WHO WE ARE
For over 25 years, the most trusted and iconic brands have partnered with Murphy O’Brien to secure the media coverage that positively impacts their reputations and bottom lines. Our team of public relations experts and social media specialists keep the media’s focus on our clients, developing the relevancy, awareness and demand needed to engage their customers.
- Karen Murphy O’BrienChairman & CEOPrevNextKaren Murphy O’BrienChairman & CEO
Karen co-founded Murphy O'Brien with partner, Brett O'Brien, in 1989, following a successful career in luxury, hospitality and entertainment public relations. She has cultivated relationships with top national media decision makers and has managed award-winning campaigns for an impressive collection of companies, many of which have been loyal clients since the founding of the agency. Karen has carefully assembled a team of the most talented industry professionals, and the agency is consistently rated among the top 10 places in Los Angeles to work by the Los Angeles Business Journal. In addition, Karen is deeply committed to her work with several charitable and philanthropic organizations, and serves as an active board member of Chrysalis, an organization dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for the economically disadvantaged. Karen is also on the Board of Directors for the National Children's Chorus, one of the world's premier treble choruses that provides musically talented children the opportunity to learn and grow in an extraordinary environment. She is also a member of the Visionary Circle for Visionary Women, a non-profit organization that harnesses the power of leadership and community to embolden women to achieve their full potential. Her passions include travel, cooking, music, hiking, wine and spending time with her husband, Brett, and two teenage sons.
- Brett O’BrienManaging DirectorPrevNextBrett O’BrienManaging Director
Brett co-founded Murphy O'Brien with partner Karen Murphy O'Brien in 1989. In addition to managing the business and financial affairs of the company, Brett works closely with the agency's operations and technology teams to ensure that the client services team and the companies represented by the agency benefit from exceptional service and support. Brett is responsible for managing the technology innovation group at Murphy O'Brien and oversees the agency's Social Media team and related activities. In addition to his ongoing involvement with Murphy O'Brien, Brett's passion for technology and the Internet led him to the founding and success of Xdrive, the innovator in online storage services, and Viddy, a mobile social video application. Xdrive was acquired by America Online (AOL) in July, 2005. Brett founded the Los Angeles Chapter of Young Entrepreneurs Organization and is currently a member of the Bel Air Chapter of Young Presidents Organization (YPO). He is a graduate of the Wharton undergraduate business program at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focused on finance, entrepreneurship and brand marketing. He enjoys fishing in the Amazon, yoga, reading, Cuban cigars, traveling with Karen and their sons and playing fetch with Ivory and Smush, their two dogs.
- Allyson RenerPresidentPrevNextAllyson RenerPresident
As President of Murphy O’Brien and an executive with the company for over 24 years, Allyson is regarded as an expert in luxury lifestyle, travel and real estate trends. Through her passion for media, strong leadership skills and client relationships, she has shepherded the company’s growth, taking it from a small firm with a handful of employees to one of the most powerful independent PR agencies in the country with nearly 60 employees. She has personally contributed to the company’s impressive roster and is responsible for long-term relationships across the board with clients such as The Peninsula Hotels, Shutters on the Beach, Auberge Resorts, The Cheesecake Factory, Mastro’s, Lynx Grills, Timbers Resorts, Gibson International, and many more. In addition to overseeing all accounts at Murphy O’Brien, Allyson is responsible for training, high-level recruiting, creativity and new business initiatives, and she has created a work environment that has led to the agency consistently being voted as one of the Best Places to Work in Los Angeles. Allyson inspires her team by modeling a drive for excellence and improvement, which is what continues to keep the agency on the cutting edge in both traditional and social media PR. Before Murphy O’Brien, Allyson began her career at the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, along with Sheraton Hotels and Squaw Valley Ski Corp. She lives in Palos Verdes, California, with her husband and two daughters, and is actively involved in the National Charity League and the Public Relations Society of America.
- Stacy LewisExecutive Vice PresidentPrevNextStacy LewisExecutive Vice President
Stacy has more than 25 years of experience in public relations, corporate communications and advertising, including 15 years at Murphy O’Brien. She is responsible for helping manage the public images of the agency’s marquee hotel clients, among them The Peninsula Hotels and Auberge Resorts. While her current experience focuses primarily on luxury hospitality, she has led campaigns for clients across the travel spectrum, from destinations to budget hotel brands and air carriers. Prior to joining Murphy O’Brien, Stacy managed public relations programs in-house for the Travel, Retail and Emerging Markets divisions for Visa in San Francisco. She also spent several years managing public relations in-house for FM Global, a financial services company. She began her career at Ingalls, Quinn & Johnson, an advertising and public relations agency in Boston. She has a master’s degree in Corporate Public Relations from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
- Kimi OzawaSenior Vice PresidentPrevNextKimi OzawaSenior Vice President
Kimi Ozawa has been in the PR industry for more than 13 years, managing and executing public relations campaigns, product and service launches, partnerships, and special events for boutique lifestyle and global consumer brands. As a senior vice president at Murphy O’Brien Public Relations, Kimi specializes in hospitality and travel and has worked with clients including The Peninsula Hotels, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Ventana Big Sur, Thompson Seattle, TCS World Travel, Air Tahiti Nui and Esperanza, An Auberge Resort. Prior to joining Murphy O'Brien, Kimi worked at Cohn & Wolfe and The Rogers Group in Los Angeles representing clients including Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Ubisoft Entertainment and American Honda Motor Co. She is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Communications.
