PepsiCo, managing globally recognized brands including Gatorade, Quaker Oatmeal and Cap’n Crunch. She left PepsiCo in 2004 to join Lipman Hearne, a leading nonprofit brand consultancy and led client engagements for The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Yale School of Management, Radiological Society of North America, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, William Paterson University and The College Board.

Julia received her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and BA from Tufts University.


Katie Heraty has more than 18 years of experience in media relations. Prior to her consulting career, Katie worked at The Oprah Winfrey Show for 13 years in the fast-paced and competitive Production Department as an associate producer and talent/news booker working with publicists on a daily basis. Katie’s unique experience of working on both sides of the media gives her the ability to offer clients a very specialized set of skills for their public relations needs.

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As a media and public relations consultant, Katie has successfully secured national print and broadcast media placements for her clients in outlets such as: The New York Times, USA Today, O Magazine, GQ, Parents Magazine, Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, MSNBC, The David Letterman Show and more. She has also secured countless print and broadcast media placements in local markets and online sites. Katie offers her clients experience in print, broadcast, radio and online media relations, media strategy, new product launches, event planning, press materials and scripts, satellite media tours, TV integrations, talent booking, in-market media tours, media training, TV booking, video and b-roll, development and creative strategy.

Katie’s achievements at The Oprah Winfrey Show also include booking and producing shows with some of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Barbara Streisand, Bono, Beyonce, and more. She also secured many competitive news stories and helped produce ground-breaking shows that turned into their own branded series such as Dr. Phil’s Relationship Rescue, Lisa Ling Investigates and Dr. Oz on Inside the Human Body.

Prior to working for Oprah, Katie started her career in public relations servicing clients at Edelman Worldwide on accounts including Purina, Microsoft, Illinois Bureau of Tourism and the Illinois Lottery. She also worked as a publicist for Oscar Mayer’s Wienermobile Program and Warner Brothers Studios Publicity and Promotions Department.

Katie earned her BA degree in the study of Communications from the University Wisconsin – Milwaukee. While in Milwaukee, Katie worked at WISN-TV Milwaukee’s Talking talk show and WMIL FM 106.1. Katie was awarded the prestigious Salute to Citizenship Award by the Philip Morris company for starting the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s first Habitat for Humanity student organization.


Kiera Kelly brings 16 years of experience in agency and corporate public relations with leading pharmaceutical companies and global brands to her role as a communications professional.

Kiera brings expertise in the strategic development of U.S. and global healthcare and consumer campaigns, with a particular focus on media relations, consumer awareness programs, pharmaceutical announcements, product milestones, special events, press conferences and issues management.

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Kiera has supported clients with media relations strategy, educational campaigns and third-party partnerships in sectors including healthcare, technology, consumer, corporate and nonprofit. Clients have included Abbott Laboratories, Bayer Consumer Care, Ortho McNeil Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon), Schering-Plough, aaiPharma, SureScripts, Procter & Gamble, Northland Cranberries, Florida Department of Citrus, APTE Inc., Cingular Wireless, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, Energizer Battery and Tyson Chicken. Most recently, Kiera has worked with a number of clients from a variety of industries, including Community Oncology Alliance, the Laramar Group, Accumetrics Inc., Destiny Health and Wolf-Gordon Inc.

Previously, Kiera worked within the international division of Abbott Laboratories, where she was responsible for developing public relations programs, managing issues and acting as a liaison to support the PR efforts of more than 60 worldwide affiliates. In this capacity, Kiera developed and managed the first proactive global consumer outreach campaign for international affiliate offices, managed international press conferences, including the best attended press event in Europe for the company. Additionally, she helped manage major company announcements, as well as issues related to products, manufacturing plants and regulatory agencies. Kiera supported communications initiatives for products including the treatment of obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction, hypertension, decompensated heart failure and RSV.

