WHO WE ARE
Becky Carroll, President and CEO, C-Strategies
Becky Carroll is the Founder and President of C-Strategies, a strategic communications and public affairs firm that serves corporate, advocacy, and non-profit clients leading media, crisis management and public policy campaigns. She served as an adviser to public-sector executives at both Chicago’s City Hall and the Illinois Office of the Governor, while also holding top positions on local, state, and national political campaigns, including National Director of Women for Obama on the 2008 Obama for President Campaign, and most recently as Communications Advisor to Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker’s Transition Committee after serving as an advisor to his Gubernatorial Campaign.
Considered one of Chicago’s top public affairs strategists, Becky is a two-decade veteran of high-profile political and public policy campaigns. She led public engagement and communications strategies to develop and promote bold, new initiatives on education, economic development, housing, pensions, and budget and finance issues. Her public sector experience includes: the City of Chicago Departments of Planning & Development and Housing; Chicago Mayor’s Office; Chicago Public Schools; and the Illinois Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.
As part of her firm’s mission, she focuses on empowering women and elevating both their voices and issues that uniquely impact them through her monthly podcast “The Broad Cast” and quarterly engagement event “The C Chat”.
Becky is a third-generation Chicagoan who attended Chicago Public Schools and graduated from Loyola University Chicago. In October 2017, she was among the co-founders of “Illinois Say No More” an open letter regarding the pervasive culture of sexual harassment in Illinois politics that helped raise the public’s consciousness around this issue. Her civic involvement includes: 1871 Mentor; The Economics Club of Chicago, member; Board member at NARAL Pro-Choice America, Equality Illinois, Chicago Area Public Affairs Group (CAPAG), and One Illinois; and Ambassador Board member of MedGlobal. In 2016, she co-founded a global social media campaign called #StandWithAleppo that engaged more than a billion people across the world in speaking up for peace in Aleppo, Syria and was recognized by Today.com as one of “7 Parents Who Inspired Us” in 2016 for her work on this effort, while receiving the “Making A Difference Award” by the Syrian American Medical Society. In 2017, WeWill named her “Mom of the Year” while she was recognized as a Chicago Business Journal Woman of Influence in 2018. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two children.
Kristen Cannon, Strategic Communications and Branding Advisor
Kristen is a public relations and communications consultant with rich national brand and agency experience. She has advised clients ranging from major consumer brands to Fortune 500 companies and family-owned businesses to local brands.
Throughout her career, Kristen has worked on dozens of national and local campaigns with elements including strategic media relations, social media strategy, influencer strategy and engagement, celebrity and third-party partnerships, and large-scale consumer and media events. She has an established track record of brand strategy, integrated marketing campaign planning, and leadership.
Caroline Wellford, Media and Client Affairs Manager
Caroline is a Memphis, Tennessee native and recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Communication Arts. She twice served as an Urban Fellow for the City of Memphis, reporting to the Executive Communications team. During her time in this role, Caroline supported multiple projects for Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and his communications team working with national and local media to pitch and secure coverage around key initiatives. Additionally, she worked at the Methodist Healthcare Foundation in both a fundraising and organizing capacity.
As a Client and Media Affairs Coordinator, Caroline is responsible for managing client relations across multiple projects and securing media coverage among local, national and trade media.
Marisa Kollias, Senior Director of Communications
Marisa is an 18-year veteran communications strategist who has led high-profile public communications campaigns and strategies to develop and amplify new initiatives on transportation, higher education, trauma, medicaid expansion, the Affordable Care Act, and other public policy issues. She served as a top adviser to both private and public-sector executives at both the Illinois Office of the Governor and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System and Tribune Publishing. Marisa is also an experienced media trainer having conducted multiple media campaign trainings for clients. Earlier in her career, Marisa also held positions across Chicagoland newsrooms as a former television journalist.
Marisa is a born and raised Chicagoan who graduated with honors from Columbia College Chicago. She has served on boards that promote early childhood and elementary education. Marisa resides in Lakeview with her husband and two daughters.
Kyler Sumter, Client and Social Media Associate
Kyler was born and raised in Chicago and is a graduate of Boston University, where she received a B.S. in Journalism and Communications. She’s enjoyed telling stories for many different audiences, including BU’s student newspaper The Daily Free Press, USA Today College, The Hyde Park Herald, and a news and debate show that she helped produce, called “On That Point”.
She has experience in non-profit communications from her work with the Make-A-Wish Illinois Chapter and Love Your Magic, a Boston-based conference for girls of color. Most recently, she was an associate at a national public relations firm where she worked on campaigns for accounts in the sports nutrition, beauty, health, and education industries and gained experience in cultivating relationships with key media outlets, and securing coverage in consumer and trade media.