Giving voice to your brand

  • Our History
  • Our Team

Over the years, Taylor Johnson has represented public and private real estate companies in the areas of residential development and brokerage; commercial (office / retail / industrial) development and brokerage; hospitality; mixed-use; multi-family; property management; architecture and design; remodeling; LEED projects; real estate finance; institutional investment; real estate auctions; and senior living.


40 years, and counting…

Fun facts and images from the past and present.

  • Taylor Johnson was founded by Deborah Johnson, Emily Johnson’s mother. Deborah retired in 2008 and now Emily runs the company. The mother/daughter duo is pictured here, 2003.

  • Taylor Johnson’s most frequently asked question: “Where does the ‘Taylor’ come from?” It’s founder Deborah Johnson’s maiden name. Deborah is pictured here in her first corporate headshot in 1977. Yes — she was once a brunette.

  • Although she grew up in the business, Emily Johnson has formally been with the company for 23 years. Emily is pictured here during a grand opening event Taylor Johnson staged for Kaufman & Broad in 1978.

  • When she was 26 years old, Emily Johnson was featured on the cover of Today’s Chicago Woman. The day after this ran, a columnist at the Sun-Times wondered who the “young Hillary Clinton was” on the cover.  Emily wasn’t amused.

  • Judi Simon, Taylor Johnson’s most tenured employee, retired in 2004 after 23 years.  We miss you, Judi!

  • Taylor Johnson still has its very first client, Lexington Homes — a 40-year relationship. In 1979, Lexington Homes was the first developer to build a Vita Course. We invited the media to test it out and the story ran nationally. Although the relationship remains, the fashion styles have fortunately changed.

  • In 2011, Taylor Johnson swept the SAMMY awards with five out of five wins in the categories of public relations and integrated brand marketing. SAMMY awards are sponsored by the sales and marketing council of the HBAGC (Homebuilders Association of Greater Chicago). Pictured here are Kim Manning, Taylor Johnson’s vice president, and Emily Johnson with their big haul.

  • “Do you do all that reading and writing for TJ TALK?” is a question Emily Johnson is often asked.  While she spearheads the effort, the entire Taylor Johnson staff is involved on a daily basis with sourcing the stories and events and writing the features. If you aren’t already subscribed to TJ TALK — a great resource for real estate news and events — be sure to sign up.

  • Taylor Johnson currently employs seventeen people and the account managers have a minimum of five years of real estate communications experience. The team is pictured here at Taylor Johnson’s summer party.


Meet our team...

People want to work with people they like. At Taylor Johnson we surround ourselves with associates and A-list real estate clients who share our core values — trust, respect, professionalism and hard work. We take relationships seriously, which is why our associates stay around a while and why we still work with our very first client, a 40-year relationship. We come from diverse backgrounds, with different perspectives and different talents to contribute. We’re obsessive about continuing to raise the bar on our own performance. But we also know the importance of balance…that every once in a while we need to step away from what drives us to get traction on what moves us.

  • Emily Johnson

    President

    Bio:
    For as long as she can remember, Emily Johnson has been honing her skills as a real estate industry publicist. After all, it was her mother, Deborah Johnson, who founded Taylor Johnson in 1977 when Emily was just 6 years old.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    Best professional advice: From the book Good to Great–“Get the right people on the bus”. It’s all about the people.  Read more…

  • Kim Manning

    Vice President

    Bio:
    Kim Manning caught the writing bug in sixth grade and hasn’t looked back since. After graduating with a degree in magazine journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia (Go Mizzou!), she moved from the family farm to Chicago and started her career as an editorial assistant for a magazine publishing firm.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    Most people don’t know that: I won a blue ribbon at the Illinois State Fair for a latch-hook rug during my days in 4-H. Read more…

  • Abe Tekippe

    Public Relations Director

    Bio:
    From an early age, Abe Tekippe knew he wasn’t destined for – or cut out for – farm life. Hailing from rural Iowa, where most of the “real estate” is covered in corn and soybean fields, he figured he would end up “in town” somewhere. But he never imagined that town would be a city as large as Chicago  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    The best professional advice I received was: Be a sponge – always try to learn something from the people and things around you.  Read more…

