Spokane Journal of Business

Desautel Hege public relations firm names new CEO

Hege appointed CEO; Desautels stay in roles as counsel, shareholders

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Of the Journal of Business

Desautel Hege Communications, a Spokane-based public relations and marketing company, has named Michelle Hege as president and CEO, replacing Cher Desautel effective this month.

Jim and Cher Desautel, a husband and wife who founded the company in their Spokane home in 1996, plan to remain active with the company as shareholders and counselors. The couple hired Hege as their first employee in 1998, and Hege became a partner in the business in 2000.

Cher Desautel had been CEO since 2003, the same year that Jim Desautel stepped down as CEO and from being involved in day-to-day operations.

The company employs 16 people and operates at 315 W. Riverside in downtown Spokane. Its owner group also includes partners Sara Johnston, Andrei Mylroie, and Christine Varela.

Hege says the company is positioned to expand its work in the Northwest and beyond the region as more clients seek a full-spectrum approach that includes melding advertising campaigns, marketing, social media, and other communication tools.

"We have a multi-audience approach, and we've always taken a real problem-solving approach to look at the various communications tactics," she says.

Hege adds, "I think the lines are blurring. It used to be companies were just looking for an advertising campaign. What we're seeing is successful companies are blending all those together."

Hege also says the company will continue to be managed with a team decision-making approach.

"We have a strong partner team, and we've all worked together for many years, so we're a real cohesive group," she says.

The company provides strategic and research-based communications consulting, public relations, and marketing services. Some of its clients are Avista Corp., Eastern Washington University, Kalispel Tribe of Indians, and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.

Its other clients include companies and organizations in the energy, health care, higher education, manufacturing, finance, and nonprofit sectors, as well as local, state, and tribal governments.

Hege received a master of science degree in communication from EWU, and a bachelor of arts from Whitman College. She is accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America.

Treva Lind
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