Board Biographies

Officers

Tim Smith

Tim Smith, APR - 2017 (2)
President

Tim Smith, APR, has more than two decades of experience as a senior policy and communications strategist for government, industry and the non-profit sector. He currently is Senior Vice President at Edelman Seattle, where he leads the Corporate & Public Affairs Practice.

Before joining Edelman, Tim led the Pacific Northwest public affairs team and was a member of the global leadership team at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. Previously, he spent a decade overseas in the private sector working in various communications roles and with the US Government, both as a civil servant and foreign service officer.

Tim holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Union College. He also completed the graduate management programme at Ashridge University (UK). In addition to his board position with PRSA Puget Sound Chapter, Tim serves on the board of the Seattle chapter of Marketing Communications Executives International. He has served as president of the Puget Sound Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators and on the board of the Public Affairs Council.

Jennifer Algaard

Jennifer Algaard, APR - 2019 (1)
President-Elect/Awards/Diversity

Courtney Gearhart

Courtney Gearhart - 2017 (2)
Secretary

Courtney Gearhart, Program Manager for Earned Media for REI, is high energy, with experience in agency and corporate communications, and enjoys networking and helping people make important, rewarding connections. She also loves working with college students.

Erik Elvejord

Erik Elvejord, APR - 2017 (1)
Treasurer

Erik Elvejord has served as PRSA Puget Sound Treasurer in the past and on several committees, including Totems, Holiday Gala, Programs, Diversity, and the 50th Anniversary. A graduate of the University of Washington in Norwegian and Communications, Elvejord has been director, public relations, for Holland America Line since 1998 and previously with then sister company Windstar Cruises as manager, public relations since 1993. He is part of the team that addresses crisis and issues management and media relations and also introduces new ships to the marketplace and the audiences of guests, media, travel sellers, vendors, employees and VIPs. A regular mentor through PRSA Puget Sound, Erik has also served as parliamentarian for the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and is currently treasurer of the Western Chapter of SATW. He speaks often to local university and continuing education PR classes on the topics of crisis communications and public relations writing.

Jay Weisberger

Jay Weisberger, APR - 2017 (1)
SOC/YoPro/Sponsorship (President Emeritus)

An accredited public relations practitioner (APR), Jay Weisberger joined Skanska in 2008. In his current role, he oversees internal and external communications for Skanska’s offices in the western USA. Also a LEED® Accredited Professional, he directs communications activities for Skanska’s sustainability efforts, as well as for focus areas of safety, data centers, aviation, innovative techniques and more. He has a wealth of experience in media relations, social media and internal communications.

Jay came to Skanska after three years with The Catevo Group (formerly Epley Associates) in Charlotte, N.C. In his work there, he served a variety of clients, many seeking public relations counsel to support green endeavors

Prior to work with Catevo, Jay served as the public relations manager for Teen People magazine in New York City. During his tenure at the publication, Jay spearheaded day-to-day media relations and developed PR strategies for all initiatives, including “red carpet” events. Jay’s other previous experience includes three years of work at NYC PR agency Bender/Helper Impact and as a staff writer/copy editor at The Times (Trenton, N.J.).

In addition to his work in construction and publishing, Jay’s experiences have included representation of clients in video games, home entertainment, residential development and licensing.

Jay is an active member of the Seattle community and is the 2016 president of the Public Relations Society of America’s Puget Sound Chapter. He also served on the board of the Washington Chapter of the ACE Mentor Program. Jay is a graduate of Alfred University with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and was the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Campus Life.

Directors

 

Fernando Costantino - 2018 (1)
Communications

Kelly Bray

Kelly Bray, APR - 2018 (1)
Education/APR

Kelly joined Team Soapbox in fall of 2015. Team Soapbox is a communications agency that specializes in issues and advocacy communications, public relations, marketing, and media relations for nonprofits and public agencies. In her current role as Account Manager, Kelly generates buzz around her clients and promotes their positive image through print, online and broadcast media channels. Her areas of expertise include communications strategy, media relations, event management, brand management, and writing for email and social media. Prior to her role there, she led communications at Lifelong, a Seattle-based community health organization.

