When your organization is a sprawling octopus with arms moving in every direction, you need a special team.

Complement your in-house staff with senior communicators who love swimming in deep, ambiguous waters.


This team has a geeky enthusiasm for healthcare. You can see it. There aren’t a lot of people who can talk about it so easily and understand the audiences, channels and nuances.

– Tyler Mason, Vice President Communications, UnitedHealth Group

Margie McCarthy, Founder and President

I had the good fortune of stepping into healthcare communications right out of college. The industry’s non-stop evolution and growing focus on the consumer are what enticed me to stay.

I also love a messy challenge. Uncovering an enterprise’s “special sauce” definitely falls into that category. Over the years, my team and I noticed a pattern among our large healthcare clients: Weak, copycat or nonexistent messaging was at the heart of many ills, from conflict among leaders, to employees unable to articulate the big picture, to competitors gaining an edge in the marketplace. Today we use a proprietary messaging process that clarifies differentiators, unifies teams and propels organizations forward.

My Big Why in life, quite simply, is to be present and make a difference in the lives of those around me. I’m the mom of two teenagers and an apricot labradoodle that my husband and I affectionately refer to as the “blonde toddler.” On the frivolous side, I confess a triple-threat weakness for clothes, vintage jewelry and flea markets.

Karen Arbegast, Account Director/Messaging Strategist

Throughout my 35-year marketing career, I’ve helped build global brands in direct-to-consumer and business-to-business worlds, and across for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

In these roles, my joy always has been to help improve the health and wellness of others, while helping companies in healthcare, higher education, publishing, and consumer goods achieve their goals. Optum. ETS. Sculptz. AOL. Rodale. To name a few. Now, hopefully your company.

As to how I try to live a healthy lifestyle, I like to get my heart pumping. I’ve been a runner for 30 plus years and now have switched it up to cycling. Got to be willing to change at any age, right? I also have been skiing the northeast slopes since my college days and, now years later, am looking forward to adding in Pilates or yoga. Keeping it fresh.

What really makes my heart tick? I’m a family gal. I cherish my whole crew from Philly to Las Cruces. And all the friends in between and beyond. Love is, after all, the true game-changer in life.

Lorraine Ranalli, Account Director/Messaging Strategist

Clearing the fog to get to the heart of a message is a challenge I enthusiastically meet.

After spending the first half of my career behind a microphone in Philadelphia as a radio newsie and personality, I transitioned to corporate communications, working in the tech, finance, education, non-profit, and real estate sectors. I bridged my broadcast-to-boardroom experience delivering proprietary softs skills training programs, including my signature Speaking for Success workshop which led to Impact! my pocket-sized book of public speaking tips.

Mom always said, “A good dancer can dance to any kind of music.” Well, I feel that way about communication. The key to good messaging is knowing how to identify and leverage it. At McCarthy Messaging, I found my paesani: a team of talented and dedicated communicators passionate about driving results for our clients. When I’m not creating with words, I enjoy getting creative in the kitchen. What I cherish most however, is spending time with my husband and children …and if it’s on a beach, priceless!

Nicole Neyens, Operations Manager

I discovered a true passion for efficiency and process optimization as I advanced in my management and accounting career.

Early on, I helped several national retail brands streamline store operations and analyze sales results to grow their businesses. My switch to accounting and operations roles was accompanied by a switch in industries: I worked in long-term care facilities, and then for a local chamber of commerce. As McCarthy Messaging’s Ops Manager, I lean on my strengths to ensure the organization scales seamlessly. I also keep the lights on and the trains running on time, so to speak.

Based in central Iowa, I enjoy attending Iowa State University basketball and football games, curling up with a good book, going to movies (popcorn is a must), and spending time with my family. My fiancé, Mark, and I love to travel and explore the world together, our favorite place (so far) being Ireland. We also enjoy camping and hiking with our high-energy golden retriever.

