Well, hi.

Woman-owned and independent, we’re proud to create work that inspires positive change.

is wonderfully vast.

To focus our impact, we partner with clients in two categories: care and community. Through this unique lens, our work elevates quality of life in many ways.

What we love.

Whether building a brand from the ground up or activating to drive response, we bring exceptional care and craft to everything we do.


Market research
Competitive analyses
Persona development
Journey mapping
Brand audits
Tactical planning
Digital strategy


Brand positioning
Brand architecture
Brand narrative
Messaging & content strategy
Brand guidelines
Employer brand


Omnichannel campaigns
Culture campaigns
Digital marketing
Environmental branding
Event design
Collateral systems

Our team.

Mid-size and mighty with a staff of 75+, Pivot hits the sweet spot. We’re large enough to take on complex, expansive projects with the attention and responsiveness of a close-knit team.



Liz Kanter

President & Executive Creative Director

As president, executive creative director, and owner, Liz has grown Pivot Design into one of the most respected independent branding agencies in the industry. For nearly 25 years, she has helped brands redefine what good looks like, challenge conventional thinking, and lead with purpose, meaning, and authenticity. Day to day, Liz works closely with client C-suite and leadership teams to help them identify opportunities for disruptive strategy and unexpected activation. Guiding it all is her belief that the most successful and enduring brands are deeply rooted in human connection.


Kate Karas

Senior Vice President, Managing Director

Kate leads Pivot’s client engagement practice. Her work begins in the earliest conversations with prospective clients and continues throughout the formative stages of onboarding and foundational strategy. At every step, Kate helps the client and Pivot team crystallize key goals and opportunities, and design collaborative and efficient approaches to solving them together. Having begun her career as a designer, Kate brings a unique ability to help clients understand and engage in the journey of branding and creative activation.


Maggie Traidman

Senior Vice President, Creative

Maggie leads the design practice at Pivot. A guiding force in the company for more than 10 years, Maggie established Pivot’s San Francisco office in 2013 and helmed the team’s work with clients such as Nextdoor, Google, and Red Bull. Now back in Chicago, Maggie continues to bring her passion and enthusiasm to the creation of purposeful design. Her work has been featured in HOW magazine’s Awards Annual, the Society of Typographic Arts Archive, and Print magazine’s Regional Design Annual.


Deanna Stallsmith

Senior Vice President, Creative

Deanna leads Pivot’s brand strategy and writing practices, helping clients successfully frame and navigate the many dimensions of brand building. As a strategist, creative director, and writer, Deanna brings a unique ability to help organizations articulate their purpose, define their market position, and communicate it in provocative new ways. She designs processes that engage the many perspectives needed in brand development, from C-suite and customers to frontline staff. Deanna leads work across Pivot’s portfolio, and brings two decades of expertise in health and wellness.


Becky Gilligan

Senior Vice President, Client Service

Becky leads Pivot’s account service practice for healthcare. She has focused her entire career on the unique challenges of growing healthcare brands and brings more than 15 years of experience in pharma, life sciences, biotech, and device. Becky plays an instrumental role in developing strategy and tactical plans for everything from franchise branding and product introductions to omnichannel campaigns. Postlaunch, Becky oversees Pivot performance measurement efforts to ensure our work delivers the intended results.


Brett Tabolt

Senior Vice President, Creative Innovation

Brett leads creative innovation at Pivot. He plays a central role in defining creative strategy for major client initiatives and works side by side with Pivot design teams to translate it into compelling visual systems. Brett has led programs across every industry Pivot serves, from healthcare and commercial real estate to hospitality and the arts, leveraging design as a catalyst for both problem-solving and aesthetic expression. His work has been recognized by every major publication across the design industry.


Ali Griffith

Senior Account Director

Ali is a senior account director focused on healthcare. She is a passionate women’s health advocate who has devoted her career to helping healthcare brands connect with physicians, caregivers, and patients in ways that inspire engagement and drive growth. Ali leads some of Pivot’s largest pharma accounts. Partnering with senior creative leads, she guides the development of omnichannel campaigns that resonate with audiences and differentiate from competitors.


