Ragan announces new advisory board of comms leaders

The group comprises experienced comms pros from a range of backgrounds, countries and industries.

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Ragan Communications has unveiled this year’s Ragan Advisory Board, comprised of accomplished communicators with expertise in internal communications, employee culture, DE&I, strategic communications and change management. Drawn from a wide range of industries and organizations worldwide, the board will help shape Ragan’s coverage and conference programming in the year ahead.

The board members will play a vital role in helping Ragan.com grow as an indispensable asset for comms pros of all stripes — with a common goal of informing and uplifting our audience and championing the industry.

In particular, the board will collaborate with the Ragan.com editorial team as it expands its content offerings to meet the demands and needs of time-strapped communicators. This board is one of three key advisories at Ragan Communications, along with the  Communications Week Advisory Board and the PR Daily Board – collectively serving more than 200,000 communications, marketing and HR professionals.

Ragan.com Board members include:

Kevin Berchou, head of internal communications, M&T Bank

Kevin Berchou serves as head of internal communications at M&T Bank. After joining the bank in 2003, he most previously served as their employee experience manager. With over 19 years of experience in the space, Berchou helped build M&T’s internal communication platform, CommunityONE, reaching over 18,000 employees while navigating the bank through a new hybrid remote work model and a recent merger. Prior to joining M&T Bank, Berchou was a golf journalist, where he covered the US Open and PGA Championship.

Ashley Bush, Director, Communications and Giving Back, Southwire

Ashley Bush is Southwire’s director of Communications and Giving Back. Ashley began her career at Southwire , one of North America’s largest cable and wire producers, in 2010. Since then, she has held a variety of responsibilities including employee communications, visual production, strategic planning, executive communications, crisis communication, brand management, media relations and community relations. In her current role, she leads Southwire’s Communications and Giving Back team and, since January of 2020, has served as the communication liaison for the company’s COVID-19 response team.

Lisa Claybon, VP of Communications, Compass

Lisa Claybon serves as vice president of Communications for Compass Group North America, the world’s largest foodservice and support services company, and its Chartwells K12 division that serves meals to students in more than 4,500 schools across the country. Since joining the company nearly five years ago, she has led strategic communications activities ranging from media relations and crisis management to guiding the company’s cross-functional COVID-19 Task Force.

Before joining Compass Group, Claybon spent 17 years with one of the top global communications firms, where she worked with some of the world’s most renowned brands. She has served as a media spokesperson, managed large-scale crisis situations, led M&A communications, and counseled countless corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Kristen Clonan, Partner, Finn Partners

Kristen Clonan is a corporate affairs, marketing and communications exec with integrated expertise across sectors and industries including tech, retail (CPG, FMCG & Convenience), food and beverage, real estate, travel, and media/live events. She’s garnered crossover talent, encompassing corporate and public affairs, brand, external relations (IR/PR), employee communications, stakeholder and social advocacy, project management, start-up ecosystems, alliances, and change management.

Prior to her current role at Finn Partners, she owned her own consultancy and worked for the multibillion-dollar travel experience retailer and developer Hudson, serving as vice president of corporate communications and marketing. During her tenure, aside from external relations, she was responsible for a historic rebrand, enterprise marketing and internal communications.

Cat Colella-Graham, Founder, Cheer Partners  

Cat Colella-Graham is the founder of Cheer Partners, an employee experience agency designed to revolutionize the day-to-day life of an organization’s most important stakeholders – their employees. In her deep experience as a chief human resources officer and internal communications expert, Colella-Graham saw a gap that needed to be bridged to drive forward a holistic, inclusive employee experience. She foresaw that a new generation of employees were finding their voices and that companies would need to change the frameworks in which they communicate and engage with employees. Cheer Partners was founded to address this growing need.

Matthew Coons, Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager, Xero

As the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) program manager for Xero, Coons is responsible for the D&I efforts in the northern hemisphere, including the US, Canada, the UK and EMEA. He is focused on driving a culture of inclusion through standing up Xero’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) program, developing organizational capability and implementing data-driven approaches to create systemic change within Xero. His D&I journey began in grocery retail at Delhaize America, then into health care at Kaiser Permanente, before joining the tech industry with Xero. His belief is that D&I should be woven into the fabric of Xero —  enabling people to live the values of #human and #beautiful every day. Coons received his BSBA in HR management from Appalachian State University along with his SHRM-SCP and PHR credentials.

Jenny DeVaughn, VP of Transformation Communications, ADP

Jenny DeVaughn leads communications for ADP’s transformation office and oversees global internal communications, working closely with a network of communicators throughout the company. DeVaughn creates and executes multi-channel communication strategies for leaders to inspire, connect and energize 58,000 associates who serve more than 920,000 clients in 140 countries in innovative ways.

When DeVaughn joined ADP in 2013, she brought creative recruiting strategies to employment branding and social media. She collaborates with executive leadership to develop and deploy leader-driven messaging and growth-focused transformation initiatives, including the Win as One strategy and goals. Jenny brings unmatched energy and a passion for driving results quickly. She is dedicated to the career growth and development of her team.

