We use communications to help our clients solve their business challenges and get the reputation they deserve.

Well-understood organizations have the best opportunity for success. Tunheim leverages communications to help clients navigate the complex situations. We take on our clients’ challenges as our own and customize communications efforts to deliver results.

Tunheim was founded because talented people wanted to do interesting work. Since 1990, we’ve operated by the fundamental beliefs that well-informed people make good decisions and that effective communication is a critical component of successful business strategy.

We’re a certified woman-owned business and a member of IPREX, the second-largest independent global agency network.

MEET OUR TEAM

Our Core Capabilities

Public Relations

Strategic communications is core to our consultancy’s success. It’s what differentiates Tunheim from other business consultancies.

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Public Affairs

As a leading consultancy specializing in public affairs, Tunheim understands the complex intersection of public policy, stakeholders, media and decision-makers.

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Digital + Content

Tunheim understands the dynamics of digital tools, has an experienced bench of talent. We can help you develop a digital strategy from scratch, connecting your story with the right audience and on the right platform.

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Management Consulting

Businesses face new, dynamic challenges every day; many of those challenges are catalysts for change management. Tunheim helps its clients navigate change and communicate effectively to bring stakeholders along.

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Our Approach to Talent

Tunheim tackles our clients’ challenges with a collective approach – a belief that no one individual is as good as the company’s “collective best.” A philosophy since our inception, this means we are committed to building the right team of talent to serve client needs.

We have a robust number of strategic partnerships with talented professionals who join our teams, but choose to operate as independent contractors – we call them Strategic Partners.

We are also a member of IPREX, the second-largest independent global agency network, giving us access to talent and insights from all around the world.

Meet the Rethinkers.

Tunheim believes clients should always have access to the best counsel, strategy and talent. We’re a collection of thinkers and strategists and what-if-ers. We’re a proven team of business professionals, some of the best and the brightest. We’re writers and designers, marketers and business professionals. We’re researchers, media relations gurus, and digital and social evangelizers. We analyze-scrutinize-theorize.

But most of all we are Rethinkers. With an insatiable energy for learning and problem solving.

Kathy Tunheim

Kathy Tunheim

CEO & Principal

Kathy Tunheim co-founded the firm in 1990 with four colleagues from Honeywell, Inc., and has served as chief executive officer throughout the firm’s evolution to Tunheim. She maintains an active role in many of the agency’s client relationships, and is a well-known crisis communications counselor to senior executives. She is past president of IPREX, one of the world’s largest networks of independent communications firms, which Tunheim joined in 2007.

Prior to co-founding the agency, Kathy gained experiences in both the corporate world and the political arena that profoundly shaped her approach to creating value as an agency counselor. She served as vice president for public relations and internal communications at Honeywell. Earlier in her career, she handled media relations and speechwriting for Wendell R. Anderson — for both his time as governor of the State of Minnesota and during his tenure in the U.S. Senate. Collectively these experiences cause her to be particularly intrigued by the challenges of helping clients navigate the intersections of business, public policy and the media.

In 2011, she accepted a part-time appointment as senior advisor to Minnesota’s governor, serving two years focused on igniting job creation across the state. She serves on the board of directors for Landscape Structures, Inc., the world’s largest supplier of commercial playground equipment; Hennepin Healthcare (HCMC) and The McKnight Foundation, as well as The Saint Paul & Minnesota Community Foundations.

Lou Ann Olson

Lou Ann Olson

Director of Public Relations and Digital

Leveraging her experience in working with big brands and signature events, Lou Ann leads Tunheim strategy for telling client stories in ways that secure meaningful results.  From the PGA’s Ryder Cup to MLB’s All-Star Week and Minneapolis’ Holidazzle, Lou Ann partners with Tunheim clients to not only spread the word but also move minds.

Capitalizing on Tunheim’s ‘collective best’ approach to client service, Lou Ann builds teams and then leads their approach to help big brands tackle communications challenges – from telling stories of urban revitalization for the Dayton’s Project and opening new stores for Caribou Coffee to introducing the latest Sleep Number bed at the Consumer Electronics Show.  Understanding that effectively communicating with stakeholders should not be formulaic, Lou Ann works with clients to rethink each challenge and then identify their customized path to stellar results.

Patrick Milan

Patrick Milan

Chief Insights Officer

Patrick Milan is tasked with transforming Tunheim’s services to meet the needs of clients navigating complex change. He is one of the leaders of Tunheim’s management consulting practice. Pat works across Tunheim’s broad portfolio of clients and their industry sectors developing key insights based on trends and disruptive factors that are likely to impact organizational success.

Prior to Tunheim, Pat served as a managing partner at Fallon Worldwide. At Fallon, he helped develop and direct the retail marketing practice where teams developed breakthrough work for clients including Starbucks, BMW, United Airlines and Nordstrom.

