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.

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.

Lauren Barbian

Lauren Barbian

Senior Account Executive

GRILL MASTER
CARDIO QUEEN
PIZZA ENTHUSIAST

Lauren brings five years of public relations, marketing and communications experience working on high-profile food, restaurant and lifestyle brands. After earning a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, she was introduced to the world of PR and never looked back.

At IMR, Lauren’s passion for food, travel and business comes to life as she represents a range of clients, including Chicago’s iconic Italian Village Restaurants, the rapidly expanding Slapfish, Two Birds and Butterleaf concepts out of California by Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Andrew Gruel, dana hotel and spa, the Kendall College Trust and more.

In her free time, Lauren enjoys working out, experimenting with new recipes and exploring Chicago’s endless culinary scene. Her favorite indulgences include deep dish pizza, tapas and Mexican cuisine. An alumni of Indiana University, Lauren is a proud Hoosier fanatic, especially during basketball season.

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

Sarah Haas

Sarah Haas

Account Coordinator

Francophile
Avid Runner
Ice Cream Enthusiast

Sarah Haas was born and raised in New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. After studying at the Sorbonne and living with a host family in Paris, she formed a passion for the country’s culinary practices and food.

Sarah joined IMR in July shortly after completing her master’s degree, and works on accounts including dana hotel and spa, Italian Village Restaurants, Pork & Mindy’s, and InterContinental Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile. Sarah is a huge foodie, and looks forward to combining her love of restaurants, communications, and social media while working with local hospitality leaders.

In her free time, she also loves running outside on Lakeshore Trail and enjoying Chicago’s beautiful skyline.

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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Carly Leviton

Carly Leviton

Executive Director

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