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Shilpa Bakre’s career in marketing communications encompasses two decades of experience spanning sports, education, arts, community development and nonprofits. This tenure has afforded her exceptional opportunities: cultivating marketing and public relations endeavors for a prominent downtown contemporary arts museum; managing elaborate communications efforts for four consecutive Olympic Games (the culmination of these efforts was winning an Emmy for her role as an associate producer/writer for NBC); working as the Director of Media & Public Relations for a top-five U.S. Olympic sport - USA Boxing - at the young age of 23; orchestrating a celebrity product endorsement for international soccer player Pele; developing a complex public relations and marketing platform for a large downtown development project; and negotiating and securing multi-million dollar partnership contracts; and enhancing economic impact for the City of Austin through tourism & hospitality.
After a rigorous selection process, Bakre was chosen as a 2017 McBee Fellow for the Austin Area Research Organization. She graduated from the Leadership Austin Essential program in 2016 and was subsequently voted class representative. This earned her the privilege of serving on their Board for three years. Additionally, she serves on the Art Alliance Board, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Her feature, web, academic writing and photography, and design have all been published in various professional and academic publications.
Bakre is fluent in Marathi, and Hindi - and proficient in Spanish.
She is a proud two-time graduate of the University of Texas - earning her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Master’s Degree in Public Affairs
Dale Blasingame, Social Journalism Lecturer, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Texas State University
Dale Blasingame is a social journalism professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He received a master’s degree from Texas State in 2011 with a focus in New Media studies. Blasingame is part of the SJMC Digital Media faculty, and he teaches courses that introduce students to different aspects of how technology is changing journalism and media.
Before transitioning to Texas State, Blasingame was a television news producer. He spent nine years at WOAI-TV in San Antonio, where he won two Lone Star Emmy awards and was nominated for a third. Before that, he was a news anchor and sports reporter for KTSA-AM in San Antonio. In addition to his duties at Texas State, he is also the social media director for Leadhub, an Internet marketing company in San Antonio. Blasingame is a member of the Online News Association, Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
In his free time, Blasingame is an avid hiker and traveler. He writes for Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine and recently visited all 95 state parks in one year. His dog, Lucy, joins him on trips and loves to hike and climb rocks. Blasingame was included on the Texas Highways Magazine list of Extraordinary Texans for 2016. He’s been able to marry his passions of technology and our parks by creating a course called Mobile Storytelling in the Park, in conjunction with Texas Parks and Wildlife, where students produce social video content at state parks. Blasingame just received a grant to develop a Study in America course, where he will take students to do similar work in national parks.
Blasingame is a member of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, National Park Foundation and National Parks Conservation Association.
Follow him on Twitter: @daleblasingame
Douglas is an accomplished, forward-thinking leader in the digital and social space, consistently pushing Hahn Public into the future with strategic campaign development and execution.
As a digital media strategist, Douglas leads a multitude of creative initiatives from ideation to execution for the firm’s clients. He provides proactive, strategic counsel on all digital initiatives as well as insights related to digital trends.
Over the years, Douglas has built an exceptional digital work portfolio with some the world’s top consumer brands including Whataburger, Nike, Diageo, Procter & Gamble, NASCAR, 3M, Mercedes Benz, Taco Bell, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Allstate and Capital One.
Douglas holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from George Mason University.
Marsha Burney is a two-time graduate from Texas State University. She is currently a faculty member in the Communication Studies Department at Texas State University. She teaches classes in diversity communication, public speaking, advanced public speaking, small group communication, event planning and fundamentals of human communication. Marsha is also the lead for S.H.A.R.E. Pride, a grant that focuses on LGBTQIAP+ youth (between the ages of 18-24) to help eliminate risky behaviors such as unprotected sex and binge drinking. Marsha grew up in a military family living in places like Germany, South Korea, and various U.S. states in the South. She later moved to New York for a brief time. Through her travels she was able to learn about and appreciate various cultures and loves listening to people's personal stories. Marsha also serves as the Advisor for the COMM Club at Texas State University.
H.E. Butt Grocery Co. appointed Dya Campos to be the grocery store's public affairs director for an area stretching from San Antonio to West Texas in 2006.
Campos provides leadership and direction for HEB in the company's public affairs and community relations activities. Campos oversees philanthropic giving in San Antonio, West Texas and surrounding communities. She also serves as the company's spokeswoman for HEB's corporate offices in San Antonio.
Before joining HEB, Campos worked as a governmental and public affairs consultant for both HillCo Partners and Vinson & Elkins LLP in Austin.
Follow her on Twitter: @DyaCCampos
Bridget Garraway is the Creative Manager for Alamo Drafthouse in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Laredo, and Corpus Christi. She runs the social media pages for those 6 locations, runs and organizes special events, assists with the flow of communication between the stores and helps make Alamo Drafthouse a place for movie lovers. She loves Star Wars, Harry Potter, horror films, and all TV and currently is obsesses with Stranger Things.
