Meet The GreenMark Team
Business Development Director
GreenMarkers are devoted to supporting awareness of the country’s many green spaces, places and issues. From weekend hobbies to volunteer initiatives in our communities, we bring passion to our green work in and away from the office. Our desire to dig in and spread the word serves as our catalyst, yielding great work for our clients and growing good results for our society. That’s why we get up every morning - to make our green mark, too.
Get to know us more... contact us today to discuss how GreenMark can grow results for your business, company and organization!
Founder & President
Sue Markgraf is an award-winning reporter, editor and media relations practitioner with more than 30 years in media and corporate communications, including for the horticulture and agriculture industries. She has extensive experience in strategic team leadership, media communications and lifestyle reporting, issues and reputation management and media training for education, not-for-profit, corporate and agency businesses.
Because green is all GreenMark does, Sue's passion for her work and the sustainable industry forges alliances among the firm’s clients that yield above-and-beyond results, including in industry leadership capacities, higher-profile visibility and reputation enhancement. She is on the cutting edge of new media, guiding the firm’s direction on Internet opportunities for clients that are in addition to traditional marketing communications strategies. With her team, success yields award-winning results for clients through new and traditional media relations, marketing communications, social and electronic exposure. That success directly impacts the financial bottom-line of the firm's clients.
Prior to co-founding GreenMark in 2006, Sue led the public relations team at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where she created and managed proactive, full-scale communications and reputation management programs. Her work delivered millions of consumer impressions that increased visibility, drove attendance and provided tangible results that contributed to a successful re-brand initiative and capital campaign launch. Under her direction, coverage of the garden and its work in science, education and leadership grew from minimal to international in just five years. Sue's background also includes big-agency experience with the Chicago office of Fleishman-Hillard and corporate communications direction with Dairy Management, Inc., representing the dairy farmers of America.
As a media relations professional, Sue's work includes broadcast in front of and behind the camera as segment coordinator, producer, director and spokesperson. A lifelong journalist, she worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter and editor, and then as editor of two agriculture industry trade publications. She has written articles for leading newspapers and national publications, contributed to a best-selling author's book and has guest-taught editing and writing to teens and adults. With one foot also in the professional development side of media relations, Sue is past president of the Publicity Club of Chicago - the nation's largest public relations membership organization.
“Great results are achieved through compassionate teamwork and a passionate drive to reach a common goal. When this happens, results are consistent – and they are amazing.”
– Sue Markgraf
Email Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Relations Director
Good things start gradually, from blooms to legumes. For Lynn Petrak, living an earth-friendly life was also a gradual process, starting with the simple recyclable grocery tote and evolving to the embrace of natural and organic foods and the choice of green household elements.
Lynn comes by her interest in wholesome products naturally: she has specialized in food, nutrition, home and health communications for 20 years. Her work has appeared in several consumer and trade publications, from Parenting magazine to the Chicago Tribune to Chicago Home & Garden and many others.
Her farm-to-table food chain knowledge was gleaned from her extensive experience as a writer and contributing editor for food and agriculture industry magazines. One of her essays appeared in the bestselling book, “Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul,” and she is the author of a children’s book, “Goodbye Lake.”
Through the years, Lynn has complemented her editorial writing with media relations and marketing communications for a variety of companies and agencies, as both a team member and leader. She offers a perfect blend of media and public relations experience and knowledge of media markets in transition to GreenMark’s clients as a media relations director.
When not furiously tapping away at the keyboard, she recharges – and gets some of her best brainstorms – in the great outdoors, sometimes in her kayak but usually when walking along the Illinois Prairie Path.
“We’re the new news bureau. It’s our job and our joy to find captivating, relevant information and share that news on both a local and national level, whether it’s about everyday living or long-term strategies to protect the earth and its resources.” – Lynn Petrak
Email Lynn at email@example.com
Public Affairs Director
Veteran journalist Lilia Chacon is a familiar face from her many years on Fox News Chicago as a live-shot reporter and anchor. She used her writing and communications skills to move into Chicago City Hall where she was Treasurer Stephanie Neely’s Communications Director for four years. She also spent five months in Iowa as press secretary for the Bernie Sanders campaign.
