PRSA Oregon announces 2021 Board leadership nominees

As we round the corner on 2020 (what a year!), we’re looking forward to welcoming a new PRSA Oregon Board leadership team to carry forth our mission, realize our vision, and broaden our impact in the coming year.

Below is the full slate of candidates — be sure to vote by November 13, and tune into our annual meeting on November 19 to meet the new Board! (Details to follow regarding our annual meeting agenda and videoconference information.)


Judy Asbury, APR, Fellow PRSA
Assistant Dean, Communications and External Relations
Lewis & Clark Law School

Judy Asbury oversees all law school communications and manages the development team at Lewis & Clark Law School. Working closely with the Dean of the law school, Asbury creates communications designed to enhance the school’s reputation, and inspire its alumni to engage and support the school.

Prior to moving to Portland in 2016, Asbury founded the award-winning communications agency Smith Asbury Inc. in the greater Los Angeles area and managed its success for 20+ years. Asbury and her firm were recognized for strategic counsel and creative campaigns for a variety of clients in higher education, healthcare, financial, law, business, and nonprofits.

In 2012, Asbury focused on serving higher educational institutions, notably for Caltech and the University of La Verne.  

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

The events of 2020 have created a unique opportunity for communicators. First, because of the disruption created by the pandemic, the veil of our denial of inequities in our society has been ripped off. We now see how our policies, systems and yes, communications have created our current situation. Secondly,  we see that we are all connected.  And, thirdly, no one has the answers.  This uncertainty gives us a new position to provide advice and counsel to the leaders of our organizations. Our organizations need our skills of listening, building bridges of understanding and building relationships among people of diverse viewpoints. I want PRSA Oregon to empower its members to do step up and do that.


Immediate Past President

Brad Hilliard, APR, CLU

Brad Hilliard, APR is the Public Information Officer for the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, the state’s largest consumer protection agency where he manages communications for the state insurance commissioner and regulator of financial products and services. His public relations career spans 12 years, serving as a public affairs specialist, government relations manager, media relations manager, and public information officer.

Before coming to Oregon in 2009, Brad began his career Tennessee. He then spent six years in Michigan and Colorado, where his work centered on natural disaster communications and legislative grassroots engagement. 

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

This organization means a lot to me and I am honored to give back. 2021 will be my fifth year on the board. I love this organization. I love the people I have met, and I love how PRSA continuously pushes me to be a better communicator.


Nominee for President-Elect

Meghan Gardner
Vice President, PR
Matter, Inc.

As head of the Portland office for Matter, Meghan brings both an eye for detail and clarity of strategic vision to every client program. Her media relations, C-suite communications counsel, and messaging strategy skills have delivered exceptional results for brands from Netflix and Nordstrom to Avid Technologies, Acme Packets (now part of Oracle), Eli Lilly and Company, and the Business Roundtable. Here in Oregon, she oversees a team of 15 servicing clients in a variety of industries, including B2B technology, information security, financial services, manufacturing, food and beverage, consumer services, and marketing technology.

Meghan’s career spans two decades, two continents, and both U.S. coasts. Her yoga mat comes with her everywhere she goes. And at last count, Meghan owned five library cards. She lives in Southeast Portland with her husband, daughter, and wirehaired pointing griffon (a very fine name for a very goofy dog).

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021: 

I want to continue to help this organization achieve sustainability and grow. Specifically, I hope to lead this team in three key areas: 1) Helping increase overall membership as well as engagement with existing members, 2) implementing our commitment to DEI initiatives, and 3) Engaging with a broader range of PR professionals, including PR agencies, in the coming year.


Nominee for Secretary

Tom Fuller, APR
Communications Manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation

Tom oversees a group of professional communicators across the state that assists the agency in communication planning, messaging, public outreach, education, web, social media, video and graphics, and media relations. Tom is a 20 year veteran and Emmy® winning television journalist and communications professional with over 19 years of experience in state government. He has won numerous public relations awards including a 2017 Award of Excellence and the “Best of Show” award for the 2016 National Association of Government Communicators Blue Pencil Awards. 

Tom serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Government Communicators. Tom also serves as the chair of the state of Oregon Egovernance Board, which oversees the website. Tom holds an accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America. 

He is a national speaker on content and visual engagement strategies as well as communications planning and measurement. Tom holds a BA degree in Communications Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In addition, he is the published author of five books on Oregon history and a licensed drone pilot. 

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

Giving back is one of my life values. I’ve received so much from my peers and colleagues at PRSA that it’s only fitting that I return the favor. The networking, professional development and friendship opportunities are so abundant with our chapter. My goal is to help facilitate and improve the great things the chapter offers, and to bring more into the organization. After working in marketing practically my whole career, PRSA introduced me to the APR, which I obtained in January of 2020. Best thing I ever did. I’m now a strong advocate for this accreditation and serving on the board allows me to sing the praises of APR more broadly!


