2011: Susan L. Prather, APR

2011 Pub­lic­ity Club of Chicago Life­time Achieve­ment Honoree:

Susan Prather

Susan Prather is a senior pub­lic rela­tions coun­selor with spe­cific exper­tise in cri­sis man­age­ment and brand and mar­ket­ing communications.

She began her career at Lyric Opera of Chicago, after earn­ing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Indi­ana Uni­ver­sity. As an under­grad­u­ate music major, she expected to build a career in opera. But she began singing a new song when she noted the inter­est­ing activ­i­ties Lyric’s pub­lic rela­tions depart­ment was doing.

She soon joined Mor­ton H. Kaplan Asso­ciates, where she cre­ated the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame for Olympia beer and super­vised the Rose­mont Hori­zon account (now the All­state Arena), ini­ti­at­ing her career-long rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the pro­gres­sive Vil­lage of Rose­mont and its facil­i­ties (the Don­ald E. Stephens Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, the Rose­mont The­atre and more).

Nearly five years later, the Kaplan agency was acquired by Ketchum Pub­lic Rela­tions, where she became a vice president/group man­ager after super­vis­ing the Kel­logg busi­ness and play­ing a key role in win­ning Miller Brew­ing and other national accounts.

She joined Cramer-Krasselt (C-K) in 1987, where she founded, built and inte­grated the pub­lic rela­tions prac­tice by win­ning PR busi­ness from exist­ing adver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing clients (Dean Foods, ABN Amro, South­west Air­lines), as well as from win­ning many new clients who were seek­ing PR ser­vices pri­mar­ily (Dun & Brad­street, the Chicago Wolves, Tran­si­tions Lenses, Big Idea’s Veg­gi­eTales). The team grew to 35 PR pro­fes­sion­als in Chicago and more than 100 PR coun­selors nation­ally, earn­ing the agency at least five con­sec­u­tive years of local and national rank­ings among the top 25 PR firms.

She opened her own firm, PratherPR, nearly 10 years ago, con­tin­u­ing 30 years of rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Vil­lage of Rose­mont, in addi­tion to rep­re­sent­ing a num­ber of other clients across an array of cat­e­gories, includ­ing intro­duc­ing the Don­ald Trump Doll for client SEG Toys in New York, with Toys ‘R Us and Mr. Trump.

Ms. Prather is com­mit­ted to giv­ing back to the pub­lic rela­tions pro­fes­sion: She and her account teams have won more than 50 indus­try awards from a vari­ety of orga­ni­za­tions; she is an active mem­ber and/or past board mem­ber or offi­cer of the Pub­lic­ity Club of Chicago (PCC), the Inter­na­tional Pub­lic Rela­tions Asso­ci­a­tion (IPRA) and Pub­lic Rela­tions Soci­ety of America/Chicago; and she has been a guest lec­turer at Colum­bia Col­lege, Roo­sevelt Uni­ver­sity, DePaul Uni­ver­sity, Val­paraiso Uni­ver­sity and her alma mater.

She also has remained active in the arts. She is a for­mer Vice-Chair of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the Chicago Sym­phony Orchestra’s Gov­ern­ing Mem­bers and is a board mem­ber of the Inter­na­tional Music Foun­da­tion (pre­sent­ing Chicago’s world famous “Do-It-Yourself-Messiah”).