Board of Directors
Alicia Lawver, APR (President)
Alicia Lawver, APR, is the Strategic Planning & Policy Manager for Tacoma Public Schools, where she manages partnerships, initiatives, and special projects for the Planning & Construction, Facilities, and Nutrition Services departments. Previously, Alicia worked as a communicator for clean water issues and as an editor and reporter for various Western Washington newspapers. Alicia earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Pacific Lutheran University and is currently working on her MBA. Alicia is motivated by truth-seeking, problem-solving, finding the path to yes, and initiating adventures with her friends and family. She lives in Tacoma with her husband and three teenagers.
Amy Turner, APR (President Elect)
Amy Turner, APR is a senior communications specialist for Seattle Children’s, focused on employee engagement and internal communications. She has nearly two decades of strategic communications experience having worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Amy has been a PRSA volunteer since her PRSSA days at Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication (Go Cougs!). Outside of work, she loves spending time with her partner and two kids and loves to read, hike and grow her own veggies.
Jacque Coe, APR (Past President)
Jacque Coe, APR has nearly two decades of experience in strategic communications and public relations. She is currently the communications manager for the Seattle Hotel Association and Seattle Restaurant Alliance 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. 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 has a BA in Communications/Radio-TV from Eastern Washington University and is certificated in public engagement.
Aaron Blank (Treasurer)
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 Global Network and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
Cassidy Davis (Secretary)
Cassidy Davis has a decade of communications experience, including corporate and agency work. She is currently Director of Communications and Administration for Conrac Solutions and a graduate from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a degree in Journalism and Public Communications. She has been involved with PRSA for the past ten years including roles in programming, communications and most recently scholarship efforts. Leveraging past involvement with the Alaska Chapter, she has enjoyed giving back to the local communications community for the past five years with the Puget Sound Chapter. Outside work, she enjoys the Pacific Northwest via hiking, camping and canoeing.
Kelly Guenther is an expert in content creation and thought leadership in digital communications, media and public relations. His experience spans three decades as an Emmy Award-winning investigative TV reporter to Communications Director to Creative Director of Guenther Group, where he’s been responsible for high-impact global videos for companies like Microsoft, Starbucks and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. He also serves as a crisis communications advisor and spokesperson. As North America Video Specialist for Shootsta, Kelly travels globally to conduct video training workshops that have people, even with no video experience , shooting professional-looking content within hours.
Bethany Hawley is the senior manager of public relations (PR) at BECU, where she leads external communications and PR strategies for Washington’s largest credit union. She spent nearly 10 years at REI, a national outdoor retailer, where she managed the PR team and led communication strategies for co-op, retail, executive, stewardship and product storylines, including the launch of the award-winning #OptOutside initiative. She began her career at Edelman, helping execute media relations activities for Microsoft Entertainment and Devices. Bethany earned a master’s degree in Communication and Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University, and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication and Sociology from Pacific Lutheran University.
Toby Nelson, APR
Toby Nelson has worked in public relations with Hunter PR, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Hasbro. He began his career in PR with the Harlem Globetrotters, handling on-site media relations during domestic and international tours of “America’s Ambassadors of Goodwill.” He has also worked as a radio reporter. As an undergraduate, Toby studied at the University of Washington. He received his master’s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge, where he was a member of Selwyn College. He is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and is a past chair of PRSA Puget Sound's Totem Awards committee.
Christi Ball Nichols is a strategic communications professional for Seattle-area nonprofits, serving in PR and media relations roles for the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the March of Dimes and Susan G. Komen Puget Sound. Her first career was in TV news and she worked at stations in Texas, California and Seattle before making the leap to PR. She turned to PRSA Puget Sound for professional development and networking opportunities, serving as Features co-chair and, more recently, receiving her certification in Reputation Risk Management from national PRSA. Her prior board experience includes NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) and Beginnings Child Care.
As communication strategies manager for the Washington State Bar Association, Jennifer Olegario serves the people of Washington state and the Bar’s 40,000 lawyer members. She is the deputy to the chief communications officer and oversees a variety of communications functions, in addition to serving on the Bar’s management team responsible for strategic planning and operational priorities. Previously, Jennifer was vice president, media and public relations for TD Ameritrade, and public relations counsel for the American Stock Exchange. She began her career working for PR agencies FleishmanHillard and Makovsky in her hometown of New York City. Jennifer is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School of Public Affairs with a double-major in public relations and international relations.
Janelle Guthrie, APR, Fellow PRSA
Janelle Guthrie, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the Communications Director for the Washington Department of Corrections. She has worked as Communications Director for Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for Attorney General Rob McKenna, legislative director for the Washington State Grange, Executive Communications Program Manager for Microsoft and more.
A PRSA evangelist, Janelle has served in numerous national, state and local roles, including 2008 President of the PRSA Puget Sound Chapter and past chair of both the Olympia Communicators Group and the South Sound PRSA group. Janelle joined the PRSA College of Fellows in 2017 and earned the Lloyd B. Dennis National Award for Public Affairs that same year. She was named PRSA Puget Sound PR Professional of the Year in 2018 and was recognized with the PRSA Puget Sound Chapter Hugh Smith Community Service Award in 2019. She and her husband live in Tumwater.
Suzanne Hartman is a 30-year corporate communications professional, spending 25 years in the PR agency world before moving into the electric utility communication world. Suzanne is known for strategic communications counsel, crisis communication and stakeholder engagement. She has earned numerous international, national, regional and local awards. In 2007, she was selected as the PRSA Puget Sound Chapter “PR Professional of the Year;” and in 2018 she was inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows and also received the Jay Rockey Lifetime Achievement Award. Hartman has a BA from the George Washington University; a BS from Western Washington University; and a MA from University of Washington.
Cindy Sharpe has been working in public relations and marketing for more than 30 years. She started her 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, video production 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. 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.