Coming up with creative ways to promote a project or campaign is her forte. Whether it’s producing a pop-up bingo in Cal Anderson Park or asking a rugby team to do a warm-up on live TV to promote a fundraiser– she can develop and deliver an idea. Additionally, her experience working closely with community groups and media partners has resulted in more visibility, stronger relationships, and increased media exposure.

Kelly is passionate about projects that work to improve the health of our community and make Seattle a better place to live. She has her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and is an active member of Seattle’s public relations community, having been a member of the Puget Relations Society of America since 2010. In addition to her board role as the APR Chair, she participates in the chapter’s mentorship program. Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

In her free time, you’ll find her sniffing out deals at estate sales on the weekends along with her husband, toddler, and moody llasapoo, Leo.

Libby Catalinich

Libby Catalinich, APR - 2018 (2)
Masters Program

 

Aaron Blank - 2017 (1)
Membership

Cindy Sharpe

Cindy Sharpe, APR - 2019 (1)
Nonprofits/Philanthropy/District Liaison

Cynthia A. Sharpe, APR, has been working in the field of public relations for nearly 30 years.

She began her career working at The Tampa Tribune, where she copy-edited the “Metro” section of the daily newspaper, wrote non-bylined “staff reports,” and wrote and copy-edited the obituary section. While at the Tribune, she also interned in the paper’s Promotions Department.

She left The Tampa Tribune when she accepted a position for the Tampa office of Hill & Knowlton, Inc., a national public relations firm. Her client list was broad, including real estate and health care companies, as well as managing product promotions and special events.

After Hill & Knowlton she went to work for Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Shrine fraternity in the organizations’ public relations/marketing department. Here she managed public relations and marketing projects for the non-profit 22-hospital system and the Shrine fraternity. She also served as the primary speechwriter for the hospital system and fraternity’s top officials.

She left Shriners Hospitals to become Managing Director of Public and Government Relations for AAA Auto Club South. She managed a staff of six and a sizable budget. She developed, managed and implemented strategic public relations programs in employee communications, crisis communications, government relations, media relations, special events and business unit support. She served as the primary media spokesperson and conducted frequent media training for AAA managers. She developed grassroots campaigns the club’s government relations programs. And personally managed AAA Travel Agency’s public relations needs.

In 2001 she started her own public relations consulting firm. She offers a broad range of public relations services including strategic planning; crisis media training; crisis communications; on-call crisis counseling; media relations; community relations; public engagement and education; general public relations consulting; video production; event planning; executive and management meeting facilitation; PR and marketing writing; public speaking and speechwriting; and other services.

Debra Carnes

Debra Carnes - 2019 (2)
Programs

Mark Firmani

Mark Firmani, APR - 2017 (1)
Programs

Mark Firmani leads Firmani + Associates as its founder and president, setting the tone for the firm and its team of skilled practitioners and marketing specialists. He brings nearly 25 years of PR expertise, business communication strategy, marketing savvy and political experience to every aspect of the firm’s operations. Mark defines the strategic vision of Firmani + Associates within each of its practice areas and provides senior-level counsel to client partners representing a diverse range of industries.

Mark is accredited in Public Relations from PRSA. He looks forward to serving on the board: in his words, “I’m in!”

Karla Slate

Karla Slate, APR - 2017 (2)
Totems

Karla Slate, APR, was the 2014 Chapter President and has served on the board since 2009. She is currently the Communications & Marketing Manager and PIO for the City of Covington. Prior to her current position, Karla led marketing communications at the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (formerly Seattle Southside Visitor Services). Karla has served as the Programs Co-chair and chaired the Totem Awards for the Chapter since 2010. Karla has many years of experience in leadership roles both on-the-job and within professional organizations. The aspect of her job she enjoys the most is event planning and management, but she also has excellent communication skills, organizational skills, is adaptive to change, making decisions, building teams and exercising financial prudence. Karla also is co-founder/owner of Preloved Threads, a women-focused biannual event in the south sound region.

