Mark A. Nystuenmark@thekineogroup.com
Mark Nystuen has broad and diverse experience in marketing and finance, with particular focus on strategic communications, brand management, public relations, message development, investor relations and sports marketing. He has extensive experience in crisis communications and has been a featured speaker on topics including social media, sponsorships and sports marketing.
Mark was Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the $110 billion asset LaSalle Bank. His responsibilities at LaSalle included branding and identity, advertising, public relations, commercial, retail and wealth management marketing, internal communications, sponsorships and events. Mark developed and led LaSalle’s broad sports and event marketing programs including the acquisition and expansion of The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon and a PGA TOUR Nationwide Tour event. Mark has worked with most of Chicago’s major sports franchises, several Big 10 universities and a host of civic and cultural institutions.
Mark has a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota and a master’s degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Jim has extensive experience in all facets of the integrated marketing mix for which he’s earned numerous awards and a reputation as a thought leader. He takes an active role in developing marketing strategies and communication plans for Kineo clients, advocating an approach that links near-term programs to long-term business objectives.
Prior to Kineo he was vice president of corporate marketing with a Fortune 500 life sciences company where he had the opportunity to work overseas and develop a knowledge and appreciation for international business challenges and opportunities. A crisis communication expert, Jim has also worked at two of the largest marketing communications firms in client service and strategy roles. He finished his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago and earned his master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He is a sought-after speaker and finds time to teach the occasional graduate course in IMC.
Deborah is Kineo’s creative director and has worked with a wide range of clients to consistently achieve excellence in graphic design, corporate branding and identity, marketing and information communications. Throughout her career, Deborah has focused on developing and implementing strategic and process-driven branding and communication programs. Her work has been recognized by national and international design organizations and she has taught visual communications at the School of the Art Institute.
Deborah has worked with clients spanning all industries from international nonprofits to Fortune 100 companies. A frequent speaker who is passionate about marrying words and images, Deborah has a master’s degree in English Literature. Prior to studying design at the School of the Art Institute, she taught in the Chicago Public High Schools.
Joan Beaubaire has a strong background in nonprofit marketing leadership. She was Chief Marketing Officer of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago where she led the organization through its crisis response to the September 11th attacks, the South Asia Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
Prior to that she was vice president at KemperLesnik Communications in Chicago where she developed grass roots strategy and communications for Millennium Park, Harris Music and Dance Theater, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Ravinia Festival, and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Joan also has served as International President of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and spent several years involved in political consulting with the League of Women Voters of Illinois and the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Joan is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in journalism.
Cathy Lee Auxenfans brings fifteen years of highly accomplished marketing strategy and high-level project management experience to her role as a vice president, business development, for The Kineo Group. Cathy is skilled at managing complex projects and building organizational collaboration in support of initiatives. Her professional experience and educational background in integrated marketing allows her to counsel Kineo’s clients at the highest levels about marketing issues and business challenges.
Prior to Kineo Cathy was principal corporate strategist of Exelon where she provided the company’s leadership with market intelligence and strategic business recommendations. While at Exelon she managed a wide variety of corporate projects that facilitated and promoted the integration of new businesses and supported the evolution of a rapidly evolving utility company.
Cathy and her international family live in Chicago where they converse in Mandarin and French (as well as English) and pursue their passion for food and culture.
Raechel Alexander is a communications and public relations specialist with over 20 years experience in the non-for-profit performing arts industry. She served as the Vice President for Communications for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and was instrumental in the global launches of Riccardo Muti as their 17th music director, Yo-Yo Ma as their first-ever Creative Consultant, and the messaging and positioning of the CSO’s Institute for Learning, Access and Training.
Prior to her important work with the CSO, Raechel served in titled communications and public affairs positions at New York’s Carnegie Hall; Lincoln Center, Inc.; and IPR a boutique-style public relations firm. In addition to her work with Kineo, Raechel is an independent communications consultant working closely with artists and institutions to provide media training, career counseling, website development, strategic digital messaging, crisis management, and media placement and support.
Raechel is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music in vocal performance, and attended the Mannes College of Music in New York.
Bill Armstrong, a senior professional in strategic communications and media placement, has enjoyed more than 20 years of success with top independent New York firms. He has provided counseling and guidance to CEOs, written speeches and op-eds and led media programs in virtually every major business sector. His record also includes extensive work in the non-profit and educational sectors, as well as capping a wide-ranging career as a public affairs officer in the U.S. Navy with the rank of Captain. Along the way, he also spent time as a securities broker on Wall Street.
Prior to teaming with Kineo, he led the hugely successful print, broadcast, online and digital communications program for Operation Sail, America’s tall-ship organization, during its nationwide commemoration of The Star-Spangled Banner bicentennial.
A skilled writer and editor, he has authored three books, including a seminal work on business-media relations. Bill’s philosophy is that every business organization has a good story to tell and that the secret lies in knowing how to define each message for the right audience.
Jason has been creating sponsorship platform solutions for over ten years bringing brand strategic messages to life through a vast array of traditional and non-traditional mediums. He has developed sponsorship initiatives on the corporate, agency and property side of the business focusing on aligning a strategic and brand fit as the key to a successful marketing alliance.
In the past, Jason worked as a consultant for IEG, LLC where he provided strategic counsel and evaluation guidance for several clients. Prior to IEG, Jason managed corporate partnerships for major sponsor brands headquartered in the Midwest. Jason’s primary responsibility was to oversee each company’s sponsorship properties including professional and collegiate sports properties, cultural institution properties, and civic and cultural events.
