I was born to do what I do

There’s a hebrew saying “Tikkun olam” which means “repair of the world” — the concept is that we have an obligation or duty to aspire to behave and act for the benefits of others.

This has been part of my personal and professional life calling as captured by Champagne & Beyond Magazine: http://champagneandbeyond.com/2016/03/13/andrew-hayes-of-fifth-third-bank-i-was-born-to-do-what-i-do/

AHPR is a communications agency aimed at delivering smart, executive-level service without layers of corporate hierarchy. We are an elite team of consultants focused on PR, cause-related marketing, new media and eye-catching experiences that make noise, influence, expand, enhance or shift public perception, and drive positive reputation and word-of-mouth buzz.

If you would like to submit a request for an RFP, click here: https://www.linkedin.com/profinder/pro/andrewhayespr

Contact info: 312-823-4333 | andrewhayesPR@gmail.com

Examples of Andrew Hayes’ PR Success


Within months of joining Fifth Third Bank (Chicago) I was charged with creating a reputational program to help the bank increase brand awareness, increase positive reputation and unite employees and community.

This was on the heels of the country’s financial market implosion of 2008. Wall Street and Banks were blamed for the country’s financial meltdown and as a result company reputations had tanked.  I spent the next eight years creating unique and noteworthy reputational promotions, events and campaigns to garner media interest and coverage and influence public sentiment of the bank.

My efforts helped markedly increase the bank’s positive reputation (from #14 in 2010 to #47 in 2017).

First up, in 2010, I founded the bank’s “Honoring Our Veterans” program whereby the bank sponsored a number of local veteran organizations, including War Dogs Making it Home, a nonprofit that rescues dogs from high kill shelters and trains them to be a certified support dog for veterans with PTSD.  This campaign also included making Veterans Day, a Federal holiday, a “day on for those who serve” which included serving at local pet shelters whereby the bank underwrote the adoptions of dogs and cats to veterans.

This effort enjoyed substantial media and community attention – Chicago area media stations covered the campaign, events and efforts.  Annually, this effort enjoyed over 4 million media impressions.

In 2010, the bank’s reputation was scored a 14 (by Nielsen).  In 2018, the bank’s reputation scored a 47. This marked increase in positive reputation is attributed to the veterans’ effort.  The campaign was so successful that it was replicated through all of the bank’s 11 regions.

Sample of veterans day/pet adoption media exposure include:

TV Coverage:  https://abc7chicago.com/society/fifth-third-bank-hosting-veterans-day-of-appreciation/1591633

Print Coverage:  https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/valparaiso/annual-pets-for-vets-effort-planned/article_9537f877-28f5-5c96-8c88-c533b2156ea8.html

Live Radio Show:  https://wgnradio.com/2016/11/11/steve-cochran-full-show-11-11-16-veterans-day-from-navy-pier/

IL Banking Association award release:  https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fifth-third-bank-receives-community-service-award-from-illinois-bankers-association-300101029.html

Another example of a reputational campaign I led revolved around the bank’s celebration of May 3 (5/3 on the calendar) as a the bank’s namesake “birthday” 

May 3 (5/3 on the calendar) is promoted as “5/3 Bank Birthday” an opportunity to promote the bank’s name, culture, people and commitment to community.  In 2018, my work managing the promotion of this in the Chicago area led to 6 million (positive) media impressions:

Profile of bank president, connected to 5/3 Babies (WGN TV):  https://wgntv.com/2018/05/11/banker-donates-time-and-generosity/

5/3 Babies (Daily Herald): https://www.dailyherald.com/business/20180503/fifth-third-bank-to-give-babies-born-today-1053

5/3 Babies (WGN TV):  https://wgntv.com/2018/05/01/fifth-third-bank-offering-gift-cards-for-babies-born-on-may-3rd/

5/3 Babies (NBC):  https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/bank-to-give-1053-to-chicago-babies-born-thursday-481413921.html

5/3 Babies (Chicago Tribune):  http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-fifth-third-baby-money-0501-story.html

5/3 Babies (American Banker):  https://www.americanbanker.com/news/welcome-to-the-world-baby-heres-1-000-from-the-bank

5/3 Babies (Patch.com): https://patch.com/illinois/chicago/1-053-babies-born-thursday-9-chicago-hospitals-bank-vows

Boots the Cat:

In 2012 the bank enacted a new tagline “The Curious Bank” – around this same time I learned from colleagues that the bank was entrusted with executing the estate of a recently deceased client.  The estate was directed, by written Will, that the executor was to euthanize any pets surviving and the bank sought to find an alternative.  With some PR planning and targeted media, I was able to connect this case to the bank’s new tagline.  Examples below:




Watching lives positively change before my eyes…

While looking for my next professional gig, it was my honor and privilege to work with Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago to help them draw attention to a wonderful down payment assistance program event.  We got tons of media exposure which ensured that many area families who want to become homeowners had an opportunity to apply.

