Our Team

Lynese Cargill Hoffman

Executive Vice President, CFO and Founder

 

As CFO of Common Ground Public Relations, Lynese utilizes her extensive financial and business operations experience to lead the Common Ground team in the day-to-day business of serving its clients and staff. Lynese has more than 20 years of experience in the public relations industry, and has been instrumental in the start-up and sustainability of two award-winning agencies. She has experience in designing accounting controls, billing and invoice systems, 401(k) and profit sharing plans, and human resource protocols. Under her guidance, the agencies have received recognition from St. Louis Small Business Monthly as “Best PR Firm,” the St. Louis Business Journal for “Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies” and “Best Places to Work,” and from the Holmes Report for “Best Financially Managed Small Agency.”

 

Lynese frequently assists the CGPR team with special events, and was instrumental in the planning and execution of Taubman Prestige Outlets’ groundbreaking and grand opening festivities, in which she oversaw the macro-management of various event logistics, coordinated proclamations from the governor, organized dignitary appearances, and managed budgets and third party contracts.

 

Lynese is Board President of the St. Louis alumni chapter of Southeast Missouri State University and a director of its scholarship-granting initiative, St. Louis Cares. She has been honored with Southeast Missouri State University’s Young Alumni Merit Award from the Harrison College of Business as well as a Southeast Salutes Award for outstanding alumni achievement. Lynese has attended annual meetings of Counselors Academy, WorldCom Public Relations Group and the Sedona Roundtable of Public Relations Agency Executives. She is a member of Progress 64, the Missouri Society of Accountants, FOCUS St. Louis, St. Louis Ambassadors and a founding member of the Chesterfield Business Association. In 2014 she was named a “Top 100 People to Know in Business” by St. Louis Small Business Monthly.

 

She is past chairman of the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and was the facilitator of Leadership Chesterfield, a yearlong emerging leaders program that primes up-and-coming stars from area companies to meet with local business and government leaders and discover the inner workings of their organizations and services. She was the program director for the Chamber’s monthly membership meetings for three years and served on various committees during her tenure, including the annual Pumpkin Run and ROI Leadership Conference.

 

Lynese earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from the Harrisson College of Business at Southeast Missouri State University.

Denise Bentele, APR

President, CEO and Founder

 

Denise oversees public relations consulting for Common Ground clients and coordinates account staff development. Her public relations experience includes business-to-business communications, brand marketing and crisis management for a variety of industries. With APR accreditation by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Denise is recognized as a leader in the public relations field.

 

Her experience includes employee communications, media relations and crisis management for companies including Bethesda Health Group, Bi-State Development, Lewis Rice, Logan University, Metropolitan Sewer District, St. Louis Economic Partnership, Southeast Missouri State University, UnitedHealth Group, University of Illinois, and several others.

 

Denise’s crisis communications training is based on SuperVoice – the respected program of the petroleum industry – and has been tested in situations ranging from a ruptured gasoline pipeline; to the failed merger of two U.S. airlines; university and campus crises; Chapter 11 reorganizations; and international environmental issues. She received a coveted PRSA Silver Anvil for crisis communications with the Sisters of Mercy Health System.

 

She is a past-president of the St. Louis chapter of PRSA; served as ethics chair for the chapter; is a member of The Counselors Academy; attended the Sedona Roundtable of Public Relations Agency Executives; served as strategic planning committee member for the Council of PR Firms; and is a prior board member for the St. Louis Press Club.

 

Denise is a current member of the board of directors for Provident. She has served in several other capacities for organizations including Rockwood School District’s student nutrition and fitness committee; Safe Connections; and Woodlawn Chapel.

 

Denise earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.

Nina Kult, APR

Account Supervisor

 

From strategic writing and media relations to special event planning, Nina excels in her role as account supervisor at Common Ground and leads client teams to achieving successful outcomes and measurable results. She leads team efforts for local and national clients, such as Logan University, Monsanto and Procter & Gamble, and special projects, including a yearlong campaign to drive awareness of scientific research aimed at increasing and maintaining food production around the world.

 

Nina’s successes have earned national placements in the Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report as well as industry accolades – including IABC St. Louis Quill awards – for media relations and publication initiatives.

 

Nina is a former freelance writer for the St. Louis Business Journal, Midwest Living magazine and handled media relations and event planning for the St. Louis Aces professional tennis team and Dwight Davis Tennis Center.

 

Prior to joining Common Ground, Nina spent several years in print journalism as a reporter for newspapers in Chicago as well as St. Louis. Her coverage, including health care, city government, education, business and lifestyle, earned her awards from the Illinois Woman’s Press Association and Suburban Newspaper Association.

