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.”
In 2000, Noreen founded and has built the award-winning Heron Agency into one of the nation’s leading lifestyle communications agencies. As a pioneer of new communication and digital technologies, Noreen ensures that Heron Agency is always on the cutting-edge of the media industry and its trends. Her entrepreneurial mindset has garnered her over a dozen prestigious industry awards, and her reputation of consistently delivering fully integrated marketing campaigns that improve a client’s bottom line and profitability is well known. Throughout her career, she has represented 30 hotel brands, more than 1000 theater productions including national tours, 400 restaurants, and countless events including the Taste of Chicago, the Race to Mackinac, the Jeff Awards, the Grand Chefs Gala, the Randolph Street Market, the Highland Games, the Chicago Boat & RV Show, and the One of a Kind Show. She has managed corporate campaigns for Paper Source, Luna Carpet, Smirnoff, Massage Envy and others. Noreen has represented numerous celebrities in Chicago and around the country including Prince, Jerry Seinfeld, Janeane Garafalo, Gabriel Byrne, Dan Aykroyd, the Beach Boys, Celtic Thunder, and Jewel, among others. She has also represented several non-profit organizations including the National Hellenic Museum, Alliance Francaise Chicago, the American Writers Museum, and more. She has grown the scope of the agency over the years in terms of client base, because she believes that creative, solid PR/Social media services in any category are what is needed and what the agency is capable of delivering. Hence, the agency has represented retailers, entertainment venues, CVBs, medical practices, product launches, sports teams, franchises and more.
Never having worked at an agency prior to owning one, Noreen developed what her clients refer to as “the secret sauce.” Team members serve the way in-house publicists do, working in every conceivable fashion to drive business for clients. Wanting to provide service that she would herself hope to receive as a consumer, Noreen provides the bandwidth for clients, putting 4 to 5 experts on each team servicing a client.
Noreen has served on numerous boards and planned dozens of charitable fundraisers, receiving many awards (listed below). Highly networked, she is a specialist at using her connections to the benefit of her clients and linking them to each other to build productive relationships. Her time on property at Hyatt Regency Chicago, working under Jerry Lewin, and serving on the Executive Committee for 5 years, gave her a keen understanding of return on investment, and the importance of practicing PR, Social Media, Marketing and Advertising that provides real results.
Prior to Hyatt, Noreen served as the Director of Public Relations for the iconic Candlelight Dinner Playhouse/Forum Theatre, the 1025-seat dinner theater venue where she started as an usher at 14 years old, moving up to House Manager, Season Subscription Manager and eventually managing the theater’s PR. This legendary venue developed her love of live theater and the restaurant business. Hyatt made her fall in love with the electric atmosphere of hotels.
Noreen lives in Lincoln Park, just three blocks from her office. She calls her Heron team “family” and she considers her greatest work achievements the wonderful group of talent that she has assembled; the mentoring that she has done; and the creation of a day-to-day warm culture at the firm. She has taught classes on Communications at Northwestern University, DePaul University, Roosevelt University and Kendall College. Her greatest personal achievements are her two children, Connor, a senior at St. Ignatius College Prep and Ava, a freshman at St. Ignatius College Prep. Together they love to travel, dine out, and explore the city.
Ragan Communications and PR Daily’s Top Women in Communication “Dynamic Doer” Award, 2020, National Customer Service Association, “Service Excellence to the Community”, 2019, Daily Herald Influential Women in Business Honoree, 2018 PR Couture Bespoke Award Winner, The Maven Award (Judges’ choice) Career Achievement: Noreen Heron, 2018 PR Couture Bespoke Award Winner, PR Campaign of the Year, 2018 Professional Irish Women of Chicago 2017 Professional Marketing & Events Award, 2017 Chicago Business Journal Women of Influence – Noreen Heron, 2016 PR News Agency Elite Award– Nonprofit Category, 2016 Massage Envy “Streetfighter of the Year” (Person recognized who did more for Massage Envy’s brand than any other over the calendar year), 2014 “Entrepreneur Award, Outstanding, Business Achievement” Special Events Chicago Magazine, 2001 Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine, Noreen Heron named one of “Chicago’s Top 100 Women Making a Difference”, 1999 Where Chicago Magazine/American Airlines “Someone Special” Award” (Voted on by peers in the industry), 1999 NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Corporate Woman of Achievement Award, 1998 Named one of Chicago’s “Top 100 Young Leaders“, Public Allies, 1993
Press and Features
PR Couture chats with Noreen Heron as one of their “PR Girls We Love!”
