Crew

Taylor Arnold

Taylor Arnold

Account Coordinator

Avid Planner
Pasta Enthusiast
Dancing Queen

First joining Team IMR as an intern in May 2017, Taylor is thrilled to start her full-time career as an Account Coordinator with the company. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, she recently graduated from Loyola University Chicago with her Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations, with minors in French & Women/Gender Studies. Although she developed a knack for writing and communication in high school, these passions developed especially during her time at Loyola.

Since joining the IMR team as an intern in 2017, Taylor has had the opportunity to explore the ins and outs of the restaurant and hospitality industries, especially here in Chicago. As an Account Coordinator, she is even more excited to delve deeper with several notable restaurants and organizations, including the Illinois Restaurant Association, entente, and Punch Bowl Social.

In her spare time, Taylor loves to get in touch with her true dancing queen – something she’s been doing since the age of three! She also enjoys relaxing lakeside with friends, exploring the various Chicago neighborhoods and stretching it out in a yoga class.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Tia Bailey

Tia Bailey

Comptroller

Movie lover
travel addict
number cruncher

Teodora “Tia” Bailey has served as IMR’s trusted comptroller since 2016. With a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from the Institute of Economics in Bulgaria, Tia spent the last 20 years serving as a tax accountant at Hansen Cochrane, Ltd. During her tenure at this Northbrook, IL – based tax accounting firm, Tia learned that perfection and accountability is of utmost importance.

At IMR, Tia manages the company’s finances including client billing and reimbursable expenses, banking and credit card reconciliations, expense reports, company taxes and much more.

When asked what she loves about her work, she says, “When everything balances!”

When she’s not crunching numbers and balancing the books at IMR, Tia loves to travel and explore everything that the world offers.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Laura Collins

Laura Collins

Executive Director & Partner

OENOPHILE
PROUD MOM
CARB ADDICT

Laura joined IMR in 2012 as one of the company’s first employees with nearly eight years of public relations experience. Previously, Laura worked for two premier public relations firms in Chicago, implementing successful local and national marketing and media relations campaigns for chefs, restaurants, retail and lifestyle brands.

Laura believes that variety is the spice of life, and at IMR, she enjoys working with a diverse group of unique and extraordinary partners. From spearheading co-production for one of the country’s leading culinary events – James Beard Foundation’s Taste America in Chicago – to guiding strategy for some of the nation’s most talented chefs, she appreciates the excitement that comes with each day.

Specializing in strategic national media relations campaigns for clients in Illinois, South Carolina, Missouri and California, Laura has secured coverage in top media outlets such as the Today Show, bon appétit, NBC Nightly News, USA TodayFood & Wine and countless others.

Driven by the passion of the clients with whom she collaborates daily, Laura most enjoys being a part of their continued success and growth. She translates that energy into her work at IMR, where her executive leadership inspires colleagues at all stages of their career. Laura’s dedication and pure love for her craft make her an integral part of the IMR family and led to her being named a partner in the agency in 2016.

An enthusiast of entertainment and all things home-related, Laura can be found keeping up with the latest celebrity happenings, binge-watching HGTV and spending quality time with her family.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Joseph Fandel

Joseph Fandel

Multimedia Director

CINEPHILE
MASTER OF LIGHT
COFFEE CONNOISSEUR

Joseph “Joey” Fandel joined IMR in 2013 and has since overseen and expanded the scope of the agency’s video arm. This expansion culminated in 2018 with the introduction of Belli Films, an in-house production division providing innovative videos to augment clients’ digital campaigns.

During his tenure, he has worked with clients across a wide variety of industries and directed countless projects, including televised commercials, in-room video for leading hotels and specialized content for social media platforms. He prides himself in being an early adopter of new technology; a must in an ever-changing media landscape.

Born and raised in central Illinois, Joseph has been passionate about filmmaking since an early age. He eventually followed that passion to Bradley University in Peoria, IL, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Media Production. Prior to joining IMR, he began his career interning and freelancing for several different creative agencies, including Northwestern University’s Advanced Media Production Studio.