 

Nina earned her Bachelor of Journalism with a minor in English from the Greenlee School of Journalism at Iowa State University. During her tenure, she worked as a copy editor, reporter and assistant editor for the school’s newspaper, The ISU Daily, and contributed to the university’s magazine, Ethos.

 

Nina is a member of the St. Louis chapter of PRSA and serves as the chapter’s Chief Ethics Officer.

Pia Reinhold

Account Supervisor

 

Pia brings years of experience in both corporate and agency public relations, providing strategic planning and account and project management to clients in various industries.

 

Her corporate public relations experience includes work on annual reports, crisis communications, executive media training, employee relations and corporate branding initiatives. She also worked as the liaison between corporate communications and agency partners in addition to writing a nationally syndicated financial column.

 

Her agency experience encompasses multi-faceted public relations and corporate social responsibility campaigns for national and international consumer goods brands, as well as for non-profit companies. She has extensive experience in developing and executing large scale special events, including speaker series and national mobile tours.

 

Having worked at NBC affiliates in both Columbia and St. Louis, Pia’s journalistic knowledge helps her develop targeted messaging for clients, helping secure placements in media outlets. She has worked closely on behalf of clients with outlets such as CNBC, USA Today and SmartMoney magazine.

 

She earned a Bachelor of Journalism with an emphasis in broadcast and a minor in French from the University of Missouri, and a master’s degree in media communications from Webster University. Having lived internationally, Pia is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish and proficient in French.

Jenna Todoroff

Account Executive and Digital Communications Manager

 

Jenna brings an extensive editorial background to Common Ground, as well as a fresh perspective on communications and award-winning digital strategy development. Her talents in writing and editing for print, web radio and social media give her the versatility to thrive in a variety of communications roles.

 

As an account executive and digital communications manager, Jenna leads public and media relations, promotions, and digital communications strategy development and implementation at CGPR. She’s eared placements in outlets such as “Today Show,” NBCNews.com, Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, Frommer’s Radio “The Travel Show,” and many others. She has been recognized by her industry peers with multiple IABC St. Louis Quill Awards for communications strategy and social media. Her project management experience also extends to community relations, event planning, product launches and marketing collateral development.

 

Jenna’s has worked on the editorial teams for MSN UK Cars in London and Us Weekly magazine in New York. She is a freelance digital content producer in her spare time. In 2014, she attended the Word of Mouth Marketing Summit in Los Angeles. She is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Chesterfield, a yearlong emerging leaders program.

 

Jenna earned a master’s degree in communications from Lindenwood University, and a Bachelor of Journalism with an emphasis in magazine journalism and minors in history and sociology from the University of Missouri.

Maggie Hallam

Assistant Account Executive and Digital Strategist

 

Maggie brings an integrated perspective to her client work at Common Ground, based on her background in advertising, marketing, public relations and social media. Her specialties include writing and editing for a variety of mediums, including print and web, social media management, content development, and media relations.

 

Maggie has been instrumental in executing award-winning programs for the agency and our clients, including product launch events, media campaigns, annual reports, and social media management.

 

In her previous positions with GROUP360 Worldwide and Looking Forward Living Life, Maggie gained experience in social media management, blogging, SEO, and event planning for various consumer goods brands. Most notably, she collaborated with a multidisciplinary team to develop a rebranding campaign for Natural Light based on new strategic direction for the brand.

 

Maggie led digital communication and copyediting efforts for a fully-integrated awareness-building campaign regarding a new mandatory recycling fee in downtown Columbia, Missouri. Working on behalf of the City of Columbia Public Works Department, the campaign, which was aimed at commercial businesses located within the downtown district, earned Best Campaign Strategy from the MU Strategic Communication department.

 

She graduated Summa Cum Laude, earning a Bachelor of Journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication and a minor in business as well as honors and multicultural certificates, from the University of Missouri.

Kelsey Arends

Account Coordinator

 

Kelsey brings a wide range of skills in strategic writing, social media, branding and research to Common Ground.

 

Throughout her professional experiences, she has learned the value of tactful digital strategy backed by thorough research.

 

As one of eight students participating in the University of Missouri Washington Program, Kelsey took her talents to Washington, D.C., where she worked for the United States House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, and received firsthand communications experience writing, editing and crafting content for a variety of platforms, specializing in digital communications.

 

Kelsey enjoys continuously learning about the different facets of strategic communications and public relations. During her senior year capstone at Mizzou, Kelsey was part of a team that led an award-winning campaign driving brand loyalty for the Missouri Department of Conservation. It was during this time that Kelsey was able to dive deep into her passions for research and branding.

 

Kelsey graduated cum laude, earning a Bachelor of Journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication, a minor in Italian studies and a multicultural certificates from the University of Missouri. She has held positions at Anheuser-Busch in experiential marketing and at the Savannah (Ga.) College of Art and Design in admissions.