Leadership

About Us

Our Management Team

Our management team has more than 60 years combined experience in PR, journalism and lead generation for franchise companies. They constantly share their skills, knowledge and talents through training and communication with our growing staff.

Brad Fishman
CEO

Brad Fishman has devoted the majority of his career to not only building Fishman Public Relations into one of the largest and most respect PR agencies of its kind, but also promoting franchising as a business model and helping educate franchise systems about effective lead generation strategies. Always seeking to stay on top of the latest trends, people, news and legislation impacting the franchise industry, Brad can found as a participant or known presence at nearly every franchising event domestically or overseas.

As one of the most well-connected individuals in the franchise industry, Brad has spent more than 20 years helping franchise systems develop franchisee lead generation and consumer awareness campaigns that help them achieve their desired growth. As a successful entrepreneur who knows how to operate a business, Brad has earned the trust and credibility of other entrepreneurs in the industry.

His professional involvement in franchising includes sitting on the boards of numerous companies and organizations, as well as serving as past chairman of the IFA’s Franchise Supplier Forum, a past member of the IFA’s board and executive board and the IFA's Membership and International committees.

Brad enjoys skiing, golfing, traveling the world with friends and family and hosting some of the best parties in franchising.

Sherri Fishman
President & Co-Founder

Sherri is a seasoned public relations executive and PR agency owner who has devoted her life’s work to providing customized franchise PR services. Since starting Fishman PR in 1991, Sherri had led a talented staff to grow Fishman PR into the nation’s leading franchise lead generation PR agency. In fact, she proudly boasts that Fishman PR operates like a franchise, noting that the right systems and structures in place ensures great success at meeting and exceeding client objectives for franchise opportunity PR and consumer brand PR.

She knows from first-hand experience now and when she founded the company 23 years ago that Fishman PR has set the precedent for franchise PR agencies nationwide. She believes it all leads back to exemplary client services coupled with her agency’s stellar track record of developing creative, newsworthy approaches that attract and secure the media’s interest.

Sherri launched her PR career at a franchise-focused PR agency. There, over the course of nearly eight years, she quickly made a name for herself in the franchise space by successfully representing franchise industry influencers like Fred DeLuca of Subway and the International Franchise Association and left as a Vice President. Sherri has served on the Board of the Franchise Supplier Forum, a member of the IFA’s Marketing and Technology Committee, a member of the FranTech Task Force and former IFA Convention Task Force member.

When not working, Sherri enjoys wine tasting, skiing, entertaining for family and friends and being Brad's favorite travel companion. A robust cup of coffee and fresh chopped salads are two main staples of her day.

Debra Vilchis
Chief Operating Officer

Debra is an experienced public relations professional with more than 15 years’ experience in franchise industry PR. Since joining Fishman PR in 1999, Debra has developed and executed strategic public relations and content marketing campaigns for dozens of franchise brands that have generated positive exposure in both traditional media and online.

Debra also manages crisis communications for the agency’s clients and conducts media interview training workshops for franchisors and franchisees. As COO, she is responsible for training, management and oversight of teams and accounts and ensuring overall agency best practices.

Her previous PR experience includes media relations and event planning for major manufacturers of natural vitamin supplements. As a former journalist, Debra reported on the Illinois legislature and state government agencies for the Associated Press, served as a reporter and feature writer for The Daily Herald Chicagoland newspaper and served as a writer and associate editor for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Safety Council. Debra holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Northern Illinois University.

Debra’s favorite things in life are Sloppy Joes, the Chicago Blackhawks and stand-up comedy. In her spare time, she teaches first grade at a local religious school and hangs out with her husband and three amazing children, Cassidy, Marlee and Charlie.

