A Michiana Life in the Spotlight: Stephanie Krol

A Michiana Life in the Spotlight: Stephanie Krol

Stephanie Krol aspired to live in Chicago and build a career at a leading public relations (PR) agency. She not only fulfilled this ambition but also surpassed her own goals. For the past 18 years, she has successfully led her own PR practice.

Growing up in Garfield Heights, Ohio, Krol was always captivated by the stories of others and hoped to help share those narratives one day. She pursued this passion by studying journalism and marketing at Ohio State University.

After graduating, Krol faced a challenging job market with few marketing and PR firms looking to hire interns due to economic downturns. However, she persisted and continued calling various companies until she came in contact with someone who would become a great mentor to her. 

“I was so nervous but grateful that someone took a chance on me,” said Krol. “My mentor was incredible and gave me so much confidence during my first internship. She had just started at the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland in Ohio and welcomed me as an intern. She taught me everything hands-on, giving me real-world experience rather than just theory. I believe everyone needs a mentor like that in their life.”

During Krol’s first internship, her mentor’s guidance was instrumental in helping secure her dream job in Chicago. 

“On our lunch breaks, she made me cold call people in Chicago to get interviews,” Krol said. “It was nerve-wracking, but I would send my resume and set up coffees with people to ask about their start in Chicago and their experiences in marketing and communications. Thanks to her help, on my first day in Chicago, I had two internship offers.”

Krol accepted an internship with Edelman — the world's largest PR firm — and moved to Chicago. By the end of the internship, Edelman offered her a full-time position. Over the next few years, she worked on several high-profile accounts like Kraft Foods and Victoria's Secret.

After a few years in Chicago, Krol moved to Elkhart, Indiana, as her husband had been offered a job there in the RV industry. However, the move didn’t deter her from her career. She regularly commuted to Chicago by train, allowing her to still live that big city life she loved.

In 2006, inspired by one of her mentors at Edelman, Krol founded her own firm, Stephanie Krol Public Relations (SKPR).

“When I arrived in Elkhart, there weren’t many marketing firms or positions in marketing and communications,” Krol said. “One of my mentors from Edelman suggested I start my own business. With a cell phone and the internet, I could work from anywhere.”

Krol’s first client was a pet boutique. They organized a big dog wedding, complete with a limo arrival. This event attracted significant media attention.

“It was a sensational event,” Krol said. “It made the cover of the ‘Chicago Tribune.’ ‘The Los Angeles Times’ also picked it up, and even Howard Stern talked about the dog wedding on the radio.”

Since then, SKPR has thrived on referrals, building a reputation for its work with startups, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and community-focused clients.

Krol's favorite part of her job is the opportunity to uncover clients' unique stories. She enjoys working to understand their vision and goals to find what will make them stand out in a crowded marketplace.

"Every day is different," Krol said. "I love hearing people's stories and the challenge of piecing together the puzzle to develop a pitch.”

Outside of work, Krol is active with her two arts-loving children. She enjoys concerts, hiking, and boating in her free time.