“To say Noreen Heron knows Chicago is quite an understatement,” Lux and Concord selects Noreen to share her perfect day in Chicago!
“With Irish blood in her veins, Noreen runs a strong team of female PR ladies in Chicago, USA.” Orlagh Claire chats with Noreen for #GirlBossMonday!
Noreen Heron, busy working woman and mom shares with Chicago Woman Magazine what she does to drive away the stress of the week.
Noreen Heron shares with CBS Radio her five secrets to stay connected with her children through the use of technology and apps.
Meet Noreen Heron, who Voyage Chicago selected as a Woman We Love!
“No one knows how much the meetings business has changed in Chicago over the past decades more than Noreen Heron” –Connect Magazine
“Chicago Business Journal announces its 2016 class of Women of Influence” which includes Heron President Noreen Heron.
Talk Theatre In Chicago with Noreen Heron, about how publicists help theaters sell tickets, and her background in theater beginning with Candlelight Playhouse.
Heron Agency President Noreen Heron on WGN Radio on the Frank Fontana Show. Frank describes Noreen as “Wonder Woman”! Listen here
“Publicist Noreen Heron’s efforts behind the scenes generate the buzz that gets people into the seats of Chicago-area theaters.” UIC Alumni Magazine
“Painting the Town Red for Heron’s 15th Anniversary.” Inside Publications (click to read)
“Veteran Chicago publicist Noreen Heron, one of the best in the business, is rebranding the communications firm that bears her name.” Robert Feder
“How one PR firm maintains a fresh —and effective — outlook after 15 years in the trenches.” Lewis Lazare, Chicago Business Journal
“Noreen is a ball of energy with a contagious big smile and powerful contacts.” Special Events Chicago
“From mainstream media to social media to e-newsletters and local blogs, Noreen Heron & Associates, Inc. has a tenacious reputation for getting the word out for its clients.” NWI Times, OFFBEAT: Publicist’s Chicago firm celebrating a decade of stage and client connections
“The promotions and events that I have created over the years helped fill theater seats and hotel beds, and hopefully kept other employees in the hospitality industry working!” Where Chicago, American Airlines Someone Special Award
“I try to act on every piece of paper that I get immediately so as to reduce clutter. This is true in all areas of my life.” Chicago Tribune, Got a minute? She’ll save you hours
“There’s a bunch of goodies on Noreen Heron’s desk.” Chicago Tribune, Oh, Goody, Goody
“You know the ones. They’re successful. Admired. Magnetic. They’ve got ‘it.'” Today’s Chicago Woman, Meet Chicago’s “It Girls”
“I’ll slow down when I’m dead. I”m always at warp speed.” Crain’s Chicago Business, The Business of Life
“Impeccable taste. It’s not a matter of money, but an issue of style.” Today’s Chicago Woman, Chicago’s Most Fashionable Women
“There are many reasons why more and more young people are making time to volunteer. While there’s a social aspect to volunteering, the primary driving force is the opportunity to give back.” Today’s Chicago Woman, The New Philanthropists
“I am able to combine my career with my social conscience,” Heron said. “That’s an opportunity that not many people are given in their professional life, and I’m fortunate to have been given that opportunity.” University of Illinois (UIC) Alumni Magazine, “Be my guest”
“Noreen Heron talks about her passion for marketing and finding joy in shining the light on her clients.” The Power of PR, The Climb Podcast