Prairie Oak Communications, Inc.
Prairie Oak Communications, Inc.
Simplicity. Clarity. Credibility. Enduring results. Public Relations and Corporate Communications.
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What Prairie Oak Offers

• Senior-level experience    • Successful track record of results    • Outstanding service    • Creativity    • Collaboration    • Reasonable rates


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about Prairie Oak

 
 

We serve our clients in the ways they want to be served.

Prairie Oak Communications, Inc. began in 1992 based upon the idea that simplicity in communications brings enduring results.

Since then, Prairie Oak has provided award-winning service in external and internal communications for some of the world's largest organizations – corporations and associations, in particular – and some of the smallest. Since 1997, Prairie Oak has won 17 international, national or regional public relations honors on behalf of our clients.

Based near downtown Chicago, we take on public relations and marketing assignments that run the gamut of communications challenges. 

That could mean explaining to a consumer the impact of cutting-edge medical research. Or helping corporate employees understand new initiatives to grow the company. 

Working on-site or off, we pride ourselves on flexible solutions that help our clients meet their short-term and long-term objectives.

Most of all, we aim to simplify. We seek to reach audiences with messages that are memorable, moving and credible.

And, we bring decades of experience to the table in ensuring that our clients' needs remain the focal point from which we will not stray.

 

 
 

 
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Our Services

Let’s be clear. Your credibility is our top priority.

 
 

Public Relations

Delivering the right message for the right audience at the right time.

  • Communications planning and strategy

  • Local and national media campaigns

  • Development of media materials

  • Community relations efforts

  • Reports and educational materials

  • Technical writing

Corporate Communications

Helping clients to build meaningful relationships with key stakeholders.

  • Communications planning and strategy

  • Writing and editing

  • Media relations

  • Internal communications

  • Executive communications

  • Presentations

  • Annual reports

 

 
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Our Team

At Prairie Oak, senior communicators do your work. That means you're working with talented people who have a track record of providing solutions and generating results – and don't need on-the-job training on your budget.

 
 
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Vicky Lekovish
Executive
Vice President

Vicky is a senior-level communicator with years of award-winning experience in healthcare and other industries. She has managed internal and external communications programs for leading companies, hospitals, associations and organizations. During her career, she has worked on projects ranging from healthcare to Harley. She has delivered results to more than 25 hospitals and organizations.

Her efforts focus on achieving results that meet client expectations. Vicky recently served as internal communications lead for a business transformation initiative at a large health system that integrated key operational functions under the PeopleSoft and Kronos data platforms.

Prior to joining Prairie Oak, she worked at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago, the Chicago Heart Association and Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. She started her career as anewspaper reporter in Du Page County.

Vicky has a master's degree in Management and Development of Human Resources from National-Louis University (Evanston, Ill.), and a bachelor of science degree in Communications from Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, Ill.).

Vicky is an active volunteer in the community. For 12 years, she has provided support at the Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry.  In 2006, she was named "Volunteer of the Year" by Oak Park and River Forest High School's Board of Education.

Contact Vicky by email at vlekovish@prairie-oak.com


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Jim Wisuri
President

After founding Prairie Oak, Jim has served clients in industries including healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail, environmental products and services, and information services.

He has extensive experience in communicating change clearly and mobilizing people for return on investment for such clients as Motorola Solutions, Presence Health, Whirlpool, Campbell Soup, Johnson Controls and STERIS. His work has received several international, national and regional awards.

Prior to launching Prairie Oak, Jim worked in various communications management roles for a national trade association and a growing public relations agency. He began his career as an editor, columnist and reporter for several newspapers in Chicago's suburbs and Tennessee – receiving national and regional recognition for journalistic achievement.

Certified in Prosci change management methods, Jim has a bachelor of science degree in Journalism from Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, Ill.) He also has completed an executive study program in communications strategy from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.)

Contact Jim by e-mail at jim.wisuri@prairie-oak.com.


 
 
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Our Experience

 
 

Healthcare Communications

  • Access to Care, Westchester, Ill.

  • Advocate Health Care, Oak Brook, Ill.

  • Aetna, King of Prussia, Penn.

  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Rosemont, Ill.

  • AMITA Health, Arlington Heights, Ill.

  • Center for Narcolepsy Research, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago

  • Chicago Dental Society, Chicago

  • College of American Pathologists, Northfield, Ill.

  • Presence Health Information Services, Bolingbrook, Ill.

  • Presence Holy Family Medical Center, Des Plaines, Ill.

  • Presence Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago

  • Presence Saint Francis Hospital, Evanston, Ill.

  • Presence Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago

  • Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, Chicago

  • Radiological Society of North America, Oak Brook, Ill.

  • St. James Hospital and Health Centers, Chicago Heights and Olympia Fields, Ill.

