ELITE 2018 PR Guru Emily Shirden of Finn Partners

Emily Shirden

Partner, Midwest Health

Finn Partners

Expert in Payer Communication

Emily Shirden rose from an Account Supervisor in Chicago to a Partner in Finn Partners’ Detroit office in just eight years. In fact, when Finn Partners opened its doors in Detroit, Emily packed her bags (and her dog) and relocated to the heart of a city undergoing a massive rebirth to build a Finn Partners office from scratch. As the first Finn Partners employee in the Motor City, Emily sought to build a team and a culture based on Peter Finn’s values of “Work Hard, Play Nice.” Now the office has 17 full-time professionals who live the agency’s vision to improve lives and make a difference in the world. And Emily has accomplished all of this while working full-time and graduating from one of the country’s top executive MBA programs—and living by her mantra, “kindness is a superpower.”

“Navigating the health ecosystem requires sector expertise across the decision-maker continuum—patients, providers, payers, policy-makers, and product innovators,” says Gil Bashe, Managing Partner, Global Health at Finn Partners. “Leaders, like Emily, within our 16 global offices have made this happen. Emily brings payer expertise to an array of client work and a relentless drive to go ‘all in,’ an ability to find a clear, simple way to communicate a complex message to patients, and an uncommon ability to align messaging and programs across earned, owned, and social channels.”

For the past seven years, Emily has led large-scale, integrated digital and social media work for one of the nation’s largest health insurers. The goal of her team’s ongoing work is to establish the client as the leading health and wellness resource. This can be challenging as people are suspicious of health insurance carriers.

Emily built a multifaceted, multichannel public relations program to reach consumers where they are—the morning and evening news, local drive-time radio, search, social media, and email—with messaging about health and wellness member tools, plan information, and resources. She also proved to be a pioneer in using social media content and analytics—achieving higher-than-industry-average engagement rates in terms of message clarity and patient interest.


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