M. Harris & Co.

Our Team

 
 
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Our Story

From its inception in 2016, Melissa Harris has grown M. Harris & Co. to a 20-plus-client roster with more than $1.5 million in annual revenue. The firm has taken off because of her relentless pursuit of veteran talent — Pulitzer winners, Emmy winners — hand-picked to meet a client’s needs as well as her refusal to let anything out the door that is less than exceptional.

Headshots by M. Harris & Co. photography partner Alex Garcia.


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Melissa Harris

Founder/CEO •  LinkedIn

  • Clio Award winner for Cards Against Humanity Saves America

  • Named No. 4 marketer in Chicago by Agency Spotter

  • Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business

  • Winner of the 2016 Reed Award from Campaigns & Elections for Best Earned Media Around a Single Event for The Nuisance Committee

  • Capped 15-year journalism career as a Pulitzer Prize-nominated business columnist for the Chicago Tribune

  • Education: BSJ, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern; MA in government, Johns Hopkins University; MBA, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago


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Jane Hirt

Project Partner •  LinkedIn

Practice Areas: Marketing Strategy, Content, Messaging, Social Media, Digital Marketing, Event Marketing, Headhunting

  • Former managing editor and vice president of the Chicago Tribune

  • Founding editor in chief of pioneering millennial news brand RedEye

  • LinkedIn Top Voices 2016: The 10 Must-Know Writers in Media

  • Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40, 2006

  • Education: BJ, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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Deborah L. Shelton

Project Partner • LinkedIn

Practice Areas: Public Relations, Messaging, Executive Communications, Content, Speechwriting

  • Former managing editor, The Chicago Reporter

  • Former director of health care media, Golin

  • Former investigative reporter, focused on health, medicine and science, Chicago Tribune

  • CNN documentary producer, Body Parts (as a Kaiser Family Foundation fellow)

  • Winner, National Headliner Award for Public Service Reporting

  • Education: BA, Pitzer College (Claremont Colleges)


Mark Jacob

Project Partner • LinkedIn

Practice Areas: Communications Strategy, Content, Messaging, Speechwriting

  • Former Chicago Tribune metro editor

  • Editor of Mary Schmich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning columns (Here’s her column about Mark.)

  • Member of Tribune team that won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for its “Gateway to Gridlock” report on O’Hare Airport

  • Former Sunday editor at Chicago Sun-Times

  • Author of six books: The Game That Was; Wrigley Field: A Tribute to the Friendly Confines; Chicago Under Glass; What the Great Ate; Treacherous Beauty: Peggy Shippen, the Woman Behind Benedict Arnold’s Plot to Betray America and 10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything.

  • Education: BA, Hendrix College

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Stephan Benzkofer

Project Partner • LinkedIn

Practice Areas: Executive Communications, Content, Speechwriting

  • Former Chicago Tribune Sunday editor and Page One editor.

  • Member of Tribune team that won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for its “Gateway to Gridlock” report on O’Hare Airport

  • Co-author of the book, 10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything

  • Contributed to and edited the book, Chicago Flashback: The People and Events that Shaped a City’s History

  • Commentator on documentary A City at War: Chicago

  • Education: BSJ, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University


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Michelle Kucera

Project Partner • LinkedIn

Practice Areas: Public Relations, Crisis Communications, Community Outreach

  • Former principal Dewey Square Group, a public affairs consulting firm

  • Former deputy press secretary of the Democratic National Committee

  • Former press secretary for Tipper Gore and the Gore family

  • Former director of communications for Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan

  • Education: BA, DePaul University


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Alex Garcia

Project Partner • LinkedIn

Practice Areas: Photography & Videography

  • Member of Tribune team that won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting  for its “Gateway to Gridlock” series

  • Member of team that won a 2017 Titanium Lion in the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for the “Boost Your Voice” campaign for Boost Mobile.

  • 1st Place Winner, World Press Photo Award for work in the first U.S. newspaper bureau in Cuba in 40 years.

  • Called by HarperCollins “one of the world’s leading photojournalists”

  • Board Member, National Press Photographers Association

  • Education: BA, Northwestern University


Susan Anderson

Project Partner

Practice Areas: Executive Communications, Public Speaking, Messaging, TV Appearances

  • Former anchor and reporter WBBM-TV (CBS 2) Chicago

  • Six-time Emmy award winner

  • First to develop a consumer TV investigative unit in the country

  • Named Best Consumer Reporter in the country by National Press Club, Washington D.C.

  • Coached dozens of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies

  • Education: BA, University of Illinois

 

Lindsey Camelio

Project Partner • LinkedIn

Practice Areas: Visual Design

10+ years of design experience with agencies, startups, nonprofits and small businesses

  • Winner of 2016 Visual Design of the Year, PR Daily

  • Published in Milton Glaser’s Design of Dissent, Updated Edition

  • Former Art Director for PepsiCo, Philips Global, NASCAR, Kimberly-Clark and American Cancer Society

  • Former Interim Creative Director of San Francisco AIDS Foundation

  • Education: BFA, Maine College of Art; MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art


Joe Knowles

Project Partner • LinkedIn

Practice Areas: Communications Strategy, Content, Design and Graphics

  • Former Chicago Tribune Associate Managing Editor for Sports

  • As Associate Managing Editor of Editing and Presentation, he led two major redesigns of the Tribune

  • Founding co-editor-in-chief of RedEye

  • Contributed to and edited a series of five books on the history of Chicago’s major professional sports teams

  • Member of Tribune team that won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for its “Gateway to Gridlock” report on O’Hare Airport

  • Education: English major, University of Illinois-Chicago