MBJ 40 Under 40 Feature — Lori Richards

Lori Richards has been involved in public relations in Milwaukee and Wisconsin for more than 15 years, and has led clients through major crises, product recalls, awareness campaigns and significant communications initiatives.

The beneficiary of a public relations award honoring promising PR practitioners early in her career, Richards resurrected the Ben Barkin scholarship, now awarded annually by Mueller Communications.

She shares her talents with the community, where her “client roster” includes the Milwaukee Press Club, Tempo Milwaukee, Discovery World, Milwaukee Succeeds and BizStarts Milwaukee.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Marquette University

Past experience: Media and public relations — Golf Foundation of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Gas Co., Milwaukee Admirals Hockey Club

Word that best describes you? “Insightful”

What was your first job? “I was the only female on a five-person maintenance crew for a company that owned group homes. At 16, I would load a riding lawn mower onto a trailer, hook it up to a pickup, drive around town to properties, unload and go to work. My trailer-backing skills peaked then.”

Go-to person when you need help? “It depends what I need help with: I truly have a village.”

Person you would most like to meet? “Dinner with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler”

Something about you that would surprise people? “I only took the job at Mueller Communications after I didn’t make the final cut as an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile driver.”

Who’s your mentor? “So many mentors, so little time to name them all.”

Your favorite film? “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Way We Were”

Who would play you in a movie about your life? Claire Danes

Favorite saying or word? “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”

Favorite type of music? “Across the board — right now, the Lumineers, and generally 88nine”

Favorite app? Timehop

Favorite form of social media? “Facebook: though ubiquitous it may be, it has changed the way people communicate forever.”

Best stress release? “A good run with music at an unhealthy decibel level”

What you want to be doing in 10 years? “Looking at vacation property”

Favorite hobby? “With two small kids and a growing company, hobbies are sort of a mirage. But I do enjoy cooking, running, home improvement/DIY projects and the quest to find Milwaukee’s best fish fry.”

What would you tell your teenage self? “Embrace who you are and where you come from. Hard work and kindness are just as impressive as pedigree.”

If you could give $100,000 to one charity, which would you choose and why? “I think one of the biggest social success stories in Milwaukee over the past several years is the effort to support young women and decrease teenage pregnancy. It would be a split between United Way, Pearls for Teen Girls and the Boys & Girls Clubs for their collective effort to move the needle in this specific area.”

Describe yourself in a tweet. “It’s 7am: grocery shopped, lunches made, nanny paid, worked out, homework checked, dinner prepped. Now let’s #gettowork. #Muellertime.”

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday? “Weekends are for family: depending on season, watching or coaching a Shorewood rec sport for my daughters in the early morning, then off to one of Milwaukee’s finest sports venues, museums, zoo, beach and/or restaurants.”

What you like best about living in the Milwaukee area? “Access, whether it be to great homes and neighborhoods, the C-suite or a plethora of entertainment and dining options. In other cities, these things aren’t easily attainable or accessible without gray hair or a million bucks.”

Most pressing issue facing the Milwaukee area? “Poverty, and kids who are stuck in a cycle and unable to break it”

Read more 40 Under 40 features via Milwaukee Business Journal.

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