She is a consummate communicator who knows the ins and outs of the media landscape and has earned the trust of clients and journalists. She is also a life-long gardener, naturalist and birdwatcher who understands how best to tell stories about people helping to make the planet a greener place.
Lilia’s previous experiences include hosting her own nature show, “The Outdoors Report,” in Albuquerque, New Mexico and co-leading several safari excursions to Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Lilia has also successfully coached clients on media presentation skills and how to get the kind of exposure that fits their message. The result is a win-win for clients and media outlets, and ultimately for a public who gets a better understanding of the world around them.
Lilia is committed to getting her clients the coverage that best fits their goals, and helping people make decisions that result in healthier choices and sustainable environmental practices.
"I have watched as GreenMark has become an important and respected part of the PR landscape and I could not be more excited to join this stellar team.”- Lilia Chacon
Email Lilia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Heidi Hetzel comes to GreenMark with 25-plus years of experience on the business side of media, including the following experience:
As an account executive with Today’s Chicago Woman, account executive/new business development with WFMT Fine Arts Radio, sales director for the Midwest Region of Shelter Magazine, account manager/new business development with Design & Architecture Magazine, senior account manager/new business development with i4design Magazine, new business development for Unacceptable Levels Documentary, new business development for Natural Awakenings Magazine and business development director for Bill Kurtis’ Earth Matters on WCPT AM/FM.
In addition, Heidi is very involved in sustainability issues and healthy homes, with a focus on the built environment and how it affects human health. Heidi is passionate about sharing her knowledge and providing cost effective solutions that can help everyone realize a healthier lifestyle.
Email Heidi at email@example.com
Digital Media Manager
Since hearing William McDonough’s TED speech on “Cradle to Cradle Living” Matt Markgraf has been interested to learn more and become part of a sustainable global future through green issues and a green lifestyle.
As an Associated Press award-winning digital media manager, Matt provides website and new media counsel to GreenMark, and guides the firm in its website content development.
His professional experience includes broadcast communications and digital media development at NPR affiliate, WKMS, since January 2007. Matt's attention to detail, creative execution and online writing has earned numerous honors in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also hosts the weekly program “Weekend Energy." He has a Master's in creative writing from Murray State University.
“In science fiction, the future is often painted gray: cold and barren. The reality is, our clients are the ones painting it green: playful and full of life.” – Matt Markgraf
Email Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Media Strategist
Gina Iliopoulos won national exposure through her work as the Midwest Gardeniere, one of a group of selected spokespersons for Miracle-Gro and The Home Depot. This role took her across the country through on-site events, satellite media tours and an HGTV commercial series, speaking on everything gardening.
With her personality and broad horticultural base, Gina launched a social media program for one of the largest design/build firms in the landscape industry. Staying at the forefront of technology, Gina offers GreenMark clients a unique, progressive approach to building an online presence.
Her extensive horticultural knowledge began with industry experience, and she built on that knowledge graduating from of the Chicago Botanic Garden Certificate of Merit Program. Gina graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology as a top student, and has since repeated that performance in her scientific and horticultural endeavors.
“I am moved every day by the beauty of nature and the miracles that happen on this planet. I am so fortunate to be part of an organization of inspired, motivated and talented people working to better our environment, and consequently, our lives.” – Gina Iliopoulos
Email Gina at email@example.com
Chief Financial Officer
Sharon Hentsch has more than 30+ years of accounting experience and is expert in all facets of accounting functions, including accounts receivable and payable, payroll and general ledger.
Her experience with companies of various sizes and scope has given Sharon tremendous insight into the need for small business profitability forecasts, as well as job cost estimating and budgeting.
For GreenMark, Sharon administers financial communications with clients and the team. This includes budgeting and bookkeeping, tracking/projecting, client billing and financial communications management, expense management, time reporting/tracking and budget forecasting.
“No business can prosper without great communication between themselves and their clients. GreenMark prides itself on that philosophy, which makes conversations and communications top notch.” - Sharon Hentsch
Email Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org
©2017 GreenMark Public Relations, Inc.