Joseph lives in Chicago and loves the cultural opportunities that the city creates, from new restaurants to arthouse movies. But mostly he spends his free time binge-watching Netflix.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

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Leslie Friebert

Leslie Friebert

Executive Director

Yoga Devotee
Law & Order Aficionado
House Head

Leslie brings 15 years of PR and communications experience to IMR, having worked both in-house and at agencies in Chicago and New York. She has extensive experience managing accounts for an impressive range of clients including Bacardi, Blue Chair Bay Rum, TJ Maxx/Marshalls, Gaiam, ZED451, Charter Oak Wine, ALDI, vitaminwater, Tribune Events Group, The Gettys Group and more.

She has assisted and led the development of an array of integrated marketing programs that include traditional and digital media relations, social media, celebrity and corporate partnerships and events and trade show management. Leslie has a deep understanding of how and why spreading meaningful messages is key to successful communications programs and strives to strategically analyze every media opportunity, partnership and tactic in an effort to engage with press and consumers in a meaningful way.

Leslie is a committee member for the Robert H. Friebert Social Justice Award and she sits on the board of Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC), Chicago’s first domestic violence services program. She is also serving as co-chair for CAWC’s 2019 annual fundraiser gala, Sounds of Silence.

Leslie holds a B.A. from The George Washington University in Women’s Studies with a minor in Journalism. She loves to travel, try new foods and cocktails, take in as much live music as possible and most importantly spend time with her friends, family and pups.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Merideth Hagerty

Merideth Hagerty

Account Executive

Pop Culture Fiend
Cocktail Connoisseur
Wanderluster

Merideth Hagerty brings a breadth of integrated marketing communications experience to her role as an Account Executive, having contributed to the public relations efforts for an assortment of world class travel, lifestyle, culinary and entertainment brands. Her expertise includes the execution of large-scale brand activations, openings and events management and an acquisition of the tactics necessary to secure placements with both domestic and international media outlets and beyond. Prior to joining the team at IMR, she honed her public relations skillset working in the dynamic markets of Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Originally hailing from the corn fields of Central Illinois, Merideth is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago where she studied Marketing Communications and Arts Management. When she isn’t securing her next placement, she likes to hit the concert circuit, get her Namaste on at a Bikram class and hopes to check out every major city across the globe someday.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Janet Isabelli

Janet Isabelli

CEO & Partner

ISLAND HOPPER
BUDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
CHICK WHO LIFTS

Janet has served as a public relations, marketing and event consultant to dozens of the nation’s premier destinations for more than 17 years. Before founding IMR in 2011, she held the position of Vice President at Wagstaff Worldwide, where she led the company’s Midwest office for nearly a decade. Previously, Janet served as the Assistant Director of College Programming at the University Chicago, where she oversaw large-scale events for students of The College. She gleaned foundational career experience working for renowned branding expert Adrienne Weiss.

In her tenure, Janet has represented internationally recognized entities such as Soho House Group, InterContinental Hotels, the Illinois Restaurant Association, the James Beard Foundation and numerous others. The media relations campaign for Chicago’s annual, premier epicurean event – Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet – falls under her agency’s care, as well as those for countless, award-winning restaurants and chefs.

A Chicago native since 1995, she has contributed to many of the city’s leading non-profit organizations including Chicago Gateway Green, Lookingglass Theater, CASA of Cook County and the Ferrer Foundation. She was named one of Crain’s Chicago Business’ “40 Under 40” emerging business professionals in 2007 and one of the city’s most influential women in food in 2015 by Chicago Woman magazine. Additionally, she was honored in Newcity magazine’s “Food & Drink 50″ in 2011, 2013 and 2017.

Janet holds undergraduate degrees in Spanish Language & Literature and Law, Letters & Society from the University of Chicago, where she remains active in the alumni community. In addition to fitness and cooking, she enjoys exploring islands all over the world…and Instagramming the moments of each and every journey.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

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Rachel Laden

Rachel Laden

Account Manager

Positive Thinker
Social Butterfly
Beyoncé Aficionado

Rachel joins IMR as an Account Manager with experience in public relations, advertising and communications. Previously, she held a position with All Points Public Relations, where she worked with clients across the franchise industry nationwide ranging in specialty from restaurants to children’s art programs and boutique fitness concepts.