Doug Duvall, Assistant VP of Corporate Communications, Amtrak  

Doug Duvall currently heads up corporate communications at Amtrak and is responsible for employee communications, media relations, crisis communications, issues management, creative services and community outreach.

He managed a similar team at Sprint, which also included financial communications, social media and corporate social responsibility advocacy. Prior to joining Sprint, Duvall was senior director of Corporate Communications at Freddie Mac, where he managed media relations and helped the housing finance company navigate the financial crisis.

From 2002-2005 Duvall was an official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and served as director of Government and Industry Relations for Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest source of home financing.

He started his career at the White House managing public appearances and media.

Debra Helwig, Senior Internal Communications Manager, K·Coe Isom

Debra Helwig is the senior internal communications manager for K·Coe Isom, a Top 100 accounting and consulting firm serving the global food and agriculture industry. In her role, Helwig’s goal is to increase and inspire positive engagement among team members, connecting people for greater effectiveness. She reinforces the firm’s concept of “onefirmedness” by acting as internal brand ambassador, telling firm and team member’ stories, promoting successes and encouraging multi-directional communications.

She also serves as a process breaker, partnering with executive leadership in the successful development and communication of operations strategies and key initiatives such as employer branding, diversity & inclusion, and firm innovation. In addition to providing strategic communications leadership, Helwig manages the day-to-day execution of all internal communications and employee engagement activities, and oversees the firm’s intranet, company store and internal corporate events.

Patrick Holmes, Director of Internal Communications, UC-Berkley

Patrick Holmes is a strategic internal communications leader and consultant. He currently leads internal communications for one of the most recognized universities in the world. Holmes has experience leading internal communications for large, complex organizations in the health care and higher education sectors.

Jacek Lawrecki, Head of Communications, Poland, Fortum 

Jacek Lawrecki is an international public relations strategist with 20+ years of professional experience. His focus is media relations, crisis communications and reputation management. He believes in ethical approach to communications, which takes its roots in the values of individuals and companies.

Since 2012 he has been working for Fortum, a leading European energy company. He is in charge of communications in Poland, serving also as the company’s spokesperson. He has also coordinated communications activities in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Chelsey Louzeiro, Director of Internal Communications, Heifer International

Chelsey Louzeiro is the internal communications officer and digital workplace manager for Heifer International. Louzeiro has been with Heifer since February 2013, when she interned with global communications. She also has led the production and design of stewardship reports for major donors, corporations and foundations, as well as produced fundraising proposals and collateral.

Nathalie Santa Maria, Owner & Chief Communications Officer, Sunnyside Communications

Nathalie Santa Maria, APR (she/ella) is a public relations and nonprofit leader who started Sunnyside Communications after a decade of honing and integrating her creative, philanthropic and results-driven knowledge to effectively plan and execute communications campaigns. She has worked with a series of multinational companies and nonprofit organizations including Apple, Western Digital, Audi Latin America, Porsche Latin America, IPG Mediabrands and Monarch.

Her work with Monarch, a nonprofit behavioral health and long-term services provider in North Carolina, won PRSA Charlotte and The Arc of North Carolina awards for the Your Crisis Won’t Wait and Support Inclusion Saturday campaigns, respectively.

She also serves as the executive director for Leaves from Stella, a nonprofit Nathalie founded in honor of her late mother, Estela, that provides scholarships and a pen-friends program for young adults who have lost a parent or sibling.

Amanda Minto, Director of HR Communications, Technology, Product, Xperience, Comcast

Amanda Minto is the director of HR communications for Technology, Product, Xperience at Comcast, where she uses strategic communications to drive the employee experience and support the employee value proposition. Minto has extensive experience with crisis and issues management dealing with more than 100 reductions in force and reorgs, site closures/moves, product sunsets, employee accidents and facility incident preparedness, and most recently COVID-19 response and return to office planning. In her current role, she leads employee communications related to all things HR including organization culture, talent and career programs, people leader strategy and executive communications. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her wife, two kids and two dogs.

Johnna Muscente, VP, Communications and PR, The Corcoran Group

As the vice president of Communications and PR, Johnna Muscente oversees all public relations and internal communications efforts for Corcoran, leading a team of PR strategists charged with promoting the firm’s brokerage strength and global affiliate growth, while effectively communicating key milestones and business priorities to all agents and staff.

With 15+ years of public relations experience, and experience in storytelling beyond traditional campaigns, Muscente has built tailored PR strategies for well-known luxury brands across the fashion, publishing and travel industries. Her public relations career began at BPCM, where she worked on a roster of fashion clients including Derek Lam and Christian Lacroix; she also worked for the Hearst Corporation. Prior to Corcoran, Muscente was Vail Resorts’ director of Global Communications, where she led all international PR efforts for the ski industry giant across Australia, Europe, South America and the U K.

