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  • Mimi O'Gara

Meet Mimi O' – Founder and Creative Director of Mimio

Michelle (Mimi) Malavet O'Gara, BS, MPR is a communication professional who is just as "out there" as the 1965 Gemini 4 space glove – but grounded in data.

Mimi is a driven creative communications and public relations professional with expertise in creating organizational strategy and integrated brand campaigns that build and strengthen audience engagement and sustainable action. Her key strengths include content strategy and creative direction, video production, growing a social media presence, fundraising campaign development and realizing BIG ideas – from concept to completion.

Background and Recognitions


Mimi has a peculiar passion for health care and education initiatives and was awarded two consecutive Silver Aster Awards (honoring excellence in healthcare advertising) for her creative direction work for SBH-Medicine Magazine (formerly SBH-Physician Magazine). In 2014, she lead the first team in the health care industry to implement the enterprise communications platform Workplace (by Facebook/Meta) in a health care setting.


Theatre Design

She attended SUNY Brockport for her undergraduate studies and was named a Frair's Foundation Scholar for scenic design. Mimi launched into a career assisting Broadway theatre artists including Christine Jones, the late Tony Walton, and Narelle Sissons. In 2002, Entertainment Design Magazine featured her as the up-and-coming designer to watch. She received noteworthy acclaim for her design collaborations with Pulitzer Prize winner John Patrick Shanley and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. In a 2003 review in The New York Times, Ben Brantley referred to O’Gara’s work as,

“... exuberant theatricality…which has been designed with an artful mix of starkness and comic flair.”

Graphic and Web Design

Blending her traditional theatre arts training with the emergence of new media, Mimi earned a second degree in Graphic and Web Design from Gibbs College in New York City. A newbie to the corporate world, she designed brand identity and corporate collateral for the Girl Scouts, All for One Alliance, Landmark Worldwide and Gentiva – the largest home healthcare company in America.


A Turning Point

In 2008, Mimi was treated successfully for breast cancer. The experience led her to write and illustrate an inspiring book entitled, Cancerland and The Other Side of Sick." Her multi-media art from this era was selected for the West Chelsea Art Gallery show entitled Visual Diaries: A Snapshot of the Young Adult Cancer Experience. In 2009, O’Gara co-chaired the Dream On Live Band Karaoke Event with CancerCare. Together they raised program funding for young adults living with cancer. The exposure from the event led to O’Gara presenting as a keynote speaker at the Living with Cancer Conference.


Public Relations

In 2017, Mimi was awarded an academic medal of achievement from Iona College when she completed her Master's degree in Public Relations. But, of all the awards she has received throughout her life, her most cherished is the black and orange M patch she received from Mamaroneck Avenue School for reading the most books in the first grade.

Above: "Opening Doors to Good Health" Takes an intimate look into the world of Open Door patients.


Mimi has spearheaded numerous integrated brand identity and communications campaigns for Open Door Family Medical Center and Foundation, St. Barnabas Hospital (SBH Health System), Union Community Health Center, the Bronx Teen Health Center, and Bronx Partners for Healthy Communities (a joint venture with SBH Health System, and part of a statewide initiative to transform the delivery of care).


The Covid-19 Pandemic

When Westchester County became the East Coast epicenter of the coronavirus, and the grim reality of the covid death rate was pressing in, Open Door Family Medical Center stayed fully operational. Staying true to its name, the Federally Qualified Health Center kept its doors open for its 60,000 low-income patients – and for thousands of other people in the County who thought they had Covid but had nowhere else to go. Mimi developed a digital crisis communications plan to address the complex needs of the Covid-19 pandemic, yielding over $650k in monetary donations and $50k gifts-in-kind (including PPE). In addition to raising community awareness about access to testing and vaccinations, she produced over 40 bilingual videos and increased the health center's YouTube channel subscriber base by 200%. Videos ranged from community vlogs and exercise videos to animated explainers and a “behind-the-scenes” spot featuring front-line staff.


Today

Mimi is the Director of Communications at Schechter Manhattan, an independent Jewish Day School preparing kids to become the leaders of the mid-21st century. She is a creative consultant for Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) and the Landmark Worldwide Conference for Global Transformation.

 

Personal Life

As a "primetime Gen X'er," Mimi spent the summer days of her childhood on a small wooden fishing boat, digging up clams along the shores of the Long Island Sound. As a teenager, she could be found exploring the foothills of the Adirondacks and during her college years on the banks of the Erie Canal. She is a native of Mamaroneck, New York/Wiquaeskeck Indian Territory.


For over two decades post-college, she lived in the concrete jungle of New York City, where she met her husband, Terence, a psychotherapist, They have since relocated to Northern Westchester to reconnect with the serenity of nature.


She has a love for all things Hawaii (have you ever seen a humpback whale spy hop?), the History Channel (Do you believe in Ancient Alien theory?) and enjoys designing hilarious Christmas cards. She keeps the secret recipes of her Great Grandmother's pasteles and her Grandmother's Italian cream puffs under lock and key. She is in an ongoing inquiry about the multi-continent origin of her ancestors, the strength of our humanity, the nature of being and how the universe works.