Mary Taylor Birkel, principal
(To read about the winding road that led me to the helm of Taylor’d Communication, hop on over to the Taylor’d Communication blog. For a stuffy narrative that delineates what I’ve been doing with my life since graduating college, here you go…)
Mary Taylor Birkel (otherwise known as “me” or “I”—because a third-person bio feels inauthentic when you’re writing it yourself), has been gainfully employed in the fields of client relations, communication and public relations since 2000. My conscientious communication style and heightened sense of self-amusement have made me a valuable asset to a handful of employers and a boatload of coworkers. A boatload, I tell you!
I began my career as a meeting and event planner at Cerner Corporation, a booming health care technology company, where I once earned the Marketing Employee of the Month Award, an extraordinarily prestigious honor that I’m pretty sure is eventually bestowed on basically every employee in the whole department who works there for long enough. So, I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for sticking around long enough that they ran out of other people to give the honor to. (And, maybe I ought to think about rescinding the “extraordinarily prestigious” modifier. …Nope.)
After Cerner, I moved on to manage the Kansas City chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, a professional development and networking organization for leaders in the mergers & acquisitions arena. They didn’t give me any extraordinarily prestigious awards, so I left. Oh, I’m just kidding; it was a great job and an excellent learning adventure.
Next, I coordinated database and marketing projects at Support Kansas City, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides back-office services for other nonprofits. After that, I followed my passion for social justice to a job at the Kansas City office of the National Conference for Community and Justice, where I coordinated a walk-a-thon and other fundraising activities and eventually became the director of development and marketing. (This was such a neat organization, you guys. The hard-hitting diversity awareness programming literally changed my life. Tragically, the national organization was forced to fold due to the stupid recession. Harrumph!)
Following NCCJ, I moved to Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City, where I worked in business development and diversity initiatives and eventually became the public relations and communication manager for the five-campus college.
In 2014, after my family and I moved from Kansas City to Prescott, Arizona, I joined Taylor’d Communication, my mom’s boutique PR and marketing consulting agency. My mom, Judy Taylor, who founded the agency in 1989, retired around that same time, so I became the (de facto) principal of the one-woman operation. In other words, I am the boss of myself…and only myself.
Since I’m quite sure you’re desperate to learn what kind of educational background prepared me for such an illustrious career trajectory, here are the deets on that: I earned a bachelor of arts in communication from Rockhurst University…and my parents are undoubtedly bubbling over with pride that I actually landed in an industry related to my seemingly frivolous college major. After a suitable break from paper-writing, exam-studying, Cliff’s Notes-reading and backpack-carrying, I returned to school to pursue a master of public administration with an emphasis in nonprofit leadership from the nationally-ranked Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I hold a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from American Humanics (now Nonprofit Leadership Alliance) and a Professional Certificate in Nonprofit Fund Raising from the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership & Henry W. Bloch School of Management.
Civically, I have been involved with a number of local and regional nonprofit organizations, including service as a board member for Kansas City B-Cycle, Harmony, BikeWalkKC, UMKC Friends of the Library and the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Greater Kansas City. I have served as a committee member for the Girl Scouts of Mid-Continent Council, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the Council on Philanthropy (now Nonprofit Connect), the Centurions Alumni Association, the Kansas City Free Health Clinic (now Kansas City CARE Clinic), Charlie’s House, the March of Dimes Kansas Chapter and Step Up for Kids (Prescott, Ariz.). I am a graduate of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions leadership program, a former Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City and a volunteer half-marathon pace group leader for races across the Midwest.
Aside from landing the aforementioned extraordinarily prestigious Marketing Associate of the Month award from Cerner, I have stuffed ballot boxes to win a few other honors over the years, including the Vice Chancellor’s Honor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Centurion of the Year and the Outstanding Community Service awards from the Centurions Leadership Program, and Most Outstanding Volunteer from the YMCA of Greater Kansas City’s Civic Engagement Team.
In my free time, I go on super-secret date excursions with my sweet husband, try with all my might to keep up with our two energetic young sons, eat way too much candy, and try to negate the effects of the candy with a little bit of exercise and a lot of teeth-brushing.
Judy Taylor, founding principal
Throughout her 35 years in public relations, marketing and strategic communication, Judy has focused her energy on helping fellow professionals invest their promotional resources effectively. A firm believer in the importance and impact of clear, concise communication, she has long worked to make that a comfortable skill for her constituents and clients.
Judy founded Custom Taylor’d Communications (now Taylor’d Communication) in 1989 when her entrepreneurial spirit won the tug-of-war between obscurity and consistent referrals from fellow PR professionals. She has worked with a wide range of clients, from law firms to professional associations, providing a variety of services, from event planning and execution to media and public relations consulting.
Prior to founding Taylor’d Communication, Judy worked in community relations for the United Way of Greater St. Louis and in professional services marketing for Grant Thornton. Earlier in her career, she worked in retail sales and merchandise management for Venture Stores, Inc.; The Famous-Barr Co.; and Stix, Baer and Fuller.
Judy holds a bachelor of applied science in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she served as an editor of the college newspaper and was a member of the Angel Flight Honorary organization. She is an alumna of St. Louis’s CORO Women in Leadership, a competitive-entry professional development program designed to bolster the leadership skills of mid-career businesswomen.
Throughout her career, Judy has served in a number of professional and community volunteer leadership roles. For over a decade, she was on the board of the St. Louis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, including terms as secretary and treasurer. She has served on various working committees of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee, an organization dedicated to preserving the beauty and historic relevance of St. Louis’s oldest Victorian neighborhood. Judy also is a member of TrailNet, the Landmarks Association of St. Louis, St. Louis Public Television and the University of Nebraska Alumni Association.
In her free time, Judy enjoys bicycling (active!), reading business periodicals (nerdy!) and spending time with her family (awww!). Judy began transitioning into retirement in 2013 but continues to consult on Taylor’d Communication projects.