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About us

Cascade PR Fashion Startup Oprah magazine

Since 2001, Cascade is a recognized boutique story agency telling the stories of startups to small enterprises in the U.S. and around the world. Our 360 story-first PR model and thoughtful strategies are innovating the industry, delivering the metrics that matter most.

Today, we are an acclaimed virtual story agency with the know-how to attract customers, media, partners and more. And, we not only understand but we are experts in the secret sauce to succeeding in a digital world.


We know how and where to tell your story where it matters most.

Cascade takes into account all of your needs and builds a customized approach to making all of our clients successful. Whether you have an established business launching or breathing life into a new product, or you're preparing to launch or grow a startup, our team becomes part of yours as a long-term marketing partner and trusted advisor.


We pride ourselves on being ethical journalists and PR/marketing professionals with a commitment to our clients. Just ask our clients!

Our Vision

We innovate PR and digital marketing to introduce the world to innovative, fearless startups, small businesses and small enterprises making an impact.

Our Mission

Is to help startups, small business and small enterprises worldwide compete and grow through innovative PR, content and experiential digital marketing and campaigns that increase online invisibility and search discovery for long term growth.

Our Values

We value and celebrate partnerships, innovation, initiative, collaboration, respect and service in everything we do. 

We value education and always learning to stay atop of industry trends that affect client success.

We value the commitments made to our clients to perform and consult ethically and morally daily.

Powered by Experience

As a virtual agency, we staff our accounts with veteran communications and marketing pros who really know their stuff. 

Today's technology allows Cascade to offer our larger project clients a veteran team, not interns, on their account. Our awesome team affordably works to grow your business by generating positive media attention, brand strategy, responsive videos and graphics, and engaging digital marketing. 

And we've built street cred honing our skills with large consumer and tech brands at big global PR and design agencies.

Our team members are handpicked for their expertise and common ethical approach to offering only the best services - media relations, graphic design, video , digital ads, and big scope brand projects with one of the top brand firms in the country.


No other agency offers what Cascade Communications does for clients. We've got a deep bench, are truly unique and leading the way in our industry.

Jennfer Fortney, public relations agency, Chicago, digital marketing firm
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Our Founder

Innovating PR in a digital world for startups, small businesses and small enterprises.


With more than 20 years’ experience in journalism, public relations and marketing communications, Cascade Communications Founder Jennifer Fortney has successfully created, implemented and managed PR and integrated marketing programs for some of America's top Fortune 1000 companies, and a variety of small businesses and startups across the country and around the world.


Jennifer is one of few individuals to receive a personal bonus from a Fortune 500 client for her successful work in single-handedly managing a nearly $1 million national campaign.


She started her career writing broadcast news, transitioned into sports marketing and then took on the position of Director of Promotions and Marketing for a radio station, where she was a jack of all marketing trades. Moving to Chicago, she began working at one of the world’s largest corporate consumer PR firms and later a boutique agency, opening Cascade Communications in 2001, all with a focus on consumer lifestyle products and services.


Known for her nose for news, she has achieved thousands of media placements for clients helped several startups prepare for launch by consulting on operations, production, staffing, growth management and fundraising. 


Jennifer has a Bachelor's of Science in Journalism, Business Communications from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas, with a minor in Music - Vocal Performance. She has sat on several boards and conducted pro bono work for a variety of nonprofits. 


She is a speaker, guest lecturer and was the PR Instructor at SCORE Chicago for 5 years. Jennifer has been interviewed in a variety of media and podcasts, was a regular contributor to “Inc. Well” blog, the Chicago Tribune and is an expert and contributor to several small business and startup media outlets.


jfortney (@) cascadecomms (dot) com

Lidia Varesco Brand Strategist & Designer

Lidia Varesco

Brand Strategist & Designer

Lidia is a more than a talented artist and designer. She is a skilled brand strategist and our longtime partner. In 2017, Lidia wrote and published A to Z of Branding: A Primer & Workbook.

For the past 25+ years, Lidia has worked with a wide variety of companies and nonprofits in nearly every industry, developing brand framework and strategic design direction that helps organizations better engage with their audience and attract opportunities.

Most recently Lidia designed the logo for Crawligator a startup client who re-imagined an old tummy time toy from the late 60’s by redesigning it to meet today’s safety standards. She needed a brand that would speak to parents and the juvenile product industry. Lidia hit a homerun!

She also designed a new, inviting brand for the Lakeview Lutheran Churches in Chicago, which communicated vitality, community and fellowship, everything the client wanted. Like the Crawligator, both designs drove the website design.

She believes in giving back, and outside of her consumer design work, dedicates time to helping nonprofits.

A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Lidia is WBE-certified, a board member of the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits (CAN) and committee member for Association Forum and American Marketing Association. She is a speaker and contributor, instructor for nonprofit Web Advisor, and guest blogger for Keela and Bloomerang. 

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