In her agency experience, Kiera worked for top 10 public relations agencies including Golin/Harris and Edelman Public Relations Worldwide. At Golin/Harris, Kiera managed the Bayer Aspirin account, developing and implementing medical, consumer and issues-oriented campaigns. She led the 100th anniversary of aspirin campaign designed to reposition the Bayer brand to emphasize its cardiovascular benefits. The 100th anniversary program generated more than 400 million media impressions including a business cover story in the New York Times, coverage in Time, Newsweek, the Economist, Life Magazine, Associated Press, the Today Show, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning. Her work with Bayer included support of FDA new indications and a consumer awareness program with the American Heart Association and celebrity PGA players. Kiera also supported additional clients Ortho McNeil Pharmaceuticals, Alzheimer’s Association and the Hazelden Foundation. Kiera’s experience with Edelman includes public relations support to build awareness for consumer products, technology, corporate clients, including Kraft Foods, SC Johnson Wax, Coca Cola Foods, Hunt-Wesson, Hayworth, Inc. and Chicago Medical School.

Kiera graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison receiving bachelor’s degrees in political science and international relations. Additionally, she received a Rotary International Youth Exchange Student Scholarship Recipient for one-year of study in Normandy, France and also researched endangered Tamarin monkeys in Panama for which her research is on file at the Smithsonian Institution. She is proficient in French and has a working knowledge of Italian and Spanish.


Patrice Harris has more than 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing and communications and special event production.

Prior to consulting, Harris served as the Public Relations and Communications Director of Wisconsin State Fair Park. As the spokesperson for the organization, Patrice conducted media interviews throughout the state and managed all crisis communications. Patrice oversaw all media outreach and completely overhauled the layout and timing of all collateral materials, redesigned the Fair and Fair Park websites twice, and launched a mobile web site and street team. In a strategic move to re-engage the media and save money for the agency, Harris introduced a new concept for the Fair’s media kit – a “Media Kit on a Stick.” The flash drive formatted media kit won multiple gold awards at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE). Following the introduction of the new media kit, numerous other state fairs converted her format. In addition, Fair’s website also won several awards

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As a result of her strong relationships with the media, the Wisconsin State Fair received more media coverage (articles and interviews) on various aspects of the Fair than in the years prior to her arrival. She also utilized “niche” items, such as food-on-a-stick, to spawn excitement and buzz for the Fair. Harris also successfully convinced the agricultural media to focus on main stream stories about the Fair and mainstream media to cover and showcase the agricultural component of the event.

Throughout her career, she has responded to crisis situations and has received praise and recognition from the media, other event producers and received a gold award at the IAFE Hall of Communications Awards for the crisis communication response to a major incident on the opening day of the 2011 Wisconsin State Fair. She has also presented crisis communication response to public relations professionals and media and public relations “musts” to collegiate public relations classes.

Prior to the Wisconsin State Fair and intrigued by Red Bull North America’s unique, grass roots and functionally based touch points with the consumer, Patrice relocated to Columbus, Ohio in March of 2005 to become the Field Marketing Manager – Central Ohio for Red Bull Energy Drink. In this position, she had the opportunity to work with athletes in mainstream and extreme sports, oversee the market’s Mobile Energy Team, and develop relationships with opinion leaders in the market area. Red Bull’s support of local events and execution of marketing strategies for brand building events for Red Bull were also under her direction

Upon graduation from UW-Madison with her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts and Political Science, Harris joined the staff of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. (MWF / Summerfest) in January of 1991 as an Entertainment Assistant. Her passion for the events held on the grounds and the approach to the marketing communications plans for them grew. Harris worked her way up in the organization to the position of Director of Marketing and Public Relations, a position she held from 1996 until February of 2005. During her tenure at MWF, Harris cultivated exceptional relationships with media outlets and strong relationships with advertising agencies of record she directed, resulting in award-winning campaigns in the international festival and events industry.

Harris loves spending time with her family and friends. She enjoys working out, playing with and walking her dog, reading, watching sporting events and attending local community events. She conducts volunteer work for Hunger Task Force and Mental Health America of Wisconsin, and is a regular donor at the Blood Center of Wisconsin.


Carolyn Buckley has been working for Communication Strategies Group for more than five years. She provides ongoing social media outreach and media relations implementation for a variety of clients including the Girl Scouts, OMNI Youth Services and Moose International. Her ability to form a pitch and entice a reporter to pursue a story is uncanny and has resulted in securing coverage in targeted media for numerous clients.

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Carolyn secured targeted coverage for the Hope Institute’s Dream House Raffle in target communities surrounding the Chicago area. In addition, she garnered national media attention for Maxim Healthcare’s flu shot locator service.

Prior to working with CSG, Carolyn was on the marketing team for a major fitness company in Milwaukee, WI. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin in LaCrosse.