Delegates

Cindy Sharpe

Cindy Sharpe, APR - 2019 (1)
Delegate

Cynthia A. Sharpe, APR, has been working in the field of public relations for nearly 30 years.

She began her career working at The Tampa Tribune, where she copy-edited the “Metro” section of the daily newspaper, wrote non-bylined “staff reports,” and wrote and copy-edited the obituary section. While at the Tribune, she also interned in the paper’s Promotions Department.

She left The Tampa Tribune when she accepted a position for the Tampa office of Hill & Knowlton, Inc., a national public relations firm. Her client list was broad, including real estate and health care companies, as well as managing product promotions and special events.

After Hill & Knowlton she went to work for Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Shrine fraternity in the organizations’ public relations/marketing department. Here she managed public relations and marketing projects for the non-profit 22-hospital system and the Shrine fraternity. She also served as the primary speechwriter for the hospital system and fraternity’s top officials.

She left Shriners Hospitals to become Managing Director of Public and Government Relations for AAA Auto Club South. She managed a staff of six and a sizable budget. She developed, managed and implemented strategic public relations programs in employee communications, crisis communications, government relations, media relations, special events and business unit support. She served as the primary media spokesperson and conducted frequent media training for AAA managers. She developed grassroots campaigns the club’s government relations programs. And personally managed AAA Travel Agency’s public relations needs.

In 2001 she started her own public relations consulting firm. She offers a broad range of public relations services including strategic planning; crisis media training; crisis communications; on-call crisis counseling; media relations; community relations; public engagement and education; general public relations consulting; video production; event planning; executive and management meeting facilitation; PR and marketing writing; public speaking and speechwriting; and other services.

Joe Rothrock

Joe Rothrock, APR - 2017 (2)
Delegate

Joe Rothrock, APR, is Senior Communications manager for Virginia Mason Medical Center. He is an internal communications and employee engagement specialist, and a member of the Seattle Internal Communications Leaders Forum in addition to PRSA.

Karla Slate

Karla Slate, APR - 2017 (2)
Delegate

Karla Slate, APR, was the 2014 Chapter President and has served on the board since 2009. She is currently the Communications & Marketing Manager and PIO for the City of Covington. Prior to her current position, Karla led marketing communications at the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (formerly Seattle Southside Visitor Services). Karla has served as the Programs Co-chair and chaired the Totem Awards for the Chapter since 2010. Karla has many years of experience in leadership roles both on-the-job and within professional organizations. The aspect of her job she enjoys the most is event planning and management, but she also has excellent communication skills, organizational skills, is adaptive to change, making decisions, building teams and exercising financial prudence. Karla also is co-founder/owner of Preloved Threads, a women-focused biannual event in the south sound region.

Committee Chairs

Suzanne Hartman

Suzanne Hartman
Ethics

Josh Holland

Josh Holland
YoPro

 

Victoria Lane
South Sound

Chapter Administration

Diane Bevins

Diane Bevins
 

Diane Bevins, President of Association Services, Inc. (ASI) has served as Administrator for the Puget Sound Chapter of PRSA for more than 30 years. ASI, which opened its doors in September 1969, also serves 14 other professional associations and several private businesses.

ASI handles daily administrative activities and takes a significant role in special event planning for PRSA. More importantly, ASI works with the PRSA Board of Directors and committee chairs to avoid reinventing each task or event from year to year–a typical occurrence in associations like PRSA where the volunteer leadership turns over regularly.

Bevins' family moved from Massachusetts to Washington right after she graduated from high school in the fall of 1970. When they drove into Seattle, the billboards proclaimed, Will the last person to leave Seattle please turn out the lights.

Given the economic climate and her status as the oldest of eight children, Bevins bypassed college and moved straight into the workforce. She started with a company called Multiple Services, Inc., which became ASI. She grew the business and eventually took it over. In 1998, she moved the offices from downtown Seattle to Tukwila where they still operate. ASI employs four people including Bevins' mother, Loretta, who is a regular on the phone and at PRSA events.

Bevins, always of good cheer, feels her experience being the oldest in a large family has given her an advantage with working the hectic (some would say chaotic!) atmosphere that sometimes surrounds volunteer boards and committees.

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