Amber van Straten, Executive Assistant

I thrive on organization. Because of my need for structure and an unwavering attention to detail, I’m able to create and update organizational systems and processes for McCarthy Messaging that keep pace with an ever-changing media landscape, as well as support McCarthy Messaging’s president, Margie McCarthy.

Before joining McCarthy Messaging, I spent the majority of my professional career behind a microphone as an on-air radio personality and promotions director for a local radio station group. My obsession of digging through data, crafting proposals, and revamping systems prompted the growth of our stations’ brands in the community and aided fundraising efforts by local charities. Following successful career stops in marketing and PR,  I’m thrilled to bring my unique skill set to McCarthy Messaging.

When I’m not marking projects off my to-do list, you’ll find me behind a good book, finding the best discounts on clothes and shoes, or spending quality time with my husband and rescue dog.

Mary Janiszewski, Writer/Messaging Strategist

If I learned one thing while earning my writing degree, it is to use language with precision. I never valued that lesson more than when I entered the world of marketing and corporate communications.

For over 20 years, I’ve helped people in healthcare, insurance, and tech — from complex global corporations to individual teams — find the right words to say to the right people. And that’s where all great results begin. Empathy guides everything I write, starting with a challenge we ALL share: too much information and not enough time. An authentic, differentiating message — communicated with precision and consistency — will break through the noise every time. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Then say it again. And again. And again.

Beyond words, my favorite things are my two extraordinary children, flowers, my kindle, my six brothers and sisters, and frosting. The order changes daily. My soapbox: support the arts, any arts, however you can! Art makes the world and the people in it better.

Michaela Averette, Administrative Assistant

I wear a lot of hats. Whether it’s a detail-oriented project or creative design work, I get the job done efficiently and effectively.

I’ve had the great fortune to work with popular retail brands in the consumer goods industry, driving web traffic through Amazon Influencer®. I’ve also managed projects and the sales funnel in the professional services sector, applying my time management, creativity, and people skills to drive results. At the end of the day, a job well done and a satisfied client bring me joy. 

I’ve also had the honor to lead a local Young Women for America (YWA) chapter for two years as its president and remain involved with its parent organization, Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.

When I’m away from my desk, you can likely find me lifting weights, traveling somewhere new, eating Indian food, or exploring the outdoors with my husband Chase. I have a love for dogs, especially a Lab mix named Bandit, painting, and Alabama football. Roll Tide!

Aimee Bennett, Account Manager

I have a penchant for working with complicated, technical information, deciphering it and then presenting it clearly, concisely and accurately. And on time.

For more than 25 years, I’ve worked with companies – from Fortune 500 to start-up – to get their message out in ways that make their audiences take note. I came to healthcare communications by way of the medical device industry. Working with companies that provide nutritional formula, and home tube feeding and IV support, I quickly learned the vital importance and role of the patient perspective in every aspect of a healthcare client’s business.

I came to Colorado from the Chicago area. Grounded in a strong work ethic, I put client commitment at the forefront, focus on results that matter, and use time and resources efficiently.

When I’m not on the job, I’m often on my bicycle, in the pool or on a ballroom dance floor. I’m an ESL tutor and active volunteer with the University of Notre Dame Alumni Association. My husband and I travel whenever we can, from day trips around Colorado to European adventures. At home, you can find me baking, watching “Jeopardy” or engrossed in a good book.

Jeri Clausing, Account & Media Relations Manager

I often refer to myself as a “recovering journalist,” having spent most of the first 30 years of my career as reporter and editor for daily newspapers, international wire services and travel and technology trade publications.

While my days of chasing the big stories are over, what I haven’t recovered from is my love of digging into new and often complicated subjects, then weeding through and distilling down mounds of information and interviews into content that explains to readers how and why issues matter to them. That’s a passion I bring to McCarthy Messaging, helping clients develop messages and content that tell their stories clearly and concisely in a variety of formats — and to a variety of audiences.

When I’m not working from my home office in Corrales, New Mexico, you’ll likely find my husband and me outdoors, being walked by or hiking with our three big dogs, or zipping around the globe trying to satisfy my wanderlust as a freelance travel writer.

