2014 Officers & Committee Chairs

Officers

President

Amanda K. DeWeese, APR Thumbnail

Amanda K. DeWeese, APR

Carolina Public Relations/Marketing

adeweese@carolinapr.com
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Amanda Kirkpatrick DeWeese is an account supervisor with Carolina Public Relations & Marketing, a full-service PR firm based in Charlotte, N.C. Since joining the company in 2005, DeWeese has established herself as a trusted resource for clients and co-workers alike, providing candid, professional and ethical counsel. She provides strategic counsel and day-to-day communications support to an array of local and regional clients including Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Mecklenburg Utility Department, Arts & Science Council, 7-Eleven and Spay Neuter Charlotte.

In addition to serving as president of PRSA Charlotte, DeWeese has served as president-elect/programming chair, treasurer, secretary and on a number of chapter committees including awards, communications, New Professionals (formerly Young Professionals) and the Southeast District Conference planning committee. She was the recipient of the PRSA Charlotte Young Professional Award in 2009 and earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in the spring of 2011. She is also a graduate of the Dale Carnegie course.

Prior to coming to Charlotte, she was public relations and special events coordinator for the Charleston, S.C.–landmark Drayton Hall Plantation. She is a proud graduate of College of Charleston.

Vice President/Professional Development

Jennifer Darwin, APR Thumbnail

Jennifer Darwin, APR

Bank of America

jennifer.darwin@bankofamerica.com
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Jennifer Darwin works as a Senior Vice President and Corporate Communications Manager for Bank of America within their Chief Financial Officer Group. Jennifer Darwin works as a Senior Vice President and Corporate Communications Manager for Bank of America within their Chief Financial Officer group. In this role, she provides internal and external communications counsel for leaders and employees in the Global Corporate Services team. Global Corporate Services includes more than 800 employees globally and is responsible for managing tens of thousands of vendors, more than 10,000 negotiated contracts, and nearly 109 million square feet of real estate in 50 countries and territories in more than 6,800 facilities. Jennifer joined Bank of America in 2008 and has worked in the financial industry for most of her career in corporate communications.

Jennifer is an active member of the Charlotte Public Relations Society of America and has earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), a voluntary certification program for public relations professionals, that signifies a demonstrated broad knowledge, experience, competence and professional judgment in the field. Outside of work, she enjoys mentoring young professionals, volunteering with children and regular exercise when time permits. Jennifer grew up in Charlotte, N.C. and still lives there with her husband and children.

Treasurer

Christy  Phillips-Brown, APR Thumbnail

Christy Phillips-Brown, APR

Delhaize America

christy.phillips.brown@gmail.com
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Christy is the director of external communications at Delhaize America.

Secretary

Sharon Harmon, APR Thumbnail

Sharon Harmon, APR

Novant Health

sharmon@novanthealth.org
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Sharon Harmon is manager, internal communications for Novant Health, greater Charlotte market. She previously was manager, PR and media at Novant Health. She also has served as director of marketing and PR for Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill and worked in marketing-communications for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Charlotte Regional Partnership. She has 20 years of PR/communications experience and has spent half her career working in the healthcare industry.

Assembly Delegate (2014)

Natalia A. Flores, APR Thumbnail

Natalia A. Flores, APR

Fusion Communications

Natalia@fusioncomminc.com
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A native of Argentina, Natalia A. Flores, APR, has spent a decade as a public relations and marketing professional developing communications strategies for the U.S., U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets. Flores has experience with local, national and international communications outreach while working at top-notch global agencies Burson-Marsteller and Porter Novelli in Florida. She is currently a director at Fusion Communications, a public relations boutique agency with an in-depth understanding of Latin American and U.S. Hispanic audiences. Clients have included VMware, Samsung, MasterCard Worldwide, SAP, Office Depot, Latin GRAMMYs and Batanga.

She is a graduate from Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and is accredited in public relations. Flores is a current board member of the Charlotte chapter of PRSA, Treasurer for the Southeast District and is a past president of the Miami chapter of PRSA. She is also an advisory board member for The Center for Global Public Relations at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Flores is bilingual in English and Spanish. She recently relocated to Charlotte, NC with her husband and 4 year old daughter.