Sara Faiwell
Vice President

Sara is an experienced public relations professional who has worked with dozens of franchise clients in the restaurant, home service, pet and entertainment sectors to secure positive media exposure on a local and national level. Her press coverage has resulted in increased consumer awareness and franchise lead generation for the franchise brands. As a former journalist, she has a knack for talking with clients and generating strategic pitch angles that get journalists’ attention. Sara oversees a team of publicists at the agency, as well as overall strategic direction for franchise clients on her team.

Prior to joining Fishman PR in 2008, Sara worked as a reporter for newspapers in Chicago, Iowa City, Colorado Springs and Washington D.C. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

In her spare time – or what little of it she has anymore with a young daughter – Sara enjoys cooking and obsessively watching Food Network.

Rachael Wachstein
Vice President, Content Marketing

Rachael is an experienced online marketing professional with over 10 years’ experience working with B2B and B2C companies. She began her career in broadcast production at Chicago based ad firm, Leo Burnett. Rachael also worked as an SEO and digital marketing strategist for Organic Ranking Systems.

She joined Fishman PR in 2009 and developed our content marketing practice. In her role, Rachael creates effective strategies to help franchise brands achieve their consumer awareness, franchise lead generation, search engine optimization and online reputation management objectives.

A self-described geek, Rachael is obsessed with technology, international travel and artsy films (however she mostly watches Sponge Bob with her kids).

Jayne Levy
Senior Account Manager

Jayne is an experienced public relations professional with more than six years focused in the franchise PR space. Since joining Fishman PR in 2008, Jayne has developed a firm understanding of the strategy and tactics necessary in generating media coverage that will meet clients’ objectives for franchise opportunity PR and consumer brand PR. With her sweet spot being national business media, her efforts have resulted in thousands of franchise leads for Fishman PR clients. She also works closely with the content marketing team in executing creative campaigns that increase awareness of franchise opportunities and help convert leads into signed franchise agreements. As a Senior Account Manager, she is responsible for managing a team and its accounts as well as mentoring teammates.

Jayne’s previous experience includes retail management for a popular action sports retailer. She began her PR career as an intern with Fishman PR during her senior year at Columbia College of Chicago, where she received a Bachelor’s of Arts in arts, entertainment and media management and a minor in public relations.

In her free time, Jayne “binge watches” shows like The Office and Community, and – as an avid multi-tasker – uses the time to make jewelry, which she sells at local festivals and on her Etsy shop, Urban Coastie.

Julianne Kennelly
Account Manager

Julianne has three years of public relations experience with an emphasis in franchise PR. After getting her start in public relations as an intern at Fishman PR, Julianne quickly learned the ins and outs of the franchise space. Now as an Account Manager, Julianne’s primary focus is on meeting client’s objectives by developing and implementing comprehensive PR campaigns aimed at increasing consumer awareness and driving franchise leads. By consistently generating media coverage that creates positive buzz for her clients, Julianne is able to help franchise brands achieve their goals. In her current role, Julianne is in charge of co-leading a team of employees and providing guidance and mentorship to her teammates.

Julianne received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Eastern Illinois University and upon graduating, spent five years as a personal trainer. During this time, Julianne developed strong client communication/management and program design skills, which she now utilizes on a daily basis as a PR professional.

 In her free time, Julianne enjoys working out, trying new restaurants, visiting wineries and watching TV shows including Million Dollar Listing NY on BRAVO and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network.

Lindsey Warriner
Account Manager

Lindsey manages a variety of accounts within the franchise industry, ranging from QSR to retail to auto care. Since joining the agency in April 2013, she has worked to develop comprehensive PR campaigns that have helped clients generate franchise leads and boost consumer awareness.

Prior to joining Fishman PR,  Lindsey held a marketing coordinator position with the restaurant franchise Smashburger, in which she played an important role in planning grand opening events and leading community outreach initiatives in the Twin Cities and in the Chicagoland area. 

Lindsey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from The School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Originally from Blaine, Minnesota, Lindsey is a die-hard Minnesota Twins fan (…yes, they exist), and can often be found rooting on her Gophers.