Maureen Gillespie offers clients more than three decades of experience in the many disciplines of professional internal and external communications, including: media relations, advertising and promotion, regulatory P.R., issues management, employee communications, speechwriting, video production, special events, and marketing communications.
Prior to founding smartpr in 1999, she spent a dozen years in-house at a major corporation and more than six at the world’s largest pure-play (independent) public relations firm, where she developed and managed programs for big-brand global clients and emerging businesses.
During her career, Ms Gillespie has developed a reputation for her creativity and ability to apply skills to any industry or type of organization, and for her attention to detail while always keeping “the big picture” in focus. For the past decade, she has been specializing in building, leveraging and managing marketplace credibility for early-stage businesses, with all that entails: strategic communications messaging, positioning, planning and implementation; executive coaching and interview training; materials creation (e.g., infokits, presentations, marketing collateral, advertising, logo and Web-site development; customer case studies); industry-analyst relations, investor relations, media relations, crisis communication; branding/naming; and TV/film product placement.
She has provided public relations, capital-raising and marketing support across a broad spectrum of emerging businesses. In the early days of the Internet, she orchestrated the launches of such diverse companies as raw-materials e-marketplace MaterialNet, fine-art online retail site Artland; remote-access services company Netilla Networks (now AEP Networks), among many other start-ups. She devised the communications strategy for the restart of 360-degree intelligent-imaging company RemoteReality, launched the University of Pennsylvania medical-device spinout Endovalve, Inc.; the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory regenerative-medicine spinout NellOne Therapeutics, Inc.; the MIT life-science spinout Hepregen Corporation; repositioned forestry-technology-solutions company ImageTree Corporation; and launched Finite Carbon, a company facilitating landowners’ entry into the forest-carbon-offset market.
She has supported such firms on the funding side of the entrepreneurial equation as Keystone Ventures, Early Stage Enterprises, The Shark Fund, Signal Equity Partners and L Capital Partners. Smartpr has been agency of record for Battelle Ventures and its affiliate, Innovation Valley Partners, since their inceptions. Besides representing the funds themselves, smartpr often provides messaging/positioning workshops, branding, media training, media outreach, and Web-site creation for their portfolio companies.
Before founding smartpr, Ms Gillespie was at PR 21 (now Zeno, sister agency of Edelman Public Relations Worldwide), where she was senior vice president of the New Media & Technology Group, responsible for launching many start-ups during the dotcom boom. Before that, Ms Gillespie headed the Communications Technology Group at Edelman/NY, serving such global clients as Ericsson; SkyBridge (satellite communications spinoff of Alcatel); and various AT&T business units (including Corporate, Consumer, Business, E-Commerce).
Other assignments at Edelman (1993-1998) covered the Consumer, Technology and Business-to-Business practices: among them, she was: vice president, Global Technology Group, managing programs for Dow Jones Business Information Systems, Mecklermedia Corporation and Philips Laboratories; and manager, Editorial Services/Consumer Division, providing media-relations, writing, editing, production, special-events and strategic-planning support and counsel to such clients as NYNEX Mobile Communications, Black & Decker, Maxwell House, American Greetings, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. and Hershey’s. As head of the New York Mexico Ministry of Tourism account team in the International Travel & Tourism Group, Ms Gillespie transformed the World Financial Center into an ecotourism fantasy that included a rainforest.
From 1979-1991 Ms Gillespie held diverse public relations positions at New York Telephone (where she headed up product publicity, cultural and informational advertising/promotion, and established a bilingual consumer-information program to communicate the biggest industry changes occurring in telecommunications history) and newly formed NYNEX (where she was associate director of stakeholder research and editor of management and all-employee publications, including the flagship, multi-award-winning corporate magazine Impact).
Besides her corporate and agency experience, in 1992 Ms Gillespie was a founding officer of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), a national nonprofit organization founded by former U.S. Health, Education and Welfare Secretary (under President Carter) Joseph Califano Jr., in association with Columbia University. As CASA’s first director of Communications, Ms Gillespie extended Mr. Califano’s thought-leadership position beyond the area of health issues related to smoking into a drug-policy leadership position. She also was responsible for getting the subject of drug abuse into the 1992 Presidential Election nationally televised debates, working with both the Bush and Clinton campaign staffs, as well as with the moderator of the first candidates’ debate (Sander Vanocur).
Ms Gillespie has been a freelance writer, editor and photographer, a judge of an interschool business-plan competition at Columbia University, and a panelist and CEO coach at incubator and venture-forum events. She has helped start-ups raise millions in venture capital and sat on advisory boards, and is the recipient of numerous industry awards, such as ACE Awards (International Association of Business Communicators) and an ANDY Award (Advertising Club of New York). Current and past memberships include the New York Press Club, the MIT Enterprise Forum and the Executive Council of New York.