Once upon a time there was a group of savvy, talented and creative women who worked together at a large PR agency. Over the years, each of them decided to take a sabbatical from the 9-5 professional world for a myriad of reasons – some personal and some professional. As each left to pursue new life challenges, friendships and professional respect continued. Before long each woman hung out her own shingle and began practicing and consulting on her own. Yet the life of an independent can be lonely. Many of the “great” marketing ideas can be attributed to a collective. Realizing that they were stronger as a team, they all put their heads together and viola – another great marketing idea was born. Storyteller Communications, Inc. – a better, more efficient and flexible marketing communications firm.

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Kimberley
O’Quinn

Connector of dots

From an early age, Kimberley was referred to as a “spirited” child – which was her Southern mother’s way of politely saying that she was into everything. When she wasn’t leading the neighborhood kids in a game of red light-green light, or devouring any book she could get her hands on, she was asking lots and lots of questions. She’d ask grocers where the cows lived. Ask bank tellers where they kept the money. Ask the mechanic how the engine worked – and so on and so on. She wanted to know the how, why, and what of everything.

As Kimberley grew up in a “pre-Internet” age, her parents bought her a set of hardbound encyclopedias in an attempt to satisfy her insatiable appetite for knowledge. When the questions kept coming, her parents encouraged Kimberley to put her thoughts down on paper. Looking for another constructive outlet for his daughter’s curiosity, her dad gave her an old, hand-me-down camera – and when she put the words and the pictures together, suddenly it all clicked.

Four decades later, not much has changed. Kimberley is still inquisitive and is a voracious reader; but instead of directing neighborhood kids, she’s directing communications programs for companies all across Houston.

Kimberley started her communications career with an internship at KHOU-TV in Houston. Upon graduation, she accepted a position in the public relations department with Metro Networks, hoping to leverage her new job into a future on-air position. But as she settled into the PR department, she realized how easily PR came to her because it married her natural strengths in writing and investigating, as well as her aptitude for seeing the big picture. Without really planning to, she had ended up exactly where she was supposed to be.

Kimberley learned the ins and outs of marketing as she moved up the career ladder from account coordinator at an advertising agency to communications manager for the international corporate aviation service provider, AR Group, Inc. She spent several fast-paced years at one of Houston’s largest PR firms, developing and implementing strategic marketing communications and public relations programs for clients in the high-tech, energy, hospitality, B2B, non-profit, and consumer industries.

And while she loved the challenge of jumping into new industries and helping companies grow, with the birth of her son, Kimberley’s priorities shifted and she began to consider decelerating off the racetrack. In 2002, a call from a former colleague at Chevron Phillips Chemical opened the door to a freelance career, and she took a leap of faith, officially hung up her own shingle, and launched Storyteller Communications, Inc.

Over the years, Kimberley has developed a strong practical and theoretical knowledge of the communications discipline including media relations, marketing communications, organizational / internal communications, HR communications, social media, community relations, event marketing, and advertising. She has provided marketing communications assistance to large, international organizations such as Chevron Phillips Chemical, Clear Channel Radio, Memorial Herman Hospital, and Marathon Oil Corporation. She’s also helped numerous small to mid-sized organizations build their communications strategies from the ground up. No matter what size the company, she’s been recognized for building, managing, and integrating the marketing communications function at all levels of an organization.

A published writer, Kimberley has authored articles that have appeared in The Houston Business Journal, National Hotel Executive, Hotelonline.com, Broker World, Life Insurance Selling, Galveston County Daily News, Conroe Courier, Woodlands Villager, Montgomery County News, Arizona Together, Yuma Business News, Parenthood.com, Women Today, Teenagers Today, BIC Magazine, The Pioneer Press newspaper chain and the Mortgage Bankers Association of America’s newsletter.

When she’s not acting as president of Storyteller Communications, Inc., Kimberley is married to her college sweetheart and is a mother to a Star Wars-loving, Lego-building, perpetually sweaty-headed third grade boy.

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Christy
Lee

Social media maven

Ask most little girls what they want to be when they grow up and you hear “ballerina,” “princess,” or “actress,” but not Christy. At the tender age of six, she announced to the world that she wanted to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. And that might have come true if it hadn’t been for a Girl Scout field trip to the Los Angeles Times. After just one visit it was goodbye Washington, because the journalism bug had bit.

After becoming the host of her high school’s daily newscast (and surviving the brutally honest feedback of fellow pubescent viewers) Christy knew “constructive criticism” would never be an issue going forward. At Texas A&M Christy enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts’ Journalism program and tested out every possible Journalism specialty. She served as a production assistant at the school’s PBS station. She worked as a traveling music correspondent for the school’s student radio station. She wrote articles for a local music magazine and even found time to help out a local non-profit with their public relations and marketing campaign.

Her college experiences were all rolled into one at her first job with one of Houston’s largest public relations firms. From writing press releases and media pitches for the energy industry, to creating marketing collateral for a major homebuilder, there was never a dull moment. But one day the corporate world called and offered Christy a job that she could not resist – a PR position with the added benefit of a broadcasting opportunity.

Christy went to work for Chevron Phillips Chemical, where in addition to crisis communications, marketing and employee communications, she was given the chance to write, edit, host and produce the international company’s webcast. In this position she learned more than she ever though possible about Chemistry and the energy industry, a topic that has become very relevant to her career in the Greater Houston region.

