Page 2 uses a two-tiered staffing model, combining our in-house strategic consulting, editorial and account management resources with contractors and affiliates to build dedicated project teams on a just-in-time basis. Clients pay for the right resources, right when they need them.
On high-profile matters and engagements where strategic input is required, our clients receive world-class counsel directly from Page 2’s founder and principal consultant, Debra Pickett. Along with our editorial team lead, noted author Kelly McNees, Deb oversees media planning, public relations and content creation for clients ranging from boutique firms to AmLaw 100 and multinational powerhouses.
Our project management team brings a wealth of experience from political campaign organization, legal and professional services marketing and, most notably, work in the Chicago media. This experience yields insight into what it takes to make an excellent news story and how to shape the coverage of events as well as forming the basis for on-going relationships with reporters and producers around the country who trust our judgment when it comes to finding sources for their work. Outstanding credentials – everyone on staff holds an advanced degree – and a specialized focus on law firm work characterize our approach: our clients take confidence in knowing that we fully understand their world and appreciate the complexities of legal communication.
Our contract staff and affiliate partners are similarly composed of many former journalists and subject matter experts: they produce high-quality work on tight deadlines. We deploy these contractors as cost-effective resources for tasks including creating digital content, managing events and distributing media alerts.
Contact us today so we can begin assembling a world-class team to meet your specific needs.
Read more about our leadership
Meet our account team
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Debra Pickett, Principal Consultant
For more than 20 years, Debra has blended business, legal and media acumen with outstanding communication skills to partner with attorneys, issue advocates, political candidates, and executives to get their messages out to key constituencies. An experienced journalist and published author, Debra specializes in translating complex legal, technical and policy language into compelling articles, speeches and books. She also leverages her deep connections with Chicago and national media to facilitate the placement of stories and articles that advance her clients’ interests, enhance their reputations and build their brands.
A lifelong writer, Debra spent the early part of her professional life as a management consultant, leading project teams implementing SAP-based technological and organizational change efforts, while pursuing a journalistic career with freelance contributions to local and national media. After several years in business consulting, a former client recruited Debra to serve as the operations director of a technology start-up. Chronicling the ups and downs of her dot-com life in a nationally-recognized series of articles, Debra made the switch to full-time work as a journalist in October, 2000.
Quickly rising through the ranks at the Chicago Sun-Times, Debra soon launched her signature “Sunday Lunch With ...” interview column, which featured conversations with notable figures from Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Bears player Chris Zorich. Less than two years after joining the paper’s staff, Debra began to write weekly columns for the paper’s coveted Page 2 column (the former home of the legendary Mike Royko). Her career in Chicago journalism included launching the Sun-Times’ first blog and contributing to television news coverage at CNN, WBBM and WTTW.
Debra founded Page 2 Communications in 2011, focusing her media strategy and communications consultancy on the needs of law firms and their clients, specifically in the areas of media training, trial publicity and public relations.
Notable engagements have included:
- Launching a newly formed law firm with media support, including placement of television, radio and print news stories, along with integrated social media and outreach events
- Partnering with a national law firm in promoting its newly established Chicago presence, from organizing community service and outreach events to placing a major feature story in Crains’
- Delivering web content, media training and an integrated communication strategy for a boutique law firm serving entrepreneurs and high-net worth individuals
Debra is certified by the Illinois Supreme Court MCLE Board as a Continuing Legal Education provider. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
Kelly McNees, Principal Editor
An accomplished writer and editor with more than fifteen years' experience across multiple roles in the publishing industry, Kelly McNees leads the Page 2 content-creation team and supervises our editorial work. She knows how to transform complex information from attorneys and their clients into compelling content, and brings insight and editorial skills to their writing, helping communicate their thought leadership and brand identity in powerful ways.
Kelly's resumé includes positions with HarperCollins Publishers and the University of Michigan Press. She is the author of four historical novels, and her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Millions, and other publications. Originally from Michigan, Kelly has a B.A. in English literature from the University of Michigan and a M.Ed. from DePaul University. She lives in Rogers Park with her family.
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Taryn Butler, Media Analyst
Originally from Rochester in central Illinois, Taryn tracks and researches media trends for all of Page 2’s clients. She produces in-depth coverage reports, generates targeted media lists and manages social media amplification for the news stories and thought leadership pieces we produce.
