Prior to the formation of AHC Consulting, Allison Hawk served as the director of corporate communications and community outreach for the St. Louis Rams – overseeing the Rams community outreach team, the Rams Foundation and the team’s off the field public relations initiatives. Her leadership helped to create a unique brand of strategic sports philanthropy – including the formation of Healthy Youth Partnership, a collaborative of more than 75 organizations addressing the issue of childhood obesity.
From 1989 to 1997 she was an award winning public relations professional at Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. During her tenure at Fleishman, she played a role in the approval and opening of the Edward Jones Dome, the Kiel Center and the MetroLink light rail system. Her work has been recognized with several national awards – three Silver Anvils, the highest award bestowed on public relations programs by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and a CIPRA for creativity in public relations. Local recognition has included two Bronze Quill Awards of Merit from the International Association of Business Communicators/St. Louis Chapter and MetroLink being awarded the Lamplighter Award from the PRSA/St. Louis chapter. In 2001, she was named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s Forty Under Forty, a list of accomplished individuals under 40. She also received the 2001 Community Leader Award from the Coro Leadership Center. In 2006, she received a Community Leader award from the Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club as well as the Community Service Public Relations Council’s PR Person of the Year award.
In addition to her professional involvement, she was a founder of the Diversity Awareness Partnership (DAP), and serves on the Advisory Boards of Girl Scout Council of Greater St. Louis, the Press Club of Metro St. Louis, and the National Council of Jewish Women. Collinger was a founding member of the Ladue Education Foundation, and chaired the allocations committee. She is also active in her children’s schools serving in various capacities including past president of Reed School Association. She speaks regularly at local national seminars on social media, sports philanthropy, special events, image development and fundraising.
Collinger holds a B.A. from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, is a former Coro Fellow in Public Affairs and a graduate of the 1996-1997 Leadership St. Louis program.
Merritt McCarthy is a creative communicator with nearly 25 years’ experience working in the communication field. At AHC Consulting, she provides account support and social media management for clients.
Starting her career as a reporter for a small daily newspaper in Illinois, McCarthy moved to St. Louis to pursue a career in advertising and public relations, managing accounts at TMP Worldwide and Tretter Group, Inc. respectively. While at Tretter Group, McCarthy shifted her focus to trade shows and special event production, successfully planning and implementing trade show exhibits, convention parties and large scale events. As account manager with AH Whitelaw Consulting, she assisted in the production of the Lovelight Festival Concert, a free event that drew nearly 10,000 music fans to downtown St. Louis. Additionally, McCarthy managed fundraising programs for various St. Louis non-profit organizations, including St. Louis 2004, David R. Francis Society, St. Louis Heroes and the Archbishop’s Tribute Dinner.
In 2001, McCarthy joined the St. Louis Rams, providing administrative assistance to three key leaders: Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Vice President of Operations and Director of Corporate Communications & Community Outreach/Executive Director of the Rams Foundation. In addition, she was responsible for essential Community Outreach duties, including the allocation of all charitable tickets, merchandise and monetary donations distributed on behalf of the team. She became the Community Outreach Manager in 2007, managing all of the Rams Foundation’s fundraising efforts and special events, including the Rams’ game day 50/50 raffle, Motion for Kids Holiday Party, Rams/Urban League Thanksgiving Turkey Distribution, Community Quarterback Award and Team Georgia, the Rams’ Komen Race for the Cure team.
Using her writing skills, McCarthy generated over $450,000 for local charities and football initiatives through grant writing on behalf of the Rams and spearheaded the St. Louis Rams Recipes team cookbook, writing and compiling recipes from the teams’ players, coaches and front office. McCarthy also wrote and produced a children’s guide to healthy eating and physical activity, Rams ReciP.E.s, and wrote and produced the St. Louis 101 Resource Guide, a guide that was distributed to all players, coaches and staff joining the team. Both pieces were recognized by the NFL as team best practices.
Eager to give back to the St. Louis community, she has volunteered with more than 90 local non-profit organizations and is a dedicated volunteer for her daughter’s school and church, St. Mary Magdalen – Brentwood. McCarthy is a graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication and a minor in Journalism. She resides with her family in Shrewsbury.
Suzanne Sierra has more than 20 years’ experience in a variety of communication disciplines including product publicity, crisis communications, media and presentation training, and Hispanic outreach. She is a key member of the AHC team.
