Founder and Principal
He / Him / His
Founder Brandon Hayes earned a reputation for creative, hands-on, grounded communications and strategy solutions during his 20 years in the non-profit sector. For seven years, he was Director of Communications at Openlands, Chicago’s regional land trust and leading conservation organization, where he directed all aspects of external communications, including messaging, printed pieces, website, traditional and digital media, creative design, and photo and video content. He led the development and launch of the Openlands Get Outside Map in 2019. He was staff lead on the creation of Openlands’ five-year strategic plan in 2017, and he wrote the final version of the organization’s 2012 strategic plan. He oversaw the redesign and relaunch of Openlands.org in 2012 and 2016. He also served on Openlands’ Program Impact and Climate Change task forces.
Brandon was Manager of Communications and Development at Marwen, which provides high-quality visual arts training to Chicago youth whose families cannot afford art classes elsewhere. He was a publicist at Goodman Theatre, Chicago’s leading regional theater. He has also directed operas and plays in Chicago and metropolitan Detroit.
Brandon regularly presents talks and workshops at national and regional venues like Land Trust Alliance Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference, Prairie State Conservation Coalition, and River Rally. He was co-chair of the Communications Working Group of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative. He served on the Vital Lands Illinois leadership team. He was an invited participant and impromptu facilitator of the inaugural “Inspiring Conservation Leadership” gathering at Oak Spring Garden Foundation.
Brandon is an essayist and photographer who has written extensively about the National Parks on AsTheyAre.org, where he chronicles his and his husband’s journey to visit all the US National Parks. His photographs of the National Parks are available on OutInTheParks.com, with a portion of proceeds benefiting each park’s associated friends group.
Brandon is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Committee of the Institute for Conservation Leadership and is Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Chicago Artists for Action, comprised of Common Pulse and Justice Choir of Chicago.
Brandon has a BA in Humanities with concentrations in Art History, English, and History from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has a certificate in Training, Facilitation, and Consulting from the Center for New Leadership.
(Photo: Chris Murphy)
Director of Creative Services
He / Him / His
Patrick Williams is an innovative and versatile marketing communications professional who specializes in helping organizations elevate their storytelling through creative digital tools and robust media presence. Patrick joined Bold Bison in 2021 as Director of Creative Services, and brings to our team deep expertise in content production and digital strategy, an insightful perspective on media relations, and an adept skill for strategic message and brand development.
Prior to joining Bold Bison, Patrick served as Marketing Manager at Chicago’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where he designed and implemented a robust video content strategy which sustained the museum through a 15-month pandemic closure and consistently generated the most digital engagement among all Chicago’s museums. Previous to his tenure with the Nature Museum, Patrick served as Manager of Communications at Openlands, where he reshaped the organization’s brand narrative around climate change — positioning the organization as a sector leader in private land conservation — and implemented a dynamic digital advocacy initiative. His experience in communications, advocacy, and organizing further includes time with Chicago Wilderness and the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club.
In his role as Director of Creative Services, Patrick provides Bold Bison clients with counsel on marketing and digital strategies, assessment of communications efficacy, and insight on audience building campaigns. Additionally, he oversees many of our direct client services including content development, website and social media management, media and press relations, and photography, videography and media editing.
Patrick regularly facilitates skills-building workshops at national and regional conferences including at the American Alliance of Museums: Annual Meeting and Museum Expo, the Land Trust Alliance Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference, the Vital Lands Illinois Summit, and the Prairie State Conservation Coalition Annual Meeting.
Patrick is the Treasurer of Bluestem Communications, a not-for-profit environmental consultancy servicing the Midwest. He holds a BA, International Honours in History having graduated from a joint degree program between the College of William & Mary and the University of St Andrews, and is also proficient in German.
Patrick is a passionate nature photographer and an avid hiker, and enjoys climbing Colorado 14ers and exploring trails throughout the National Parks, National Forests, and especially the parks and forest preserves of the Chicago region.
Bold Bison leverages the talents of Brandon and Patrick with a network of affiliated consultants and strategic advisors, who bring expertise in areas including strategic planning and facilitation, research and program evaluation, graphic design and branding, climate change resiliency and mitigation, conservation finance and market development, local food movements, and farmland preservation. Our nimble team is responsive to your needs, so we can ensure you receive the best support, recommendations, and solutions in every project.
Bold Bison is a professional affiliate of the Land Trust Alliance and is a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® through the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.