Dream Team title: Public Relations Manager
Current position: Brand Communications and Marketing P.R. Programs Chrysler
Why we want her: McElwee knows how to get the p.r. motor running generating extra mileage for Chrysler products via traditional p.r. as well as consumer events that attract media coverage for added pop. Plus we love the stunts she’s pulled—like dropping a brand-new Jeep Commander out of the sky or dangling a Jeep Grand Cherokee off the side of a building in New York City.
As much fun as these events sound at Chrysler everything starts with the product McElwee says. A dyed-in-the-wool Detroiter (her Dad worked for GM) and graduate in communications from Michigan State she is fluent in the language of engines suspensions and four-wheel drive systems though she didn’t necessarily plan it that way. “Just growing up around it I guess I’ve always known about cars which ones I liked and which ones I’d love to have ” she says. “I’m definitely an enthusiast and became more of one when I started learning about the products.” McElwee started at Campbell & Co. where she worked on the Ford Motor account then moved to Hill & Knowlton repping Mazda.
A stint at Golin Harris led to Chrysler where she’s worked since 1998 handling product p.r. for a number of years and building awareness for Chrysler’s new product line-up. She’s been in her current job five years long enough to have honed the knowledge people skills and marketing savvy to pull off events such as last year’s Jeep Stick in the Mud challenge which had consumers deep diving into the muck to retrieve numbered sticks to win a Jeep Wrangler or Dribble for a Dodge an endurance contest that had one guy smacking a basketball against the floor for more than 16 hours before going home with a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab with a HEMI engine.
McElwee enjoys the contests and vehicle giveaways (“They’re great fun and generate awareness ” she says) and works with a team of people across agency Clear!Blue and the Chrysler p.r. department. The latest had seven contestants on Oct. 18 “Sweetest Day ” in Cleveland licking their way through seven chocolate-covered Jeep vehicles to win an all-new Jeep Liberty.
But even when she’s not thinking about cars this busy p.r. dynamo is on the move. Her favorite pastimes—skiing biking boating and attending weekend car events such as the Woodward Dream Cruise with the family—have her wheels in constant motion.