  • Gretchen Muller

    Account Director

    Bio:
    As a young girl growing up near Cincinnati, Gretchen thought she might work in international relations or join the Foreign Service. Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    Favorite Chicago building: The Inland Steel Building. 333 W. Wacker. The modern wing of the Art Institute. The addition to Fourth Presbyterian Church. The Carbon & Carbide Building. 35 E. Wacker. Those are just a few of my favorites. Read more…

  • Rebecca Boykin

    Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    When Rebecca describes herself as a “trailblazer,” she’s not exaggerating or promoting herself. Rebecca literally blazed trails in state forests, as well as built houses, as part of a 10-month stint in the AmeriCorps National Service Program.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    Three words that describe me are: In a sentence: Calm under pressure Read more…

  • Amanda Cienkus

    Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    Amanda loves pretty buildings. As a high school student in Memphis, Tennessee, she took a drafting course and dreamed of a career in architecture.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    Most people don’t know that I: love to scuba dive. Belize was hands-down the best, especially the 150ft dive down The Blue Hole which was not only spooky and dark but also included blacktip sharks circling 10 ft below us.  Read more…

  • Patty Cronin

    Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    As a senior account manager with Taylor Johnson, Patty develops and implements media relations programs for local and national real estate-focused firms, also providing internal communications, crisis communications, social media and executive communications support as needed.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    What I like most about TJ: TJ has a great reputation for integrity and high-quality work. They serve their clients very well.  Read more…

  • Traci Failla

    Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    After spending her childhood in a small town outside Fort Wayne, Indiana, Traci was sure of one thing – that she wanted to live in a big city.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    My favorite pastime is: I love to travel, bike and read, but my absolute favorite pastime is something my family calls Rock Talk, which is talking about rock music — legacy artists, current artists, songs, albums, cultural influence, all eras, all genres, etc.  Read more…

  • Kathryn Kjarsgaard

    Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    As a seasoned public relations professional, Kathryn Kjarsgaard knows how to get her ducks in a row. After all, she did just that (literally!) earlier in her career as a PR account executive in the food and hospitality industry.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    What I like most about TJ:
    The firm operates like a newsroom. It’s collaborative, with everyone helping each other and sharing ideas.
    Read more…

  • Sarah Lyons

    Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    As a native of Indiana, Sarah is a proud Hoosier. She grew up in Columbus, about 40 miles south of Indianapolis. Columbus has been called one of the best cities in the world for architecture lovers, with more than 90 buildings and pieces of public art by internationally noted architects and artists  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    What I like most about TJ: working with such smart people — colleagues and clients alike.  Read more…

  • Leslie Randolph

    Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    When Leslie was growing up in Highland Park, Illinois, she could have aspired to be a doctor, lawyer or teacher like many of her peers. But Leslie had loftier goals — she wanted to cure AIDS. A self-described passionate and compassionate person, she was influenced by Ryan White and wanted to effect change. Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    People around the office come to me for: A positive perspective – I always look for the lesson or silver lining in every situation. Read more…

  • Robin Plous

    Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    Growing up in a family where her father and grandfather both practiced law, it was only natural that Robin’s first career aspiration was to follow in their footsteps and become an attorney. But she ultimately decided to use her advocacy skills in a different way: to promote people, companies and causes through the art of public relations. Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    Three words that describe me are: friendly, organized and creative
    Read more…

  • Paula Widholm

    Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    Paula knew from an early age that she wanted to be a writer. As a young girl growing up on a farm in central Illinois, she had subscriptions to Highlights magazine and other children’s publications and waited anxiously for her issues to arrive every month.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    When I was growing up I thought I’d be: a cattle rancher in Texas. I grew up on a farm downstate, and our black anguses never had much room to roam.  Read more…

