Ritz Communications

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About Us

Innovative Agency. Exceptional Service. Extraordinary Results.

This is our mantra. It inspires and defines us. It is who we are and what we offer... it is our evolution.

What began in 2003 with a simple commitment to improve healthcare communications and provide the best client service possible has evolved into a full-service agency specializing in public relations and marketing communications. Today, clients count on us to understand their business and navigate an ever-changing marketplace to ensure the efficacy and efficiency of their communications.

Our team of senior-level professionals have worked for top-10 public relations agencies, Fortune 500 companies and world-class medical institutions. We are experienced in developing innovative, results-oriented communications programs that engage key stakeholders and build strong reputations for organizations and brands.

With offices in the United States and Europe, we partner with a global network of communicators to carefully monitor and assess the environment that affects our clients on a daily basis. In addition to our core team of professionals, we consult regularly with experts in fields including health and medicine, regulatory law, research and graphic design.

" Our stability doesn’t come from bricks and mortar. It is the expertise and dedication of our team that provide value our clients tell us is consistently excellent. We are positioned across the globe, offering the knowledge, commitment and collective experience of a team of senior communications professionals. Our virtual structure also provides our team a work life balance that keeps them motivated and gives our clients the confidence of 24/7 counsel and support. In addition, lower overhead and reduced administrative expenses ensure competitive rates that keep our clients happy. "

Elisabeth Ritz, founder and president

Our Team

Elisabeth Ritz

Elisabeth Ritz is founder and president of Ritz Communications, overseeing the agency's work for a variety of health, wellness and professional services clients and fostering an environment that encourages the strategic and creative contributions of an international team of experts.

Prior to founding Ritz Communications in 2003, Elisabeth worked for Manning, Selvage & Lee in New York and Ketchum in New York and Chicago as well as Eli Lilly & Company where she managed global communications for the oncology, endocrinology and women’s health divisions. Elisabeth’s experience includes coordinating international regulatory and scientific announcements, managing new product launches and overseeing awareness and education programs tailored to the interests of professionals, patients, media, analysts and employees.

Her proudest accomplishment has been building an agency that ensures outstanding client service as well as satisfaction and inspiration for the professionals who serve those clients. The team’s commitment and expertise has been recognized through long-term relationships with numerous clients and rewarded with Platinum Hermes Creative Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, Silver Trumpet Awards from the Publicity Club of Chicago, and an International Galaxy Award.

Elisabeth earned a master’s degree in corporate public relations and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. In addition, she studied broadcast journalism and television production at New York University. She is a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization and an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America. In addition, she serves on the board of the Tug McGraw Foundation and as an advisor to The Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications published through the graduate program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Mike Beyer

Mike Beyer provides media relations strategy and direction for Ritz Communications. With more than 17 years of healthcare communications experience and an emphasis on media relations, he has planned media strategy, directed media relations efforts and conducted outreach to key reporters on behalf of pharmaceutical clients such as Abbott Laboratories, Covance, Bayer Corporation, Merck and Schering-Plough, DuPont Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Solvay, Theravance, and Roche Laboratories. He has developed relationships with key news outlets across the US and in Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Mike has contributed his expertise to media relations for Merck’s oncology and anti-infective portfolios. In addition, he has done work for Ritz clients ranging from national patient advocacy groups and health technology companies to medical device makers and hospitals. Under his direction, Ritz clients have been covered in outlets such as AP, Reuters, Dow Jones, the Washington Post, Oncology News International and HealthLeaders.

Mike lives in Chicago with his wife and two children. He holds a bachelor of science degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Patty Keiler

With more than a decade of experience in healthcare communications, Patty is adept at finding the right partners and spokespersons to tell each story, and making complex medical information understandable and actionable for the public. She’s energized when she secures feature stories on "Today" or "Good Morning America," but she’s equally pleased to secure smart placements in trade journals that reach the target stakeholders.

At Ritz Communications, Patty is responsible for account management and media relations for not-for-profit, medical technology and pharmaceutical companies.

Patty is particularly proud of helping to build the renowned PR department at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH). During her tenure there, Patty secured hundreds of media placements, managed crisis situations, helped produce award-winning documentaries, and was tapped as a featured speaker at the Public Relations Society of America's annual meeting session titled "How to Build a World-Class PR Department."

