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Q&A with New Strategic Partner, Maureen Cahill

For the past 30 years, Mau­reen Cahill has built her rep­u­ta­tion as one of the top pub­lic rela­tions prac­ti­tion­ers in the Twin Cities. She’s estab­lished her­self as a trust­ed go-to resource for media rela­tions, cri­sis com­mu­ni­ca­tions, events, and strate­gic plan­ning and video pro­duc­ing. She’s built excep­tion­al­ly strong rela­tion­ships with local and nation­al jour­nal­ists. And now, we’re excit­ed to share that she’s team­ing with Bell­mont Partners.

Maureen’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions back­ground is as broad as it is deep, span­ning jour­nal­ism, cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, agency lead­er­ship and non­prof­it. She spent five years as assign­ment man­ag­er at Twin Cities ABC affil­i­ate KSTP-TV, near­ly sev­en years as Direc­tor of PR at Mall of Amer­i­ca while also work­ing as a free­lance pro­duc­er for NBC Night­ly News and the Today Show, and a decade as co-founder of PR agency McFar­land Cahill. For the past eight years, Mau­reen was exec­u­tive direc­tor at Smile Net­work Inter­na­tion­al, where she over­saw day-to-day oper­a­tions and inter­na­tion­al part­ner­ship and mis­sion devel­op­ment for the Twin Cities-based health­care non­prof­it, while also lead­ing the organization’s PR, mar­ket­ing and fundrais­ing initiatives.

When Mau­reen left Smile Net­work to jump-start her epony­mous free­lance busi­ness, Cahill Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, she and Bell­mont Part­ners cement­ed a strate­gic part­ner­ship, for­mal­iz­ing a rela­tion­ship that’s stretched back near­ly 15 years. While Mau­reen will con­sult with her own new and long-time clients, the part­ner­ship with Bell­mont will allow her to build out larg­er teams for clients that need addi­tion­al support.

We chat­ted with Mau­reen to talk about her move to refo­cus on PR, the impor­tance of giv­ing back, and what our part­ner­ship will mean for Bell­mont Part­ners clients:

Why did you decide to get back into PR full time?

Through­out my career, I’ve been blessed by being able to do what I love with peo­ple I love, and my time with Smile Net­work was no excep­tion. I was a board mem­ber for eight years, then exec­u­tive direc­tor for anoth­er eight. It was an extreme­ly dif­fi­cult deci­sion to leave an orga­ni­za­tion I’m pas­sion­ate about and com­mit­ted to, but it was time to get back to my roots. It has been very emo­tion­al and hum­bling – hear­ing from clients I worked with through­out the years, many of whom have become life­long friends. To see every­body wel­come me back with open arms is just phenomenal.

Add us to the list of peo­ple who are excit­ed to see you back in PR, espe­cial­ly since it means we’ll be able to work more close­ly with you.

I’m excit­ed to work with Bell­mont Part­ners. I’ve been work­ing with you and your team since 2008 and we’ve had a very col­lab­o­ra­tive rela­tion­ship, whether we were part­ner­ing to help clients or I was refer­ring them to your team because I was tied up with inter­na­tion­al trav­el. When I took the full-time role with Smile, my clients want­ed my help in find­ing a new PR part­ner, and I intro­duced Bell­mont to every client I had – and it’s great to see that you’re still work­ing with some of them today. What I love is the ener­gy and cul­ture you have cre­at­ed. Not only with employ­ees, but with clients and part­ners. Rela­tion­ships like those are remark­able and rare, and in the end – they’re what help orga­ni­za­tions achieve their goals.

I real­ly val­ue the amount of tal­ent and exper­tise that this team has, with peo­ple at all lev­els, col­lab­o­rat­ing and learn­ing from each oth­er. I also love the agency’s low turnover rate, which trans­lates into con­sis­tent work and client relationships.

What does that col­lab­o­ra­tion look like to you?

I’m avail­able for con­sult­ing and small­er projects but will also be a part of the Bell­mont Part­ners team to eas­i­ly do big­ger projects togeth­er or bring oth­ers in on spe­cif­ic aspects of one of my projects when nec­es­sary. I’ve loved being able to con­sult with sev­er­al of Bellmont’s prac­tice groups already, includ­ing health, tourism & hos­pi­tal­i­ty and non­prof­it, which rep­re­sent so much of my expe­ri­ence over the past 20 years, and where I can com­bine my exper­tise with oth­er team mem­bers’ for our clients.

I’m also real­ly look­ing for­ward to work­ing with local and nation­al media on a more reg­u­lar basis again. It’s been amaz­ing to hear from so many jour­nal­ists wel­com­ing me back. Anoth­er thing the rest of the team at Bell­mont Part­ners and I share is that we know how impor­tant it is to be able to tell a sto­ry on our clients’ behalf, but rela­tion­ships are also key – and you build those with respect. Sev­er­al of us come from jour­nal­ism, so not only have we built these impor­tant rela­tion­ships, we know how to tell a good sto­ry that we would have cov­ered. We know what res­onates with jour­nal­ists, hav­ing been on both sides of the cam­era. We know what works – in both good times and crisis.

In addi­tion to your deep exper­tise and expe­ri­ence, we’re excit­ed about your focus on giv­ing back to the community. 

What’s impor­tant to me is to be able to feel like I’m mak­ing a dif­fer­ence. I have a strong pas­sion and com­mit­ment to work­ing with orga­ni­za­tions and caus­es I believe in who are chang­ing the world. That is a com­mit­ment that Bell­mont Part­ners has as well and I real­ly respect the agency’s focus on con­tribut­ing to the com­mu­ni­ty, through its pro bono work and the Bell­mont Gives Back pro­gram, which gives every­body paid time to vol­un­teer or sup­port caus­es that are impor­tant to them. To me, it’s impor­tant to work with peo­ple who give back and are mak­ing an impact on the world.

Please join us in wel­com­ing Mau­reen back to the pub­lic rela­tions world. We’re thrilled about what our part­ner­ship will bring to our clients, col­leagues and community.

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