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A Winning Panel

What started over a cup of coffee quickly evolved into Simantel owners Susie Ketterer, Maggie Whalen-Misselhorn and Misty Dykema presenting to more than 200 Caterpillar employees from Central Illinois about their unique leadership styles. Caterpillar’s Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) Central Illinois hosted Simantel for a panel discussion on Wednesday, May 31.

The theme of this panel discussion: MadWomen. All too fitting for an organization that represents 3,000+ members from 47 chapters around the world. WIN is a Caterpillar Employee Resource Group focused on building the strength of women to drive personal and professional growth. Additionally, WIN supports acting as a catalyst for global and local change.

As a certified Women’s Business Enterprise and a Caterpillar partner for more than 30 years, Simantel was honored to join the group of ambitious, talented women and men to share our story.

Here are four M’s to keep in mind for any professional, regardless of gender, industry or department.

  • MANTRAS – Know what you stand for and really live it. Some of Simantel’s mantras include living for the challenge, being better together and doing everything with heart.
  • MOMENTS – Learn from each one and decide to be fearless. In the little moments when you decided to be in, be all in.
  • MAGIC – It’s all about the big ideas. We believe that inspired ideas can change everything; minds, directions, perceptions, relationships, communities and lives! Surround yourself with good people and work to recognize the inspired ideas that happen around you every day.
  • MUSCLE – Don’t shy away from the heavy lifting. Hard work earns respect; and to work hard, you have to love the work you do. Going right back to one of our best mantras, doing everything with heart.


“We are a Women’s Enterprise Business, but to tell you the truth we’ve never had to use that credential once,” said Principal Susie Ketterer. “Being fearless, taking risks, being all in and ultimately, hard work will prevail for any professional. It has for the three of us.”

The closing of the presentation was titled Man-haters – and no we are not man-haters. We love our men too. We even included a slide with a shout out to our other two owners Tim Leesman and Kevin McConaghy. There couldn’t be a more perfect match for our three MadWomen.

The real lesson in this section though is to not only recognize, but value different ideas and perspectives no matter the gender, department or level in the company. Inspired ideas can come from anywhere and they can change everything.


Orange Line

About the Panel:

 Susie KettererSusie Ketterer is an industry leader with more than 30 years of marketing and communications experience. She co-purchased the company in 2003, making her the first female owner in the agency’s history.

Her strategic, innovative solutions have led to both client success and company growth—including the advancement of the company from 15 to almost 100 employees today. Susie also led the charge for Simantel to be named a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, demonstrating the agency’s commitment to diversity. Her leadership in community initiatives continues to impact our region. Read more about Susie

Maggie Whalen

Maggie Whalen-Misselhorn fearlessly leads a creative team of designers, art directors, writers, videographers and more to produce some of the sharpest, most unique work in the industry. She joined Simantel in 2000 and became the Executive Creative Director in 2004.

Quick with the perfect turn of phrase and full of inspiring ideas, she’s the go-to expert teams and clients seek out for new, fresh concepts. Her creative expertise is only the beginning; her strategic mind is what provides the most value for campaigns to succeed and the agency to grow. In 2009, Maggie joined the ownership team at Simantel. Read more about Maggie

 Misty DykemaMisty Dykema leads the efforts in all things strategy, including research, media planning & buying, content & digital strategy, analytics and optimization. There is no challenge too complex for her to wrap her mind around and formulate a brilliant strategy. She didn’t earn the title of “white boarding queen” for nothing.

In 2015, Misty joined the executive team and became an owner at Simantel. Her transition into a critical leadership role has been instrumental in driving Simantel forward from a creative boutique to a full-service agency. Her dedication to her company and her family is inspiring to both clients and team members. Read more about Misty.

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