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.
Scott Wilson, messaging strategist
I get a lot of energy working alongside clients to unearth the real story and essence of their organization. With more than 20 years’ corporate experience in communications, marketing and regulatory affairs, I know the value of lining up stakeholders behind a compelling set of beliefs and differentiated messages.
I’m also a stage 4 colorectal cancer survivor, so the opportunity to bring a patient perspective to healthcare messaging is hugely rewarding and, I hope, beneficial to our clients. I’m a former member of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance Board and was proud to be recognized by the Colorado Cancer Coalition as their Outstanding Community Advocate of 2019.
When I’m not crafting messages, I love to capture Colorado landscapes and roam the northwest corner of the state photographing wild mustangs, many of which are now on the walls of my gallery in downtown Denver.
My wife Jaione and I and our two children, Andrew and Alba, have lived in Denver since moving from the UK, in 2015.
Karen Arbegast, Messaging Strategist
Early in my career, I joined the world’s leading health and wellness publishing company that shaped the rest of my professional and personal journey. It was there among like-minded colleagues, who became life-long friends, that my commitment to embracing a healthy lifestyle flourished. It was also there, among those smart, cutting-edge marketers and creative talent, that I learned the secret of how to deliver persuasive messaging for companies, brands and products. One must-have element is “unquestionable proof” that stirs folks to action and changes lives. Oh, and delivers measurable business results.
Throughout my 35-year marketing career, I’ve helped build global brands in both the direct-to-consumer and business-to-business worlds, and across the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. In these roles, my love always has been to help improve the joy and quality of life for others, while helping companies achieve their goals. Rodale. AOL. Sculptz, ETS, Highlights for Children. Ideal Living. To name a few. Now, hopefully your company.
As to one of the ways I try to live out a personal healthy lifestyle, I like to get my heart pumping. I’ve been a runner for over 30 years (yup, even did a marathon with my dad and oldest brother) 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, with our daughter herself a university grad, am looking forward to adding in Pilates or yoga. Keeping it fresh.
What really makes my heart tick though? I am 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.
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.
Aimee Bennett, account manager
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 have a penchant for working with complicated, technical information, deciphering it and then presenting it clearly, concisely and accurately. And on time.
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.
Amy Hudson, account manager
I’ve been in healthcare communications for 20-plus years and have seen the industry from all sorts of vantage points, including managed care, retail health care, hospitals and academic medical centers, health care-related associations, large health systems and physician groups.
I love the complexity of it all (I’ve also worked in K-12 and higher education – believe me, I truly do enjoy subjects that are complicated and multi-layered!).
I get a kick out of helping clients succeed, from creating spot-on content to offering up strategic insights that propel them forward. I have found that being able to laugh at life, and at myself, is often the hidden key to problem-solving.
In my spare time, I work hard at embarrassing my twin tweens, Helen and Calvin, and advocating for children’s brain cancer research. In between, I like to ride my bicycle, sip beer on a sunny patio or indulge in a spa day.
Joan Tesla, marketing/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.
Susanna Donato, senior writer and editor
I stumbled into healthcare communications while working my way through college, and I’ve been privileged to spend my career putting healthcare into words ever since.
Back in the ‘90s, my career began at the PR agency that served Colorado’s largest HMO, before a delicious detour to a marketing job at The French Culinary Institute in New York City, where I worked with household-name chefs and walked off all the baguettes I could eat. But Denver is home, and my husband and I returned in 1999 to raise our daughter (now a college student).
Since then, I’ve served as a staff editor, launched and sold a blog, and helped dozens of doctors, surgeons, hospitals and healthcare organizations share the story of what they do.
Outside work hours, I write memoir and poetry and have completed the Lighthouse Writers Book Project. I’m a former board member and diversity committee chair for the Logan School for Creative Learning, and you might find me sampling local craft brews to a soundtrack of obscure ‘80s alternative music.
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.
Alexis Kerschner Tappan, account manager/media relations
I believe the essence of public relations is story-telling. For more than 17 years I’ve delighted in using my background in print journalism, marketing, communications and public relations to craft and tell compelling stories.
My experience working in a small ad agency, in a large public entity and, now, as a consultant, has equipped me to help clients navigate through opportunities and challenges of all kinds. In advertising, I developed a keen understanding of what it takes to create communications that sparkle. And shouldn’t all communications sparkle? And my public higher-education work allowed me to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams, touching all parts of the communications mix.
I spend a portion of my free time on the boards of the University of New Mexico Alumni Association and the Explora Children’s Science Museum. I also love baking with my son, cozying up with a good science fiction novel and raising city-dwelling chickens.
Jennifer Brower, account manager
My multifaceted background means I’m up for any challenge and love working with clients to navigate the best course of action in any situation. My background includes leading marketing for a large community college, overseeing digital strategy for a large pizza chain, and running non-profits. I bring my years of experience in marketing, digital strategy, creative services, public relations and client services to every project.
I’m a big believer in giving back to the community so I serve on the boards of the Albuquerque Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Collaborative, Pivotal New Mexico, the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management Alumni Council, and Viante New Mexico.
When I’m not jumping into new projects with both feet, I’m at home with my husband, two fearless kids and a 120-lb. lap dog.
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.
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.
Joe Mahoney, photographer
I launched my career as a photojournalist with the Associated Press, where expectations were high, the pace was high-speed and the competition intense. That experience taught me to identify those story-telling moments in breaking news situations, and to capture them no matter the obstacles I faced.
After a decade at the AP, I joined The Rocky Mountain News as a staff photographer, where I was part of the photo teams that twice won the Pulitzer Prize, as well as an EMMY for documentary work.
The next phase of my career involved shooting and producing documentaries about public policy issues for the PBS affiliate in Denver.
Today, as an independent photographer, I put my story-telling and problem-solving skills to work for commercial, editorial and non-profit clients.
When I’m not behind a camera, I’m spend time with family and Shiloh the Wonder Dog. When I’m not with that crew, I’m usually at a hockey rink coaching or playing.
Lori Morrissey, business manager
I joined McCarthy Messaging after partnering alongside public relations professionals for more than 17 years. I’ve overseen media-monitoring programs, developed customized reports of all kinds and streamlined agency processes. My ninja-like spreadsheet skills, passion for efficiency and collaborative spirit keeps McCarthy Messaging running at top speed.
Born and raised in Southern California, you won’t find me complaining about Colorado’s “traffic” or winter weather (I love the change of seasons!). I enjoy ultra-light backpacking and binge-watching shows with my three teenage girls. I also enjoy reading, baking and the post-workout feeling of having accomplished difficult things (thank you, Manitou Incline).
You don’t have to hope your consultants will get it.
Know we’ll get it.
We’ve successfully positioned our clients as leaders on topics such as:
- Accountable care organizations
- Addiction recovery
- Behavioral health
- Clinical quality improvement
- Data analytics
- Digital health
- Diversity and inclusion
- Electronic medical record systems
- Government programs
- Health insurance coverage
- Health literacy
- Health outcomes
- Healthcare customer experience
- Healthcare delivery
- Healthcare IT and consulting services
- Institutional review boards
- Medicaid quality management
- Medical-behavioral care integration
- Opioid crisis
- Organ transplantation
- Patient advocacy services
- Patient-centered care
- Pharmacy benefits management
- Population health management
- Provider networks
- Substance use disorders
- Value-based care
- Wellness programs
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
What’s your greatest messaging challenge?
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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.