Who We Are
Kelly Hughes President
Kelly has headed DeChant-Hughes & Associates, Inc., since 1998. She's been with the firm for more than twenty years; starting as part-time clerical help right out of college. Thanks to her previous experience in the mail room at the First National Bank of Chicago, she was adept at bulk mailings—a valuable skill for any budding book publicist. She worked her way through several positions in the company, from office manager to production supervisor to publicist to vice president, and now, president.
Kelly has handled successful publicity campaigns for hundreds of books and is personally involved in every project the agency handles.
Publishers and authors often call upon Kelly for consulting and publicity training. She has conducted training workshops for publishers including Baker Publishing, Westminster John Knox Press, Loyola Press and Paraclete Press, and has led sessions or participated in panels at the PMA education program at BookExpo, the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing, ECPA's Publishing University, and a Publishers Weekly panel on marketing and publicity for scholarly books at the AAR/SBL annual meeting. She has been quoted in articles on trends in religion publishing in Publishers Weekly, the Indianapolis Star, and Pages Magazine. She was profiled in The Catholic New World for a feature on religion publishing in Chicago. Kelly assisted with the updating of the chapter on publicity in the third edition of Do-It-Yourself Advertising & Promotion by Fred E. Hahn (John Wiley & Sons), which features two of DHA's press kits.
As someone who has enjoyed a lifetime love affair with books, Kelly finds it extraordinarily rewarding to help launch worthy books and authors into the world. A native of Chicago's South Side where she still lives, Kelly is a graduate of the Honors Program of Loyola University, Chicago. She serves on the board of directors for the Aquinas Literacy Center, which offers free instruction in English as a Second Language to adult learners. Her secret aspiration is to be on "Jeopardy."
Carol DeChant Founder
Carol has returned to writing since retiring from DHA in 1998. She was a photo-journalist and magazine editor before founding the public relations firm in 1974 (then as Carol DeChant & Associates).
More recently she has published Momma's Enchanted Supper: Stories for the Long Evenings of Advent (Loyola Press), a memoir with meditations on the season. Another book, Christmas Presence: Twelve Gifts That Were More Than They Seemed, incorporates her chapter, "Big Harriett Herself, in Open-Toed Platform Heels, Walking Bosco and Bismark" (ACTA).
Even while active in DHA, Carol did freelance writing. Her articles were published in Chicago's Sun-Times and Tribune, Cosmopolitan, the Miami Herald Tropic Magazine and Books & Culture. Her screenplay, "Pure Beholding," won a first prize in a Texas screenwriting competition.
She and her husband Stan live in Chicago, and spend winters in Florida, where their seven grandchildren appear during northern snowstorms and spring break, with and without parents.