From Mad Men roots to cutting-edge PR

Earlier this week, the Star Tribune profiled top public relations firm Padilla Speer Beardsley, led by Lynn Casey, a UST Evening MBA alumna and this year's Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business Career Achievement honoree.

The Star Tribune article featured interviews with several of the firm's first employees in the 1960s, and it's clear there was a bit of a "Mad Men" vibe during that decade.  While the multi-million dollar firm is now led by a woman, there were only three female employees in 1969--an office manager, a receptionist, and a "gopher."  Public relations consisted mainly of press releases and publicity stunts to draw attention to businesses.

More than 40 years later, Padilla Speer Beardsley has expanded into advertising and operates a successful New York office in addition to its Minneapolis headquarters.   Client services range from crisis management to managing intellectual property challenges, and social media plays a major role alongside more traditional public relations channels.

So the next time you're watching an episode of "Mad Men" and wonder what might have become of Don Draper and his colleagues in the 21st century, look no further than the riverfront headquarters of Minneapolis' top public relations firm.