Dawn Hanson is an accomplished business executive who has dedicated her entire career to helping organizations build their brands, reputations and relationships. She is recognized as a trusted counselor, collaborative colleague and inspiring leader dedicated to excellence in marketing and communications.
Dawn founded The Fairmount Group in 2006 following a successful 20-year career in the corporate sector. This award winning marketing and communications firm provides strategic counsel, skills-based training and tactical services to a diverse roster of clients – from small local businesses to national nonprofits to global corporations, across an array of industry sectors.
An early and enthusiastic adopter of social media, Dawn joined forces with business partner Kathleen Colan in 2011 to establish Your Story Social, a firm specializing in online marketing and social media. That business formally merged with The Fairmount Group in 2013 when Kathleen became an equity partner in the firm.
Dawn has extensive experience in strategic planning; branding; marketing communications; financial communications; media relations; online marketing and social media; issues and crisis management; mergers and acquisition management; community relations; employee engagement; and corporate social responsibility.
Within the business functions of marketing and communications, Dawn has a stellar record of creating and directing strategically driven, results oriented, high performance teams. In particular, she is recognized for her innovative approaches to organizational development, project management and business process improvement (BPI) for corporate and nonprofit marketing and communications departments.
Dawn also offers deep expertise in crisis communications. She has helped employers and clients deal with manufacturing accidents, workplace violence, employee layoffs, union conflicts, environmental issues, product liability issues, mergers and acquisitions, sudden changes in leadership and ownership, and many other high-stakes reputation issues. A seasoned media trainer, she has taught hundreds of business executives how to communicate effectively during times of crisis.
Before founding The Fairmount Group, Dawn worked for diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation in Cleveland as Director of External & Marketing Communications. In this role, she had global responsibility for branding and corporate identity, marketing communications, financial communications, media relations and crisis communications. She headed the External & Marketing Communications staff, served as a member of the global Marketing Council and chaired the global Marketing Communications Council.
Prior to Eaton, Dawn spent six years in Copenhagen, Denmark where she was Vice President of Corporate Communications for the Borealis A/S, a $3 billion producer of polyolefin plastics with operations in Europe, Asia and North America. She created the Communications function upon the founding of the company and led its corporate-wide staff of more than 30 employees in seven countries. Reporting to the CEO, she served as the chief communications advisor to the Executive Board and provided leadership for internal, external and marketing communications around the globe.
Previously, Dawn spent four years in Helsinki, Finland where she directed external communications for the Chemicals division of Neste Oy, an international oil and petrochemicals company. In this role, she led all aspects of the division’s public relations efforts including media relations, brand management and marketing communications.
The earlier years of her career include public relations positions with Riggs National Bank in Washington, D.C., and Highland Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Throughout her career, Dawn has been active in a number of community and professional organizations. She has been actively involved in supporting Planned Parenthood for more than a decade. She served on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland and currently chairs the Cleveland Community Leadership Council of Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio. She is past board member of the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), as well as a former co-chair of its Diversity Committee. She is a graduate of the Cleveland Bridge Builders and served on its board from 2002 to 2004.
Since moving to Cleveland, Dawn has been honored with a number of prestigious awards. In 2003, she received the local PRSA chapter’s President’s Award in recognition of her leadership in the area of diversity and inclusion. In 2007, she was honored with the chapter’s Davis Young Award for Exceptional Mentors. In 2009, Dawn was named a “Top 10 Entrepreneurial Success Story” by Cleveland Business Connects (CBC) Magazine for strong business performance despite the economic recession. That same year, The Fairmount Group won “Ten Under 10 Award” from the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) in their annual small business competition, which recognizes companies with ten or fewer employees for their best practices and commitment to innovation, growth, the community, the environment, diversity and customer service excellence. In 2010, The Fairmount Group was one of only 100 companies across the U.S. awarded a British Airways’ Business Opportunity Grant (2010) to encourage and promote international business growth.
Dawn earned a Master of Science in Communications Management from the Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Louisiana State University.