Pat serves on the board of directors for Artistry, a nonprofit organization that serves a regional audience of 80,000 people and pursues artistic excellence by engaging the region’s most talented artists in work that welcomes and develops audiences and opens hearts and minds. Pat is also a member of the board of Southdale YMCA, Minnesota’s largest YMCA organization.

Paula Wright

Paula Wright

Director of Corporate Communications

Paula leverages her corporate and agency experience to provide insightful consultation and strategy for clients managing change and transformation. She has worked with a wide variety of sports and corporate clients from the PGA (Ryder Cup 2016) to Target, the USGA, Cargill and Sleep Number, providing communications and events marketing strategy to maximize brand opportunities.

In addition to her client work, Paula leads best practices at Tunheim, focusing on superior client service that drives results. Paula currently serves on the board of the American Marketing Association (AMA Minnesota) and previously served on the board of the International Live Event Association.

Sarah Hinde

Sarah Hinde

Senior Account Supervisor

Sarah thrives at the intersection of public affairs, communications and engagement, navigating clients through the complex and dynamic world of public affairs while developing messaging and communications strategy to reach their intended audience.

Bringing to Tunheim nearly 10 years’ experience in the public sector, Sarah has worked for several high-profile public officials, developing communications strategy, managing statewide projects, and building relationships with stakeholders. She’s led the State of the State planning for two governors, managed international trade missions to Europe and Mexico, and has overseen major events such as the governor’s fishing and pheasant openers. Whether it’s healthcare, community and economic development, transportation, or energy and sustainability, Sarah has a knack for turning complicated issues into a clear and concise vision.

A politics and pop culture junkie, she’s usually watching the news, perusing social media or listening to podcasts. When not “plugged in”, Sarah can probably be found somewhere outside, at a concert or the nearest Farmer’s Market, or daydreaming about her next travel location.

Macie Paynter

Macie Paynter

Financial Controller

Macie is a driven, experienced financial executive with extensive experience in strategic, high-paced companies. She relishes opportunities to enhance leadership, finance, accounting, HR, and contracting processes.

Macie helps Tunheim develop business strategies, process improvements, financial modeling and strong client and internal relationships.

John Blackshaw

John Blackshaw

President and Chief Operating Officer

John Blackshaw’s position is a first for Tunheim. He is tasked with leading and developing the firm’s consulting operations, our primary business.

John was most recently chief executive of Nemadji Research Corp., a Bruno, Minn.-based health care analytics company, a position he held for about six years.

Although his position is a first, Blackshaw is not new to Tunheim; he worked for the firm from 1992 to 2000.

“It’s kind of coming full-circle,” Blackshaw said. “Being able to come back and grow Tunheim into the next phase is a big thrill for me.”

Jason Dorow

Jason Dorow

Account Supervisor

Adept in strategic communications and PR, Jason lends a sharp attention to detail, leadership and digital expertise to Accra, Schneider Electric and other clients at Tunheim. His passion for storytelling and fascination with brand positioning blossomed while studying at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. After college, he handled media relations for several retail and technology clients at Weber Shandwick in Chicago, and then joined Tunheim in 2018. A Minnesota native, Jason loves to explore the great outdoors, whether it’s a walk along the Mississippi River or a trip to a national park.

Emily McGrath

Emily McGrath

Senior Account Supervisor

Emily has extensive strategic consulting experience working for both the public and private sectors. Before working for Tunheim, she was a contract lobbyist for a variety of Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, Emily served as the legislative liaison for the Minnesota Department of Health and worked in corporate public affairs departments in both St. Paul, Minnesota and Washington, D.C.

As a consultant with Tunheim, Emily has overseen the strategic planning and execution of communications and community outreach campaigns. She has provided counsel to a variety of clients, including the Minnesota Twins, UnitedHealth Group, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, United Health Foundation, Ingersoll Rand, Xcel Energy, International Multifoods, and the Minnesota Private College Council.

Emily is currently a member of the board of directors of the Healdsburg Education Foundation, and an elected representative of the Healdsburg Charter School governing board. Previously, Emily served on the board of the Minnesota Women’s Political Council.

Maddie Renneke

Maddie Renneke

Senior Account Strategist

Maddie’s work spans between digital and traditional communications strategies for organizations from non-profits to consumer brands. From local media stories to digital advocacy campaigns, Maddie uses thoughtful and creative messaging to tell her clients’ stories. In Maddie’s three years at Tunheim, she has partnered with clients including the Minnesota Hospital Association, the Minnesota Homeownership Center, affordable housing developer Dominium and sun-protective swimwear brand Mott50.

Debbie Estes

Debbie Estes

Strategic Partner

As a seasoned marketing director, Debbie has a strong client side focus in experiential, entertainment and sports marketing that drive for results.

