Who we are.

Mark Ragan

Mark Ragan is the CEO of Lawrence Ragan Communications and publisher of four daily news sites, including PR Daily and Ragan.com.

Mark began his career as a newspaper reporter and writer long before the term "content producer" had been invented.

During his 15-year career he covered business and politics for The San Diego Tribune, Copley News Service and New York Newsday.

In addition to his CEO responsibilities at Ragan, Mark is the co-founder of Ragan Consulting Group, along with long time business partner Jim Ylisela.

Together, Ylisela and Ragan have helped companies build their own news and brand journalism sites, beginning wih the premise that businesses should "stop begging the media and become the media instead."

What keeps Mark up at night:

Maintaining Ragan's 50-year reputation as the #1 source for corporate communications training, counsel and news.

Jim Ylisela

Jim Ylisela loves to wrestle with words.

He’s been at it for years: as a longtime reporter and editor, for newspapers and magazines; as a teacher at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism; and as a trainer and consultant for communicators around the world.

With Mark Ragan, Jim is co-founder and managing partner of Ragan Consulting Group. He works with communicators to create brand journalism news sites, organize and train writers and editors, and restore reporting (and creative storytelling) to internal and external communications.

Shameless plug alert: Jim is relentless. He spent 17 years reporting and writing “Who Killed the Candy Lady?” an investigation of Chicago’s greatest unsolved mystery, the disappearance and presumed murder of candy heiress Helen Vorhees Brach.

He brings that same tenacity to RCG clients.

What keeps Jim up at night:

  1. False deadlines. Organizations are always setting deadlines based on some directive from above, leaving communicators little time to do a story justice.
  2. Self-censorship. Writers hold back on creative storytelling because they don’t think their approach will pass approvals—or make the false deadline.
  3. Lack of editing. Jim reads a lot of stories—and we mean a lot—that needed guidance from the start, or fall one good edit short of the finish line.

Steve Crescenzo

Through his work as a consultant, writer, speaker and seminar leader, Steve Crescenzo has helped thousands of communicators improve their communication content, vehicles and strategies.

Steve has been voted the #1-rated speaker at the International Association of Business Communicators World Conference seven times, including three years in a row. He has also received top ratings at numerous IABC chapter and regional events throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Steve has worked with numerous communicators around the world, including those at Nokia, Boeing, Target, Mayo Clinic, The European Investment Bank, General Motors, Wells Fargo, Lockheed Martin, McDonalds, Intel, American Express, Standard Chartered Bank, Abbott, Hewlett Packard, the IRS, FBI, Social Security Administration, Blackrock, and HP.

He and his wife and business partner, Cindy Crescenzo, founded Crescenzo Communications more 20 years ago and they are proud partners of Ragan Consulting Group.

What keeps Steve up at night:

One of the 1,345 things I think are wrong with me. It’s no fun being a hypochondriac.

Cindy Crescenzo

Cindy Crescenzo brings more than 15 years of research, measurement and planning expertise to the corporate communications world.

Her passion for numbers and audience research have helped thousands of communicators all over the world transform the way they communicate, by teaching them the power of surveys, metrics, focus groups and executive interviews.

She and her husband and business partner, Steve Crescenzo, founded Crescenzo Communications more than 20 years ago and they are proud partners of Ragan Consulting Group.

Together they have energized the communication industry with their proven tactics and strategies to combine research and strategy with creativity and best-practice communications.

What keeps Cindy up at night:

I’m a die-hard Cubs fan…will we defend our World Series title in 2017?

Shel Holtz

Shel Holtz helps organizations communicate better – with employees and other publics – by using digital and social tools well in conjunction with more traditional methods.

Shel’s career began in newspaper newsrooms but he pivoted to corporate communications early and never looked back. His first job was in ARCO’s  internal communications department. He directed the communication efforts for Mattel and Allergan; he also did two stints as senior communication consultant at global Human Resources consulting firms.

He started his own consultancy in 1996 when he found his employer adopting online communication fast enough. He has worked with hundreds of clients – many with names you’d recognize – and has been in demand on the international speaking circuit. Shel has written six books on communication. He is a prolific blogger and a pioneer podcaster. He has achieved Fellow status in three organizations, including IABC.

What keeps Shel up at night:

Not yet knowing what the next big digital or social communication trend will be.


Every time Mark Ragan or Jim Ylisela gave a workshop or spoke at a Ragan conference, someone in the audience (often several someones) would ask: “Can you come to my organization and help us with that?” Uh, yeah. That’s why Mark and Jim created Ragan Consulting Group, and then invited their friends (who happen to be top consultants in their fields) to join them.