The Department of Public Relations Advisory Council is a group of industry professionals that provides regular advice and counsel to faculty, staff and students of the Department of Public Relations at UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. It advises Department educators, administrators and future public relations professionals about the direction of, changes in and needs of the public relations discipline. This includes, but is not limited to, input about curriculum, careers, professional development, funding and research opportunities to advance individual and Department goals.
Keith Bowermaster (Chair)
Former Vice President – Communication, WellStar Health System
Keith Bowermaster is a highly accomplished communications professional with 20-plus years of success in healthcare education and agency communications. He has served as a vital member of senior-level teams responsible for creating and implementing communications and marketing plans tailored to target audiences on a local, national and global level and has proven strengths in building and maintaining positive relationships.
Keith is formerly vice president of communications for WellStar Health System, the largest health system in the state of Georgia. Originally from Miami, Fla., Keith earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of Miami.
Vice President, Global Communications – U.S. Pharmacopeia
Rob Anderson is Vice President, Global Communications, for USP. In this role, he guides strategic communications initiatives to strengthen relationships with important stakeholder audiences, promote our scientific work and product offerings, and improve understanding of our impact on global health around the world. He oversees teams focused on communications and media relations, digital engagement, marketing and promotions and creative services.
Mr. Anderson earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from Wake Forest University. He serves on the board of the Cross Cultural Healthcare Program and is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Bridget L. Braxton
Senior Vice President, Head of Regional Communications, Wells Fargo & Company
Spanning a PR career of more than 20 years, Bridget Braxton has a diverse background with experience at internal public relations agencies including Ketchum and Weber Shandwick, and Fortune 500 global corporations including AT&T, Dell Computer, Nortel Networks, Sprint, Texas Instruments and Wells Fargo. Currently, Bridget serves as senior vice president, corporate communications for Wells Fargo Regional Banking which serves customers in 39 states and Washington D.C. In this role, she leads a team of 40+ public relations professionals who manage local market communications for Wells Fargo’s 80+ businesses.
Bridget is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a Bachelor of Journalism degree and a Master of Arts in Communication. She resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.
CCO – Carnival Cruise Line
Chris Chiames is chief communications officer for Carnival Cruise Line. He previously held executive positions at American Airlines, US Airways, Orbitz Worldwide and Sabre, and led the travel and tourism public affairs practice at Burson-Marsteller. Chris holds a B.A. in journalism from California State University, Fresno, an M.A. in journalism from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has been honored by the Public Relations Society of America and the California State University, Fresno School of Mass Communications, among others and is a member of the Arthur Page Society for senior communications executives.
VP of Global Communications & Corporate Marketing – Medtronic
Rob Clark is Vice President of Global Corporate Communications for Medtronic, Inc., the world’s leading medical technology company. In this role, Rob leads Medtronic’s global public relations, internal communications, corporate marketing, social media and philanthropy teams worldwide. His group works to advance Medtronic’s key business objectives through innovative, compelling and integrated communication and philanthropic programs and strategies. Previously, Rob served as the Vice President of Healthcare Modernization for Optum, the multi-billion dollar services and IT support business of UnitedHealth Group. Media Group.
Communications Consultant – J Clary PR
Since graduating from the University of Florida in 2003, Jeannie Clary has provided strategic communications and storytelling expertise to a broad scope of private and public companies across industries.. As an independent consultant based in Clearwater, Fla., Jeannie works as an integrated team member within agencies and corporations around the country to provide strategic communications planning and implementation expertise. Prior to starting her consultancy, Jeannie served on account teams at Weber Shandwick and boutique agencies in Atlanta and Tampa, and served in-house directing all U.S. public relations efforts for global insurance solutions provider Crawford & Company.
CEO and Co-founder – Peppercomm
Named one of 50 Game-Changers of PR for 2017 by PRNews, Steve is responsible for overall agency direction and management, new business development, new product development and agency marketing. Most recently, Steve pioneered the creation of the agency’s insights and strategy group, an internal consultancy at Peppercomm that bridges proprietary research and program activation to serve both current accounts and business development initiatives. Additionally, he is a member of The Northeastern University Corporation, the College of Charleston’s Department of Communication Advisory Council, vice chair of the Institute for Public Relations, and board member of the PRSA Counselors Academy.
Vice President of Brand Communications – Hilton
Craig Dezern is Vice President of Brand Communications at Hilton. In his role, Dezern leads global communications across Hilton’s 14 industry-leading brands as well as for the award-winning Hilton Honors loyalty program. Prior to joining Hilton, Dezern spent more than 20 years as a communications leader at the Walt Disney Company. Most recently, Dezern led a team of more than 100 professionals driving earned, owned, social and promotional media campaigns for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a family vacation business that spans three continents and includes six world-class vacation destinations and a top-rated family cruise line. Before joining Disney, Craig was an award-winning journalist for The Orlando Sentinel, earning national accolades for feature writing, environmental reporting and public service.