Assembly Delegate (2015)

Betsy Alley Conway, APR Thumbnail

Betsy Alley Conway, APR

Duke Energy

betsy.conway@duke-energy.com
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Betsy Conway is the manager of Charlotte community affairs and sports marketing at Duke Energy. In this role, she leads the company’s philanthropic strategy and is responsible for sports marketing governance and management of corporate sponsorships and hospitality venues. Before assuming this role in Sept. 2012, she served as a communications manager and spokesperson for the company’s regulated utility in North Carolina.

Prior to joining Duke Energy, she served as a management consultant to Duke Energy’s nuclear generation department and worked in the corporate communications and enterprise process improvement departments at General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products. Her work has received two PRSA silver anvil awards for excellence in internal communications in 2007 and 2010.

In addition to serving on the PRSA Charlotte board, she serves on the board of the Junior League of Charlotte and the Leadership Charlotte marketing committee. She is also a member of the Mint Museum Auxiliary and the Arts and Science Council’s Young Donors Society. Conway has a M.S. in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University and a B.A. in journalism from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Assembly Delegate (2016)

Towanda Long Thumbnail

Towanda Long

Charlotte Pipe and Foundry

tlong@charlottepipe.com
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Towanda Long is a Sr. Marketing Communications Specialist for Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company. In this role she manages public relations and marketing projects, social media initiatives and works closely with the company’s advertising agency.

Prior to relocating to Charlotte, Towanda was a Marketing Associate for Amper, a large Northeast Accounting Firm. At Amper she was responsible for all public relations and marketing campaigns in the Northern New Jersey office.

Her work experience includes corporate communications for various midsize companies and project management at Landor Associates, a branding firm, where her accounts included Procter & Gamble and Philip Morris.

Towanda graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a dual degree in Public Relations and Print Journalism, and a minor in Business. She is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America, serving nationally as a Silver Anvil Judge. She is the Marketing Committee Chairperson for the US Green Building Council – North Carolina Chapter and a member of Mocha Moms. Towanda is married with three beautiful girls.

Directors At Large

Anthony Bolton Thumbnail

Anthony Bolton

Bank of America

boltonotlob@yahoo.com
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Anthony Bolton is a Communication Manager at Bank of America supporting the Global Treasury Services organization. In this role, he is responsible for managing all aspects of communications, both internal and external, in support of the organization's strategic plan. Before joining Bank of America in 1997, Bolton worked as a freelance writer for various art and urban culture publications in the Charlotte area.

In addition to serving on the PRSA Charlotte board, Bolton helps coordinate membership events as part of the chapter's membership committee program. He also holds a position on the board for Charlotte Viewpoint and volunteers with The First Tee of Charlotte. Bolton has a B.A. in English from Winthrop University.

Akilah Luke Garvin Thumbnail

Akilah Luke Garvin

Dixon Hughes Goodman

akilahluke@gmail.com
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Akilah Luke Garvin has more than 10 years of public relations and marketing experience with local and international organizations. Garvin is a Senior Communications & Community Relations Specialist for Dixon Hughes Goodman, the largest certified public accounting firm headquartered in the Southern U.S. and the 14th largest in United States.

She has spearheaded national media relations campaigns for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, where she supported media coordination for the Charlotte episode of Extreme Maker Over: Home Addition. Garvin also assisted with various capital campaign press conferences, which included a national $6 million donation from Bank of America and $1 million donation from Crosland, LLC.

After working with Habitat for Humanity, she joined News Generation, a communication services company, based in Washington, D.C. At News Generation Garvin was responsible for handling marketing relations, social networking, and external communication.

A Minnesota native, she has a M.A. in Publication Design from The University of Baltimore and a B.A. in Mass Communications from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC.

Raymond Jones Thumbnail

Raymond Jones

Carolinas HealthCare System

raymond.jones@carolinashealthcare.org
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Ray Jones was named Executive Managing Editor at Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) in January 2012. His primary duties include executive communications and editorial oversight of print and online publications. He previously served as Director of Public Relations and Senior Media Relations Specialist at CHS, having joined the organization in 2004.

Before entering healthcare, Jones was the principal of Media Ink Communications, a public relations consulting firm in Kansas City. He also headed up the public relations departments at Monmouth University (West Long Branch, NJ), Winthrop University (Rock Hill, SC) and William Jewell College (Liberty, MO). Prior to his career in public relations, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor and served as executive director of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

Jones is a longstanding member of PRSA and received the Charlotte Chapter's Infinity Award in 2008.