Patty holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications, a minor in marketing and a thematic sequence in political analysis from Miami University of Ohio. Patty lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

Lisa McIntyre

Lisa McIntyre’s extensive knowledge of healthcare communications is the result of work in the private, public and non-profit sectors over the past 18 years. Her experience includes drug approval and launch programs, crisis communications, patient education and public health initiatives. She has a particular expertise and a passion for women's health, oncology, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

Lisa has been with Ritz Communications since 2003, and has provided strategic direction and account support for a variety of clients. Previously, Lisa directed several large accounts at three top 10 public relations agencies. Her main areas of interest are franchise development and supporting new therapies through the FDA approval process. During her tenure at GolinHarris, she directed franchise development for Bristol-Myers Squibb Virology, including the development of media relations, crisis communications and patient advocacy programs. Lisa is particularly proud of a patient education campaign centered on renowned actress Debbie Reynolds, which helped women understand overactive bladder.

Lisa has a bachelor of arts degree in English and political science from the University of Vermont; she also studied at Oxford University. She is based in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and three children.

Saralie Slonsky

Saralie Slonsky has spent over 30 years as a healthcare communications senior executive and strategic counselor, designing targeted strategies to address a broad spectrum of corporate and marketing goals and influence a wide range of audiences. Her highly diversified agency experience includes strategic planning, creative development, public affairs, public policy support, corporate positioning, issues management and internal communications.

She has managed the launch of - and sustaining support for - diverse categories of prescription and OTC pharmaceuticals and related healthcare products and services. She also created reputation management programs for major pharmaceutical companies, equipment manufacturers and healthcare providers.

Saralie was a member of the strategic planning group that founded Burson Marsteller’s pioneering healthcare communications division, helping to drive the development of breakthrough healthcare communications vehicles which remain today as best practice standards. Earlier she managed the food, wine and nutrition program at Ted Sills, ultimately combining her food marketing background and health care experience to develop nutrition marketing programs for companies with a stake in diet and health.

Saralie has served as an industry liaison for the American Medical Association, a consultant to the Lupus Foundation and American Kidney Foundation and a Board member of Medic Alert. She is a charter member and past president of LDEI, a professional association for the wine, food and hospitality industries. She is currently on the Board of Healthy Women -- an organization providing comprehensive, credible healthcare information for women -- and serves as a trustee of the Michael Stern Parkinson Research Foundation (MSPFD).

She is currently an adjunct professor for communications at New York University School of Continuing Education and a member of American Society for Training and Development and the International Coaching Federation.

Saralie received a bachelor of arts degree in international relations and communications from the University of Wisconsin and Emerson College, and post-graduate certificates from the Universities of Leiden (Netherlands), Mexico, New York Institute of Finance and the L’Academie Francaise in Paris. Saralie is based in New York.

Molly Watson

Molly Watson’s capabilities in strategic planning, media management and writing have been honed by her diverse job experiences and personal passions. Molly has extensive experience working for a range of healthcare groups including hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and patient advocacy groups. Her commitment to providing service when and where it is needed is reflected in the work she has done for agency and pro bono clients across the country. Whether helping clients to successfully and meaningfully tell their stories through the creation of a major health education program or developing an issues management plan, Molly is continually seeking ways to anticipate client needs and produce the best outcomes possible.

Molly also is dedicated to making a difference in Western Massachusetts. She has provided counsel for a number of local non-for-profit organizations including Noble Hospital and the Amelia Park Children’s Museum in Westfield, MA.

A graduate of Wells College, Molly has a bachelor of arts degree in Philosophy and French Literature. She is the mother of two and an avid equestrienne, whose next goal is to start a blog for parents of kids with ponies.

Heather Wiederhorn

With 17 years in the public relations industry, Heather Wiederhorn creates and manages communications programs in support of leading pharmaceutical, health technology and non-profit professional and patient advocacy organizations. For Ritz Communications, Heather’s ongoing work includes coordination and implementation of international call-to-action consumer health, professional education and third-party campaigns to support approvals, launches, medical meeting outreach and the publication and presentation of clinical data.

One of Heather’s most memorable professional moments included the management of activities surrounding the global launch of Vision 2020: The Right to Sight – an international global initiative with the World Health Organization and almost 20 blindness prevention agencies – designed to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. The program spanned six continents and included simultaneous press conferences, grassroots awareness events and collaboration with leading political and global health figures to work toward a solution.

Heather received a master’s degree in public communications from American University in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York, University at Albany. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

Robin Bernstein

Robin Bernstein is an award-winning writer with more than two decades’ experience in corporate and marketing communications, including speechwriting for top-level executives in business and academia, as well as writing feature-length trade and custom magazine stories, brochures, press materials and other marketing collateral. Her assignments cover such wide-ranging topics as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, nutrition, food, technology, education, business, finance, law and real estate. Robin’s work also has appeared under her own byline in CBS HealthWatch by Medscape, Salute Magazine, Rensselaer Alumni Magazine, Open Salon and Long Island Business News.