  • Yvette Pistorio

    Social Media Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    Yvette has been involved in social media for almost her entire career – which may come as a surprise since she spent her first two years in college studying nursing. But after deciding to pursue her passion – journalism and writing – Yvette graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, with honors, from Columbia College Chicago.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    What I like most about TJ: The people. TJ has a great, friendly team and welcomed me with open arms. Read more…

  • Vanessa Irving

    Social Media Senior Account Manager

    Bio:
    Vanessa joined Taylor Johnson in 2006 and has worked in different capacities, so she considers herself a jack of all trades. After serving as an account manager, Vanessa is now the firm’s social media senior account manager and is responsible for Taylor Johnson’s social media.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    Proudest TJ moment: Probably the first time one of my clients was featured on the cover of the Chicago Tribune because of a story idea I conceived and pitched.  Read more…

  • Nancy Swabb

    Events Director

    Bio:
    A Chicago native, Nancy has always juggled multiple projects at the same time, both in the for-profit and non-profit world – and especially for charities close to her heart.  Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    Proudest TJ moment: after coordinating a client event for 1,000 guests, being hired to coordinate all their events year-round.  Read more…

  • Julie Grange

    Office Manager

    Bio:
    A native Chicagoan, Julie is a jack of all trades at Taylor Johnson. Although her official title is Office Manager, Julie has experience in event planning and publishing – and puts that experience to work every day on behalf of our clients. Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    On my playlist: Most recently, I’ve been listening to Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key Of Life on repeat. Read more…

  • Cathleen Flynn

    Administrative Office Assistant

    Bio:
    Ask Cathleen to describe herself and she’s likely to sum herself up in three words: “a people person.” Those words pretty much describe her career, which has been varied. But in each role she took on, Cathleen distinguished herself as a talented professional and dedicated administrator   Read more…

    Beyond the Bio:
    Favorite pastime: Friday Night Family Nights. Watching movies and playing board games is the best way to end the week!  Read more…

  • Mary Giovingo

    Accounting Manager

    Bio:
    Mary has always been a whiz with numbers and multitasking, and she’s used it to her advantage throughout her career.  Read more

    Beyond the Bio:
    The best professional advice I received was: My dad said once, “If you want something, have courage and faith in yourself and you can make it happen – the only one who can stop you, is you. “ Read more…

40 years, and counting…

Fun facts and images from the past and present.

Taylor Johnson was founded by Deborah Johnson, Emily Johnson’s mother. Deborah retired in 2008 and now Emily runs the company. The mother/daughter duo is pictured here, 2003.

Taylor Johnson’s most frequently asked question: “Where does the ‘Taylor’ come from?” It’s founder Deborah Johnson’s maiden name. Deborah is pictured here in her first corporate headshot in 1977. Yes — she was once a brunette.

Although she grew up in the business, Emily Johnson has formally been with the company for 23 years. Emily is pictured here during a grand opening event Taylor Johnson staged for Kaufman & Broad in 1978.

When she was 26 years old, Emily Johnson was featured on the cover of Today’s Chicago Woman. The day after this ran, a columnist at the Sun-Times wondered who the “young Hillary Clinton was” on the cover.  Emily wasn’t amused.

Judi Simon, Taylor Johnson’s most tenured employee, retired in 2004 after 23 years.  We miss you, Judi!

Taylor Johnson still has its very first client, Lexington Homes — a 40-year relationship. In 1979, Lexington Homes was the first developer to build a Vita Course. We invited the media to test it out and the story ran nationally. Although the relationship remains, the fashion styles have fortunately changed.

In 2011, Taylor Johnson swept the SAMMY awards with five out of five wins in the categories of public relations and integrated brand marketing. SAMMY awards are sponsored by the sales and marketing council of the HBAGC (Homebuilders Association of Greater Chicago). Pictured here are Kim Manning, Taylor Johnson’s vice president, and Emily Johnson with their big haul.

“Do you do all that reading and writing for TJ TALK?” is a question Emily Johnson is often asked.  While she spearheads the effort, the entire Taylor Johnson staff is involved on a daily basis with sourcing the stories and events and writing the features. If you aren’t already subscribed to TJ TALK — a great resource for real estate news and events — be sure to sign up.