JR Rochester Thumbnail

JR Rochester

Make Me Social

trulyjr@gmail.com
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Jonathan (JR) Rochester is a Community Manager at Make Me Social, a full-service Social Marketing Agency based in St. Augustine, FL. He has a passion for digital communication, social media, interpersonal communication and international relations. He has had the opportunity to work with the integration of social media, community building digitally and locally, in-depth experience planning and implementing digital product marketing strategies, local public relations and grass roots efforts, client and brand reputation management, and event planning and marketing.

He is a graduate from East Carolina University's School of Communication and is an active member of the Charlotte Chapter of PRSA. Rochester is a current National board member for the New Professional's Section of PRSA, as well as an executive board member for Social Media Charlotte.

Christina Thigpen, APR Thumbnail

Christina Thigpen, APR

The Bissell Companies

cthigpen@bissell-companies.com
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Christina Thigpen, APR, has 10 years of experience in public relations and marketing communications. Thigpen is the director of marketing and public relations for The Bissell Companies, a collection of closely affiliated organizations specializing in commercial development, office leasing, property management, hotels, golf and spa.

Prior to joining The Bissell Companies in her current role, Thigpen served as the public relations public relations manager for The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge. Before that, Thigpen worked in entertainment marketing at Edelman and corporate communications at Lifetime Television.

In addition to serving as a director at large for PRSA Charlotte, she is the chair of the Leadership Development Institute for the Junior League of Charlotte. Thigpen holds a M.S. in hospitality management from the University of South Carolina and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Immediate Past President

Jean Leier, APR Thumbnail

Jean Leier, APR

Charlotte Area Transit System

jleier@ci.charlotte.nc.us
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Jean Leier, APR, is the Manager of Public and Community Relations for the Charlotte Area Transit System or CATS. Jean directs a team in both internal and external strategic communications including public involvement, stakeholder relations, media relations, crisis communications and reputation management.

She served as the Charlotte PRSA 2013 President, President Elect/Programming Chair, Treasurer, Director At Large, Membership Chair and PR for PR. Leier earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2011.

She currently leads a city-wide team of communicators involved in the building of the LYNX Blue Line Extension. During the 2012 Democratic National Convention she was the Joint Information Center Manager for the City and County and led CATS communications for the relocation of the transit center and realignment of services. Prior to joining CATS, she was in television news with her last stop at WSOC TV, Channel 9, in Charlotte. Jean is an active volunteer with The Relatives, recently finishing a 5-year board of directors’ term, serving two of those years as Board President.

Committee Chairs

Accreditation

Betsy Alley Conway, APR

Duke Energy

betsy.conway@duke-energy.com

Christy Phillips-Brown, APR

Delhaize America

christy.phillips.brown@gmail.com

Communications

Jessica Ernstberger

Carolina Public Relations/Marketing

jernstberger@carolinapr.com

Enewsletter

Chrissy Mickler

Carolinas HealthCare System

cmickler17@gmail.com

Diversity

Natalia A. Flores, APR

Fusion Communications

Natalia@fusioncomminc.com

Ethics

Raymond Jones

Carolinas HealthCare System

raymond.jones@carolinashealthcare.org

Job Bank

Danni Dichito

ddichito@gmail.com

Meeting Arrangements

Jessica Ernstberger

Carolina Public Relations/Marketing

jernstberger@carolinapr.com

Membership

Akilah Luke Garvin

Dixon Hughes Goodman

akilahluke@gmail.com

New Professionals

Mandy Drakeford

amanda.drakeford@gmail.com

Public Relations

Sharon Harmon, APR

Novant Health

sharmon@novanthealth.org

Social Media

JR Rochester

Make Me Social

trulyjr@gmail.com

Southeast District Conference

Christina Thigpen, APR

The Bissell Companies

cthigpen@bissell-companies.com

Website

Amanda K. DeWeese, APR

Carolina Public Relations/Marketing

adeweese@carolinapr.com

Brandon Uttley, APR

Sales Performance International

buttley@spisales.com

Volunteer Opportunities

Melanie Davis, APR

Carolinas HealthCare System

melaniek.davis@yahoo.com