Resume Summary

As a writer and storyteller, I know that the hardest stories to tell are our own. Here's my chronological resume, but below is more context about my winding career path.  

I earned my B.A. in English/Communication from Indiana University and my career began with an editorial assistant position at the University of Chicago Press. I soon went on to help edit publications like Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture and Venus Zine.

ABOVE: Introducing a literary event I curated, circa 2008.

As a freelancer, my first big cover story was for the Chicago Reader, about an exotic feline rescue center in southern Indiana farmland. Later, as a features editor at Time Out Chicago, I wrote and edited culture, arts, and lifestyle stories that ranged from pierogi festivals to spas and travel. I've also worked with educational, business and technical publications (American Library Association, Columbia College, and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation) on materials such as textbooks, user-guides, and websites. At content agency Imagination, I served as Senior Editor for a B2B pub, writing features, (like this healthcare story), planning content for social media, assigning stories to writers, and supervising a junior editor.

ABOVE: At my creative writing residency at Ragdale, circa 2009. 

In 2007, I co-founded the now-defunct literary site with fellow writer Eugenia Williamson; it won accolades from Lonely Planet and Chicago Magazine. In 2010, I transitioned to writing more copy/communications (for orgs like Vosges Haut Chocolat). I also won a Ragdale Artist Residency for my fiction and began an M.F.A. in creative writing at Northwestern University. During the next three years as a Senior Content Consultant at TransUnion, I gained exposure into B2B communications and the brand-positioning of financial services/data products, producing web copy, ads, emails, case studies, and sales sheets for marketing campaigns. In evenings, I worked on my own writing, wrote literary blog posts for Triquarterly, and attended classes for my master's degree.

After completing my MFA studies in 2014, I struck out on my own as an independent writing and marketing-communications consultant. Since then, I've coached writers privately, and as a book editor for Curbside Splendor. I've continued to write business, travel, and lifestyle stories (for places like Orbitz and The Dodo) and have begun taking on higher-level and process-driven marketing projects for orgs like Crate & Barrel and PayPal. Recently, I've worked in a strategic capacity for innovation consultants gravitytank, live-ideating with the creative team during consumer labs for Fortune 100 clients (and later crafting marketing language and value propositions). Other recent projects include writing advertorials for Lonely Planet, business stories for Booth Magazine, and an ebook for a startup; conducting a brand-audit for a food company; and project-managing new web copy for a beverage company. 

ABOVE: On a press trip at desert fortress Masada, in Israel. 

Given my years in the publishing/freelancing biz, I'm often called on as a speaker, panelist and consultant for organizations such as the Chicago Artists Coalition, WBEZ, Printers Row, Northwestern University, Chicago Tonight, Bad at Sports, and WGN Radio. I'm currently working on my first novel and a book of short stories. 

Interested in working together? Go here for my copy book, here for journalism clips, or email me at gretchenkalwinski[at] I'm on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram

ABOVE: With Wailin Wong and J.C. Gabel at a Printers Row panel, circa 2012.