  • Westlake Hospital, Melrose Park, Ill.

  • West Suburban Hospital Medical Center, Oak Park, Ill.

Corporate Communications

  • Campbell Soup Company, Camden, N.J.

  • Johnson Controls International, Glendale, Wisc.

  • Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Neenah, Wisc.

  • Lisa D. Ryan, LLC, River Forest, Ill.

  • Kmart Corporation, Troy, Mich.

  • Motorola, Inc., Schaumburg, Ill.

  • Motorola Mobility, Inc., Libertyville, Ill.

  • Motorola Solutions, Inc., Chicago

  • Presence Health, Chicago

  • Schneider National, Inc., Green Bay, Wisc.

  • STERIS Corporation, Mentor, Ohio

  • Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Harbor, Mich.

Trade and Professional Associations

  • International Association of Diecutting and Diemaking, Crystal Lake, Ill.

  • Steel Tank Institute/Steel Plate Fabricators Association, Lake Zurich, Ill.

Advocacy Groups

  • Illinois Telecommunications Access Corp. (ITAC), Springfield, Ill.

  • The Juvenile Justice Initiative, Evanston, Ill.

 

 
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Our Work

Corporate Communications

  • Award-winning internal communications support for a multi-location, faith-based health system in Illinois as leaders enhanced electronic health record software serving six hospitals
    Client: Presence Health

  • Internal communications management for the relocation of hundreds of employees from a suburban campus to a new headquarters in downtown Chicago
    Client: Motorola Solutions, Inc.

  • Internal and executive communications consulting and management
    Client: Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center 

  • Writing and editing of a monthly publication targeted to the sales organization
    Client: Campbell Soup Company

  • Strategic communications counsel and planning; communications assistance for company's efforts to encourage innovation; writing and editing for annual reports
    Client: Whirlpool Corporation

Healthcare Communications

  • Internal communications lead support for a business transformation initiative that integrated Finance, HR, Payroll and Supply Chain under PeopleSoft and Kronos data platforms across the system – included one year of onsite work
    Client: AMITA Health

  • Writing and editing support to the Corporate Communications team at a growing global medical devices and services firm as they rolled out a new intranet presence
    Client: STERIS Corporation

  • On-site full-time communications support – including media relations, social media, internal communications, website writing and marketing communications – for one year at a two-campus medical center
    Client: Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center in Chicago

  • Award-winning website writing (PROVEN stories of care) to spotlight an array of patient success stories in a wide range of medical specialties – orthopedics, cancer, migraines, obstetrics and more.
    Client: Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago

  • Award-winning communications program to support an innovative documentary on total joint replacement, which aired on public television in 10 markets – including New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore-Washington, D.C.
    Client: American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons

 

 
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Honors

 
 

A track record of award-winning work on behalf of our clients.

If you want top-shelf work, Prairie Oak delivers. Since 1997, Prairie Oak has won 17 international, national or regional public relations honors. Here is a look at our achievements, which have been made possible through collaboration with clients whose goals are to create the best in communications:

  • 2014 Golden Trumpet, Publicity Club of Chicago
    Top honors for a sustained internal communications campaign helping physicians and clinicians to understand how six affiliated hospitals were creating advancements with their electronic health record system. More than 200 messages were developed and distributed to targeted stakeholders on both strategic and operational issues during 2013.
    Client: Presence Health Information Services
     

  • 2011 Crystal Award of Distinction, The Communicator Awards
    National recognition for media relations work publicizing a hospital story and news conference about four sisters delivering four babies in four days. The story generated hundreds of placements in media outlets, social media, blogs and websites. 
    Client: Westlake Hospital
     

  • 2010 Crystal Award of Distinction, The Communicator Awards
    National recognition for hospital-website writing (PROVEN stories of care) that spotlights nearly 20 patient success stories in a wide range of medical specialties – cardiac, cancer, breast care, orthopedics, bariatric surgery and more. The articles provide insights into real-life patient experiences that focus on how the hospital delivers outstanding, compassionate care. 
    Client: Presence Saint Joseph Hospital
     

  • 2006 Gold Quill Merit Award, International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), 2006 IABC Regional Silver Quill Award of Merit and 2006 IABC Spectra Award (Chicago Chapter) 
    Three IABC awards – international, regional and local recognition – for helping a corporate communications team launch a new intranet for the company's Integrated Supply Chain organization. The intranet site provides business-critical information online to employees around the world within the supply chain organization. IABC's Gold Quill competition received 1,175 entries from 27 countries in 2006. Only 130 entries were selected to receive awards.
    Client: Motorola, Inc. 
     