Autumn Gray, Account & Media Relations Manager

I firmly believe that big-picture success in messaging, media strategy, and content development starts with unearthing unique details.

Before entering PR and marketing, I spent two decades as a newspaper journalist. Finding stories was easy. Discovering the inconspicuous angle that made mine more engaging than the competition’s was the challenge. I could write a routine article or go beyond the expected, honing little-known, memorable facts that deliver great impact. That journalism experience prepared me to help clients identify the nuances and differentiators in their stories that can be strategically leveraged to connect with key audiences.

While I earned degrees in philosophy and journalism from Southern Methodist University and attended the University of Texas School of Law, my most valued education comes from world travels, conversations with strangers, and work with a diverse roster of clients across industries including space/aerospace, economic development, film, health care, and microfinance/small businesses.

My personal story involves violin lessons at a late age, eating as much ice cream as possible, and watching as many sunsets as possible with my husband, Tim. We live in Albuquerque with our overweight cats, Broccoli and Truffle, and dog SipaPooch.

Jenna Lane, Writer and Editor

I love words too much to waste them. Finding the perfect way to break down a complex issue into a compelling story thrills me.

I help clients with my shape-shifting writing talents – from copywriting to creative writing to editing.

I got my start in healthcare communications at Burson-Marsteller. There, I handled everything from crafting consumer messages for pharmaceutical clients to crisis communications. After several years, I jumped on an opportunity to take a year-long sabbatical to travel the world. I came back ready to tackle and complete a master’s degree in writing at DePaul University.

I’m solar-powered. I chased the sun from Chicago to Colorado four years ago and spend as much time as possible outdoors with my two teenage sons. I hike and hit the ski slopes often. When my legs are shot, I’ll hop in bed with one of the many books piled on my nightstand.

Karen Mason, Account Manager/Media Relations

I’ve been enthusiastically putting my English degree to work for nearly 30 years. As a former television news journalist and the spouse of a current journalist, I have a keen understanding of what the news media wants.

I love nothing more than helping my clients by capturing winning media coverage and helping them reach their goals. I’ve been developing and implementing communication strategies since 2006. Prior to that, I worked as a school district communications professional and a TV news producer in the Denver, Colorado Springs and Phoenix television markets.

I grew up in Minneapolis and headed west to attend Colorado College. My husband and I live in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by several ski areas, and we have two children in college. When I’m not working to pay those hefty college tuition bills, I enjoy being in nature, stepping outside to hike or ski, and spending time with friends and family.

John Metzger, Content Strategist/Writer

I’m a journalist at heart. As a trade magazine editor in the 1980s, my readers were hungry for the latest information that mattered to them. If the news or new product wasn’t superlative – the best, fastest, cheapest – my audience and I weren’t interested.

My relentless pursuit of the most compelling stories followed the Industrial Revolution, and back in the early days of “high tech,” that revolution was at its height in healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, data storage, and telecommunications. With my love for the superlative, I founded one of the nation’s first high-tech PR agencies in 1991. Our pioneering clients set the pace for the waves of technology adoption that followed in every industry.

Today, I’m proud to be part of the McCarthy Messaging team and back to my high-service agency roots.

For me personally, a special health and wellness connection has remained a constant – I’ve been a fire/EMS volunteer most of my career. This helps me keep up with industry trends, which helps me help our clients better spread their good word and brand promise.

Lee Stiffler-Meyer, PR Generalist and Photographer

I bring to the McCarthy team a big bag of tricks, a willingness to jump in where needed and a love of the creative process. My healthcare experience is largely on the consumer side, where for 15 years I helped build programs and campaigns to promote healthy lifestyles.

At McCarthy Messaging, I support a wildly talented and creative team with content creation, proofreading, media reporting and photography. I approach each project with a healthy dose of curiosity, enthusiasm and dependability.

When I’m not collaborating with the McCarthy team, I’m busy with my photography business or chasing my three spirited kids. Some of my favorite pastimes include running, cooking, spending time in nature and sipping a big cup of coffee.