Rachel’s expertise includes developing influencer marketing campaigns, managing grand opening tactics and event details – as well as launching press outreach initiatives such as signed agreement and growth strategy announcements on a local and national news level. She brings a great amount of enthusiasm and passion to deliver brand messaging and storytelling as a member of the IMR team.

Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Business Management from DePaul University. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, catching up on the latest episode of The Bachelor/Bachelorette and exploring the best brunch spots in Chicago.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Carly Leviton

Carly Leviton

Executive Director

DISCO QUEEN
ETERNAL OPTIMIST
FROZEN-YOGURT FIEND

Carly joins IMR with more than 10 years of experience in Public Relations and Communications. Previously, Carly held the position of Vice President at Carol Fox and Associates, where she worked with Chicago’s premier arts, entertainment and lifestyle clients. Prior to her time at CF&A, Carly worked at the Goodman Theater where she became engrained in the cultural fabric of the city and has been involved ever since.

In her tenure, Carly has represented internationally recognized entities such as EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, The Chicago International al Film Festival, HBO, The Gene Siskel Film Center, The Auditorium Theater, Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. and numerous others. She values her relationships with both her clients as well as the media and always strives to present the most engaging, innovative and valuable stories. She understands the importance of communicating a clear and thoughtful message while also appealing to multiple audiences in an entertaining and unique way.

Carly holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University. She loves spending time with her family and friends, binging the next best show on Netflix or taking a great yoga class! Carly is also the co-chair of the Gene Siskel Film Center’s Associate Producers Board.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Olivia Murphy

Olivia Murphy

Account Coordinator

Country Music Fanatic
Bacon Enthusiast
Librocubicultarist

Olivia is thrilled to start her full-time career as an Account Coordinator with IMR. Born and raised in Lake Forest, IL, she recently graduated from Miami University of Ohio with her Bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing and minors in Marketing and Creative Writing. Due to having a mother with chef-level skills in the kitchen as well as being a stickler for grammar, Olivia developed a love for food and writing simultaneously from a young age.

Olivia has always been one to follow the food trends in Chicago’s restaurant scene and even created her own food blog with a friend from high school. Coincidentally, she even covered some of IMR’s past clients before joining the team! She can’t wait to apply this prior knowledge to her role and to her notable clients such as Imperial Lamian, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago.

In her spare time, Olivia loves to watch historical docuseries, play tennis with her year-round coach (her dad!) and listen to one of her 100 carefully crafted Spotify playlists.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Marci Ponto

Marci Ponto

Account Executive

Sugar Fiend
Freestyle Rapper
Makeup Enthusiast

Marci Ponto brings three years of public relations experience to her current role as Account Executive. Marci gained valuable experience working with a myriad of Chicago’s top chefs and restaurants including CH Distillery, Daisies, etta, Marisol and many others. Her expertise includes the execution of restaurant openings, event management and proactive pitching to secure local and national placements –which lends to creative, effective campaigns for clients like Yūgen, Rabbit Hole Distilling, The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group and InterContinental Chicago Hotel Magnificent Mile.

A Chicago native, Marci is a graduate of DePaul University where she studied Public Relations and Communication Studies. Although not much of a chef herself, she is extremely passionate about food and loves trying new restaurants and experiencing everything the city has to offer. In her free time, she enjoys binging on T.V. shows, experimenting with the latest beauty products and spending time with her family, friends and dogs.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Sarah Sackett Peabody

Sarah Sackett Peabody

Senior Account Director

Inquisitive Spirit
Task Master
Impressive Appetite

Sarah joined IMR in 2012 eager to channel her hunger for hospitality.  Growing up just outside of Chicago in Skokie, IL, Sarah couldn’t wait to immerse herself in the industry after graduating from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Prior to arriving at IMR, she gained invaluable experience working in the marketing and public relations departments at two esteemed, award-winning properties – the Palmer House Hilton Hotel and The Peninsula Chicago Hotel.

As a Senior Account Director, Sarah has overseen a wide range of accounts, including multi-unit restaurant groups, Michelin-starred fine dining institutions, boutique hotels, specialty farms and more. With a passion for sharing compelling story ideas with media across the country, she specializes in developing tactical plans that lead to meaningful editorial placements for clients.