  • 2005 Silver Trumpet, Publicity Club of Chicago, and 2005 Crystal Award of Distinction, The Communicator Awards
    Regional and national honors for a public education campaign about the many benefits of total joint replacement. Prairie Oak helped the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) promote a first-of-its-kind documentary on hip and knee replacement surgery. The film aired on public television in 10 U.S. markets, and was available online.
    Client: American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS)
     

  • 2004 Crystal Award of Distinction, The Communicator Awards
    National recognition for a 50th anniversary booklet for Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago. Prairie Oak contributed writing and research on the project.
    Client: Resurrection Health Care
     

  • 2003 Crystal Award of Distinction, The Communicator Awards
    National recognition for a State of Illinois report documenting Illinois' recent progress in juvenile justice.
    Client: Illinois Futures for Kids Initiative and Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission
     

  • 2002 Golden Trumpet, Publicity Club of Chicago and 2002 Crystal Award of Distinction, The Communicator Awards
    Regional and national honors for an 11-part series of internal newsletter articles linking the 90-year history of Whirlpool Corporation to its current strategies – and for assistance with a special edition of the company's employee magazine.
    Client: Whirlpool Corporation
     

  • 2001 Crystal Award of Distinction, The Communicator Awards
    National recognition for a holiday story that generated excellent publicity in the Chicago area – including a front-page color photo in the Chicago Sun-Times on Dec. 24.
    Client: Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center
     

  • 2000 Silver Trumpet Award, Publicity Club of Chicago
    Local recognition for a training book targeted at employees and physicians that helped them prepare for a facility-wide survey of hospital operations by The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO).
    Client: Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center
     

  • 2000 Crystal Award of Distinction, The Communicator Awards
    National recognition for communications materials supporting an innovative rewards and recognition program for employees.
    Client: Motorola, Inc.
     

  • 1999 Crystal Award of Excellence, The Communicator Awards and 1997 Silver Trumpet Award, Publicity Club of Chicago
    Two honors for a colorful press kit that launched the new Harley-Davidson Chrome Visa card.
    Client: Eaglemark Financial Services, Inc.

 

 
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RAVES

 

Hit the ground running

"Jim stepped in and quickly helped us address a range of IT and HR communications issues focused on integrating systems and policies after the merger of Johnson Controls and Tyco International. His thoughtful, strategic approach along with his excellent writing and project management talents enabled him to deal effectively with individuals and teams at all levels of the organization. We particularly appreciated his ability to break down complex concepts into easily understood messages."

Jeanne Kessler
Director of Communications Executive Communications, Engagement, Mergers, Operations and HR
Johnson Controls International

A way with words

"There are people you work with, and then there are people you take advice from. When you get two in one, they're keepers – so even though we're no longer colleagues, I still turn to Jim whenever I can for insight delivered with integrity on a range of topics. Competence encompassed. Maybe it is because he has a way with words; and if he gets his way with yours, you can be sure they'll be better for it."

Michael Ambjorn
// Boards // Strategy Facilitation // Changemaker Development #createconnection

Communicating a Transformation

“We needed a year’s worth of communications support for a massive software upgrade affecting our entire health system (multiple hospitals, outpatient facilities, physician offices). Prairie Oak did an outstanding job in helping us to successfully communicate to our stakeholders the many operational changes impacting Finance, Human Resources, Payroll and Supply Chain. Vicky admirably managed internal communications for the system-wide business transformation that standardized processes under the PeopleSoft and Kronos data platforms. That included everything from planning to execution that ultimately helped our 12,000 associates to prepare properly for two distinct rollouts. Vicky translated technical language into plain English – and made both the processes and expected results understandable for our teams.”

Alex Bacchetti
Vice President, Business Transformation/Symphony Enterprise Resource Planning
AMITA Health

Attention to detail

"Everyone claims to be 'detail oriented' – but when OTHER people say it about you, then you are onto something. In our department, you didn't feel comfortable publishing content (either to our employee portal, or via email to up to as many as 65,000 people) until Jim reviewed it...and, embarrassingly, always found errors you had overlooked. This quickly evolved to a policy wherein you COULD NOT publish until after Jim's review – so well respected was his attention to detail. This is just one aspect of the value he offers. When assigned a writing task, Jim cares about understanding the situation at hand – not just reporting/re-writing what he is told by a single source. This is the best aspect of what I think of as his 'old school' journalism ethics. He gets it right. Jim is solid as a rock."
Steve Neruda
Operations Lead, Internal and External Corporate Communications
Motorola Solutions

 

 
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CONTACT US

Jim Wisuri
President
Prairie Oak Communications, Inc.
323 Keystone Ave.
River Forest, IL 60305
708/837-8616
jim.wisuri@prairie-oak.com

Vicky Lekovish
Executive Vice President
Prairie Oak Communications, Inc.
323 Keystone Ave.
River Forest, IL 60305
708/366-3456
vlekovish@prairie-oak.com