Kathleen Henson

Founder and CEO, Agency H5

For more than 25 years, Kathleen Kenehan Henson has enjoyed a diverse career in public relations and marketing, working with some of the world’s most recognizable companies and brands. With unequaled energy, charisma, and drive, Kathleen expertly and instinctively connects people, events, and ideas to create transformational moments and buzz.

A 1992 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Purdue University and a former senior leader at the world’s leading PR firm, Kathleen left “big agency” life behind to form Henson Consulting in January 2001 in her suburban basement. With fervor and determination, Kathleen set out to reinvent the modern agency by offering world-class strategy and counsel without sacrificing her commitment to kindness. In January 2018, with more than 40 staffers and a hip office overlooking the iconic Chicago river, a new chapter began with the rebrand of her company to Agency H5, offering a wider range of integrated communications services yet still focusing on the firm’s five core values of kindness, creativity, passion, hustle, and integrity.

Over nearly 20 years, her firm has been recognized among the best in the country, receiving the honor of National Small Agency of the Year and Best Place to Work by PR News multiple times. In 2017, her firm ranked #11 among Top Company Cultures in America by and was recognized as a Best Place to Work by Crain’s Chicago Business (2018). Kathleen has also been named PR Professional of the Year by PRSA Chicago and included among Top Women in PR nationwide by PR News. Kathleen was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Fifth Third Bank (2016) and a Distinguished Alumni by Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts (2017). She has been regularly featured as a branding and PR expert in PR News, PR Week and numerous Chicago-area news outlets, and was also invited on NBC’s Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda to share why she chose to pursue happiness over a paycheck. Today, she is a regular contributor to’s BETTER on topics surrounding kindness, motherhood, and entrepreneurship, offering her voice and knowledge to motivate and inspire readers globally. Kathleen was also recently featured in several books focused on her favorite topic of compassion including Kindness in Leadership by Gay Haskins (2018) and Chicago Lights by Abigail Zoe Martin (2019).

Passionate about spreading kindness in her personal life as well, Kathleen has given her time to a number of causes over the years, namely Breakthrough Urban Ministries, Bright Pink, the Joffrey Ballet’s Women’s Board, and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s Women’s Leadership Council. In 2018, she founded the International Council of Purdue Women to connect, engage, motivate, and inspire 200,000 alumnae worldwide.

Her biggest and proudest achievement to date is being a mother of five children (ages 10-19) and an overweight bulldog named Hope. She currently resides in Wheaton, Illinois.