Follow her on Twitter: @bridgetgarraway
Jan Gunter is the Deputy Development Director for The Salvation Army Austin Area Command. In this role, she oversees her entire department and serves as the Public Information Officer in times of disaster. Formerly, she served as the communications and community relations director. During her years of service with The Salvation Army Austin, she has forged strong media relationships in our community and brought the Austin Area Command national recognition for her work to help bring refuge to those experiencing homelessness in Austin and the surrounding area. Most recently, Jan led the charge handling communications in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. By directing PR efforts both on social media and with traditional media (KXAN and CBS Austin), Jan and her team were hard at work to facilitate proceeds going to the right place. In total, the Salvation Army of Austin provided approximately $1.2 million to Harvey relief so far.
Follow her on Twitter: @jangunter
Jordan Howenstine is a media relations professional with five years of experience in the NBA and WNBA. He was formerly a full-time writer and Division I basketball player.
Follow him on Twitter: @AirlessJordan
Johnell, an award winning event planner, graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Marketing. She began planning events at a very early age for fun and started to make a career out of it shortly after graduating college. Her resume of events is far reaching including golf tournaments, galas, reunions, weddings and many more. She has found a true passion in Event Planning and prides herself on creative and unique styles and experiences.
Johnell believes that the key to successful coordination is organization and communication. When Johnell isn’t working she is traveling around the world with her husband Russell, daughter Madeline and son Ashton.
Follow her on Twitter: @JohnellHuebner
Kristen brings experience from both the agency and client sides, having spent four years in account service at Cohn & Wolfe and time as the Marketing Communications Manager for software company Accruent. Over the years, she's supported a broad portfolio of clients—from successfully running widespread digital campaigns and launching new products to reaching expanded markets. A few of Kristen's clients have included Seton Healthcare Family, Amplify Credit Union, the Austin Board of REALTORS® and Corner Bakery Cafe. Growing up in Houston, she spent summers interning with the Houston Ballet and Griffin Communications Group. She’s active in the Austin community and is currently serving on the Communications Committee for the Ballet Austin Guild and is a past Events Director for the Austin Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
Kristen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Texas at Austin and embraces her position as the black sheep in a family full of Aggies. In her spare time, Kristen is pursuing her MBA with Texas State and enjoys going on runs and taking hikes around Austin with her husband and their two dogs—Max & Stella.
Libba Letton helps her clients navigate crucial communications issues, from the merely awkward to the most severe crisis. She helps communicate information that may be difficult to share, from layoffs to lawsuits to late products. Libba takes the pressure off her clients so they can focus on moving their organization forward.
She has worked in public relations for more than 25 years across a number of industries, including pharmaceuticals, high tech, public transportation, energy, and food retail. Before opening her own firm in 2014, she spent six years as Whole Foods Market’s PR manager.
Libba’s current and former clients include:
Alchemy Systems, the global leader in tailored training, coaching, and communications programs that help food companies engage with their workforces to drive safety and productivity.
Miller Poultry, a family-owned company that produces naturally grown poultry, ethically and efficiently in Michigan and Indiana.
Shipwire, based in the Bay Area, provides shipping software, and cloud-based logistics from warehouses around the world.
Texas Beverage Association represents beverage producers, distributors, franchise companies and support industries.
Libba graduated from Vanderbilt University where she majored in English, and later studied French at the Sorbonne in Paris. She grew up in Houston, and now lives in Austin with her husband, their two young sons, and a varying number of cats.
Gretel Perera is a public relations professional with more than 16 years experience in communications at Fortune 500 companies, international markets, agency and tech startups.
Currently, she leads global public relations for HomeAway, the world leader in vacation rentals. Previously, Gretel was responsible for leading communications efforts in Latin America for Evernote, where she was part of a small yet powerful team that grew the company's presence in the region from 2 million users to more than 18 million users over a three-year period.
Prior to joining Evernote, Gretel worked for more than five years at Dell in several communications roles, including leading Latin America communications, executive communications and internal communications. During her time at Dell, Gretel had the opportunity to live in Brazil for a year to lead the company's communications in that country.
Gretel started her career on the agency side, having worked at two of the top global PR agencies, Ketchum and Cohn & Wolfe, while representing important brands such as Cover Girl, Lowe's, Miller Lite and Panasonic.
Originally from Venezuela, Gretel is passionate about traveling and exploring new cultures. She has lived in seven countries, including Barbados, Brazil, Holland, Paraguay, and Russia.
Gretel is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in Journalism.
Follow her on Twitter: @gretelperera
Pam Renteria is a bilingual public relations and communications professional with experience in content branding and storytelling.
