Mary M. Birkhauser

Work Experience

OLSON Engage - Director - Chicago, IL

March 2012-October 2014

  • Oversaw multiple team members on leading agency accounts including a global coalition of beer brewers and McDonald’s global branding work.
  • Constructed the strategic media roll-out, created messaging, managed media outreach and oversaw launch of Ronald McDonald’s 2014 new clothes.
  • Secured more than 850 million media impressions for the Ronald McDonald launch with more than 90% of the stories holding a positive or neutral tone; notable placements include TODAY Show, Good Morning America, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune,, CNN, World News with Diane Sawyer,, E! News and
  • Crafted complex strategic messaging for clients’ government, media and corporate outreach.
  • Conducted government, media and corporate outreach for clients; managing high-level relationships and securing effective narratives in relevant outlets.
  • Managed client budgets upwards of one million dollars, tracking all inputs and expenditures as well as staff time to optimize profitability.
  • Coordinated and ran weekly meetings of multiple clients across four time zones accounting for very demanding client schedules and the resulting necessary project prioritization.
  • Responsible for management of team deadlines projecting weekly, monthly and yearly goals; assigning responsibility and tracking progress.
  • Disseminated highly technical client information into media- and consumer-friendly messaging.
  • Managed workflow of more than eight senior level clients located across the globe, navigating difficult schedules, various inputs and perspectives, and company positions.
  • Interfaced with clients’ regional employees in more than 15 markets ranging from large to nuanced, managing communication barriers, various levels of resources and inherent diplomatic challenges.
  • Led multiple teams of five-plus people of all levels including senior agency members across three agency offices.
  • Conducted quarterly reports for clients reporting on all project specifics including work progress, budgets, status reports and met or missed goals.
  • Recognized as a stand-out mentor and champion for junior- and mid-level staff members, advocating for relevant client work to help achieve professional goals.


Henson Consulting, Inc. - Account Manager - Chicago, IL 

October 2009-March 2012

  • Led national brand accounts for the Western Pistachio Association, Project 7: Products for Good, Land O’Frost lunchmeats, Red Frog Events and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, with interim work on The Pampered Chef, The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy with Jack Miller.
  • Managed $1.3 million budget for the Western Pistachio Association with multi-pronged communication program including monthly media outreach, strategic social media plan, local advertising initiatives, direct-to-consumer and business-to-business programs, website development and management and industry outreach and communication with organizational board.
  • Secured marquee media placements such as USA Today “Snap shots,” The New York Times, multiple Chicago Tribune profile pieces, Entrepreneur Magazine profile and cover story, The TODAY Show, Good Morning America, Women’s Health, Prevention Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, and The Dr. Oz Show.
  • Generated more than $300,000 in new business opportunities in the 2011 calendar year.
  • Developed social sharing site for Land O’Frost including mom blogger procurement and interaction, rigorous social media strategy, fresh thinking to generate regular content measuring sentiment and engagement; saw more than 125,000 unique views within first week of launching.
  • Led and/or consulted on all agency social media programs including influencer outreach programs, agency brand sites, conference activation and all client-related sites.
  • Proficient in multiple social media measurement and management sites such as Radian6, HootSuite, TweetDeck, Vocus and Google Analytics.
  • Regularly led conversations with client’s senior management regarding the importance, use and relevance of social media to sell in social media programs and strategies.


Weber Shandwick - Senior Account Executive, Account Executive, Assistant Account Executive, Intern - Chicago, IL

Aug 2006-October 2009   

  • Primarily staffed on Kentucky Fried Chicken, AmeriCares, The McCormick Foundation, Campbell’s Soup Company, and WholeMeals, a Mars Pet Food brand, with interim work on Allstate Insurance Company, and Hormel’s CHI CHI’S Salsa.
  • Contributed to strategy and daily managed and monitored social media channels for Mars, Zatarain’s and The McCormick Foundation.
  • Attended BlogHer and 140tc to report on digital and social trends, create relationships and contribute thinking to various brands digital programs.
  • Assisted new business pitches including Quaker, Cesar pet food and Pampered Chef; brainstormed, oversaw and coordinated multi-media pitch video, assisted with pitch material development, and various research assignments.
  • Secured marquee media placements such as USA Today, AP Broadcast, Extra!, Star, Life & Style Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune.
  • Researched, planned and executed Allstate’s Teen Safe Driving event coordinating with celebrity spokesperson, John Elway, and 300 attendees; oversaw planning and execution of Satellite Media Tour with Mr. Elway. Won 2007 PRSA Skyline Award.
  • Led and participated in media relations efforts for AmeriCares, secured placements such as USA Today, AP Broadcast, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Led KFC’s Political T’s program, creating press materials, coordinating t-shirt design and production, securing marquee boutiques for bricks and mortar sales, and coordinated online sales. Garnered more than 17.9 million media impressions, surpassing 10 million media impressions goal.


Wheaton College - BA, Business and Economics - Wheaton, IL                                                              

Interests and Activities

World Relief Refugee Mentor Volunteer, Park Community Church Deacon, triathlete and cyclist.