2020 Board of Directors

Elected Positions

 President: Michelle Hargis

Michelle Hargis is a vice president and account manager with Cooksey Communications, a full-service strategic communications and public affairs agency. As the lead in the Cooksey Austin office, Michelle’s role with the firm has evolved over the past decade to include many strategic communications functions. Well-versed in civic and professional services PR, Michelle works on many accounts involving economic development, public-private sector partnerships, real estate, architecture, engineering and construction, public affairs and financial services.

 In her earlier years with Cooksey, Michelle focused on developing PR plans for the firm’s professional services companies. Most recently, she leverages her media expertise to achieve substantial print, broadcast and digital placements for Cooksey’s clients.

With more than 20 years in the communications profession, Michelle has also worked with hospitality, retail/consumer, pharmaceutical and technology clients on media outreach, brand awareness, public affairs and thought leadership strategies. 

Michelle earned her undergraduate degree in public relations from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She is a volunteer with CASA of Central Texas. 


Amelia Folkes headshotImmediate Past President: Amelia Folkes, MPS, APR

Amelia is a strategic communications manager at Emerson Automation Solutions where she helps drive executive communications for thought leadership topics including digital transformation, digital workforce, Industrial IoT, STEM and other communications programs which elevate Emerson’s reputation as a leader in the industry. 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. Prior to joining Emerson, she worked at State Farm for 11 years in various roles including media and community relations, brand strategy, and Spanish spokesperson.

Amelia has a BA in International Studies and Journalism from Texas A&M University and an MPS in Strategic Public Relations from George Washington University. She earned her APR in 2016.


President-Elect: 
Ashley Schlosser

Ashley is owner and founder of Live Out Loud, a public relations, graphic design and events firm specializing in helping local Austin brands succeed.  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.  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.

Treasurer: Felicia Van Frank, CPCU®, ChFC®, CLU®

Felicia Van Frank is a Community and Media Relations professional for State Farm Insurance Companies in Texas. She is responsible for promoting the State Farm brand, working with non-profit partners and media to help educate the public on auto, home and financial safety. She has a diverse experience in the insurance industry including: managing an executive customer service response team; managing regulatory complaint responses; training and auditing; facilitating grassroots/public policy; handling property and casualty claims for auto and homeowners policies as well as process improvement work. 

Felicia has her BA in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin. Her industry designations include: Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU ®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC ®) Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU ®), Senior Claim Law Associate (SCLA), Associate in Claims and Associate in Services. 

Felicia currently serves as a trustee on the Insurance Council of Texas Foundation. She volunteers with Hill Country Community Ministries Food Pantry. Previously she served as the Chair of the San Bernardino County Equal Opportunity Commission in California. She was a board member of the Inland Empire Chapter of California Women Lead and has created and instructed course work for the Property Loss Reporting Bureau.

 

Director at Large, VP of Marketing and Communications: Catherine Saunders (2 year term)
A Senior Associate based in TBG’s Austin office, Catherine leads TBG’s marketing strategies – including business development and marketing pursuits, public relations and digital media, and internal and external communications efforts. She is TBG’s first dedicated public relations professional and was integrally involved with the firm’s first major rebranding effort that was initiated roughly 30 years after TBG’s original establishment in 1987.

Director at Large, VP of Membership: Morgan Lawrence (2 year term)

Morgan is the director of communications for THE rAVe Agency, a creative agency that exclusively focuses on the AV industry. Morgan is responsible for overseeing rAVe [STORYTELLING], a strategic talent incorporating media relations, content development, internal and external communications, and crisis management. 

Morgan has over six years of in-house and agency experience in a variety of markets, including motorsports, religious organizations, and technology. Her experience encompasses strategic communications, brand management, crisis communications, event planning and social media management.

Morgan earned her bachelors’ degree in Mass Communications and Media Studies from Arizona State University. She earned her APR in 2018. Prior to serving on the PRSA Austin chapter board, Morgan was a board member for PRSA Orlando. 

Director-at-Large, VP of Programming: Bonnie Gonzalez

Bonnie is the Communications Coordinator for the City of Dripping Springs where she is responsible for PR and social media strategy, media relations, and marketing. Prior to joining the City of Dripping Springs, Bonnie was the Editor in Chief for the Dripping Springs Century-News. She also worked in television news and was a reporter at News 8 Austin (now called spectrum news) for six years. She is a former national board member for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Bonnie holds a Master of Professional Studies in Strategic Public Relations from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas.

Larry Springer HeadshotAssembly Delegate: Larry Springer, APR (2 year term)

For more than 35 years, Larry has served in various public relations leadership roles within the energy and chemical industries, including Enbridge, Conoco, DuPont and the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association. Currently, he provides clients with support for stakeholder outreach, news media relations, crisis communications, strategic public relations planning and related public affairs activities.

He has served as chairman of the Public Awareness Group for the American Petroleum Institute (API), communications lead for the Emergency Response Team of API and the Association of Oil Pipelines and as chair of the Environmental Justice Committee of the American Chemistry Council. Previously, he worked for almost 10 years as a member of the news media in Austin, Texas, and has advised student newsrooms at Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at Austin.

A longtime accredited member of the Public Relations Society of American (PRSA), Larry is a past president of the Austin Chapter of PRSA, a founding member of the Montana PRSA chapter and a former PRSA national assembly delegate for the Austin, Montana and Houston PRSA chapters. Larry also is a past president of the Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA) and a past chairman of the Public Relations Foundation of Texas.

Appointed Positions


Carolina headshotDiversity 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.


Alana Curtis Paige HeadshotMarketing Co-Chair: Alana C. Paige

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.

Marketing Co-Chair: Sarah Ribeiro

Sarah Ribeiro is serving her first term as Marketing Co-Chair for PRSA Austin. She is currently the Director of Development for Special Olympics Texas where she leads fundraising efforts and premier events  for the organization. She has also served as Director of Public Relations & Director of Media and Communications for Public Relations agencies in Honolulu, Hawaii. Prior to that she worked for CBS News and Hawaii Public Television as an assistant producer, assignment editor and reporter. Sarah holds a degree in Communications and Media Studies from Chapman University in Orange County California, and a Master’s Certification in Social Media and Internet Marketing.

APR Chair: Jo Detavernier, SCMP, APR

Jo Detavernier is the owner of Detavernier Strategic Communication, a boutique PR practice that offers corporate communication, content marketing, public relations, corporate branding and digital marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2015, Jo had worked for some of the largest independent PR firms on the Brussels market. 

Jo is both APR and SCMP accredited. He is also a Member of the Global Communication Certification Council that manages the IABC certification program. 

Erin Duffner HeadshotEthics Chair: Erin Duffner (2 year term) 
Erin Dufner is the Chief Marketing Officer for BBB serving the Heart of Texas. She is responsible for overseeing all internal and external communications, marketing and media relations and marketplace investigations.In 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017, Erin led BBB serving the Heart of Texas in receiving the Marshall A. Mott Award for outstanding communications, the highest honor a local BBB can achieve. Erin has also led her BBB staff in several honors and awards for achievements in targeted media campaigns and new programs.

Erin volunteers with the local Meals on Wheels program, as well as Junior Achievement of Central Texas. Erin was born in Southern California and earned a degree in Business and Management from the University of Redlands.