Back in her hometown of Columbus after a career in health-care and restaurant corporate communications in San Diego, Kathleen has discovered her passion for the fast-paced challenges of agency life. She has worked with clients in health care, philanthropy and technology, though she is best known for her work and know-how in the energy sector.

The energy industry in the Midwest is booming due to the shale play for oil and natural gas. What is the key to effective energy communication?
We serve a wide variety of energy clients, from electric utilities to those who manufacture renewable technologies. Our work with clients who are producing and transporting oil and gas from the region is very exciting. We help them navigate a host of issues and build strong relationships with landowners, community leaders and the news media. The key to effective communication is understanding the information needs of audiences, delivering simplified messages in compelling ways to each and continually looking for ways to package new, useful information with a philosophy based on openness and transparency.

A communications crisis occurs. What are the first three things you do and why?
Your best defense in a time of crisis is to have a communications plan in place and ready to go that will define internal roles and responsibilities and provide a step-by step process to follow. With or without a plan, the first step is to know all the facts of the situation - the who, what, where, when and why - so you can develop key messages. Second, you must identify and understand the key audiences and stakeholders involved. Third, initiate communications with those audiences and keep them informed as the situation evolves.

After living in San Diego for 14 years, what do you like about living in your hometown of Columbus?
Columbus is on the verge of something awesome. It's a great city for entrepreneurs and for individuals who want to blaze their own paths. It's exciting to see how it has evolved into a cultural and creative hub for the Midwest.