Orly Telisman, Founder
Brings to each project more than a decade of experience in journalism, public and media relations, crisis management, social media, and promotional events. She develops on-target public relations/strategic communication plans and delivers them with excellence. She consistently assesses progress, course corrects as necessary, and manages unexpected opportunities with care. Clients consistently describe her as vivacious, attentive, tenacious, and results-driven.
Orly provides expertise and talent that catapults organizations to the next level. Prior to founding her own firm, Orly served as the Media Relations Director for Encyclopedia Britannica, the Manager of Media Relations for The Field Museum, and nearly a decade of on-air journalism as a reporter and anchor for PBS, FOX and NBC local news.
Deborah Gladney, Account Director
Deborah Gladney is a seasoned public affairs and communications professional with nearly a decade of experience in designing communication strategies and programs.
She is currently the principal and founder of Gladney Consulting where she provides public relations support for organizations seeking assistance in the areas of media relations, multicultural marketing, communications planning and/or stakeholder engagement.
Gladney previously served as a communications manager for Koch Industries where she had primary responsibility for the company’s business communication and multicultural marketing efforts. Before joining Koch, Gladney worked as an account manager for Outreach Strategies, a communications and public affairs firm, where she led client engagement on community and social justice issues. Gladney received her B.S. in broadcast journalism from Kansas State University and an M.A. in public communication from American University in Washington, D.C.
Michelle Weber, Account Director
Drawing on 25+ years of public relations expertise, Michelle Weber has directed dozens of public education campaigns, managed major events, directed the development of creative materials, and successfully positioned non-profit organizations as go-to media sources and experts on critical issues. Clients have included Lions International, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), Chicago Rehab Network, and Academy of General Dentistry. In addition to her innovative work for clients, Weber has been a guest speaker at Community Media Workshop and has presented public relations workshops to nonprofit organizations around the country.
Outside of work, Weber is president of her neighborhood association and volunteers at her local food pantry.
Samantha Berrafato, Public Relations Manager and Event Planner
Samantha is a wellspring of fresh ideas that fall inline with our clients’ strategic communication goals. She brings together a combination of enthusiasm and strategy for her job. Samantha is both creative and pays meticulous attention to detail in her work on high-profile communication campaigns and public events for clients such as: Insight Behavioral Health Centers, Pure Synergy nutrition products, and the globally known American Craft Exposition. Samantha’s work has garnered media placement in Cosmopolitan, Brit + Co., Parade Magazine, Essence, Forbes, and The Chicago Tribune.
Alexandra Corro, Public Relations Associate
Alex’s dedication to our current and growing list of clients is impressive. Alex is committed to excellence, and it shows in her enthusiasm for exceeding client expectations. In addition to her international education (receiving her master’s degree in London), Alex continues to delve deep into the world of Public Relations. Alexandra’s work has garnered media placement in NPR national News, Monocle Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and various Chicago-based TV news programs.
Tracy Marks, Head Writer
Brings more than 20 years’ experience in strategic communication. Projects include communication plans, crisis communication, website content, press releases, blogs, editorial/articles, speeches, annual reports, capital campaign materials, and more.
Described as “one of the best writers and editors in Chicago,” clients commend her for her enthusiasm, compassion, fast learning curve, and expertise distilling heady information into user-friendly, inspirational editorial. A communication consultant for nearly 12 years, Tracy has been a member of the Orly Telisman Public Relations team since 2011.
Cassandra Guenterberg, Graphic Designer
Please contact Orly with any graphic design requests.
A 2005 graduate of UW-Milwaukee, Cassandra is an experienced graphic designer who helps us and our clients share their message clearly and through impactful designs. Whether it’s via print, social, or online design, Cassandra creates eye-catching, engaging materials for clients in a variety of spaces. In her spare time, she’s cheering on the Milwaukee Brewers (we won’t hold that against her) and is training for a national championship in steinholding.
Penelope Varnava, Office Manager
Penelope (Penny) Varnava was born in Greece and is a proud Athenian. She graduated from Architecture school and moved to the US for graduate studies. With her MArch and MBA at hand, she worked in architecture and construction / project management for 30+ years, over 20 of which were dedicated in K-12 school facilities. She joined Orly PR in August 2019 part-time managing the office and accounting functions, while she continues to consult with school districts in construction and operations part time, designs glass objects and jewelry part time, and plans for her next trip somewhere with good museums and good food.