Executive Vice President, Partner – rbb Communications
Driving big headlines and creating attention-grabbing events for national brands, Tina Elmowitz leads rbb Communications’ consumer practice. As a 24-year veteran, Tina has been instrumental in developing and executing award-winning client campaigns, including Hampton by Hilton, Bank of America, Disney on Ice, M&M’s and Miami Marlins. Tina also drives rbb’s talent management to ensure best practices carry through to staff development and overall satisfaction. She believes that happy employees create happy clients. rbb Communications consistently ranks among the nation’s top communications firms and is often honored by top business organizations as a “Best Place to Work.” Tina graduated from UF’s School of Journalism, is a member of The Commonwealth Institute’s Broward Forum and has guest lectured at University of Miami, Florida International University and Florida Memorial University.
Vice President, Corporate Communications – IDEX Co.
Ann Fahey-Widman, APR, is vice president of corporate communications for IDEX Corporation and president and CEO of Monarch Communications, LLC, a communications consulting and media/messaging coaching firm. A nationally award-winning communications practitioner, Ann has more than 25 years of experience developing and leading strategic corporate communications and reputation management programs for FORTUNE 500 companies, as well as for associations and non-profit organizations. She spent the last 15+ years managing corporate communications efforts for major health care/pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer/Hospira, Medline and Abbott. She has also led communications efforts for consumer packaged goods brands including for the iconic Kellogg Company.
Rosanna M. Fiske
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications – Wells Fargo & Company, Florida Region and the Southeast U.S.
Widely known for her cross-cultural understanding and expertise, Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, Fellow PRSA, is Vice President of Corporate Communications, leading all communications for Wells Fargo & Co.’s Florida Region. A nationally recognized executive with more than 25 years of experience developing comprehensive marketing communications, brand positioning, advertising, and public relations strategies, Fiske has a proven track record driving successful, multi-channel campaigns working with some of the world’s leading brands such as Charles Schwab, American Airlines, GE, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Absolut Vodka, Visa USA and MTV Networks. She was the first Latina CEO of the Public Relations Society of America and was named one of the Top 100 Influential Hispanics in America by Hispanic Business Magazine.
Principal, Jameson Communications
Heather Jameson is a senior communications professional who specializes in health and science—working with nonprofits, federal agencies and businesses. Her work has included projects for the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Children’s National Health System, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Prior to founding her own firm, she was vice president of communications for Research!America, a nonprofit advocating for federal funding and policies that advance health and medical research. Earlier, she held senior positions at international public relations consultancies, including Ogilvy and Ketchum. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College in North Carolina.
Vice President, Corporate Communications & Government Relations – Bloomin’ Brands
Cathie Koch is the Vice President of Corporate Communications & Government Relations for Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., the parent company for Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. She joined Bloomin’ Brands following an eight-year tenure with Arby’s Restaurant Group, where she created a Corporate Communications function and provided strategic direction for a full-service communications department. She also created the franchised brand’s first 24/7 crisis communication team. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and an accreditation in public relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America.
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs – Walt Disney World Resort
Rena Langley is the senior vice president of Walt Disney World Public Affairs. Rena oversees public relations, external communications, internal communications, executive communications and corporate citizenship for the Walt Disney World Resort as well as government and industry relations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Rena has a deep breadth of experience in communications, most recently as the vice president of Public Affairs for Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations, which includes Disney Vacation Club, Adventures by Disney and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida.
Managing Director – WORLDCOM Public Relations Group
Todd Lynch is the first managing director of WORLDCOM Public Relations group, the world’s leading partnership of independently owned public relations firms. He sets strategy and direction for the company and elevates shared best practices and knowledge so that client-communication programs have immediate impact and lasting value. Because of his 20-plus years in leadership positions in PR and integrated-communications agencies, he has a demonstrated track record in leading clients and staff in today’s rapidly evolving PR and communications marketplace.
Former Director of Public Affairs – NASA Kennedy Space Center
Lisa Malone, APR, CPRC, has more than 30 years of experience at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and served in all roles of Public Affairs, including Director, to provide widespread dissemination about the space agency’s accomplishments to the public. She also served as an instructor at the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication. Highlights of her career include managing all aspects of NASA Public Affairs news media operations, television, web, social media, exhibits, public information, freedom of information, crisis plans, spokesperson role and internal communications. She arranged key events to engage the public and media around Space Shuttle, planetary and Earth observing launches, commercial launches to the International Space Station, flight hardware showings, and other high profile events.
President and CEO, Institute for Public Relations
Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, is the President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), an independent research nonprofit foundation, founded in 1956, devoted to research that matters to the profession. Formerly, she was a tenured associate professor at Appalachian State University and has 15 years of experience teaching at several universities, including University of Florida, Cal Poly Pomona, University of Vermont, and Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok, Thailand. McCorkindale is the former director of IPR’s Social Science of Social Media Research Center. Tina received her Ph.D. in communication with an outside cognate in enrollment management and educational psychological statistics from the University of Miami.
