Karla Slate, APR
Karla Slate, APR, is currently serving as Communications and Marketing Manager for the City of Covington, where she has been for the past nine years. In her role, she serves as the PIO (Public Information Officer) for the city and is responsible for community engagement and outreach, brand management, event management, media relations, communications planning and training, and more.
While at the city of Covington, Karla led development and execution of a new branding strategy including creation of a new brand identity. She has developed and managed several of the city’s award-winning festivals and events including the Covington Days Festival and Sausage & Cider Fest.
Prior to the city of Covington, Karla was the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at Seattle Southside Visitor Services, now known as the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority, which served as the tourism arm for the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac, Kent and Des Moines. During her three and a half years there, she helped develop and manage public relations and marketing campaigns, media relations, and in-house graphic design. Karla was part of the initial team that helped bring the Rock and Roll Marathon to Seattle (“Tukwila to Seattle”).
Karla has also worked at Johnson Brand Design Group, Inc., a Seattle-based architecture and design firm, as well as BECU and the Office of Student Publications at Washington State University. She has served on the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Puget Sound Chapter Board of Directors for about nine years in positions including president, delegate, and Totem Award liaison. Karla has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with an emphasis in advertising from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications at Washington State University.
Jacque Coe, APR
Jacque Coe, APR has nearly two decades of experience in strategic communications and public relations. She is currently an independent practitioner and previously served on the executive teams of the Seattle Public Schools, Dairy Farmers of WA, Bellevue School District, Washington’s Lottery and the non-profit Alliance for Education. Her first career was in television news as a news director, reporter, anchor and assignment editor—most recently at KING-TV where she was news planning editor.
Jacque is currently chair of the 2018 PRSA North Pacific District Conference in Seattle. A passionate evangelist for the APR, Jacque serves on the national PRSA Accreditation Marketing Committee and chaired the 2014 national campaign for the 50th anniversary of the APR. She is a former board member of the Puget Sound PRSA chapter, working on initiatives such as diversity and inclusion, new member recruitment and of course, the APR. She has been serving the chapter as volunteer for the 2017 Gala, nominating committee, Hugh Smith Awards and volunteer program. She has been elected incoming President-Elect for the Puget Sound chapter in 2019.
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 a Managing Director at APCO Worldwide, leading the firm’s Seattle office with responsibility for the West Coast.
Before joining APCO, Tim was an Executive Vice President with Edelman, leading the Corporate & Public Affairs practice in Seattle and, previously, led Pacific Northwest public affairs and was a member of the global leadership team at WE Communications. Prior to his agency career, Tim spent more than a decade in the private sector working internationally in various communications roles, and in the US Government, including as a foreign service officer and US diplomat.
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 program at Ashridge University in the United Kingdom. He has served as chapter president of PRSA, Marketing Communications Executives International, and the International Association of Business Communicators, as well as on the board of the Public Affairs Council.
Derek Wing is Communications Manager for PEMCO Insurance. He’s responsible for external communications including overseeing TV, radio, print, and online media interviews, and editing the monthly customer e-newsletter, Perspective.
Previously, Derek was Senior Associate Director of Media and Public Relations at Bastyr University. Creating and training a team of subject matter experts, he helped raise the visibility of the university and highlight its contributions to the natural health arts and sciences.
Derek was also Director of Communications at the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA), where he led numerous national campaigns informing Asian Pacific American seniors across the U.S. about important issues they might not otherwise know about due to cultural and linguistic barriers.
Additionally, Derek has more than a decade’s worth of broadcast journalism experience, including as Weekend Anchor/Reporter at KCPQ-TV, the Fox affiliate in Seattle where he won an Emmy Award for Breaking News Coverage. He’s also the recipient of the Public Relations Society of America Puget Sound Chapter’s Hugh Smith Community Service Award.
Originally from Brookline, MA, Derek earned a B.A. in English from Oberlin College (OH) and holds an M.S. in Journalism from the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (NY).
Aaron Blank is the President and CEO of The Fearey Group. Aaron started as a radio reporter, anchor and producer in Connecticut. In 2004, he and his wife moved to Seattle, where he began his public relations career at Edelman. Aaron has been with The Fearey Group for more than a decade and propels the company forward with his mottos of “Fearless Thinking” and “Never eat lunch alone.” In 2014, he became the firm’s owner, following the path of the firm’s founder, who built the company in 1981.
Aaron is a Puget Sound Business Journal 2015 “40 Under 40” honoree. He is also on the boards of the Public Relations Society of America’s Puget Sound chapter, Public Relations Global Network and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. He helped launch 15 to 1: the Jermaine Kearse Foundation and supports PR activities for the Lenny Wilkens Foundation and EB Research Partnership. He and his wife, Lacey, have three children. They are actively fundraising to help improve the community of Woliso, Ethiopia, where they adopted their son, and to find a cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare affliction that renders their son’s skin and connective tissue unbearably fragile.