Hundreds of Cook County residents who wanted to become homeowners lined up at McCormick Place to apply for $15,000 grants to help with down payments.

$8 million in grant money is being invested in this program in Chicago to help those who want to become homeowners in low to moderate income neighborhoods. It’s seen as one way to combat violence and crime in at-risk communities.

The money is provided by Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFT program, but eligibility is determined by my client, nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago.

To qualify for a down payment assistance grant, annual income cannot exceed $67,700 for up to a family of four. Veterans, teachers, and first responders can receive $17,500.

I was struck by the incredible back-stories of those seeking to receive a grant.  One young man shared that he and his siblings became homeless, living on the streets, after his mother’s sudden death five years ago  He received one of the $15,000 grants and soon will become a homeowner, forever changing his life’s story. Another, a single-mother of three young children and an elementary school teacher, shared that after a difficult divorce one year ago, she was struggling financially, with a credit score in the low 200’s.  Her landlord told her that he would be selling the home in which she and her children lived within the year.  Upon hearing this news, she buckled down, worked hard to improve her credit, and today received a $17,500 down payment grant that will go towards purchasing her landlord’s home.  Another woman told me that one year ago her husband of 15 years died suddenly, leaving her without a steady income, in debt, and facing uncertainty.  Today, because of the down payment grant, she will purchase a home one block from her daughter’s home, where she will begin the next chapter in her life.


Check out some of the incredible stories shared by Chicago media:

WGN-TV News Coverage 

NBC 5 Chicago News Coverage

ABC 7 Chicago News Coverage


Chicago Sun Times

Univision Chicago News Coverage 

We All Stand On the Shoulders Of Those Who Came Before…

I’m really enjoying my volunteer work bringing attention to the issue of LGBTQ persecution in the world, and specifically, what obstacles and issues face those seeking political asylum in the U.S. As I talk about this to media and others, I constantly think, By the Grace of God, it could be me.  It could be any of us.

If this topic resonates and is of interest to you – I encourage you to attend an event being held next week at The Center On Halsted featuring U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley and others.  See event flyer and my press release below:

If Not US, Who_ – Flyer


All Aboard USA Committee
Rainbow Railroad

Media Contact: Andrew Hayes, 312-823-4333

Panel Discussion About LGBTQI+ Persecution throughout the World
Thursday, August 16 @ 6:30 p.m. Center on Halsted

CHICAGO – The All Aboard USA Committeeof Rainbow Railroadannounces a public event on Thursday, August 16th, at 6:30 p.m., at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago 60613 entitled, “If Not US, Who?: The Struggle of LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum-Seekers.”

U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) willopen the event and invite a panel of experts, along with an asylum-seeker, to share their compelling perspectives on the challenges facing LGBTQ throughout the world and what the Chicago community can do to help. LamHo, Founder & Executive Director of the Community Activism Law Alliance, will moderate the event. Panelists include:

  • Mike Jarecki, Director, Board of Governors, American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Jackie Kaplan Perkins, Director, Chicago & Midwest Human Rights Watch
  • Joanna Thompson, Community Outreach & Engagement Coordinator for the Center on Halsted
  • Eduardo Hernandez, U.S. Development Officer, Rainbow Railroad

Event registration is available online.  Register here. Tickets are $10.  Like and follow for updated news on the group’s Facebook event page.


In 2017, Bruce Koff and Lori Cannon, well-known community activists and leaders were inspired by the actions of Artem Kolesov, a young, gay, virtuoso violinist who came out to his home country of Russia, forsaking his ability to return home safely. With the support of the Chicago LGBTQ community and allies, Artem obtained permanent resident status in the U.S. Other LGBTQI+ individuals worldwide continue to face unspeakable horror including detention, imprisonment, beatings, torture, and even death. This year’s event “If Not US, Who? The Struggle of LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum-Seekers” will turn our attention to them and the ways compassionate Chicagoans can help.