Prior to coming to Page 2, she worked as an organizer for a grassroots gubernatorial primary campaign where she worked with leaders and members of communities across central Illinois.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in international relations from McKendree University and a Master’s degree in Political Science from Illinois State University. As a graduate student, she was the Editorial Assistant for an online publication of student research, and much of her own research focused on how various political events are represented in the media as well as the media’s influence on public opinion. Her interests include coaching and playing soccer, attending concerts and festivals, and going to Cubs games at Wrigley Field.
Michael Sandler, Account Executive
Michael Sandler is an account executive focused on digital content and client marketing and public relations support. Prior to joining Page 2 Communications, Michael worked as a healthcare business news reporter and researcher at Modern Healthcare magazine, a Crain publication.
He brings a wealth of healthcare research knowledge to Page 2, and is able to craft compelling content that is built around current business trends. Michael also has marketing experience in client-facing roles, and writes compelling case studies and thought leadership pieces that convey authentic brand stories.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Michael received his B.A. in Communication from Cardinal Stritch University in 2008. After relocating to Chicago, he received his M.A. in Public Affairs Journalism from Columbia College Chicago in 2012.
A passionate music fan, he has written for numerous pop culture news websites over the years. He is loyal to his hometown sports teams, and is an avid fan of the Brewers, Bucks and Packers. He lives with his wife and son in the heart of Lincoln Square.
Monica Stabile, Account Executive
Monica Stabile is an account executive responsible for media strategy, content creation and communications project management for Page 2 clients.
Before joining Page 2, she covered Illinois state government for the Springfield Business Journal while earning her master’s degree in public affairs reporting at the University of Illinois at Springfield. At the Springfield Business Journal, Monica wrote news stories on state and federal legislation that affected businesses, attending daily committee hearings to report on various issues, such as workers’ compensation, taxation and right-to-work laws and interviewing candidates and officeholders on their business and economic strategy for Illinois. She also filed Freedom of Information Act requests to Governor Bruce Rauner’s office and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services for an investigation into hiring contracts and internal communications in the office of Deputy Governor Leslie Munger. She worked directly with the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor to win a binding opinion that the governor’s office should relinquish the requested documents.
Born and raised in Chicago, Monica holds a B.A. in journalism from Roosevelt University.
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In building project teams to serve our clients’ needs, Page 2 Communications relies on a broad network of talent. Our affiliated partners are key resources in staffing and managing special initiatives, bringing a depth of creativity, sensitivity and technical expertise unmatched elsewhere. No traditional agency can come close to matching the teams our virtual agency can assemble as we bring together the best-in-class consultants to deliver outstanding content and services to our law firm clients.
Founded by a veteran newspaper photographer with over 25 years of experience, Rich Chapman Creative offers high-end photography and video services, bringing clients unparalleled professionalism to help enhance their bios and website presence. Their award-wining creative and versatile photography and videography dramatically increase the effectiveness of their professional services clients’ websites.
With 10 years of experience in building SEO solutions using only “white hat” techniques, Crump Tech works with clients to capture the largest possible digital audience through comprehensive online outreach. Crump Tech’s solutions include building a strategically crafted web of Internet advertising, search engine marketing, email marketing and social media, using a variety of search terms and points of entry, to connect professional services firms with their key potential clients in multiple ways, keeping their expertise top of mind whenever its needed.
Drawing on over 30 years of design experience in the professional services space, Heiniger Design helps firms build the visual tools essential to business, providing complete design services suitable for virtually any communications challenge. Our graphic design and web site design capabilities are combined with expertise in brand identity to create strategic design solutions, from creating a single brochure to establishing a comprehensive visual identity program from the ground up.
Nielsen Career Consulting
Sheila Markin Nielsen of Nielsen Career Consulting specializes in career development and executive coaching for attorneys, helping clients with organizational skills, leadership, delegation, working better with their bosses and co-workers, and other situations that call for emotional intelligence. She is an attorney with over 25 years of experience running her own firm as a career coach, and has assisted over 3,500 professionals in job search and career path guidance and business and professional development.