Suzanne’s expertise lies in helping clients identify and tell their story to external and internal audiences through traditional and social media. Since 2009 when she launched Sierra Public Relations, she has worked with corporate and non-profit organizations providing them with strategic counsel, media outreach, social media strategy and crisis communications. Past and current clients include Luxco, Verizon Wireless, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Anheuser-Busch, the National Alliance on Mental Illness-St. Louis (NAMI), Delta Career Education Corporation, St. Louis University Law School, Allsup, Prairie State Energy Campus, KDHX radio, KidSmart, trimino protein-infused water and RoniChambers.com.
In addition, Suzanne currently serves as the Latino Outreach Consultant for the St. Louis Mosaic Project, a regional initiative of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the World Trade Center-St. Louis. Suzanne works closely with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, local community-based organizations, universities and leaders to help Mosaic realize its mission to transform St. Louis into the fastest growing metropolitan area for immigration by 2020 and promote regional prosperity through immigration and innovation.
Her career began at Fleishman–Hillard where she was pivotal in developing a Hispanic Marketing outreach specialty, generating English and Spanish-language publicity for Anheuser-Busch, Valvoline and other clients.
From there, she led a variety of communication initiatives at Anheuser-Busch including Hispanic corporate outreach, government affairs communication strategy, and international communication best practices. During this time, Suzanne directed media outreach and managed alcohol issues for the Corporate Social Responsibility department. Her responsibilities included crisis communications and media training senior executives for interviews with top media outlets including the Today show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, Fox The New York Times, and USA Today. During her career at A-B, she also traveled to Beijing, China and London to share CSR and communication best practices with Chinese brewers, and the UK Beer Association.
Suzanne is from Wisconsin and received a BA in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin. She serves on the board of Laumeier Sculpture Park, is a City Council member for Olivette, MO and is a 2016 graduate of Focus Leadership St. Louis. She was raised in a bilingual home and is fluent in Spanish.
Nancy K. Tao
Nancy Tao, a veteran PR and marketing consultant, is a key member of the AHC Consulting team. She provides clients with thoughtful, objective-based expertise, planning, and project management to achieve top line goals. A career event producer, she has conceptualized and produced award-winning marketing and hospitality events from St. Louis to Atlanta to Beijing, China.
As the principal of Tao Communications, her recent portfolio of work includes Cloudland Station, a second-home mountain community and resort near Chattanooga, TN; ColorMuse, a smart technology color scanning tool for design professionals and DIYers; J+J Flooring Group, a commercial specified carpet manufacturer; and Accenture a management consulting firm where she provided C-level marketing strategy and tools for the communications and high tech practice group.
Nancy’s public relations career started at St Louis-based FleishmanHillard as part of the corporate and community relations team working across A-list accounts including Anheuser-Busch, Ralston Purina, Monsanto, Emerson Electric and Union Electric (Ameren). She also worked on flagship civic projects including the St Louis NLF Partnership; the Zoo Museum District and the opening of MetroLink. In 1993 she took a leap of faith and headed south to Atlanta to join the organizing committee for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. She was recruited as the first special events manager and oversaw the numerous sanctioned events leading up to the Games including the opening of the newly constructed competition venues and a surprise visit to the host city by President Clinton and Vice President Gore. More than a decade later, she packed her bags once again and moved cross continental to Beijing, China where she managed client-centric marketing programs for Accenture. She wrapped up her expat experience leading the fulfillment of the historic naming rights sponsorship of the MasterCard Center, an 18,000-seat sports and entertainment venue in the heart of the capital city. While in China she also exercised her passion for the built environment by working alongside the city’s advocate and NGO for historic preservation, by creating a unique signature event and fundraising template.
Raised in St. Louis, but based in Atlanta, Nancy’s roots remain tied to the Gateway City where she travels back regularly to see family and colleagues and to cheer on the Cardinals and the Blues. While living in St Louis she was actively involved in the community and worked closely with The Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club and was invited back in 2016 to receive a mentorship award on International Women’s Day. In Atlanta she’s a volunteer marketing coach in support of Georgia’s organic farmers; a volunteer runner with Back on My Feet, a national organization that combats homelessness through the power of running; and provides volunteer marketing counsel for Swim Across America Atlanta, an open water swim and fundraiser for pediatric cancer.
A graduate from the University of Missouri, Nancy is a single, working mother of a 6th grader who is her forever inspiration. She also makes time for cooking, traveling, running, Flywheel workouts, shopping at Goodwill, and keeping up with her blog “For Better, For Worse.”