Mekky Media CEO tells students how her experiences inspired storytelling passion, asks them to reflect on how high school has shaped them
CHICAGO- May 16, 2022- Michelle Mekky, founder and president of Mekky Media Relations, Inc., was honored May 12 as Niles West High School’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2022. Mekky, who graduated from Niles West in 1989 and now lives in Mount Prospect, received the award at the school’s Accolades Ceremony, and had a chance to speak to members of the senior class about the important role her high school experience has played in her life.
She told the students that she started freshman year full of insecurities and uncertain about her future. But she soon encountered caring teachers who encouraged her to join the newspaper and audition for the TV station. “These experiences are etched in my memory – even after all this time – because they helped me discover my passion for storytelling and, eventually, my interest in pursuing a career in broadcast journalism,” Mekky said. “I am incredibly thankful for the Niles West teachers who inspired me.”
After receiving Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Michelle got her start in television news, spending over a decade as a senior producer and news writer for stations in Chicago. She eventually transitioned into public relations, and today, she runs a boutique PR agency that strategically partners with many leaders in their industries, helping them tell their stories to new audiences to fuel their growth. Mekky Media, which employs 16 PR professionals, has been widely recognized for its tremendous expansion and success in its first six years.
“Starting Mekky Media and getting it off the ground is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Mekky told the students. “But today I’m living my dream. And none of it would have been possible if it weren’t for the seeds that were planted here at Niles West.”
Mekky’s advice to the students was to continue to look back on their experiences the past four years and draw inspiration and wisdom as they go through their triumphs and challenges. “Reflect on how high school might have shaped you – even if you didn’t realize it at the time. What did you learn about yourself, about what motivates and moves you, or holds you back? Follow these bread crumbs, because they could eventually lead you to whatever your dream might be and catapult you to fulfillment or success beyond your imagination right now,” she said.
Mekky, who received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from principal Karen Ritter, says she was incredibly proud to be recognized by the high school and community where she got her start.