- Lisa GoldsteinVice PresidentPrevNextLisa GoldsteinVice President
A former left-coaster returned, Lisa seamlessly brings New York to LA. She still runs on Eastern time – and at go-getting speed – a pace she finds just right in this fast-growing media market. From rising tastemakers to the biggest deals going down, global conversations to celebrity power, she thrives on “the incredible potential” this city lends. A senior strategist, Lisa has more than a decade of experience driving programs for some of the world’s most recognized hotel brands – W Hotels, The Marlton, The Bowery and The James all grace her vitae, and bear the compelling brand narratives and intelligent backstories that have become her signature. To boot, Lisa has a keen sense of the business stories waiting to be told, compliments of past gigs with Westport Development Group and Corcoran Sunshine. Out of the office, even her “down” time is active – filled with skiing, pilates or rooting for her beloved Steelers.
- Rachel EssermanVice PresidentPrevNextRachel EssermanVice President
As an employee of Murphy O'Brien since 2007, Rachel has experience leading high-profile travel, real estate and lifestyle PR and social media campaigns. She specializes in account management, spearheads creative strategy and partnerships, and delivers high-caliber media results. She has become an expert in successfully launching new accounts and maintaining relevancy for longstanding clients. She also leads new business development for the agency. Her clients include Timbers Resorts, Big Cedar Lodge, Turtle Bay Resort and Kohanaiki, alongside work with large-scale companies like Bass Pro Shops and Waldorf Astoria. A graduate of the University of Florida, Rachel has a strong background in public relations, journalism and marketing.
- Laura MillettVice PresidentPrevNextLaura MillettVice President
An eight year veteran of Murphy O’Brien, Laura has a strong background in broadcast journalism including experience at CNN's Washington D.C. bureau and local markets in Florida. As a Vice President based in Tampa, Florida, Laura has developed award-winning PR campaigns for renowned brands such as Auberge Resorts, The Peninsula Hotels and Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Laura’s specialty lies leading strategy and securing high-impact partnerships for the agency’s Caribbean and East Coast luxury boutique properties in revered destinations such as Miami, Palm Beach, St. Barth's, Turks & Caicos, Cape Cod and the Outer Banks. Prior to Murphy O'Brien, Laura worked on public relations campaigns at The Zimmerman Agency (Omnicom) for luxury travel clients specializing in the Caribbean and East Coast regions. Laura holds Bachelor's degrees from the University of Florida in Telecommunications News and Political Science.
- Emily HeidtVice PresidentPrevNextEmily HeidtVice President
With eight years’ experience in public affairs and communications, Emily Heidt specializes in media relations, marketing and coordinating outreach campaigns on behalf of real estate developers and investors. She began her career at Sugerman Communications Group, where she gained experience with entitlement-related efforts, including Playa Vista, Hollywood Park and the ongoing effort to re-entitle the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on behalf of Capri Capital. Emily also handled media relations activities at the firm, interacting with reporters, editors and producers on topics ranging from banking and education to real estate finance and corporate transactions. Emily received a B.A. in economics from Cornell University, where she was coxswain for the men’s lightweight crew. A two-time national champion, Emily is also the recipient of the Cornell Athletic Department’s Ronald P. Lynch Spirit Award for her leadership on and off the field. Emily lives in Pacific Palisades with her husband, Greg, and their two children, Isabel and George.
- Emily WarnerManaging Director, Real EstatePrevNextEmily WarnerManaging Director, Real Estate
As Managing Director of the Real Estate Collection, Emily Warner skillfully oversees the agency’s real estate portfolio including Howard Hughes’ Ward Village, Sunrise Company’s Toscana Country Club, JMA Ventures and Timbers Resorts. Emily is considered an expert in real estate publicity managing campaigns for clients from pre-construction through sell out. Her knowledge of the current real estate landscape, connections to top tier media and strategic savvy have made her a valued team member since she joined Murphy O’Brien in 2007. Emily also leads business development efforts for the agency by identifying prospective clients, consulting on strategic plans and launching new accounts successfully. She is a graduate of University of Colorado at Boulder with a major in Communications and Public Relations and enjoys spending her weekends reading, touring open houses and being with her husband and two sons.