Lisa Noury, Director of U.S. Corporate Internal Communications, Bayer

Lisa Noury is director of Corporate Internal Communications for Bayer U.S., where she leads internal communications (IC) measurement for the U.S. including conducting country-wide research projects and co-creating IC strategy for Bayer’s country organization. Noury leads country-wide communications programs including pandemic response and Next Normal comms and efforts to externalize employee stories. Additionally, she is the strategic business partner to the Chief Financial Officer Organization and Law, Patents and Compliance department, collaborating with senior leaders and their teams on strategic IC to achieve business results.

Prior to Bayer, Noury held various leadership roles of increasing responsibility at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Noury began her career in cable television with leadership roles as program director, producer/director and operations manager of community, news and sports programming.

Amanda Ponzar, Chief Communications and Strategy Officer, Creating Healthier Communities

Amanda Ponzar has served as chief communications and strategy officer since August 2018 after originally joining CHC in August 2016 as VP of Communications and then chief marketing officer. She launched CHC’s Corporate Leadership Council of 30+ top social impact leaders from the NFL, Under Armour, Johnson & Johnson, Comcast and more; re-launched CHC’s brand, website and newsletter; created a suite of campaign resources and custom cause products; and developed multi-channel targeted marketing for top partners like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Doctors Without Borders. Ponzar has earned thousands of media placements for CHC and led the organization’s national CSR and Future of Health events.

Prior to joining CHC, Amanda held communications roles with top global nonprofits, including United Way Worldwide, Good360, and American Red Cross National Headquarters, as well as marketing roles with The Franklin Mint and other groups.

Sabrena Pringle, VP of Communications, American Diabetes Association

Sabrena Pringle is the VP of External Communications & Public Relations at the American Diabetes Association, which she joined in June 2018. With more than 10 years of experience in communications and social media strategy, she has contributed to the success of outreach programs for organizations such as The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Advancement Project, Zimbabwe Education Fund (ZEF) and Head Start.

During Pringle’s tenure at the Associated Press, she trained numerous reporters on the effective use of social media and how to properly use it to enhance their stories’ reach. Previously, Pringle served as the Communications and Social Media front-runner for the Head Start Information and Communication Center, a federally contracted program.

Aray Rivera, Internal Communications Lead, Cedar

Aray Rivera is an experienced communications professional with over a decade of knowledge in internal communications, employee engagement, public relations, project management and digital marketing throughout both the private and public sectors.

Aray is currently the internal communications lead at Cedar, helping support efforts to ensure employees have equitable, appropriate and timely access to company information, and are both engaged and inspired by Cedar’s mission, values and culture. Prior to working at Cedar, Aray led internal communications at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and Howard Brown Health, both national non-profit organizations. In these roles, he implemented and oversaw company intranets, improved employee communications, built effective cross-departmental relationships and led internal marketing campaigns.

Malin Teles, Communications Manager, EGGS Design

Malin H. Teles is the communications manager at EGGS Design, a design-driven innovations consultancy based in Scandinavia. Teles was born and raised in Sweden, but has spent over a decade living abroad, most recently spending 10 years in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she worked with communications for both international and local organizations. Her work focuses on all things strategic communications, with a particular emphasis on tying internal comms and culture to DE&I initiatives.

Troy P. Thompson, Personal Development and Leadership Consultant

Troy P. Thompson is a personal development and leadership consultant, partnering with direct-service organizations, trade associations and universities to provide professional development program consulting and training. He also is the chair of the Professional Development Committee at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, a workshop facilitator at Baruch College, and a Transformative Leadership Advisory Board member at Pace University.

A Harlem, New York native and first-generation college graduate, his passion is rooted in a first-hand understanding of how a lack of positive guidance can negatively affect one’s likelihood for success. He’s a noted advocate and writer on diversity, inclusion, and mental health topics. He also has held roles at the Public Relations Society of America and Havas PR. He remains a strategic advisor to the Museum of Public Relations.

Danielle Veira, Founder & CEO, Minerva’s Legacy

Danielle Veira is the senior vice president of communications, marketing, and membership at Advocates for Community Health (ACH) and the founder and CEO of Minerva’s Legacy Consulting Group, LLC. At ACH, Danielle leads the organization’s external communications, membership engagement, storytelling, and media outreach efforts. She was introduced to the organization through her work at Minerva’s Legacy Consulting Group, LLC where she provides leadership coaching and strategic communications services to clients across the country.

Before joining ACH in 2021 and returning to the nation’s capital to build her consultancy, Danielle was the director of communications and engagement at A Better Chicago. In her role, she led the venture philanthropy’s strategic communications, digital marketing, and thought leadership efforts.

Prior to moving to Chicago, Danielle spent more than a decade in Washington, DC working in nonprofit and advocacy communications, both in-house and at agencies. While at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) she worked diligently to orchestrate the organization’s strategic communications efforts. Her work focused on raising urgency around the diabetes epidemic, engaging policymakers, and telling the stories of the millions of Americans affected by this chronic illness. She herself has been living with type 1 diabetes for nearly 25 years.


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