Libby Catalinich, APR
Libby Catalinich, APR, is the director of the Office of Communications at Pierce County. She is accountable for internal and external communication for all three branches of County government, and reports to the County Executive and the Chair of the County Council. Libby joined Pierce County from JayRay, a public relations, advertising and branding company based in Tacoma, where she was a senior advisor.
Previously, Libby was with REI, as the director of corporate communications. She was responsible for the teams that manage employee communications, issue management, executive communications, public relations, product publicity, corporate events and media relations.
Libby joined REI after a 12-year career with Washington Mutual, where she led the team that won a Silver Anvil award. At the time she left WaMu, Libby was senior vice president, public relations.
An active member of Tacoma Rotary #8, Libby was recently elected to the club’s Board of Directors. She is a member of Seattle’s Leadership Tomorrow Class of 2012 and served a three-year term as the Chair of the global Issue Management Council (IMC). Libby earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington and is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.
Joshua Holland owns Shiba Inu Studio, a business focused on helping clients distill complex messages and cook up creative ways to tell their stories. Josh has worked in the field of communication for almost a decade. In this time span, he has helped organizations in the technology, government, and social impact sectors communicate vital messages to diverse audiences. Josh has worked with a number of Seattle area institutions including KUOW, the Port of Seattle, and Tacoma Public Utilities. Additionally, he has worked with a number of international organizations including NetHope, American Express, and Microsoft.
Most recently Josh worked with Uber’s PNW office to devise a content strategy to communicate community initiatives that benefit women and minorities and partnered with Washington State to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.
Josh graduated from the University of Washington and currently calls Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood home. He’s a PRSA Puget Sound Director and currently oversees programming for the chapter.
Alicia Lawyer, APR
Alicia Lawver, APR, is the strategic program analyst for Tacoma Public Schools, where she manages projects, partnerships, and initiatives for the operations side of the school district.
Previously, Alicia spent nearly a decade working for Western Washington newspapers, followed by 11 years as a public relations professional in the Puget Sound, including with the City of Tacoma Environmental Services, the state’s Puget Sound Partnership, and managing construction communications for Tacoma Public Schools. Alicia graduated cum laude from Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication.
Alicia enjoys problem-solving, finding the path to yes, and initiating adventures with her friends and family. She lives in Tacoma with her husband and a menagerie of three teens, two dogs, one cat, and a mouse she won’t (verbally) acknowledge exists.
Jay Weisberger, APR, LEED AP
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, Lean processes 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. Prior to work with Catevo, Jay served as the public relations manager for Teen People magazine in New York City. 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.).
Jay is an active member of the Seattle community and was 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.
Totems / Ethics Officer
Suzanne Hartman is a 30-year communications professional – accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the American Business Communicators Association (IABC). She has worked for the past twelve years in the electric utility industry as a corporate communication strategist. Prior to that, her experience includes global public relations agencies, including 10 years as president/CEO of her own firm focusing on environmental PR and sustainability. She provides strategic counsel on reputation management, crisis communication, corporate positioning along with government/media relations. Her career also includes network affiliate TV and legislative affairs on Capitol Hill in DC. Suzanne holds BA, BS and Masters degrees.
She is the recipient of Gold Quill and Silver Anvil awards and is Past Puget Sound PRSA President. In 2007, she was named PR Professional of the year. She is active in both local PRSA Chapter activities, as well as National Utility Industry Associations and is a frequent speaker at National conferences, including PRSA, American Public Power Association, National Hydropower Association, Large Public Power Council, Western Energy Institute and EUCI – Energy Utilities Conferences, Inc.
Cindy Sharp, APR
Cindy Sharp has been working in public relations and marketing for more than 30 years. She started her own public relations consulting firm, Sharpe Public Relations Inc., in 2001. She offers a broad range of PR services including: strategic planning, government relations, media relations and media training, crisis communications, public engagement and education, event planning, meeting facilitation and other PR services.
Sharpe Public Relations serves a variety of clients in industries such as travel and tourism, government agencies, associations, transit and transportation, and healthcare, to name just a few.
Before opening her business, she served as Managing Director of Public and Government Relations for AAA Auto Club South in Tampa, Florida, the 3rd largest AAA club in the nation. She also worked for Shriners Hospitals for Children, at Hill & Knowlton, and at the Tampa Tribune newspaper.
She currently serves as Assembly Delegate/board member for the Puget Sound Chapter. She’s also served as chapter president for the PRSA Tampa Bay Chapter and as district chairperson for the Sunshine District of PRSA. Cindy was awarded the 2016 PR Practitioner of the Year by the North Pacific District of PRSA.
Cindy and her husband, Glenn, have been married for 30 years. They live in Lacey, Wa.
South Sound Community Lead
Victoria is the Social Media Specialist at Kitsap Credit Union. She’s served as the Chair of the South Sound Group since 2016. She is a graduate of the journalism and PR program at Indiana University.
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