In her first year at Tunheim, she played a pivotal role as a member of the successful 2018 Super Bowl and the 2017-2020 NCAA Final Four bid committee teams. The teams developed the strategy, messaging, communications and creative for the formal bid presentations.

Before joining Tunheim, Debbie was the senior director of experiential/event marketing for Best Buy, where she developed programs that supported the brand. For example, her team led the event strategy for entertainment exclusives with acts including U2, The Rolling Stones, Usher, Elton John and Justin Timberlake. Debbie also managed more than 50 Best Buy sponsorships including NASCAR teams, the National Hockey League and multiple MLB, NBA and NHL teams. She is also adept at product integration, having worked with “The Apprentice,” “The Ellen Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Prior to Best Buy, Debbie worked at Target as director of event marketing and publicity. While there, she led the events and publicity strategy for the Michael Graves Design Collection product launch, Target House at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the restoration of the Washington Monument and the branding of Target Center.

Debbie started her career in the Minnesota Office of the Governor and moved on to the White House Press Advance staff during the Carter administration. She is also very active in the community, having served on numerous arts, education and social action boards. Debbie and her husband have a daughter and have hosted six AFS exchange students who attended Wayzata High School.

Diane Vredeveld

Diane Vredeveld

Accounts Payable Clerk

Previous to her employment with Tunheim as an Administrative Assistant in 1999, Diane worked for 10 plus years in the residential real estate field as an office administrator for Coldwell Banker Burnet, serving the Stillwater and Shoreview, Minnesota offices as well as the Hudson, Wisconsin office.  She later spent several years with CB Richard Ellis, a worldwide commercial property management company, as an administrative assistant who provided support to the property managers and their operations departments.

In her spare time, Diane enjoys gardening, reading and traveling. A little-known fact about Diane – she was cast as an extra in the motion picture “Grumpier Old Men”.

 

Lindsay Treichel

Lindsay Treichel

Chief Transformation Officer

At Tunheim, Lindsay excels at leading clients through transformational change. Whether it’s guiding her clients through a crisis, developing a marketplace positioning or developing new strategies to help clients maximize engagement with key stakeholders, Lindsay is a strategic partner to her clients every step of the way.

In addition to her role at Tunheim, Lindsay serves as a member of the marketing and communications committee for Cornerstone, an organization that provides comprehensive services and support for victims of interpersonal violence. Lindsay also is part of The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Women to Know Council and is a member of the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce board of directors. A Wisconsin native and lover of country music, Lindsay has a not-so-secret desire to be a country music singer.

Liz Sheets

Liz Sheets

Chief Marketing Officer

As Chief Marketing Officer, Liz is responsible for Tunheim’s external positioning. With a breadth of experience working with numerous consumer, B2B and nonprofit organizations, Liz combines communications, marketing and digital expertise to strategically position the firm. Liz is adept at quickly understanding client needs, and identifying and aligning with strategy to deliver for clients. She also oversees the digital team, ensuring exceptional work and competency.

Prior to joining Tunheim in 2012, Liz led social media strategy at Spyder Trap and spent a number of years in event marketing at Best Buy, where she focused on product launches, sponsorship activation and localizing brand marketing efforts. Liz started her career in entertainment publicity.

Emmett Coleman

Emmett Coleman

Strategic Partner

Informed by decades of operating in highly regulated and competitive business environments, Emmett Coleman relies on a proactive approach to advocacy informed by the great Wayne Gretzky’s key to success – instead of reacting to the action, determine where the puck is going to be and get there ahead of it. Emmett appreciates that organizations often need to transform their approach to public affairs to successfully shape public policies, find common ground on contested issues and generate opportunities for growth.

Emmett is best when dealing with complex topics, guiding clients with emerging technologies and rapidly developing business interests through traditional public processes that often slow innovation and investment. He offers a unique perspective formed through his experience running government and public affairs within several Fortune 50 technology companies, serving as legislative staff in the U.S. House of Representatives. Emmett understands that alliances are built on trust over time through engagement – and that in building trusting relationships, you create champions that enhance your brand and reputation.

Emmett’s experience includes securing regulatory approval for large acquisitions, complex negotiations, grassroots and legislative advocacy and directing coordination of government affairs, public relations and community investment.

Sandi Scott

Sandi Scott

Account Supervisor

At Tunheim, Sandi helps clients obtain the reputation they deserve.  Whether it is company positioning, communicating with stakeholders, reputation management or managing a crisis, Sandi has a proven track record for helping clients reach the right audience at the right time with the right message.

Understanding that each organization has its own unique challenges, Sandi is a strategic partner that works with clients from global B2B and B2C companies to small nonprofit organizations to develop customized strategies that drive results.