Taylor Johnson currently employs seventeen people and the account managers have a minimum of five years of real estate communications experience. The team is pictured here at Taylor Johnson’s summer party.


Meet our team...

People want to work with people they like. At Taylor Johnson we surround ourselves with associates and A-list real estate clients who share our core values — trust, respect, professionalism and hard work. We take relationships seriously, which is why our associates stay around a while and why we still work with our very first client, a 40-year relationship. We come from diverse backgrounds, with different perspectives and different talents to contribute. We’re obsessive about continuing to raise the bar on our own performance. But we also know the importance of balance…that every once in a while we need to step away from what drives us to get traction on what moves us.

Emily Johnson

President

Bio:
For as long as she can remember, Emily Johnson has been honing her skills as a real estate industry publicist. After all, it was her mother, Deborah Johnson, who founded Taylor Johnson in 1977 when Emily was just 6 years old.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
Best professional advice: From the book Good to Great–“Get the right people on the bus”. It’s all about the people.  Read more…

Kim Manning

Vice President

Bio:
Kim Manning caught the writing bug in sixth grade and hasn’t looked back since. After graduating with a degree in magazine journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia (Go Mizzou!), she moved from the family farm to Chicago and started her career as an editorial assistant for a magazine publishing firm.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
Most people don’t know that: I won a blue ribbon at the Illinois State Fair for a latch-hook rug during my days in 4-H. Read more…

Abe Tekippe

Public Relations Director

Bio:
From an early age, Abe Tekippe knew he wasn’t destined for – or cut out for – farm life. Hailing from rural Iowa, where most of the “real estate” is covered in corn and soybean fields, he figured he would end up “in town” somewhere. But he never imagined that town would be a city as large as Chicago  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
The best professional advice I received was: Be a sponge – always try to learn something from the people and things around you.  Read more…

Gretchen Muller

Account Director

Bio:
As a young girl growing up near Cincinnati, Gretchen thought she might work in international relations or join the Foreign Service. Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
Favorite Chicago building: The Inland Steel Building. 333 W. Wacker. The modern wing of the Art Institute. The addition to Fourth Presbyterian Church. The Carbon & Carbide Building. 35 E. Wacker. Those are just a few of my favorites. Read more…

Rebecca Boykin

Senior Account Manager

Bio:
When Rebecca describes herself as a “trailblazer,” she’s not exaggerating or promoting herself. Rebecca literally blazed trails in state forests, as well as built houses, as part of a 10-month stint in the AmeriCorps National Service Program.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
Three words that describe me are: In a sentence: Calm under pressure Read more…

Amanda Cienkus

Senior Account Manager

Bio:
Amanda loves pretty buildings. As a high school student in Memphis, Tennessee, she took a drafting course and dreamed of a career in architecture.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
Most people don’t know that I: love to scuba dive. Belize was hands-down the best, especially the 150ft dive down The Blue Hole which was not only spooky and dark but also included blacktip sharks circling 10 ft below us.  Read more…

Patty Cronin

Senior Account Manager

Bio:
As a senior account manager with Taylor Johnson, Patty develops and implements media relations programs for local and national real estate-focused firms, also providing internal communications, crisis communications, social media and executive communications support as needed.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
What I like most about TJ: TJ has a great reputation for integrity and high-quality work. They serve their clients very well.  Read more…

Traci Failla

Senior Account Manager

Bio:
After spending her childhood in a small town outside Fort Wayne, Indiana, Traci was sure of one thing – that she wanted to live in a big city.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
My favorite pastime is: I love to travel, bike and read, but my absolute favorite pastime is something my family calls Rock Talk, which is talking about rock music — legacy artists, current artists, songs, albums, cultural influence, all eras, all genres, etc.  Read more…

Kathryn Kjarsgaard

Senior Account Manager

Bio:
As a seasoned public relations professional, Kathryn Kjarsgaard knows how to get her ducks in a row. After all, she did just that (literally!) earlier in her career as a PR account executive in the food and hospitality industry.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
What I like most about TJ:
The firm operates like a newsroom. It’s collaborative, with everyone helping each other and sharing ideas.
Read more…

