2011 Publicity Club of Chicago Lifetime Achievement Honoree:
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”).