In addition to increasing brand presence and client entertainment opportunities, a key focus for Jason is creating strategies and providing guidance on ways to leverage sponsorships in an effort to differentiate the sponsor from competitors and generate business through these partnerships. These leveraging initiatives include identifying unique ways in which to target supporters of the sponsored properties in unconventional ways.
Anthony Ma brings over 20 years of recognized design excellence to The Kineo Group. His work has been acknowledged by every major international design publication, featured in exhibitions around the country, and he's a frequent speaker on design issues. As the youngest member ever invited to join the exclusive and prestigious Chicago 27 Designers, Anthony is committed to providing relevant and innovative design solutions that uniquely and creatively meet his clients' objectives.
He was most recently the executive creative director at Leapnet, where he strengthened the firm's design practice through the establishment of a process-driven methodology. Anthony's client roster includes The University of Chicago, American Academy of Pediatrics, DePaul University, US Robotics/3 Com, Nike, Hyatt Hotels, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Environmental Protection Agency and Valence Health, a holding company of health care providers.
A native of Honolulu, Anthony earned a BFA from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana where he has been a graduate seminar instuctor.
Tom Marnell has been a specialist in Customer Relationship Management and its underlying databases for over 20 years. A hallmark of his databases is the dedication to capturing not just the behavior of stakeholders but their underlying motivations.
Prior to teaming up with Kineo, Tom held managerial positions at Bozell and Leo Burnett, where he was the first direct/database marketer hired.
In 2001, Tom became an educator and currently teaches graduate students at Roosevelt University and Illinois Institute of Technology, Stuart School of Business, the art of database marketing, research, customer relationship management and marketing strategy.
Michael B. O'Connell has spent more than twenty-five years in financial communications, including twelve as Vice President/Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade, a position in which he served as the exchange's senior communications and administrative officer. In 1999, Mike co-founded a niche Michigan Avenue branding and crisis management firm whose core clients included foreign banks, derivatives exchange leaders, electronic exchanges, LaSalle Street proprietary trading firms, and several start ups developing software for the 21st-century screen trader. Before joining the CBOT, Mike served as a marketing and sales associate for major Wall Street brokerage firms, including E.F. Hutton and A.G. Becker. He began his professional career as a columnist and reporter for the Associated Press.
Denise O'Handley is lead for all Kineo Group client product publicity programs. She is the co-founder of wkpr, a successful public relations firm with deep experience promoting consumer products. She has nearly two decades working for top names in the food, pet, technology, retail, hospitality, tourism, arts and health care industries. She is skilled in communicating through social media and has developed campaigns that included blog outreach, Facebook group development and other online and mobile tactics.
Denise was previously affiliated with a leading Washington, D.C. marketing firm specializing in association management, and served as account supervisor for the retail and tourism divisions of the Donahue Group in Beverly Hills, Calif. She began her career as the program director for the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.
Denise currently serves on the tourism and Lights Festival committees for the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association. She is an adjunct instructor at the University of Chicago Graham School.
Lisabeth Weiner is a communications expert with a strong background in investor relations, executive and crisis communications. She was previously a vice president in the corporate practice of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide where she worked on crisis management, positioning and identity. Liz ran the public relations department.
At First Chicago Corporation where she served as chief spokesperson for Chicago's then-largest bank. During that time, she handled numerous issues related to corporate restructuring, crisis communications, strategic redirection, and senior management changes. At First Chicago she also established several integrated marketing and public relations programs related to retail banking, investment products and corporate finance.
In addition to her expertise in financial services, Lis has conducted media training programs and has extensive public speaking experience on communications issues.
A 25-year communications veteran, Louis is an award-winning practitioner and former journalist with a reputation for creating and implementing successful communications and marketing strategies in support of association, corporate, government and non-profit entities.
Prior to Kineo, Louis was communications director for the State of Illinois serving multiple state agencies including Transportation, Insurance, Financial & Professional Regulation, Fire Marshal and Veterans’ Affairs, while coordinating efforts with the governor’s office and other elected officials. He also was co-founder of Pukelis & Lehrer Communications, Inc., president of LKN Public Relations, vice president at Ogilvy PR Worldwide and Kemper Lesnik Communications, and managing director of public affairs for the AAA-Chicago Motor Club.
Louis’ diverse clientele has included the Chicago Department of Transportation, IDOT, Illinois Tollway, Citgo, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Snap-On Tools, BP, Starbucks, Illinois Lottery, plus many engineering firms, Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and manufacturers.
Louis is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a degree in broadcast journalism.
Sana Iqbal Ahmed
Sana Iqbal Ahmed is a visual communication associate at The Kineo Group where she assists in design and research for brand communications and identity systems. Sana graduated in 2009 with a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She interned at Morningstar Inc. for over two years, where she was responsible for designing branded communications for both external and internal audiences.
Paul Pek-Ming Wong
Paul Wong first began working with our creative director in 1996 at Deborah Schneider Design where he quickly stepped into the role of senior designer. Since then Paul and Deborah have worked side by side with Paul taking on major creative direction roles, branding initiatives, project management and vendor coordination. Able to work as both a team member and team leader, Paul brings design intelligence and creative skills to the development of effective visual communication. He’s played major roles in Kineo’s branding initiatives for AAMI, ADA, Civic Consulting Alliance and ACR.
Paul received his BFA, Summa cum laude, from the Savanna College of Art and design in 1994. His work has been recognized in all major national and international design journals. A passionate diver, when he’s not designing Paul can be found exploring—and trying to save—our oceans’ endangered reefs.