Meet the Oak Street Social Team!
Johanna Grange - CO-Founder
Johanna Grange discovered her passion for digital media and branding after graduating from the University of Iowa with a Broadcast Journalism degree in 2000. 18 years of marketing experience in both the ad world and the digital space empowered her to nurture relationships in the spa + wellness sector as well as the restaurant and lifestyle brand markets. She approaches each partnership with a consultative approach empowering her clients to be a part of the process. Johanna believes that relationships are fundamentally built on honest feedback and real chemistry. It's the close-knit network of clients turned friends that encouraged her to turn her freelance projects into a full blown social media boutique firm alongside her partner, Carolyn Brundage.
Johanna resides in the NorthShore with her husband and two daughters. When she's not working, she enjoys planning date nights at new restaurant concepts, indulging in pinot noir and having dance parties with her daughters, ages 7 + 6. It's always a girl party at the Grange household!
For a peek into the life of this hustling entrepreneur, media maven, working mama and blogger, follow Johanna's personal Instagram account @jogrange.
carolyn Jones - CO-founder
After founding several successful dot coms and penning lifestyle columns for top publications for over 15 years, Carolyn Brundage developed a keen eye for content marketing. Her flair for developing effective, appealing content paired with a love of social media, led her to develop, alongside her partner Johanna Grange, Oak St. Social.
Oak Street Social combines a deep and well-versed understanding of what appeals to consumers with an appreciation for how social media drives brand loyalty and consumer spending. With a focus on developing unique, creative and effective marketing strategies for both boutique brands and large corporations, Carolyn enjoys pairing her creative flair and marketing expertise with the instant gratification and long term gains that social media marketing provides.
Carolyn lives in Chicagoland with her four sons. An avid runner, shopper, entrepreneur and lover of life, Carolyn thrives on challenges. new experiences and living for the moment.
For a peek into the life of this creative entrepreneur, author and working mama follow Carolyn's personal Instagram account @carolynjarrettjones.
cali gustafson - sales executive
Cali Gustafson grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, but always planned on getting to the city! She made her way to Chicago when recruited to play tennis at DePaul University where she studied Education and Psychology. Pressing the pause button on teaching, Cali decided to dive into the business world and has not looked back. With a background in sales, Cali finds passion in making new connections, strengthening relationships, and creating successful partnerships.
In her free time, you can find her exploring the streets of Chicago, looking up the latest events, planning the next travel adventure, cheering on her Cubs, or with her family (especially her three nieces and counting)
HALLE Sobczak - project Manager
Halle is a Michigan native who will forever be smitten with the mitten. With a background in public relations, she discovered early on in her career that social media, branding and all things digital were where her passion truly lies. Her lofty dreams have taken her across the U.S. from the city streets of Chicago to the breathtakingly beautiful mountains of Colorado before her heart ultimately led her back home to Michigan.
While she spends her days behind a screen creating compelling content for clients, she’s a firm believer that life’s greatest connections are made where the wifi is weak. When she isn’t crafting a witty Instagram caption, you can find her surrounded by family and friends, crossing another National Park off of her bucket list or training for her next half marathon.
Halle is a Hootsuite Certified Social Media Marketing Expert.
Follow Halle at @hallesobczak on Instagram.
Emily Mendoza - photography project Manager
Born and raised in the city of Chicago, Emily prides herself with Midwestern manners and a hustling work ethic. She graduated summa cum laude in her class at Columbia College with a degree in Marketing & Communications. From agency life to freelancing, Emily has experience working with many businesses big and small. She enjoys connecting with clients to meet their needs and strives to give a first-hand experience.
In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring new food & drink spots around Chicago, channeling in her inner Yogi, and spending hours in record stores and thrift shops.
Haley arger- project manager
Haley is a blogger-obsessed recent graduate of Indiana University with a passion for fashion and food. From the Northwest suburbs of Chicago born and raised, in the city is where she spends most of her days. In her spare time, she likes to go mural-hunting as well as trying to go to as many networking events as possible.
Follow Haley at @thehargz on Instagram.
Mairenn Finnegan - project manager
Mairenn is a Chicago native with a Canadian heart. She graduated from DePaul University with a BA in Communication and Media with emphasis and experience in social media management and branding. Forever scrolling through her favorite aesthetically pleasing Instagram feeds she turned to Oak Street Social to pursue a career that combined her love of beautiful photography and creative captions. Fun fact Mairenn is a duel citizen of Canada. Her love of Hickory Sticks, Coffee Crisp, and pure Canadian maple syrup often lead her back North to visit family.
In her free time you'll find Mairenn exploring the various fitness studios around Chicago. She was a Championship Level Irish Dancer for 13 years. Now retired from the sport she aims to keep up her athletic ability with various group classes. From boxing to spin to interval classes she's always down for a high intensity workout.
Julianne Ishler - Project Manager
Julianne is a Chicago native who's obsessed with music, travel, and the flourishing culture of the Windy City. After graduating with honors from Ithaca College, she got her professional start in LA breaking entertainment stories and interviewing celebrities. She found her way back to her home city where she's developed a career in social media and branding. Fascinated by the digital world, her storytelling roots allow her to clearly identify the "what" and "why" of brands in order to craft their story for social. She believes the best content is relatable and loves connecting with people both online and offline.
