Tonight the honorees of the 2016 class of the PRWeek 40 Under 40 are being celebrated in New York, and H+K’s Michelle McKenna, vice president in the Austin office, is among them. Michelle has been with H+K for 10 years this month and has been a critical counselor, teammate and mentor across the firm’s global network.
Michelle has logged nearly 15 years as what can only be described as the consummate corporate communications career track. It has been a blend of crisis planning and response, media relations, reputation enhancement and risk mitigation. And more recently, she has been deeply focused on communication challenges related to cyber issues. For 10 years, Michelle’s work has crossed industries ― including energy, automotive, retail, transportation and health care.
“Shortly after joining the H+K team, I had the privilege of seeing Michelle in action – her smarts and calm, cool demeanor were immediately recognizable, and they are just a few of the qualities that make her stand out to everyone around her,” said U.S. CEO Beth Balsam. “Michelle’s work can be best understood for what the world never sees, helping her clients manage through high-profile reputational crises in a way that allows them to stay focused on their day-to-day business and achieving their long-term goals.”
Prior to joining the firm, Michelle planned communications, public relations and grassroots activities for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores in Washington, D.C. She was also a media relations specialist for a Washington-based group representing specialty chemical manufacturers. Additional roles have included freelance journalism, as well as volunteer work on Capitol Hill and with state and national political campaigns.