Sarah Lyons

Senior Account Manager

Bio:
As a native of Indiana, Sarah is a proud Hoosier. She grew up in Columbus, about 40 miles south of Indianapolis. Columbus has been called one of the best cities in the world for architecture lovers, with more than 90 buildings and pieces of public art by internationally noted architects and artists  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
What I like most about TJ: working with such smart people — colleagues and clients alike.  Read more…

Leslie Randolph

Senior Account Manager

Bio:
When Leslie was growing up in Highland Park, Illinois, she could have aspired to be a doctor, lawyer or teacher like many of her peers. But Leslie had loftier goals — she wanted to cure AIDS. A self-described passionate and compassionate person, she was influenced by Ryan White and wanted to effect change. Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
People around the office come to me for: A positive perspective – I always look for the lesson or silver lining in every situation. Read more…

Robin Plous

Senior Account Manager

Bio:
Growing up in a family where her father and grandfather both practiced law, it was only natural that Robin’s first career aspiration was to follow in their footsteps and become an attorney. But she ultimately decided to use her advocacy skills in a different way: to promote people, companies and causes through the art of public relations. Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
Three words that describe me are: friendly, organized and creative
Read more…

Paula Widholm

Senior Account Manager

Bio:
Paula knew from an early age that she wanted to be a writer. As a young girl growing up on a farm in central Illinois, she had subscriptions to Highlights magazine and other children’s publications and waited anxiously for her issues to arrive every month.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
When I was growing up I thought I’d be: a cattle rancher in Texas. I grew up on a farm downstate, and our black anguses never had much room to roam.  Read more…

Yvette Pistorio

Social Media Senior Account Manager

Bio:
Yvette has been involved in social media for almost her entire career – which may come as a surprise since she spent her first two years in college studying nursing. But after deciding to pursue her passion – journalism and writing – Yvette graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, with honors, from Columbia College Chicago.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
What I like most about TJ: The people. TJ has a great, friendly team and welcomed me with open arms. Read more…

Vanessa Irving

Social Media Senior Account Manager

Bio:
Vanessa joined Taylor Johnson in 2006 and has worked in different capacities, so she considers herself a jack of all trades. After serving as an account manager, Vanessa is now the firm’s social media senior account manager and is responsible for Taylor Johnson’s social media.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
Proudest TJ moment: Probably the first time one of my clients was featured on the cover of the Chicago Tribune because of a story idea I conceived and pitched.  Read more…

Nancy Swabb

Events Director

Bio:
A Chicago native, Nancy has always juggled multiple projects at the same time, both in the for-profit and non-profit world – and especially for charities close to her heart.  Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
Proudest TJ moment: after coordinating a client event for 1,000 guests, being hired to coordinate all their events year-round.  Read more…

Julie Grange

Office Manager

Bio:
A native Chicagoan, Julie is a jack of all trades at Taylor Johnson. Although her official title is Office Manager, Julie has experience in event planning and publishing – and puts that experience to work every day on behalf of our clients. Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
On my playlist: Most recently, I’ve been listening to Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key Of Life on repeat. Read more…

Cathleen Flynn

Administrative Office Assistant

Bio:
Ask Cathleen to describe herself and she’s likely to sum herself up in three words: “a people person.” Those words pretty much describe her career, which has been varied. But in each role she took on, Cathleen distinguished herself as a talented professional and dedicated administrator   Read more…

Beyond the Bio:
Favorite pastime: Friday Night Family Nights. Watching movies and playing board games is the best way to end the week!  Read more…

Mary Giovingo

Accounting Manager

Bio:
Mary has always been a whiz with numbers and multitasking, and she’s used it to her advantage throughout her career.  Read more

Beyond the Bio:
The best professional advice I received was: My dad said once, “If you want something, have courage and faith in yourself and you can make it happen – the only one who can stop you, is you. “ Read more…