In her free time, you'll find Julianne interviewing local artists, hosting events, and trekking around the city in search of the best tacos.
Follow Julianne at @julianneish on Instagram.
Melissa Quaiyoom - COMMUNITY Manager
Melissa is a Chicago (Suburban) native, dog enthusiast, movie buff, and social butterfly. While she did not major in puns, she did recently graduate from The University of Iowa with B.A.’s in Journalism & Mass Communications, and Communication Studies. Jumping right into the real world, she will incorporate her bubbly personality, blooming drive, and brute honesty into this exciting, ever-changing industry.
When Melissa isn’t working, you can find her photographing just about anything and everything, trying new restaurants, and finding new ways to spur her creativity.
Kaely Burgardt - photography assistant
Kaely is currently a fashion photography student at Columbia College Chicago with a minor in management and entrepreneurship. She is originally from Watertown, Wisconsin.
In addition to her passion for photography, Kaely is an avid reader who, on most days, can most likely be found drinking coffee and staring at other people's dogs.
Follow @kburgardt7 on Instagram.
RYANN RUSS - WEB DESIGNER
Ryann Russ grew up in Minnesota and studied at The Ohio State University, where she graduated with a M.A. in History of Art and Art Education. After college she began working with small businesses that had even smaller budgets. During this time she became a firm believer that you can accomplish big things if you have a plan and a little patience. As her design business grew so did her desire to branch out and help small businesses create more than just a website. Ryann now specializes in creating an online presence complete with custom graphics and other marketing materials.
Ryann currently resides in Charlotte, NC and share her office with two French Bulldogs; Iggy Stardust & Stella Luna.
Hallie Duesenberg - creative director
Hallie studied Electronic Media & Photography at Bradley University and at Lorenzo De' Medici in Florence, Italy. After a short stint working in LA she found her way back to Chicago where she belongs! She is grateful to have a career that she is so passionate about, and believes that photography does not only serve to create beautiful, inspiring imagery, but can also enhance our outlook on the world. Hallie lives in Logan Square, working as a freelance photographer focusing on fashion, lifestyle, portraiture, and events.
In her spare time she loves to bike, collaborate up with other creatives, go to concerts, travel, and work on creatively fulfilling personal projects.
HELEN BERKUN - CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Helen Berkun is a fashion photographer, stylists, creative director, influencer, shoe collector and mama. With 20 years in the fashion industry and represented by world-renowned Ford Artists, she has run the gamut from editorial and advertising photography to celebrity styling and commercial print. This multi-talented girl lives, eats, sleeps and breathes fashion.
Born in the former USSR, Helen’s aesthetic is eclectic, trend-driven and artistic—a quality that runs through her family of painters, photographers and designers. After receiving a Fine Arts degree with a photography emphasis from Columbia College Chicago, Helen quickly established herself as an editorial fashion photographer, where she developed a keen eye for composition, lighting and art direction. Her photography is recognized for her fun, beautiful and poppy images.
MELISSA FERRARA - CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Melissa Ferrara grew up in Northwest Indiana where she attended Purdue University Calumet to study advertising. After taking a few photography classes, she realized her talent and wanted to make photography more than just a hobby. Upon graduating with her B.A. in Advertising, Melissa started Iron & Honey Photography and now lives in downtown Chicago pursuing her dream as a full-time lifestyle photographer specializing in portraits and events. When she’s not behind the camera, you can find Melissa rocking out at karaoke or rooting on her beloved Chicago White Sox.
RACHEL BIRES - CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Rachel Bires grew up in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, the child of two members of the United States Navy. Although she was an avid photographer since she was in middle school, she decided to go a different route in her academic life. After receiving two Bachelor degrees and a Juris Doctor from the Pennsylvania State University, she practiced law for one year before deciding to quit to pursue her true passion of photography. As a professional photographer she specializes in everything from food, to portraits, to interiors and everything in between.
JULIE KENNEDY - CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Jules has had a love for art and creativity ever since she was a child. After completing her degree in Photojournalism from Indiana University, she moved to Chicago to pursue her dreams of photography. Her curiosity and love of human connection has led her to be a full-time photographer and part-time yoga instructor dedicated to deepening self-awareness and fostering compassion in this world. Jules feels most inspired when creating images that authentically speak to life's multi-layered experiences and leave an imprint on the soul.
MYSI GRUBBE - CREATIVE DIRECTOR
After spending too many years getting her BA in Creative Writing and failing miserably at having “real” jobs, Mysi picked up a camera and promptly forgot how to do anything but take pictures.
She has been photographing weddings and people since 2010 and her photographic obsessions vary wildly from wedding to lifestyle to activism and her brain is always spinning.
When she is not running around with her cameras, she can be found doing such things as:
• standing in the rain with her mouth open.
• eating all the vegan food possible.
• fighting mental health stigma with her whole heart.
• sleeping, a little.
SAMANTHA BOWDEN - CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Sami is a suburban Chicago native who has been documenting life's moments for almost 10 years. She graduated from SIU Carbondale with a photojournalism and sociology degree. Immediately after graduation she jumped in to the wedding photography world and picked up newborn and lifestyle photography soon after. When a camera isn't in her hand she having a quiet night at home with friends or out traveling to a new part of Chicago or a whole new country.