About Caren Leonard, Founder & President
With nearly a decade of experience in the hospitality public relations industry, Caren Leonard has worked on an array of clients including hotels, large-scale events, lifestyle brands, fast casual concepts, chef-driven restaurants, trade shows and more. Over the years, she has built an extensive network of media contacts and industry connectors in the Chicago market and beyond that garner editorial placements for clients and generate awareness in the public eye.
With the ability to identify emerging trends in the lifestyle and hospitality industries, she has secured major media results in print, online and broadcast throughout her career including the Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure, Popular Mechanics, Food and Wine, American Way, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, CS, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Chicago magazine, WLS-TV’s Windy City Live, WGN TV’s Midday News and many more.
In addition to her traditional PR expertise, Caren Leonard has experience in developing, managing and maintaining strategic and successful social media campaigns. She is an active member of The Trotter Project’s marketing and communications committee and a volunteer for Misericordia Heart of Mercy, in which she was chair of the 2012 Artist in All event at The Art Institute of Chicago. Caren lives in Chicago’s beautiful Beverly neighborhood with her husband, Joe; two children, Lily and Joey; and loveable lab, Otis.
About Charlotte Murphy, Junior Publicist
Charlotte joined the CJPR team as junior publicist in March 2017. As a Chicago native, she is well-versed in the city’s diverse restaurant, travel and lifestyle industries. Charlotte adds a level of passion to each client and supports CJPR using her stellar writing skills, always-evolving social media strategy and experience in engaging audiences of all demographics.
Prior to joining CJPR, Charlotte worked at an agency in Grand Rapids, Michigan where her experience included traditional and social media campaign execution, digital strategy planning, grand opening execution, and community relations. Client campaigns she supported included restaurant and brewery openings, community 5K race events and more.
Charlotte is originally from Chicago’s South Side and graduated Elmhurst College with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications with a focus on public relations. She is an avid runner and will run her first Chicago Marathon this fall.
About Lydia Russo, PR Assistant
Lydia joined the CJPR team in May 2017 after graduating from Roosevelt University with a master's degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. In addition to assisting at CJPR, Lydia manages public relations operations for Bela Begonias, an independently-owned handmade jewelry company based in Nashville, TN. Previously, Lydia interned at Skirt PR where she assisted on accounts for clients including Hush Puppies, Brilliant Earth, Burr Ridge Village Center and Alyce Paris.
In her free time, Lydia enjoys exploring Chicago's culinary scene, practicing yoga, perusing Pinterest and Instagram, reading and traveling. Animal welfare is among her greatest passions and she actively volunteers for several local rescue organizations.
Lydia has been a Chicago resident for nearly a decade. She and her husband live in the Lakeview neighborhood with their tabby cat, Butterscotch.