Katie McBreen: 40 Under 40 2013

VP, Communications and Public Affairs, National Retail Federation

Colleagues use one word to describe Katie McBreen – superstar. Since April 2012 she has been VP for communications and public affairs at the National Retail Federation, where she has already helped revitalise its communications efforts and boost the group’s profile. Before that she was senior director for communications and strategy at the US Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful lobby group in Washington and largest business federation.

"During my 16 years in public affairs, Katie is without question one of the most talented, driven, creative, resourceful, and intelligent people I have worked with," says Tita Freeman, SVP, communications at Business Roundtable, who worked with McBreen at the chamber.

McBreen joined the organization at a pivotal time and was instrumental in integrating communications with the broader work of the retail trade group and highlighting its value through initiatives such as emails to staff summarizing tactics and successes including positive media coverage. Having quickly been promoted, she was tasked with day-to-day management of the most significant campaign in the chamber’s history – the $100 million Campaign for Free Enterprise. She oversaw all elements of communications, including strategy, digital engagement, creative development, and earned and paid media.

The campaign stands as one of the organization’s most successful "surround sound" efforts. Highlights include building a fanbase of more than 100,000 people on Facebook for the campaign in one year – a feat achieved by fewer than 1% of pages.

McBreen’s career has also included a stint at the White House, where she coordinated events and travel for the vice president.

"Katie is bright, innovative, personable, and someone who commands the admiration and respect of her peers and colleagues," says Tom Collamore, SVP of communications and strategy, and counselor to the president at the Chamber of Commerce. "She is a true ambassador for the value of PR."

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