Heather Larson-Blakestad

Heather Larson-Blakestad

Communications Manager at MCIT

Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
Writing and Editing

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Heather Larson-Blakestad's Overview

  • Communications Manager at Minn. Counties Intergovernmental Trust
  • Freelance writer and editor at Freelance Writer and Editor
  • Executive editor at Stocks, Futures and Options magazine (SFO)
  • Senior editor/account executive; editor/AE at Priority Publications (currently Priority Integrated Marketing)

64 connections

Heather Larson-Blakestad's Summary

Communications professional with broad experience directing an organization's communications efforts, as well as managing and writing for publications to meet the organization's and client's objectives in print and electronic media, and particular experience with custom publications in the financial and health care industries. Has passed the Risk Management for Public Entities exam from The Institutes.

Specialties: Personal finance, investing, insurance, active trading, health care, women's studies, education

Heather Larson-Blakestad's Experience

Communications Manager

Minn. Counties Intergovernmental Trust

July 2011Present (3 years 3 months) St. Paul, Minn.

Direct all internal and external communications, including training, education and media relations.
• Direct, write and edit risk management and loss control campaigns and materials for members' use in collaboration with internal stakeholders. This includes posters, brochures, table tents, training scripts, Power Point training sessions, handbooks, manuals, guides, checklists, flyers and articles. Topics range from slip, trip and fall prevention to best practices for public works departments and management of insurance property schedules.
• Direct, write and edit promotional materials for the Employee Assistance Program, including posters, brochures and flyers.
• Direct, write and edit promotional materials for all MCIT services and events, including self-mailed brochures, e-mails, postcards, Web site announcements and information.
• Direct, write and edit e-mail alerts to members in collaboration with internal stakeholders.
• Manage, write and edit monthly newsletter for members.
• Manage website content.
• Coordinate development and execution of webinars.
• Manage member training events, including sessions specifically developed for individual members and membership-wide seminars.
• Direct, manage and edit MCIT's annual report.
• Manage and build MCIT Video Library.

Freelance writer and editor

Freelance Writer and Editor

February 2011July 2011 (6 months)

Writing and editing sales and marketing content, as well as articles for financial- and health care-related publications. Recent clients include Arthur J. Gallagher Private Client Risk Management and Expiring Monthly magazine.

Executive editor

Stocks, Futures and Options magazine (SFO)

February 2007February 2011 (4 years 1 month)

• Lead and direct the monthly magazine’s, weekly e-newsletter’s and Web site’s content, and editorial staff; as well as work closely with the design and marketing teams, to meet the publisher’s goals and to deliver on time.
• Grow subscriber base: March 2010 (e-magazine conversion) through February 2011, subscribers increased 83%.
• Develop new products to meet subscribers’ needs, including one weekly e-newsletter, one daily Web site column, three weekly Web site columns, two daily news sections, four to five webinars per month and a weekly podcast.
• Create new and update current magazine departments to meet publisher’s goals and readers’ needs.
• Lead and execute the conversion from a print to an all-electronic magazine: develop a subscriber notification campaign (e-mails, direct mail, Web site section dedicated to the conversion, press release) and integrate new media into the magazine (hyperlinks, audio, video, forms, surveys, e-mail links, animation).
• Create, implement and maintain a social networking plan via Facebook and Twitter.
• Plan and oversee Web site redesign and ongoing updates.
• Write feature articles, three monthly magazine departments and press releases.
• Plan fresh editorial content across SFO’s products.
• Edit contributed content for maximum readability, Associated Press (AP) style and accuracy, and work with authors to adjust content to meet SFO’s high quality standards.
• Train editorial staff.
• Proof layouts.

Senior editor/account executive; editor/AE

Priority Publications (currently Priority Integrated Marketing)

July 2000January 2007 (6 years 7 months)

• Manage 28 custom publications: work with clients, writers, designers and printers to produce 113 newsletters/magazine issues per year, as well as ancillary print materials (brochures, inserts, annual reports, booklets, teller envelopes) and e-mail and Web newsletters to deliver on time and within budget.
• Manage three syndicated quarterly newsletters, targeted at niche audiences.
• Research and write at least 85 articles per year.
• Generate 25 or more unique article topics every quarter for six markets within the financial and health care fields.
• Edit content and proof layouts.
• Coordinate printing and mail handling services with outside vendors.
• Invoice clients and reconcile vendor bills.
• Special projects as needed, including coordinate company Web site redesign and write new content for it, develop and conduct employee training, and plan editorial department mini retreat.

Journalism and English teacher

Regina High School

Educational Institution; 11-50 employees; Higher Education industry

January 1997July 2000 (3 years 7 months)

• Advise the monthly student newspaper and yearbook: Guide students through article development and execution, teach layout and design, oversee advertising sales, set publication budget and schedule production steps.
• Develop education units and lesson plans for six classes a day, including literature, composition and journalism.
• Evaluate student work and counsel students on ways to improve.
• Sponsor the class of 2001: coordinate fund-raising efforts, and plan and host prom with students.

Heather Larson-Blakestad's Honors and Awards

  • First Place Outstanding Achievement for Intergovernmental Risk Pool Product and Program

    PRIMA (Public Risk Management Association)
    • June 2014

    MCIT Step Wisely: Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention Campaign earned this award based on its ability to effectively help public entities reduce the number and severity of slip, trip and fall accidents and injuries. PRIMA determined that this campaign showed excellence, relevance and is a results-oriented program. The campaign includes a variety of materials for MCIT member organizations to use with their employees to enhance safety in the workplace, including posters, table tents, flyers, a handbook, training scripts and presentation, checklists and informational articles.

Heather Larson-Blakestad's Skills & Expertise

  1. Editing
  2. Publications
  3. Journalism
  4. Magazines
  5. Direct Mail
  6. Media Relations
  7. Feature Articles
  8. Feature Writing
  9. Marketing Communications
  10. Publications Management
  11. Magazine Writing
  12. Multimedia Journalism
  13. Personal Finance
  14. Investments
  15. Local Government
  16. Risk Management

Heather Larson-Blakestad's Education

University of Iowa

bachelor of arts, journalism; journalism and English education


Graduated with an emphasis area of study in women's studies and American studies.

Heather Larson-Blakestad's Additional Information


writing, professional networking, new media, travel, baking, sewing, reading novels, family time, home improvement projects

Honors and Awards:

2006 Aster Awards Gold Award for Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation newsletter, a publication I managed and edited. Aster Awards recognize excellence in medical marketing.
2003 Monarch Award for Innovation from Priority Publications
Priority Publications award for outstanding writing fourth quarter 2005 and second quarter 2003

Contact Heather for:

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  • expertise requests
  • reference requests
  • getting back in touch

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