Senior Vice President, Director, Public Policy Team – Burness Communications
Ben Milder, Senior Vice President and Director of the Public Policy Team, joined Burness in 1999. He leads the company’s policy initiatives with non-profit organizations, developing and implementing strategies to advance our clients’ ideas in the policy world. His work involves regular contact with Congress, the executive branch, interest groups, professional associations and think tanks. The Policy team supports a wide array of the company’s clients across a diverse set of issues in health and health care, from combatting the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic to advancing transformative ideas to improve the health of vulnerable populations to spreading new models of medical education and care delivery.
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications – Humana
Thomas T. Noland, Jr. is Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for Humana Inc., a FORTUNE 100 health and well-being company based in Louisville, Ky. In the past decade Tom and his Humana team have earned a Silver Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America, a Gold Quill from the International Association of Business Communicators, and numerous PRSA Bronze Anvils. Tom joined Humana in 1984 after a 12-year career as an award-winning newspaper reporter, including stints with the Tampa Bay (then St. Petersburg) Times, the Anniston (Alabama) Star, and as a Paris-based foreign correspondent for the Atlanta Constitution, the Miami Herald and USA TODAY. A Connecticut native, Tom is a 1975 graduate of Yale University (B.A. magna cum laude, with honors in history). He and his wife, Vivian Ruth Sawyer, have two grown children.
Senior Vice President, Powell Tate
Karen Oliver specializes in leading education and awareness and marketing campaigns and has extensive experience developing integrated communications programs to drive behavior change. She has overseen strategic planning, media relations and issues management for a range of clients, including the Internal Revenue Service, Public Broadcasting Service, and Bank of America. In 2011, PR News named Karen the “Public Affairs Professional of the Year.” At Weber Shandwick, Karen works with clients such as the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), the International Conservation Partnership (ICP) and the American Automobile Association.
Karen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Florida.
Owner/President – Pitch Publicity
Amy Summers launched Pitch Publicity in 2003, with a focus on the media’s needs for newsworthy stories and extreme deadlines. Her approach has always been focused on crafting a newsworthy pitch that complements her clients’ goals while satisfying the journalist’s need for a compelling story. Credited with strategizing publicity campaigns and live interviews at the only underwater scientific laboratory on the planet (63 feet beneath the sea) to the highest point of the planet during a Mount Everest summit (21,000 feet above sea level), Summers’ publicity campaigns have resulted in billions of media impressions for international clientele in multiple industries.
CEO – Prime Research
Chief Insights Officer – Cision
Mark Weiner joined PRIME as CEO in 2008. Since 1993, Mark has helped many of the world’s greatest organizations to demonstrate and generate a positive return on their investment in public relations. Weiner belongs to the Arthur W. Page Society and The Institute for Public Relation for which he serves as a Trustee and Chairman of the Measurement Commission. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Museum of Public Relations. Weiner sits on the advisory boards of The Strategist, CommPRO and PR News. He frequently speaks and writes on the topics of PR return-on-investment, corporate reputation and integrated marketing communication. Weiner is a member of the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame.
Rachel Wormser Katz
Founder and CEO – RBK+co
Rooted in hospitality, Rachel Wormser Katz has built a career on the development of some of the strongest hospitality brands in the country including BLT restaurants, and international vegan fast-casual brand by CHLOE. Upon graduating from the University of Florida with a BS in Public Relations, Rachel moved to New York City to work at award-winning agency Baltz & Company, before transitioning in-house with the Mother Earth Group in Charlotte, NC; SD26 in New York City; and then as Vice President at ESquared Hospitality overseeing all Marketing and PR efforts.
Rachel founded RBK+co in 2019, a strategic marketing and communications consulting firm based in Atlanta, GA.
Vice President and Global Chief Communications Officer – Royal Caribbean
Communications veteran Rob Zeiger joined Royal Caribbean in 2013, and is responsible for the company’s corporate and executive positioning, brand public relations, employee communications, CSR programs and crisis communications. Before moving to Miami, he also served as the top communications executive for both the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League and global direct-selling leader Amway Corp., where he was the driving force behind a comprehensive rewrite of the company’s approach to public communications. He has worked in Detroit government and politics, leading communications and special projects for Michigan Democratic legend Ed McNamara, and was a leader of the Detroit office of Weber Shandwick.
Managing Partner – Zucker Lewis Media Group
As a managing partner at Zucker Lewis Media Group, Valerie’s work involves helping clients with promotions, campaigns or special events in the automotive, entertainment, sports and charitable worlds. Zucker Lewis Media Group is a savvy communications agency that delivers results-delivering public relations, marketing and digital campaigns for companies looking to strengthen their brand and connect with their audiences in a creative and compelling way.