About Our Founder
WHO IS KATHLEEN?
For more than 25 years, Kathleen Ann Sarpy has enjoyed a diverse career in public relations and marketing, working with the world’s most recognizable brands, and remained a driving force behind emerging start-ups and non-profits. With unrivaled energy and enthusiasm, Kathleen expertly connects people, events and ideas to generate meaningful and lasting impact.
A former senior leader at the leading global PR firm, Kathleen left her “big agency” life behind in January 2001 after the birth of her first child to launch her own firm. Alone in her suburban basement armed with only a laptop and a lot of goodwill, Kathleen’s goal was simple: offer world-class strategy and creativity to the world’s most respected companies by eliminating bureaucracy without ever sacrificing kindness. Nearly 20 years later, Kathleen now manages a talented team in a vibrant downtown office overlooking the Chicago river. She’s also never lost sight of the “5” in her company’s name that remain the cornerstone of her business: kindness, creativity, passion, hustle and integrity.
Throughout its evolution, Agency H5 has been recognized alongside the best firms in the country, winning National Small Agency of the Year and Best Place to Work by PR News multiple times. Her value-driven agency ranked #11 among Top Company Culture’s in America by Entrepreneur.com and has been recognized as a Best Place to Work by Crain’s Chicago Business several years in a row. Personally, Kathleen has been named PR Professional of the Year by PRSA Chicago and nationally among Top Women in PR by PR News and Entrepreneur of the Year by Fifth Third Back and the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago. She’s regularly featured as an expert voice on outlets like NBC (including “Today”), CBS Chicago, PR News and PR Week. Believing that life teaches you lessons that must be shared to inspire and empower others, she frequently contributes to NBC.com’s BETTER platform on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to motherhood. A fierce advocate for protecting kindness in the workplace, she also has contributed to several books on the topic including: Kindness in Leadership (Gay Haskins, 2018), Chicago Lights (Abigail Zoe Martin, 2018) and the upcoming Culture Stories from Inspiring Leaders (Greg Besner, 2020).
Beyond her office walls, Kathleen gives back by proudly supporting a number of local philanthropies that reflect her dedication to the city and the communities it serves including Breakthrough Urban Ministries, Enchanted Backpack, the Joffrey Ballet’s Women’s Board, Ronald McDonald House Charities and the United Way among many others. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Purdue University, she founded the International Council of Purdue Women in 2017 to unite, motivate, engage and inspire 200,000 alumnae worldwide.
However, her biggest and proudest achievement to date is being a mother of her blended family of six incredible children ages 10-19. She resides in Wheaton, Illinois, with her husband Chris and a bustling household of kids and an uncooperative English Bulldog named Hope.