She's a former altar girl who's addicted to the American version of
sacrificial wine - Diet Coke. Meet Maura Farrell of Hill & Knowlton in
Chicago. Just let her know if you think she's talking too much.
Describe the company you work for Hill & Knowlton's Chicago office has
approximately 70 employees and is on the 21st floor of a wonderful
office building that has the Four Seasons Hotel and Bloomingdale's under
the same roof. We recently painted our walls a variety of different
colors to increase our creativity or something. It definitely caused a
lot of buzz around the office.
What do you do? I am a managing director in the media asset group, and I
run our media training unit. In addition, I also handle all of the
external marketing for our office. But in reality, I am the former
television newsperson who answers everyone's questions about the local
TV news business and helps people pitch things in a manner that prevents
them from getting hung up on.
Tell us something amusing about your company The CFO, Michael Freedman,
presented me with a "sippy cup" the last time I accidentally spilled
water on the keyboard of my laptop.
How did you get into PR? I worked in television news for a while. I
simply got sick of working on every holiday, so I started talking to
people I knew that used to pitch me like crazy. I thought it would be
pretty fun to have an office and a desk where your stapler didn't
disappear on a nightly basis, and I didn't have to write "Farrell" on
every reference book and notepad.
What is your greatest achievement? While I've worked on some great
projects, my greatest pride comes from getting an office with a killer
view of Michigan Avenue.
What was your best pitch/best stunt? We had the state champion hog
caller screaming his head off on a busy Chicago street for an Illinois
lottery event about a new Harley Davidson themed ticket (get it -
If you could work for one company or on one account, what would it be?
Ralph Lauren or Diet Coke. I'm addicted to both.
What invention would make your job easier? My own Diet Coke vending
machine in my office.
Name one thing about your past people would be surprised to learn? I was
an altar girl at St. Mary's Church in Evanston, IL at a time when the
Cardinal of the parish was trying to ban them.
What skill would you most like to have? It would be extremely helpful to
know when people in a meeting think I am talking too much.