 

Amy Maloney

Amy Maloney

Strategic Partner

With a passion and work ethic that exceeds expectations, Amy Maloney is a public relations professional with over 20 years experience and a proven record of success in media relations, sales and marketing campaigns along with promotional event planning, brand management, internal communications, change management, and social/digital media campaigns.

Amy’s experience with national media outlets is vast and has resulted in everything from celebrity guest bookings on The View, Live with Regis and Kelly and The Ellen Degeneres Show to high profile stories in the USA Today, InStyle Magazine, People, Seventeen Magazine as well as negotiating cover stories with TV Guide and US Weekly.

She also touts a history of successful grassroots and regional campaigns in the contestant searches for “Pyramid with Donnie Osmond,” “The Bachelor/Bachelorette,” “The REAL Gilligan’s Island” as well as a “Live Huge” Bus Tour that was launched in support of ABC Family’s show “Huge” starring Nikki Blonsky.

She prides herself on the ability to build relationships that create opportunities where none may have existed. This commitment led to one of ABC Family’s most successful network initiatives, a pro-social campaign entitled “Delete Digital Drama” in partnership Seventeen Magazine. She also developed partnerships with “Declare Yourself,” “Girls, Inc” and “Do Something” to help bolster the public relations campaigns for ABC Family’s top rated shows.

In part, Amy credits her success to the diversity of her experience having worked at both the agency and corporate level. Having worked on both sides, she is able to navigate her way into finding unique and innovative ways to approach projects in order to maximize reach and achieve creatively driven results.

Recently, Amy worked for Aveda as their Director of International Communications where she worked to ensure that public relations and communications planning for product launches were creatively consistent across the globe. She developed communications toolkits that provided customizable content and materials to be used by each international market. She also managed the communications leads in market to hold them accountable for effective execution.

She also worked at Target as part of their grocery public relations team in their ongoing efforts to raise awareness of Targets fresh food as well as owned brand products. Additionally, she worked on crafting messaging and social media campaigns for their race teams with both Indy and NASCAR. As part of her role there, she also served on the committee that managed the internal communications strategy for a United Way campaign for employees.

Fun fact: Amy is an avid fan of television but recently decided her couch potato tendencies had to change and she has begun a fitness journey with Beachbody to ensure she lives a long life for her autistic son, who was born later in her life. She is also a foodie at heart and enjoys watching Food Network and making meals that are both delicious and healthy.

Susan Eich

Susan Eich

Strategic Partner

Susan Eich strongly believes that effective communications can drive corporate performance. She has more than 30 years of experience in corporate communications, working for some of the most prominent Twin Cities-based companies. Susan understands the pressures and demands of being in a senior communications role inside a company, and how outside counsel can provide value and be a trusted partner.

Susan’s first professional position was in public relations at Honeywell, where she had the fortune to work for and learn from Kathy Tunheim. She also was one of the founding partners of Tunheim Santrizos Co. — known today as Tunheim. She has held senior public relations positions at Target Corporation and Cargill, and most recently was Sleep Number’s senior director of public relations and corporate communications.

Susan’s areas of expertise include corporate and financial communications, investor relations, speechwriting, executive communications, crisis communications, media relations, corporate reputation management and issues management.

Virginia “Ginny” Melvie

Senior Executive Assistant

Even though it often makes her job more difficult, Ginny enjoys making other people’s jobs easier. With an uncanny sense of what needs to be done to keep things running smoothly, she is Tunheim’s petite superhero. Ginny brings to the firm more than 25 years of executive-level support and works directly with our president and CEO.

Prior to joining Tunheim, Ginny was executive assistant to the chief deputy attorney general for the state of Minnesota. She assisted the chief deputy in the day-to-day management of the office and a staff of more than 500 employees, working on both short- and long-term planning for the office. She also was an active participant in the state’s litigation team that worked on what was (and is) considered the single most important piece of litigation to arise from the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office: the tobacco settlement.

Ginny brings a broad range of skills to the firm, having worked in a variety of industries throughout her career, including: corporate, legal, government, boards, nonprofits and political campaigns. Some of her previous political roles have included: state convention delegate, past precinct chair, PAC administrator, and a member of the Alan Page for Justice Committee.

When she’s away from the office, Ginny enjoys watching the Minnesota Twins, reading home décor magazines, dining out and, in the summer, enjoying a strawberry daiquiri with friends.

Arick Wierson

Arick Wierson

Strategic Partner

A six-time Emmy award-winning television producer, Arick Wierson brings extensive global, international, business and communications expertise to Tunheim. Arick is a former deputy commissioner of technology and senior communications advisor to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and founder of NYC TV and NYC Media Group, the largest publicly owned broadcast entity in the United States.

Arick is fluent in Spanish and bilingual in Portuguese and English. He is a partner in the MANOVA Summit, the global health and technology summit taking place in Minnesota this October. He is also a contributor to CNN.com, CNBC.com and the New York Observer.