Her writing has been honored with an Rx Club Show Award of Excellence, the International Davey Award, two IABC Silver Quills, a New York/IABC ACE, an IABC/Atlanta Golden Flame and was twice selected as finalist for the IABC Gold Quill, the organization’s top award. IABC is the International Association of Business Communicators, of which she is a long-time member, serving several terms on her chapter’s board of directors and on various committees. She also is an active member of the New York Speechwriters Roundtable.

Prior to becoming an independent writer, Robin held senior-level supervisory positions in New York City with Edelman Medical Communications and within the healthcare division of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. She earned a bachelor of arts in psychology with a minor in business management from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Robin lives in New York with her two teenage children and, like many writers, has an unfinished book manuscript sitting in a desk drawer.

Mandy Widtfeldt

With nearly 20 years of experience as a healthcare communicator, Mandy has worked in a wide range of healthcare communications positions but the constant has been her ability to tell compelling stories about healthcare products or services that change behaviors to make a positive impact.

Mandy was previously a vice president in the healthcare group at the Chicago office of GolinHarris for 5.5 years where she led client accounts from major pharmaceuticals and biotech companies to small not-for-profits and associations. She specialized as a “creator” to generate strategic and inspiring ideas and produce materials – from annual reports to videos to digital media communications – to bring client messages to life.

Before that, Mandy’s experience was in the not-for-profit sector, having managed the Media Relations Department at one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where the team tripled media placements. Mandy has also worked for the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC) and the Wilder Foundation.

Mandy has a degree in Journalism from Iowa State University. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two children.

Kiera Kelly

Kiera Kelly brings 16 years of experience in agency and corporate public relations with leading pharmaceutical companies and global brands to her role as a communications professional. She has expertise in the strategic development of US and global healthcare and consumer campaigns, with a particular focus on media relations, consumer awareness programs, pharmaceutical announcements, product milestones, special events and issues management and has supported clients with media relations strategy, educational campaigns and third-party partnerships in sectors including healthcare, technology, consumer, corporate and non-profit.

Previously, Kiera worked within the international division of Abbott Laboratories, where she was responsible for developing public relations programs, managing issues and acting as a liaison to support the PR efforts of more than 60 worldwide affiliates. In her agency experience, Kiera worked for top 10 public relations agencies including Golin/Harris and Edelman Public Relations Worldwide.

Kiera graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison receiving bachelor’s degrees in political science and international relations. Additionally, she received a Rotary International Youth Exchange Student Scholarship Recipient for one-year of study in Normandy, France and also researched endangered Tamarin monkeys in Panama for which her research is on file at the Smithsonian Institution. She is proficient in French and has a working knowledge of Italian and Spanish.

Phil Sheldon

Phil Sheldon has spent more than 30 years in global corporate and agency public relations, corporate communications and marketing, with broad experience in the healthcare and consumer arenas. He has worked across the public relations, medical education and strategic communications disciplines with emphasis on regulatory communications, global product lifecycles, Rx to OTC switches, and direct-to-consumer campaigns, combining this expertise with strong issues management and crisis communications experience.

For the past several years, Phil has been working in London on regional and global public relations programmes for major pharmaceutical companies and non-profit organisations first as managing director for Resolute Communications and most recently as director, international at Red Door Communications. While in this position, Phil co-founded The Health Collective Network, a group of established and highly successful entrepreneurial communications companies located around the world and working together for the best interests of their clients.

Before moving to Europe, Phil worked in New York as managing director at Lippe Taylor, general manager at Hill & Knowlton overseeing H&K's largest U.S. office, and as executive vice president and head of the healthcare practice at Porter Novelli where he managed a 60-person team that developed and implemented strategic public relations programmes for global healthcare, biotech and consumer healthcare clients including Aventis, Berlex, BMS, Millennium, Novartis, GSK, Pfizer and Wyeth.

Phil moved to the agency side of the business after a successful 18-year career with Pharmacia, formerly the Upjohn Company, where he held a series of corporate positions including Worldwide Human Health Public Relations Director with responsibility for strategic and tactical communications support to the company's broad portfolio of products. He also served on the merger team that bought Upjohn and Pharmacia together, managing the new company’s launch communications.

Phil is an experienced media and speaker trainer and has spoken and written on various communications and public relations subjects. Prior to moving into public relations, he taught high school English and journalism for more than a decade.

He received a BA in English and journalism from Michigan State University and an MA in English from Western Michigan University.

Phil has three grown children all successful in their respective careers, and he lives with his partner Sarah and their daughter Skye in London.