Today, Christy works as a freelance public relations and marketing communicator. She focuses on helping clients reach their intended target audience in creative ways and communicate messages effectively. Christy has worked with a variety of both small and Fortune 500 clients including, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Marathon Oil, LHR Services & Equipment, Heart Rhythm Associates, the American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.

Reaching the right outlets, with the right message, at the right time is one of Christy’s specialties. She has secured media placements in media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Houston Chronicle, The Detroit Free Press, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and numerous bloggers and trade publications, among others.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), American Marketing Association (AMA), Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) have recognized Christy’s work with over 30 professional awards, including the PRSA Houston chapter’s top award of 2006 – the Grand Excalibur Award. Christy served as chair of the PRSA Houston chapter’s 2007 Excalibur Awards event.

Christy is married to her college sweetheart and mother to the most beautiful daughter in the universe.

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Elizabeth
Peck
Doctor of diction

As a child, Elizabeth excelled at math and science, and always loved learning about what made the human body tick. She also loved English – specifically, creating stories. Science and writing were two things that on the surface seemed completely disparate. She had a daily passion for fixing her dolls’ boo-boos with her play first-aid kit; but she’d also spend hours filling homemade scrapbooks with poems, stories and drawings. Along the way, storytelling took a backseat to her love of science, so when college approached, she chose the pre-med route.

After struggling through her first two semesters at the University of Texas, Elizabeth began to question her career choice. Taking the advice a long-time family friend, Elizabeth tried the Journalism/Public Relations program on for size – and it fit like a well worn pair of blue jeans. Through Journalism she’d found a way to combine medicine’s thrill of helping people with her love of weaving a compelling tale. During one of the first journalism classes, her professor sent the class out to cover an apartment fire where he happened to live. Witnessing how events affected people, and then crafting it into a story so the public could understand, was incredibly meaningful to her.

During her junior and senior year, Elizabeth completed two public relations internships. Her first was with SETON Healthcare System as a writing intern, and her second was with National Instruments as a media relations intern. Immediately after graduation, Elizabeth went to work for one of the largest PR firms in Houston. She spent five years at the firm focusing on securing national media placements, corporate messaging, and crisis management.

With the birth of her first daughter, Elizabeth knew she wanted to spend more time at home, but she also loved her work so much that she didn’t want to completely step off the career track. In 2004, Elizabeth made the leap into the public relations freelance world and has never looked back.

During her career, Elizabeth has helped guide the communications efforts for numerous healthcare, technology, education, oil and gas, retail, real estate, hospitality, e-commerce and food and beverage organizations. A partial list of clients include Chevron Phillips Chemical, Imperial Sugar Company, Marathon Oil, SETON Healthcare Network, Memorial Hermann Foundation, MicroMed Technologies, Menninger Clinic, The Children’s Assessment Center, CSixty, Gulf Coast Spina Bifida Organization, and the Houston Hand Center. She specializes in media relations, writing, and internal communications.

Elizabeth has won numerous awards from PRSA, International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA). The most high profile was the Houston Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Young PR Professional of the Year award in 2000.

Throughout her career, Elizabeth has secured clients’ stories in some of the world’s most reknown media outlets, including Associated Press, TIME, US News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Week, InformationWeek, Good Morning America and CNN.

While not PR-ing it, Elizabeth spends time with her husband of 13 years that still makes her belly laugh, and her three fun-loving, imaginative daughters.

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Courtney
Carter

Love of language

Courtney began her writing career at age 7, where she competed in a state writing competition, writing passionately with her PaperMate blue erasable ink pens, smudging the ink with her tiny left hand the whole way. Writing came naturally to her, and she didn’t understand how doing something she loved so much could also earn her such honors. She published her first book in her 2nd grade class, and one of her closest adolescent friends was a manual typewriter her parents found in an old antique shop.

It was really all in fun.

While completing her graduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin in advertising and web communication, Courtney worked with multiple online start-ups, assisting with marketing strategy and creating all written communications. After earning her English degree college and a master’s in advertising, Courtney landed her first job at a Houston public relations firm. Becoming an expert on different industries at a moment’s notice was exciting – and Courtney learned much about technology, health care, financial, and non-profit organizations. Writing press releases, media pitches, web site copy and brochure copy all became everyday tasks.

But then one day it was time to leave the business world and enter the business-of-life world: public high-school education. She couldn’t ignore the calling any longer.

Courtney taught American literature and writing to 17 year-old students (who didn’t always share her passion). Teaching high school English brought her back to the fundamentals of writing – the grammar, the rules – but most of all, the raw passion of writing and the beauty of the fundamentals of language. She learned just as much from her students as they learned from her – and she’s a better person today because of the special high school juniors with whom she shared a classroom.

Today, Courtney is a freelance copywriter whose focus is helping clients better define their service offerings and corporate brand in order to more effectively communicate a company’s value in the marketplace.

Courtney has worked in numerous industries including technology, healthcare, energy, construction, consulting services, and online retail. Her clients have ranged from small businesses to large corporations, including PentaSafe (now NetIQ), MicroMed Technologies, Baylor College of Medicine, the Texas Medical Center, Penreco, UpstreamInfo, and many others.

Defining corporate voice is Courtney’s specialty. Through corporate key messaging, web site copy, corporate brochures and case studies, Courtney helps her clients better communicate their unique selling propositions and corporate story.

Courtney is a married to a financial entrepreneur and is a mom to an energetic , wise-beyond-her-years daughter and a happy-go-lucky toddling son who teach her about life’s beauty daily.