2018 Board of Directors

 

Elected Positions

 

President  Amanda Kennedy
Amanda is a senior manager of client services at Hahn Public Communications and has been serving the firm’s clients with media relations and marketing expertise for more than five years. She is a talented writer, a persuasive earned media pitching expert and a strategic communication planner.

She is a valuable and often sought-after client team member to help build campaigns that have encouraged more people to purchase more efficient natural gas appliances and apply for rebates from Texas Gas Service; to eat more delicious hamburgers and visit the iconic Texas brand Whataburger; and to utilize convenient mass transit services and provide valuable input to Capital Metro planning efforts. Additionally, Amanda enjoys helping clients reach the right audience at the right time through strategic marketing communication plans.

Prior to joining Hahn Public, Amanda was a media relations publicist with a local literary agency. Amanda earned her bachelor’s degree in English from The University of Texas at Austin with a minor in communications and a concentration in business foundations. She has also served on the PRSA Austin chapter executive board for more than three years.

ICON Austin Director & Immediate Past President  Caitlin New, APR
Caitlin New is an account supervisor at INK Public Relations, where she leads public relations teams and programs for high growth technology companies in the mobile, financial technology, IT, and enterprise solutions industries. Prior to this, she served as an account manager for Ketner Group PR + Marketing. This is Caitlin’s fifth year on the PRSA Austin board and has served as programs director and programs chair in the years prior to her role as president-elect. Caitlin has been a member of PRSA since 2007 and holds a B.S. Corporate Communications degree from the University of Texas.

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President-Elect – Amelia Taurel Folkes, APR
Amelia is the PR Brand Strategist for State Farm, helping to shape and implement campaigns that build brand awareness and grow the business among targeted audiences. She has over 15 years of experience in public relations supporting a variety of clients in the fields of technology, government, financial services and non-profit sectors. Her experience encompasses crisis communications, multicultural media relations, and brand reputation management. Amelia has a BA in International Studies and Journalism from Texas A&M University, an MPS in Strategic Public Relations from George Washington University. She earned her APR in 2016.

Secretary and Treasurer – Sarah Sutton
Sarah is a client services coordinator at Hahn Public, providing media pitching, event coordination and project coordination support to her client teams including Whataburger, Texas Gas Service and Oklahoma Natural Gas. She also helps coordinate Hahn Public’s intern program. Sarah served on the PRSSA executive board during her time at Texas State University, and is looking forward to transitioning into her new role as the Secretary/Treasurer this year. 

 

Director at Large, Accreditation – Marmie Edwards, APR
Marmie began working with Austin's PRSA accreditation program last year when she moved from Washington, DC, where she served on the National Capital Board. She focused on nonprofits and media relations there, most recently as VP, Communications for a public safety organization, providing public messaging and PSAs. She consults with nonprofits through Edwards Communications and LaunchPad for Success. Marmie has a BA in journalism from Indiana University and a MS in Strategic Public Relations from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Director at Large, Communications – Joshua Ryf
Joshua currently serves as the Director at Large, Communications, for the PRSA Austin Chapter Board; he is responsible for leading the communications committee in promoting chapter events and communicating relevant industry news to members. He previously served on the PRSA Madison Chapter Board in Madison, WI. Joshua is the Communications Director for the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities where he is responsible for directing the organization’s strategic communication and marketing efforts. He earned a bachelor's degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. 

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Director at Large, Ethics – Lisa Preuss
Preuss is the vice president of corporate communications for Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software. Lisa leads results-driven public relations, analyst relations, employee communications, customer reference and social media programs for the company. Lisa graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations.  

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Director at Large, Progams – Tori Varyu
Tori Varyu is an Account Executive at PRR, Inc., where she helps to lead and execute digital campaigns for a variety of clients. She is a passionate storyteller, and loves to share her client's stories through a variety of channels including social media, content development, traditional public relations, and more. Tori is known for bringing a creative approach to projects, often thinking of unique solutions to client needs. She graduated with a degree in English Writing and minors in Public Relations and Entrepreneurship from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Outside of the office, Tori is enjoying exploring her new city of Austin, which means lots of tacos, live music and the best cup of coffee she can find. She is looking forward to serving on the 2018 board and getting to know many new faces in Austin's thriving communications and public relations community.

Appointed Positions

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Diversity Chair – Carolina Castaño

Carolina is the Director of Public Relations and Communications for NFP, a leading international insurance broker and consultant, where she is responsible for leading the company’s PR and social media strategy. She has been working in communications for over 15 years across a range of industries, including non-profit, aerospace, radio, and technology. A first-generation American with Colombian immigrant parents, Carolina grew up speaking Spanish at home and is fully fluent in both English and Spanish. She has bachelor’s degrees in both corporate communications and foreign language (French and Italian) from Southern Methodist University, where she later returned to earn her MBA in 2009 with a focus on Marketing and Strategy. She has been PMP certified since 2014. She loves meeting and getting to know new people, and in her spare time she is passionate about travel, live music, art, and spending time with friends, family, and her two dogs.

 

Programs Chair – Michelle Hargis
Bio coming soon!

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Marketing Chair – Alex Starrett
Alex Starrett is an Assistant Marketing Manager at Fairmont Austin where she is responsible for developing marketing campaigns and social media strategy. She holds a B.A. in Visual Design and Minor in French from the University of Arkansas. Alex recently joined the PRSA Austin Chapter and serves on the Communications Committee. In her free time, you can find her exploring the outdoors, enjoying patio Happy Hours, or traveling.

Social Media Chair  Morgan Moritz
Morgan Moritz is an Account Executive at Pierpont Communications where she works primarily on accounts across the real estate, oil and gas and professional services sectors. She is a native Austinite and holds her B.S. in Public Relations from Texas State University where she was also a member of the Texas State PRSSA Chapter. Outside of the office, Morgan enjoys painting ceramics, watching football and traveling.

Membership Chair – Ashley Schlosser
Ashley is the Membership Chair for the PRSA Austin Chapter. In this role, she is responsible for recruiting and communicating with new and prospective members.  Ashley has served on the PRSA Austin Chapter board since 2012. She also served as Co-Chair of the 2013 PRSA Southwest District Conference, which was held in Austin and brought in members from six states in the southwest district. Currently, Ashley is owner and founder of Live Out Loud, a public relations, graphic design and events firm specializing in helping local Austin brands succeed. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Ashley worked in the Public Affairs and Crisis Practice of Burson-Marsteller and also worked at global public relations firm Porter Novelli, which specializes in consumer, corporate, healthcare and technology communications.

 Alana Curtis headshot Programs Committee – Alana Curtis
Alana Curtis is a Communications Coordinator for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), a residual insurer of last resort for the Texas seacoast. Her main responsibilities at TWIA include social media management, content creation, media and stakeholder outreach, expense management, and event planning. Alana earned her bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in Public Relations from Howard University in Washington, D.C. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and exploring hidden gems in Austin.
 

PRSSA Liaison, The University of Texas at Austin and St. Edward's University – Evgenia Sinopidou
Bio coming soon!

Kelsey Heitzmann headshot  PRSSA Liaison, Texas State University – Kelsey Heitzmann
Kelsey is an Account Coordinator at Live Out Loud PR, where she assists with the day-to-day execution of client projects in the biotech, non-profit and consumer spaces. Kelsey's main responsibilities include social media management, media outreach, analytics and coverage reporting, research, content creation, and event booking. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Public Relations from Texas State University.