Since joining IMR, Sarah has built her expertise in breaking into new markets nationwide, creating mutually beneficial relationships with the press, and diving into niche projects. She is one of the agency’s leading connectors to national press based in New York and successfully executes multiple client trips to this key market annually.

Sarah holds a BA in Speech Communications with a specialty in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. Her drive for producing results has contributed to her role as an anchor of the IMR team.  Sarah loves being out and about in Chicago, from checking out vintage fairs to powering through a yoga sculpt class. Looking outside of Chicago, she is always planning her next travel endeavor.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

John Wilkerson

John Wilkerson

COO & Partner

EPICURE
HOROPHILE
BLUES GUITAR SLINGER

John cofounded IMR after 18 years of experience working at all levels in the hospitality industry. A fourth-generation and self-made business owner from Louisville, KY, he grew up surrounded by his family’s produce business, and the entrepreneurial bug struck early. John began pursuing business endeavors in his teenage years – walking dogs, delivering neighborhood newsletters, promoting local bands and running live sound productions for music venues throughout the city.

After John’s first job in the restaurant industry, his career quickly catapulted. His background includes working and directing some of the most highly acclaimed concepts throughout the U.S. and in the Caribbean. These include the Mobil Five-Star Maisonette in Cincinnati; the legendary Augusto’s as owned by Augusto Schriner in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the world-renowned Blue Door at Ian Schrager’s Delano Hotel in South Beach; celebrity chef David Burke’s Primehouse at The James Hotel in Chicago; and as general manager of the nationally recognized The Purple Pig in Chicago.

At IMR, John oversees operations, finance, human resources, media buying and special events. He also works directly with the agency’s account teams and client operators to provide market insight and restaurant consulting. John serves as the lead for the James Beard Foundation’s annual Taste America gala in Chicago. Since 2014, he has co-produced the event with executive producer and founder Bowen & Company and raised substantial funds for the Foundation’s education and scholarship programs.

In his free time, John enjoys playing the guitar, traveling, cooking and admiring modern and contemporary art.

Photo by Francois Vochelle

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Michael Coleman

Michael Coleman

Michael Coleman, LLC

Exclusive Creative Partner

Gym Devotee
Business Traveler
Quack Philosopher

Michael Coleman, principal of Michael Coleman, LLC, leads a design team focused on premier clients including Isabelli Media Relations. With broad experience in both print production and digital implementation, Michael Coleman, LLC is positioned as a single source to seamlessly take projects from concept to completion.

Isabelli Media Relations provides its clients with exclusive access to creative services from Michael Coleman, LLC. Streamlining creative services through clients’ account teams makes quality and inventive graphic design more accessible than ever. Capabilities include branding projects, interactive banner ads, email campaigns, menus, marketing collateral, print advertising and more. For more information, visit http://michaelcoleman.net.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Leslie Ruckman

Leslie Ruckman

Michael Coleman, LLC

Account Coordinator

Burrito Addict
Coffee Princess
Pinball Wizard

Leslie developed a special place in her heart for boutique businesses while growing up amid her family’s Bay Area coffee company. After graduating from San Jose State University with a degree in graphic design and moving to Chicago, Leslie’s career began in an e-commerce startup as a digital designer, front end web developer and marketer. Despite her initial focus on digital work, her soft spot for all things print has resulted in an ever-evolving hoard of nicely designed print collateral that she collects and uses as daily inspiration.

As the pinball capital of the world, Chicago quickly tapped into Leslie’s unbridled passion for the game. Since moving to the city, she has joined multiple pinball leagues and even keeps a small collection of machines in her home.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography

Zach Wiltgen

Zach Wiltgen

Michael Coleman, LLC

Graphic Designer

Music Junkie
Tinker-er
Bread and Cheese Admirer

After graduating from the University of Illinois with an advertising degree, Zach developed a passionate interest in all things design. With a penchant for coding HTML, his focus ever since has been to design engaging emails, microsites and web advertising. Zach’s digital design expertise is perfectly complemented by a print design skill set.

Zach is a talented percussionist whose four years on the Illini Drumline at University of Illinois carried him around the world for innumerable performances. As a designer, Zach’s drumming hasn’t stopped. In moments of creative genius, any desktop, mousepad, or MacBook Pro has the potential to become an improvised instrument.

Photo by Eric Kleinberg Photography