Noreen Heron, President
“When done right, publicists keep the economy moving, and that concept excites me. I love the fact that due to the agency’s efforts, we keep people working, and even help create new business so that companies get larger and have to hire more employees. We are rainmakers and that’s an awesome responsibility that I take very seriously.”
The daughter of a hardworking Dublin, Ireland born immigrant and a mother who began working herself when she was 14, Noreen followed in her parents’ footsteps and began her career as an usher at Candlelight Playhouse while a sophomore in high school. She went on to become the theatre’s house manager while working full time, choosing to pay for her own tuition at UIC while obtaining a degree in Communications and Theatre, where she wrote for the Chicago Illini for four years. Her goal was to be a journalist, but an internship at a local newspaper, Inside Publications, made her think that she was better suited for PR. Upon graduation, and knowing the theater scene so well, she began working as a publicist, representing various theaters including Candlelight Playhouse and the Royal George Theatre.
Noreen went on to become the Director of Public Relations for Hyatt Regency Chicago, Hyatt’s biggest property and the city’s largest hotel, where she planned and executed some of the city’s largest events at the time: New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (7000 attendees), The World’s Largest Office Party, The Bud Bowl, and the Pepsi Easter Fairy Tale Adventure that culminated with a parade down Wacker Drive; the latter two which Noreen created for the hotel. Noreen supervised the PR efforts for the hotel when it was the headquarters for the Democratic National Convention, working with the White House press staff. Due to the size of Hyatt Regency Chicago, the hotel was frequently the headquarters’ hotel for citywide conventions, so her cadre of influencers is broad. She additionally handled the advertising, and crisis communications for the property, frequently teaching courses for Hyatt Hotel’s PR professionals around the country.
When she left Hyatt to start her own company in 2000, Hyatt was one of her first clients—and still remains a client today, in addition to numerous other hotel brands. She specializes in lifestyle public relations, also including theater and restaurant clients, and has successfully represented more than 1000 productions and 200 restaurants in her career. Over the past 17 years, the scope of the agency has expanded to include corporations, medical practices, sports teams, non-profit organizations, and franchises (including Massage Envy of Illinois – 49 locations, a longtime client).
Noreen has served on numerous boards and planned dozens of charitable fundraisers, receiving many awards. Highly networked, she is a specialist at using her connections to the benefit of her clients, and linking them to each other. Her time on property at Hyatt, serving on the Executive Committee for five years, gave her a keen understanding of ROI, and the understanding of practicing PR that improves a client’s bottom line.
Noreen calls the Heron team “family”, but she also has two children, Connor and Ava, and together they love to travel, dine out, and explore the city. She lives in Lincoln Park, just three blocks from her office.