Follow her on Twitter: @pamrenteria
Ana Toro, APR, Fellow PRSA, is a project director at ICF in Atlanta. She is past president of the Puerto Rico Public Relations Association and chair of PRSA’s National Diversity & Inclusion Committee. In 2015, Toro published PRSA’s first blog post in Spanish and has been an active contributor to PRSA’s D&I Toolkit, tweet chats and webinars.
As a bilingual and bicultural practitioner with more than 20 years of experience, Ana Toro develops awareness, prevention and education programs for minority populations. She has supported pharmaceutical companies and nonprofit organizations, as well as public health efforts on behalf of the federal government, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institutes of Health.
Follow her on Twitter: @anatoro
Tim is the founder of The Weinheimer Group, a digital + brand marketing consultancy based in Austin. Tim and his team recently conducted nationwide research on how Americans use artificial intelligence (AI) and an eBook on how brands can best leverage AI to deliver better customer experiences. Tim works with clients to develop strategies to stay ahead by leveraging the latest innovations and thinking in integrated mobile and digital marketing strategy with a focus on technology and health IT. He works with clients to understand and interpret data, trends, and insights to drive measurable, integrated brand, social media, e-mail and search marketing strategies for B2B, consumer and business-to-citizen clients. Tim's integrated and mobile marketing experience covers a broad range of Fortune 500 companies, association, government and nonprofit clientele. He's led the development of digital departments and teams while working for some of the world's leading agencies including Ketchum, The Richards Group, and Ogilvy & Mather. Tim led the development of brand and integrated digital marketing strategies for clients including Spiceworks, Bound 360, Cleveland Clinic, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), Office for Civil Rights, Righttime Urgent Care, and Takeda Oncology. Specifically, for HHS/ONC, Tim led the overall strategic direction and provided client counsel the communications campaign promoting nationwide adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) under the HITECH Act including the creation of HealthIT.gov. He is a member of the Mobile Marketing Association and Google’s Public Sector Advisory Council.
Follow him on Twitter: @tweinheimer
Michele Glaze is the VP of Resource Development & Marketing for the Boys & Girls Club of the Austin Area (BGCAA). She joined the organization in October 2016 following a career in marketing, communications and public affairs mostly in the high-tech industry.
In her role, Michele leads resource management including fund development programs, volunteer and donor management and marketing and public relations.
Prior to joining BGCAA, Michele served as the Director of Community Advancement at USAA and spent 17 years at Dell. While at Dell, she served in several marketing and communications roles ranging from the Dell Foundation to divisions within Dell including corporate responsibility, public affairs, corporate communications and services marketing. Michele has had numerous "firsts" and "industry leading" activities throughout her career. While at Dell, she changed the world one computer at a time through a computer donation program, create possibilities for hundreds of nonprofit organizations worldwide through philanthropic and employee engagement programs, effectively ended veteran homelessness in San Antonio and managed the response to Dell's first protest.
Michele is a graduate of The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations, and she currently serves on the Moody College of Communications Advisory Council. She has supported the community in numerous leadership roles including serving as president for the United Way of Williamson County, Cedar Park Public Library, Austin Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and the Texas Public Relations Society. She was featured as "Our Somebody" for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area in 2014. Michele is a graduate of Leadership Texas and Leadership Austin.
As the great, great, great granddaughter of the founding father of Rockne, Texas. Michele has a rich family history in Central Texas. She grew up in Bastrop and her family lineage is on display at the Lehman Log cabin and museum in Rockne. Michele lives in Austin with her husband Gordon and the joys of her life -- her son, Daniel, and his wife Ana and their daughter Lily; and son Patrick.
Follow her on Twitter: @Michele_Glaze
Olga Mayoral Wilson, APR, teaches Public Relations as a senior lecturer, at Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and volunteers as the Public Relations Director at The Center, since 2009. Mayoral Wilson is APR, Accredited in Public Relations by the Universal Accreditation Board of the Public Relations Society of America, and holds a Public Relations Professional License (Licensing #191-Puerto Rico, 10/10). Former communication advisor to CEOs at the “C” suite of major Fortune 500 corporations, Mayoral-Wilson brings diverse professional experience, career counseling and academic advising experience while leading communications programs in the State of Hawaii, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Puerto Rico, and Texas.
She graduated with a M.A. in International Studies from Old Dominion University, VA, and a B.A., English and French Literature, from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. She received the Puerto Rico Public Relations Association (ARPPR) “2007 PR Professional of the Year” Award; in 2004, the “Francisco ‘Paco’ Oller for Creativity in Public Relations” and the “EXCEL” in the Strategic & Crisis Communication Category” for her contributions as BPPR’s PR & Communications Division as Senior VP.
Follow her on Twitter: @OlgaMWilson