Competencies – Betsy Storm

Betsy Storm, Principal, Top Drawer Communications, Chicago, IL founded her consultancy in public relations and editorial services in November 2006. It  focuses on healthcare, nonprofits and small business.

Clients include: Constellation Brands; the City of Chicago; the “Chicago Tribune”; Family Service Center of Glenview Kenilworth, Northbrook, and Wilmette; Heartland International Health Center; Heifer International; North Shore University Health System; and Saint Anthony Hospital (Chicago)  among others. The practice consists of project management, strategic communications counseling, media relations and a variety of writing assignments — from brochures to annual reports to white papers. Media relations highlights include a “Modern Healthcare” cover story for one of Chicago’s, smaller community hospitals and a front-page story (for the Chicagoland Extra section of the “Chicago Tribune”) on a program of Heartland International Health Center, Chicago.

As director of public relations at Anixter Center, Chicago, IL from October 2002 to October 2006, Betsy Storm managed communications for a $30 million human services organization. In this role, she:

  • created and executed a multifaceted communications strategy to enhance visibility, image and reputation of this highly respected organization that annually assisted more than 5,000 Chicagoans with disabilities to live and work successfully in the community.
  • developed and implemented a comprehensive communications plan to help Anixter Center refine and redefine its position within the disability community for both external and internal audiences, continually building its image as the ”go-to” organization for disability-related issues.
  • achieved an unprecedented level of external recognition through an aggressive media relations strategy in only two years. She generated 600 media placements in less than four years — more coverage than the agency had garnered in the previous decade, including several placements with: the “Chicago Tribune”; WLS/ABC; WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight”; NPR; and “Parents” Magazine.
  • directed media relations with an emphasis on development of strong, positive relationships with members of the media, many of whom were unfamiliar with the disability field. She helped foster interest in this arena through a polished approach based on a journalistic framework.
  • was honored with an award from the Public Relations Society of America in 2004 for a public relations campaign titled “How the Illinois Governor’s Budget will Impact People with Disabilities.”
  • led project management /public relations responsibilities for a short-notice, high-visibility media event in March 2006, the groundbreaking for an innovative residence designed for people with spina bifida in which Mayor Richard M. Daley participated as keynote speaker. She served as the liaison with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, Mayor’s Press Office and other key participants.
  • contributed to planning long-range, strategic and quality initiatives.
  • often reported directly to CEO and always worked directly with top management team.
  • created a state-of-the-art online media room that became a valuable internal and external tool.
  • managed and maintained a continuous flow of public relations materials including pitch letters and other publicity materials tailored to a variety of audiences, such as: annual reports, internal and external quarterly publications; brochures; Web content; fundraising and program materials; and advocacy communications targeted to key legislators regarding a broad scope range of public-policy issues.
  • served as agency spokesperson and conducted informal media training for CEO and others as needed.
  • launched a monthly e-mail newsletter.
  • monitored and shaped content for the organization’s Web site.
  • contributed to planning and execution of many special events.
  • served as internal resource for staff members throughout Anixter Center’s 50- plus programs, using communications expertise to advance individual project and program goals.
  • managed crisis communications and awards programs.

As a key member of the Media and Public Relations Department at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, from October 1995 to April 2001, she accomplished the following:

  • Created media strategies and obtained placements for a host of initiatives, programs and medical treatments; worked proactively and reactively with media; and developed and executed strategic communications and media plans for Y2K-related issues (resulting in a proactive media placement on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”).
  • Managed media relations assignments and covered key breaking news; for example, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s April 2000 hospitalization at Northwestern Memorial.
  • Pitched and placed stories with numerous prestigious media outlets, including “U.S. News and World Report” (annual “Best Hospitals” issue”), “NBC Evening News,” “The New York Times”, the “Today Show,” “Self” Magazine, “Men’s Health”, “Good Housekeeping,” the “Chicago Tribune”, and CBS
  • Designed and implemented successful public relations and marketing strategies for hospital programs and initiatives to reinforce positioning of Northwestern Memorial as one of the country’s leading academic medical centers.
  • Created and executed ideas related to an intensive, multimedia communications campaign for Northwestern Memorial’s 1999 move into a $600 million state-of-the-art medical center. Was a member of communications team that was honored with a Golden Trumpet Award  from the Publicity Club of Chicago for this project.
  • Managed two award-winning, marketing-based publications dedicated to health and wellness.

During her first stint as a self-employed communicator, from June 1980 to September 1995, she:

  • revitalized public relations for the Wilmette Chamber of Commerce; advised on marketing strategies, seasonal promotions and related efforts.
  • focused on community, media and public relations as a board member of the Family Service Center of Glenview, Kenilworth, Northbrook and Wilmette from 1991-1996, she wrote, edited and produced annual newsletters. Worked with local media regarding activities aimed at raising organizational visibility.
  •  Wrote the “Food Forethought” column for “North Shore” Magazine; which covered a full spectrum of nutrition, culinary and related topics.
  • published articles on diverse subjects from interior design to step parenting for several magazines, including ‘Brides” and “Consumers Digest. “
  • authored a children’s book, “I Can Be An Interior Designer.”

As managing editor of “Madison Avenue” Magazine, a four-color publication for the advertising industry based in New York City, from November 1978  to May 1980, Betsy coordinated all responsibilities involved in producing this monthly publication. She managed a six-person editorial staff; led editorial planning; supervised production; and served as liaison with business staff/management.

When she served as Associate Editor of “Accent” Magazine, a business publication for the jewelry industry produced by the Chilton Company (later acquired by Reed Elsevier) of Radnor, Pennsylvania and New York City, from October 1975 to November 1978, her responsibilities included extensive news and feature writing in addition to photography, production and layout and design.


  • Midwest Media Coordinator/Spokesperson of the Million Mom March (against gun violence) from March 2000 to May 2003. Developed and executed plans to publicize the May 2000 Million Mom March in Washington, D.C; served as a spokesperson for the event and its objectives; and generated publicity on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and in “Newsweek”, “Chicago Tribune”, “Chicago Sun-Times” and Pioneer Press Newspapers. Illinois Senator Richard Durbin featured her on his television program.
  • Key volunteer for Heifer International from 2003-2011. Participated extensively with the Chicago office of this organization that is committed to alleviating world hunger and poverty. Her role included helping to lead diverse public relations and community efforts that raised awareness of and participation in this humanitarian organization. Other responsibilities included public speaking, presentations, media relations and more.


B.A., American University, Washington, D.C., 1975. Major: communications with a journalism emphasis.

Completed coursework in Paralegal Studies at Loyola University of Chicago (1991) and Mediation Training at Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies (2008)


Member of Independent Writers of Chicago (currently serving as Vice President of the Board of Directors); member of Public Relations Society of America; and former member of Chicago Women in Publishing.


Honored with an “Award of Excellence” from the Public Relations Society of America for a campaign, “How the Illinois Governor’s Budget Will Impact People with Disabilities” that was developed and executed on behalf of Anixter Center. She was a key member of the communications team that was awarded the “Golden Trumpet Award” from the Publicity Club of Chicago for a multimedia campaign that launched the new state-of-the-art Northwestern Memorial Hospital in1999.


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