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Conversations with the Presence Agency’s Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling and Mallory Ulaszek

Today we’d like to introduce you to Presence Agency’s Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling and Mallory Ulaszek

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We (Mallory Ulaszek and Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling) met at a cooking club about seven years ago. After that, we became friends but it wasn’t until we were both at a time when we wanted to change careers that we decided to become business partners. Each of us had complementary skills, and we built our business, Presence Agency, to our really highlight our strengths. Now, a little more than four and a half years later, we are a full-fledged production agency and consultancy with a productized service we call Week of the Website that we developed based on our technical skills and love for efficiency. We have a knack for solving time and money heavy problems, and love to collaborate with interesting clients.

Has it been a smooth road?
When you decide to start a business, you are deciding to be in a full-time relationship with it – meaning, you have to weather the ups and downs. In any relationship, there comes a point where you decide if it is worth it or not – and for us it was. We got thrown into the deep end with our first project – a food festival originally created by a Brooklyn based company that we helped bring to Chicago. From city permits and tenting to coordinating chefs and talent from all over the country, we had to dig super deep to make the event successful and even though it was an immense challenge, it’s given us a good barometer for challenges over the years. We’ve gone on to produce so many more amazing events for purpose-driven organizations like Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, Pilot Light Chefs and The Charlie Trotter Foundation that each brings their own set of new opportunities. We love what we have built and feel incredibly challenged by it every day. We struggle with being our own hype women and clearly defining our business – which is hard to do when we have two almost completely separate entities, but in the end, it comes down to believing what you are doing and caring about your services.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Presence Agency story. Tell us more about the business.
We have two specialties: The first is called Week of the Website (www.weekofthewebsite.com). We build websites in five days using a process we honed after years of website design and development practice. We understand that building a website can be a very daunting task with both of us have been on both the build and client side of the experience. For us, creating WOTW was about finding a solution that maximizes our client’s time and investment while making the process as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Our main service-oriented business is Presence Agency (Presenceagency.com). Presence is our event production and consulting practice where we work with mission-oriented clients to solve their problems and create opportunities to meet their objectives. Not only do we coordinate events on behalf of our clients but we take the whole picture – their mission, their takeaways, their long terms goals – and consult with the best practices to meet those goals. The events we create are built to engage the attendee, play to the client’s strengths, and create tangible results. We have worked with companies looking to increase their market reach, but most often, we consult in fundraising. Working with groups who focus on doing good in the world helps us bring passion to our work every day, knowing that we’re helping them become stronger and more effective every year.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
Honestly, possibilities are endless. In any occupation or business, you are going to face adversity. Right now, the world is going through amazing change and watching women grow to fill all different spaces, in all different verticals is something to look out for now. Knowing that there are people in your corner – whether they are your family or friends, or folks you meet through work – that is the fuel you need to make just about anything happen. We host Coffee Talk – a meetup series at the Ace Hotel Chicago to help entrepreneurs and creatives find community, cultivate mentorship and share their stories. We bring in different speakers each week to lead a conversation on a topic that’s important to them, and it’s been amazing to watch attendees grow in their businesses, connect with others and became even better at what they do, week over week. We think women are positioned to do well at anything they try, and we love using our skills and passions to help them do just that. Also, we’re about 241 years overdue for a woman in the White House, so that’s definitely an opportunity women are well positioned for.

Pricing:

  • Week of the Website- $3200
  • Week of the Website Lite – $1600
  • Week of the Website Ecommerce- $4500
  • Production and Consulting Services- Determined on a project to project basis

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kerri Carlquist Photography (Headshot), Nicee Martin (Little Heroes League Photos)

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