Joan Tesla, Account Manager/Messaging Strategist

I love storytelling.  And relish nothing more than telling tales of businesses and entrepreneurs that are solving big problems and delivering unique value – especially in complex markets.  I’ve been blissfully doing just that for 25-plus years, as a marketer and communicator with an MBA.  My super power:  strategic messaging that cuts through the noise to capture the mindshare of customers, employees, and other vital stakeholders.

My success lies at the intersection of innovation and discipline – leaning into imagination to drive creativity and execution to make it happen.   I’ve led marketing and communications in high tech, financial services, healthcare and non-profit.  I’ve proven that thoughtful, clear, and authentically differentiated messaging unites teams and drives market value.  Now I bring that insightful candor to work for my clients.

I’m the adoptive mom of a great son, crazy and loveable dog, and cat who defies description.  Off the clock, I savor putting my toes in the sand, a nice Chardonnay, and the thrill of the find as an avid thrift store shopper.

Trisha Travis, Account Manager

I love deciphering a topic, and then translating it into language anyone can understand.

My professional background is diverse. I have honed my project management and communication skills with organizations large and small, privately held and public, for-profit and not-for-profit. I’ve had the opportunity to apply my skills to information technology organizations, the cable industry, higher education, the Catholic Church, and utility infrastructure. I strive to be intentional in my life and in my work.

I hold a PMP® certification from the Project Management Institute, a SHRM-CP® certification from the Society for Human Resource Management, a project management certificate from Villanova University and a certificate in Church Ministry from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

When my schedule allows, I enjoy traveling, yoga, cycling, cake decorating, and running around with my eight grandchildren.

Robin Ward, Communication Designer

Helping people discover their healthiest selves is a lofty goal I take seriously. Helping healthcare make sense is one way I can change the world for the better.

I am a communication designer — graphic designer + writer + communication strategist — with deep roots in healthcare PR and marketing. My first job out of journalism school was for a lively hospital PR department. Lucky me! The visual aspects of marketing communication fascinated me, so I went to art school to study communication technology and design. Later I earned a graduate degree in creative learning. Life continues to amaze me in its capacity to teach.

With more than 30 years of experience, I look for the most creative solution to clarify the message and engage the audience. (Often the most creative solution is the simple one.)

My life’s work is inspired by connections: words and images, people and their stories, patterns. I’m all for punctuation, string lights, chocolate layer cake and bonus days with my husband, Scott. I sing in the car and paint for fun.


Laura Wegscheid, Account Manager/Messaging Strategist

I have a knack for synthesizing a ton of disparate information, making sense of it all and distilling it into a clear, compelling story that powers results for clients.

For more than 25 years, I’ve led strategic communication efforts in both corporate and agency settings, predominantly in healthcare. This includes a stint as VP of PR for a five-state region of PacifiCare (now UnitedHealthcare).

“Whatever you are, be a good one” is my favorite quote (props to Abe Lincoln), and an idea I aim to bring to our clients each day. I also believe that work should be fun and that a deep belly laugh cures many ills.

I have a soft spot for community organizations that empower women and girls, as well as animal rescue groups. Travel, cheese, the NYT crossword and a cutthroat game of euchre all make me happy. My guy, Michael, and I are at the mercy of two unruly but charming dogs.

We aren’t just familiar with healthcare … We’re wild about it.

An average of 26 years of healthcare experience per consultant

Broad healthcare backgrounds, from healthcare delivery to insurance to technology

Senior, in-house positions held prior to consulting:

  • Regional vice president of public affairs
  • Vice president of public relations and communications
  • Director of corporate communications
  • Director of media relations
  • Managing editor

What’s your greatest messaging challenge?

Gain fresh insight with a free, 30-minute strategy session

We promise: Your strategy session will NOT be a sales pitch. And because we know your time is valuable: If you don’t leave our conversation with one new idea (or if you feel like we’re selling you), we’ll donate $100 to the charity of your choice.