Winger Marketing creates and implements strategic marketing plans to that produce meaningful results for organizations.

Winger Marketing uses three primary strategies:

  1. Thought Leadership Positioning
  2. Increasing Target Audience Awareness
  3. Creating Engagement Opportunities

We do this with five primary tactics:

  1. Public Relations
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Social Media
  4. Advertising
  5. Email Marketing

We love to tell stories, influence opinions and help individuals, businesses, and non-profits succeed.

Our Story

Sherry Winger & Karolyn Raphael

Sherry Winger & Karolyn Raphael

Founded as Winger and Associates by Sherry Winger in 1986, the story of our agency actually starts with Hugh Hefner. The roots of the business were actually planted during the heyday of Playboy in Chicago. Sherry Winger was head of marketing and PR for Playboy Hotels, and her expansive network of individuals in business and entertainment served her well when Playboy decided to start selling its hotel properties. Sherry’s expertise quickly and seamlessly translated to her own boutique PR and special events firm. The agency serviced hospitality, restaurants, and luxury fashion boutiques.

In the mid-nineties,  Sherry’s husband Doug joined the firm. His military and banking background attracted a variety of new businesses. Doug Winger was also a passionate antiques collector and relished the opportunity to bring on antiques shows and international dealers as clients.  As the years went on, our exceptional work in PR and special events gained the admiration of many key journalists in Chicago, who then generated a stream of recommendations for the firm.

Soon, Winger was working with major hospitals, law firms, non-profits, and international expositions. Karolyn Raphael joined the firm in 1997 and became Vice-president in 2004. In 2006, Karolyn became President and Owner after she and her husband, Lance, purchased the company from Sherry and Doug Winger.

With more than 20 years of PR, marketing communications, and media experience, Karolyn continues to lead Winger Marketing and has expanded its services and offerings. The firm has grown from a boutique PR firm into a full-service marketing agency with in-house graphic design.

Our expertise includes public relations, public relations training, media relations, media buying, advertising, social media marketing, search engine optimization, thought leadership development, promotion of special events and the development of marketing collateral. The agency’s passion has remained the same over the years, despite the changing economy and media landscape. We share our clients’ stories. Helping businesses grow by sharing their stories of success and passion through an integrated marketing approach is the bread and butter of Winger Marketing.

The marketing agency with offices in Chicago and on the North Shore,  represents both middle-market companies and small businesses in industries ranging from art and real estate to health care, legal, and associations. Our own story continues to evolve and grow as we help clients adapt to social media, content marketing, and the value of search engine optimization.

Our Team

Karolyn Raphael
Karolyn RaphaelPresident
With nearly 20 years of media and communications experience, Karolyn Raphael has taken clients from near-obscurity to recognition on a national level. Her work in strategy, media placements, PR training, and digital marketing includes business-to-business consulting firms, nationally-ranked healthcare systems, trade associations, law firms, art shows and non-profit organizations. She’s created city-wide awareness campaigns and landed stand-out media placements in national and local news outlets. Karolyn also knows the lyrics to almost any musical created before 1990 and she can still do a double pirouette.
Marguerite Loftus
Marguerite LoftusCreative Director
As lead designer, Marguerite finds joy in solving complex creative problems with the ultimate aim to deliver high quality design solutions to our clients. She always ensures that every design she creates captures the attention of the intended target audience and communicates effectively. As a graphic designer she specializes in everything branding and print while expanding her digital skills in the marketing space. When Marguerite is not busy designing you will find her exploring the beauty New Zealand has to offer by bicycle or on foot as she loves the outdoors.
Alena Cloud
Alena CloudAccount Director
Alena is a strategic marketer with over 25 years of experience in marketing professional services on a local, national and global scale. Her primary focus is on streamlining marketing activities to improve efficiency and ROI, combined with a passion for utilizing technology to enhance marketing efforts. Outside of work just don’t ask her to do a cartwheel, she will never figure it out.
Emily Girolamo
Emily GirolamoHead of Strategy
An expert at bringing together the art and science of digital marketing, Emily has delivered successful sales in the hundreds of millions. She creates thoughtful user experiences for real-world solutions and designs user interfaces that are efficient and intuitive. Emily is a marketing strategist who builds innovative and customized ways for brands to command attention and premium pricing. With expansive experience in branding, holistic marketing, corporate communication, search management, conceptual design and user experience and interface design, she creates thoughtful user experiences that delight customers along their journeys. When not working, Emily enjoys impromptu dance parties with her kids, scuba diving and traveling.
Rasheda Williams
Rasheda WilliamsPublicist
Rasheda K. Williams is a driven communications strategist and consultant with a passion for youth advocacy. She has extensive experience in the education, philanthropic and non-profit sectors having worked with several national and international organizations and institutions. From developing strategic communications plans and garnering earned media coverage to facilitating media training workshops – Rasheda’s background is diverse and robust.
 Melanie Schutt
Melanie SchuttContent Strategist
Melanie is a strategic brand builder with 20+ years of branding, marketing, and writing experience. She enjoys being a marketing “chameleon” and creating messaging for all types of industries and business sizes. She won her first writing award at age eight and hasn’t stopped writing since.
Sharon Jackson
Sharon JacksonDigital Analytics Director
Sharon Jackson enjoys numbers that tell stories, particularly when it comes to SEO and the analytics that elevate client visibility. She keeps an eye on Thought Leadership and promotional opportunities, and ensures that events and announcements receive maximum exposure. Aside from telling people what to pay attention to, Sharon likes to travel and counts her passport among her most treasured possessions.
Karen Kunkel Young
Karen Kunkel Young Chief Media Strategist
Karen Kunkel Young is an experienced media strategist, content creator, and catalyst for brands seeking growth. A master storyteller, Karen served as the creative lead for hundreds of hours of unscripted programming for some of the biggest global brands (including Netflix, NBC Universal, Warner Brothers Discovery, A&E, National Geographic, and Shopify) for over two decades. She was the Vice President of Programming for ITV America, the US division of one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. As part of senior management, she guided over 25 multi-million-dollar projects from development through distribution, collaborated with cross-functional teams with seamless execution, and created a culture of creativity and empowerment which contributed to year over year growth. Karen also consults and creates strategy for B2Bs and brands, working directly with founders, CEOs, and executive leadership.

A graduate of Boston University, Karen is also a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC, one of the top three global coaching institutions, with a specialty in executive, leadership, and career coaching.

Winger Marketing’s Core Values

  • Deliver inspired PR and marketing results that advance your business goals – on time and within budget.
  • Define and promote compelling and cohesive messages that amplify your business.
  • Generate and guide all relevant and measurable communication initiatives from start to finish.
  • Create opportunities for consistent and positive promotion of your company.
  • Continuously challenge ourselves to be educated on cutting edge marketing strategies and tactics that produce results.
  • Operate as a collaborative extension of your business.
  • Create long-term relationships with our clients and the media.

Winger Marketing is not a smoke and mirrors PR firm. The value we bring to our client’s aligns with our agency’s overall core values. Tell the truth, be creative, collaborate with team members, observe and consider data, listen to your gut. Finally, deliver inspired results.

We believe that business is about more than selling widgets, its how you share your gifts, your vision and your story.

We maintain a creative and flexible work environment that empowers all of our employees to do their best work and exceed the expectations of our clients. By providing an opportunity for professionals at various stages of their life and career to work and deliver inspired results, we serve the higher needs of both clients and employees.

Winger Marketing is the smart agency. We are not the biggest agency and we aren’t the slickest. But, what we sell is what you get. Our work product is thoughtful, smart and designed to drive results and empower your business to grow.