Kristen Lacy

Senior Creative Director, Copy

As a senior creative director, Kristen is a hybrid brand strategist, creative director, and writer. From Fortune 500s to startups, she leads Pivot clients through the process of identifying the unique value at the heart of their brand and the creation of bold new ways to express it. Kristen began her career nearly 20 years ago as a copywriter in healthcare and has spent more than half of that time in the space, having developed an affinity for creating meaningful brands that make a difference.


Tony Zinni

Vice President, Creative Director, Digital Experience

Tony leads the digital and UX design practice at Pivot. Tony plays a central role in framing brand and digital strategy from the earliest stages of client engagements, enabling Pivot teams to effectively embed digital into the foundation of every client program. With a career focused on crafting outstanding brand experiences across traditional and digital platforms, Tony brings expertise in everything from identity and visual systems to integrated campaigns.


Beth Damon

Director, People & Culture

Beth leads the many dimensions associated with cultivating and caring for Pivot’s exceptional team. From recruitment and onboarding to employee engagement and development, she is equal parts coach, advocate, and sounding board to Pivot staff at every level across practice areas. Beth helps design and shepherd initiatives large and small that empower us to build an inclusive and inspiring workplace that attracts the industry’s best.


Krista Grein

Senior Project Director

As senior project director, Krista integrates agency resources and internal processes to optimize client experience. Krista thrives on complexity and brings a genuine passion to helping our teams overdeliver for clients with greater nimbleness and efficiency. Her career spans a variety of industries, including healthcare, commercial real estate, and consumer packaged goods.


Chelsea Chandler

Creative Director, Design

Chelsea brings more than 10 years of experience as a design leader, in agency roles and as a studio owner. She’s created work across numerous industries, including restaurants and hospitality, fashion, finance, healthcare, and tech. As design director, Chelsea leads the development of design strategy and implementation for major client branding initiatives and multichannel campaigns.


Josh Ferguson

Creative Director, Copy

Josh focuses on the intersection between strategy, voice, and brand activation. As a creative director, Josh helps bridge client offerings and audience needs, and leads the translation from positioning strategy into creative implementation. His passions for discovery and media extend outside Pivot as well, inspiring his longtime Chicago radio show and podcasts devoted to jazz.


Mandy Zylstra

Vice President, Project Management & Client Finance 

Mandy leads workflow optimization and project finance at Pivot. Through the integration of people, processes, and technology, her team ensures every client engagement has the resources it needs to exceed expectations and anticipate what's next, while staying on time and budget. Mandy has established operations management systems at agencies in Chicago and Boston, delivering greater efficiency, team communication, and business intelligence.

Selected clients.

  • Abbott
  • AbbVie
  • Acadia
  • Activcore
  • AIS Healthcare
  • Amerigo Education
  • Amgen
  • AmTrust
  • Arcutis Biotherapeutics
  • Astellas
  • AveXis
  • Baxter
  • Beacon Capital Partners
  • Bedrock
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Biogen
  • BioLife Plasma Services
  • Bodyport
  • Brookfield
  • CBRE
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • Erikson Institute
  • Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
  • Evolve Biologics
  • Fresenius Kabi
  • Glenstar
  • Harris Theater
  • HBA
  • Ichnos Sciences
  • Jones Lang LaSalle
  • KBS Real Estate Advisors
  • Kiniksa
  • Lantheus
  • Lundbeck
  • Lurie Children’s
  • MannKind
  • Medtronic
  • Meridian (Centene)
  • MyoKardia
  • Northwest Community Healthcare
  • Northwestern University
  • Novo Nordisk
  • Orphazyme
  • Pioneering Collective
  • Portal Innovations
  • Rare Disease Company Coalition
  • Red Bull
  • Remedy Medical Properties
  • Revision Skincare
  • Rose Biosciences
  • Sage Therapeutics
  • San Mateo County Libraries
  • Sanofi Genzyme
  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon
  • Smith + Nephew
  • Sobi
  • Sterling Bay
  • Takeda
  • Taysha Gene Therapies
  • Terumo BCT
  • Tishman Speyer
  • Ultragenyx
  • University of Chicago
  • Versiti
  • Vifor Pharma
  • Wexford