Event sponsors include Rainbow RailroadCenter on HalstedWindy City Times, and the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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3 Takeaways From a PR Pro on the Receiving End of Media Pitches

(Reprinted from @PR News, 2017)

After running his own PR agency for 10 years, Andrew Hayes joined NBC Television as PR manager for a national daytime talk show and later he led PR and community relations for Chicago Telemundo affiliate WSNS-TV.  During that time he was listed in Bacon’s Media Directory (now Cision) as “PR director,” and below his contact information it said “not an appropriate pitch resource.”

Well, you can probably guess what happened. Despite his job title and the warning, he got bombed with email pitches from PR pros.

Fifth Third Bank, VP, corporate communications, Fifth Third Bank

“I always read each pitch or news release sent thinking it might inspire my own pitching, but more often than not I came away with the sense that the person sending me the email hadn’t either taken the time to understand my role or position and the opportunity,” says Hayes. “Had they considered my role and pitched me accordingly, by writing, for example, ‘I understand you are the PR guy…any chance you can share this pitch with the news director or team next time you meet with them?  I’m confident that they would have interest in covering X because of Y,’ some might have been helped by me.”

It turns out it was Hayes himself who received the unexpected help. His experiences at NBC and Telemundo gave him a great appreciation for pitching that was done well and had succeeded at winning his attention. He also gained insight into outreach that landed with a thud.

Here are the top three things Hayes learned while being sent media pitches that should never have been sent to him in the first place:

  1. As you write a media pitch, think of aspects of your message that would make for good, compelling, call-to-action bullet points—copy that compels the recipient to not only open your message, but give it 10 seconds of their time to be persuaded that you have something interesting and/or a fit for them.
  2. The first three to five lines, or the first 15 seconds, are the most important, and that includes your email subject line, the reason for your call, face-to-face connect, etc.  Always be prepared.
  3. Before you hit send, go back and visualize the recipient for a couple of seconds. Are they at the desk when it comes in?  Will they read it from their phone while on the road? In other words, have you written something that will cause them to open it? Is it something that stands out from the 90 other emails waiting on them? I always say, let that empathetic vision guide your final edits.

Follow Andrew Hayes: @AndrewHayesPR

Contact Andrew Hayes:  andrewhayesPR@gmail.com

Dipping Just A Toe In Social Media Is A Waste of Time

Earlier this week I met with Chicago area executive and of course I brought up the subject of social media.  After talking about her experience generally, she shared, specifically, and somewhat matter of factly, that “once a week or so” she will post something on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. My poker face surely expressed what I was thinking, and she went defensive and responded, “what? Is that wrong?”  I blurted out “if you can’t interact regularly, it’s probably a waste of time.”

It was clear, pretty soon into our conversation, that her commitment to the medium was lackluster.  I explained, my vision, that in order to be successful online, you need to be active, be a part of the conversation daily, and interact as often as you can with others.  She shrugged her shoulders, raised her hands in the air, and literally said “I give up.”

I’ve been thinking about our conversation since then and decided to sit down at my laptop and offer some thoughts.

  1. Before you go online, know your voice.  What are you going to share, opine, counter, debate, and like.  In other words, if we were meeting on a blind date and I asked you to describe yourself… So who are you online?  Is your interest personal, professional or a combination of both?
  2. Once you get past step #1, be prepared to commit to sharing intriguing content, captivating photos and videos, and consistent posts to ensure you stands out.  Period.

Why does voice matter?  Creating a voice for you – that is, your brand, is essential for many reasons. It creates a natural conversation with your audience and humanizes you.

In short, your followers want to find a connection with you.

How do I find my voice?  Finding your voice shouldn’t be a daunting task. The key to finding your voice is determining the adjectives that best describe you — are you friendly, playful, warm or inspiring? What story do you want to tell about yourself?  What is your expertise or foundation of knowledge?

This isn’t a sprint… take some quiet time to get comfortable with who you want to be online.  Start with who you are professionally (CEO, director, manager, etc.).  Then add in who you are personally. (dad, mom, uncle, party boy, etc.)  Find  a balance between the two and you’ll be ready for the next step.