Board of Directors
Director, Awards – Julia Dunlop
Director, Chapter Marketing & Public Relations – Dana Connelly
Director, Creative Services – Heather (Blondin) Natal, CMP
Director, Membership Communications – Meghan Hunt
Director, Membership Services – Sarah Howell
Director, Professional Development – Randolph Pitzer
Director, Sponsorships & Partnerships – Jim O’Reilly
Connie specializes in strategic internal communication planning and execution. In 20+ years of global and local experience in communications and human resources, Connie has developed her writing, editing, executive coaching, presentation, video production — and coping skills. She has served IABC at the chapter, regional and international levels since first joining in 2001. She holds a BA in communication and a master’s degree in international business administration from Baldwin Wallace University. Connie has led IABC-sponsored sessions on strategic communication planning and using the theory of Appreciative Inquiry as an employee communication tool, and she considers herself a “hobbyist pastry chef.”
President-Elect & Secretary
Named 2017 PR News’ Rising Star 30 & Under, Dionne brings cross-cultural communication expertise and a strong understanding of change communications and employee engagement to Fortune 500 companies in the public/private sector. Since joining Gagen MacDonald, Dionne has channeled her skills on M&A initiatives for two leading Fortune 500 companies and a global pharmaceutical company, landing clients and her firm numerous awards. In addition to her thought leadership, Dionne serves as a passionate advocate for the importance of mentorship. A regular guest speaker at DePaul University’s Public Relations and Advertising program – her alma mater – she has helped numerous students make valuable business connections with key industry players. Dionne earned her M.A. in Public Relations and Advertising in 2014.
Associate Outreach Manager
Kellogg School of Management
Amanda is dedicated to harnessing her passion for strategic communications to aid in the advancement of Chicago’s robust non-profit sector. She has experience in project management, integrated communications, public relations, content strategy and development, copy editing, event planning, and relationship-driven client service. In her current role, Amanda provides leadership in the planning and execution of events and communication efforts across the Kellogg Admissions and Financial Aid team. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies, Public Relations and Advertising, where she served as President of the university’s chapter of IABC. Amanda has been an active participant in the Chicagoland non-profit community through more than 15 years of volunteer service.
Communications and Diversity Strategist, University Faculty
Peg’s 20+ years of experience cover a broad range of communications disciplines from both a tactical and strategic perspective, and in both corporate and not-for-profit settings. Her primary disciplines include employee, member, executive, multicultural and customer communication, media relations, special event planning, volunteer management, community relations and audio-visual production for which she has received numerous awards. Her past experience also includes writing for local newspapers and hosting a public affairs talk show on WNUA and WGCI in Chicago. In addition, she has considerable expertise in business development as well as organizational development/behavior and is a skilled facilitator, meeting designer and leadership coach. Peg also teaches diversity and introductory/ overview courses (including writing, research, teambuilding, presentation skills) for the Chicagoland campus of the University of Phoenix. She holds a B.S. Degree in Communications/Social Science from Northern Illinois University and a M.A. Degree in Whole Systems Design/Organization System Renewal (focus: Change Management/Organizational Development) from Antioch University.
President and Creative Director
ODA Creative Partners
Julia is an award-winning designer, creative director, project manager, and brand evangelist. She has more than 25 years in stakeholder and employee communications utilizing both print and digital media. Julia received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana. She is a member of AIGA, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and of the Women Presidents’ Organization.
Director, Chapter Marketing & Public Relations
Corporate Communications Consultant
Dana is a senior communications leader focused on building employee engagement through communication strategies and tactics that strengthen employee connections to organizational objectives, senior leadership and the important role each plays in achieving success. Her experience spans management roles in internal, executive and marketing communications in health and wellness, telecommunications, higher education and health insurance.
Director, Creative Services
Heather (Blondin) Natal, CMP
Senior Communications Specialist
DSM Functional Materials
For over 15 years, Heather has been working at international companies in Marketing and Communications. Her breadth of experience ranges from copywriting and graphic design to strategic brand management, internal communications, and digital media. In her current role, Heather specializes in event planning to ensure that each event is unique in its message and memorable for the attendee. She received her B.A. in Communications from the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds the IABC’s Communication Management Professional (CMP) Certification.
Director, Membership Communications
Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund
Meghan is a strategic and innovative communications leader with a broad range of industry experience spanning both the private and public sector. In her role at IMRF, she creates mission-driven internal and external communication strategies aimed at enhancing engagement with employees, members and employers. She is passionate about solving complex business problems through collaboration and communication, and is strongly committed to learning and improving at every opportunity. She loves to travel and experience new food and cultures. Meghan received her Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from Northern Arizona University and her Master of Business Administration from University of Arizona.
Director, Professional Development
With over 15 years experience in global corporate communications, Sarah has led teams for a Fortune 50 corporation, two international manufacturers and a DC-based trade association. She has placed numerous articles and thought leadership interviews in international media outlets and is recognized as a forward-thinking team leader. Sarah graduated from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, with a double major in Political Science and French and studied at the Université de Technologie de Compiègne in Compiègne, France. A native of Virginia, she enjoys getting to know Chicago and the Midwest.
Jim O’Reilly is a seasoned communicator with more than 30 years of experience ranging from broadcast news to public relations and business development. He currently serves as Executive Producer at AKA Media, Inc. Jim is a native of Philadelphia and graduate of Temple University.
An award-winning communicator, Cora Weisenberger is a content strategist adept in digital and traditional communications, with proven success of driving company messaging. In both corporate and non-profit environments, she has demonstrated ability in improving processes and building constructive relationships across departments. Cora has held a variety of communications positions including reporter, editor and editor-in-chief, and communications manager. She is the president of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association, and volunteers with the In Her Shoes Foundation as its Senior Manager, Membership Communications. Cora has a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism.