Kary McIlwain


Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital



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As Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Kary is responsible for the marketing P&L for the hospital and Lurie Children’s Foundation as well as all media relations and internal and external communications. Her team is responsible for donor marketing and relations, all owned, earned and paid media, CRM and direct marketing efforts, physician marketing and driving awareness, preference, volume, donations, reputation and reach for this top- ranked children’s hospital.

Lurie Children’s represents a capstone to her 25 plus year career in advertising. As President and CEO of Y&R Chicago, Ms. McIlwain was responsible for the P&L, strategy and operations of a full-service digital and traditional agency. Y&R is a legendary agency that serves both local and global clients across a range of industries, including retail, travel and hospitality and consumer packaged goods. Under Ms. McIlwain’ s leadership, Y&R reinvented its digital offering, created a digital content studio, revamped its creative product and was named top 10 “Creative Heavyweights” by Creativity magazine. The agency grew year- on-year to become a major player not just in the Chicago market but in North America.

She is a member of The Economics Club of Chicago, The Chicago Network, The Executive’s Club of Chicago, The Poetry Foundation, Vassar College Parent Leadership and serves on boards of The Red Cross of Greater Chicago, United Way Leadership Council, and several other community and civic organizations.

Ms. McIlwain graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, followed by a Masters degree from Northwestern University in Integrated Marketing.

The Chicago Network