Nominee for Treasurer

Carissa Sauer, APR

Carissa Sauer is a passionate, driven, mid-level communications professional with over 14 years of progressive responsibility and leadership in all facets of corporate communications and public relations. She has worked in Washington, Oregon and California for a check-off program, specialty crop commodity board, architecture firm, boutique PR agency and a national CPG food company.

Carissa is committed to authentic and value-based communication. She also believes in fostering talent, and currently mentors several professionals. Her volunteer work over the years includes both the Oregon and Sacramento chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, the Oregon Agri-Business Council, the Honey Bee Health Coalition and the American Red Cross|Blood Services.

In 2013, she was nationally accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). 

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

I have been a long-time member of the PRSA Oregon chapter and am very thankful for the support, education and general networking the organization provides. My previous volunteer roles with the board include Director-at-Large Conferences in 2013 and Director-at-Large Volunteers in 2012. I’ve also served on APR panels, judged awards for other chapters and assisted with various events.

I’m eager to give back on a deeper level and would be proud to serve as your Treasurer in 2021!


Nominees for Communications Co-Directors

Taraneh Fultz, APR
Integrated Marketing Programs Manager
Cambia Health Solutions

Taraneh Fultz, APR, is a fifth-generation San Franciscan (and Giants fan) who loves PR, hates the snow and makes the best baklava – ever.

Currently, she serves as integrated marketing programs manager at Cambia Health Solutions. Previous positions with the organization include field marketing analyst and senior field marketing analyst. Taraneh also chairs Cambia’s employee resource group for female employees, the Women’s Employee Leadership Lab (WELL). Her contributions have resulted in features in Portland Monthly and awards from Forbes, the Portland Business Alliance and Mogul.

Taraneh is accredited in public relations by the Universal Accreditation Board, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Oregon and a certificate in project management from Portland State University. In 2007, she was awarded the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Portland Metro Chapter’s New Professional of the Year, and a decade later, she received the PRSA Oregon Chapter’s Olga M. Haley Mentorship Award. She has held board positions with PRSA and the American Marketing Association, including as (the first millennial) board chair of PRSA’s Portland Metro Chapter and PRSA’s North Pacific District.

Taraneh lives in Southeast Portland with her family and is a founding member of the Ambassador Board of Albertina Kerr, Oregon’s oldest non-profit. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @taranehfultz.

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

I’ve invested 15 years of volunteer service into the Chapter and my fellow members. PRSA is a safe place for communications professionals to be seen, valued and nurtured. And with all that’s going on, I want to have that space for myself, and I want to be that space for others, so that our close-knit community can flex its resilience and expertise to help our families, our communities and our organizations navigate our way through. And, hopefully, have some fun along the way.


Joshua Paul Romero

Joshua is passionate about educating and engaging the community through his role as Communications Manager for the City of Bend, the fastest growing mid-sized city in the nation. His public relations and communications career has spanned higher education, public health, medical device and government. Early in his career, Joshua was Membership co-chair for the national PRSA New Professionals Committee. He’s been nationally recognized as a Council for Advancement Support of Education Simpson-Scarborough Scholar and has won regional and national awards for his newsletter writing and editing. Joshua currently serves on the board of United Way of Central Oregon. He’s previously served on the Latino Community Association Advocacy Committee and on the Inclusive Innovation Initiative. Joshua is excited to bring “east of the Cascades” representation to PRSA Oregon, and deepen his connection with the chapter and members through board service.

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

I want to serve on the 2021 PRSA Oregon board because I want to help keep our members engaged with the chapter and ensure we are representing the diversity of voices and experiences we all bring to the table. I believe we do our best work when we educate, engage and excite the publics we serve. I want to share this philosophy and passion with the board and our chapter.


Nominees for Professional Development Co-Directors

Marsha Sanchez

My name is Marsha. I have over ten years of experience in getting to understand people. Either in customer service or in volunteer work. I love navigating to communicate with people. I love learning new ways to best meet people where they are so that they can equitably consume information. 

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

I want to help create opportunities for the BIPOC community have a seat at the table. Growth is only possible  during  moments of discomfort. Let’s work together to make a bigger table and make the communications field reflect the consumers that want to engage with us.


Heather Back
Communications and Policy

Heather Back is a get-it-done gal with experience in cause marketing, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder engagement, and corporate communications in for-profit, nonprofit and government settings. She manages communications and policy development for Metro’s Visitor Venues — the Oregon Convention Center, Portland Centers for the Arts, Portland Expo Center and the Oregon Zoo – building awareness of their significant economic return for the region from hosting conventions, exhibits and events that draw visitors and tourism dollars into the community. Back assists with development of strategic business opportunities, government and community affairs as well as media and public relations efforts. Travel and tourism is a deep passion of hers, having also been a publisher for visitor bureaus for Portland Monthly and San Diego Magazines. Her experience and passion provides the public-private partnership background needed to ensure the Metro portfolio of venues thrive in supporting conservation, business incubation, and cultural richness to Oregon while also bringing vast economic benefits and job opportunities to the region.

Statement of intent for serving on the Board in 2021:

2020 transformed our worlds — it remains to be seen if temporarily or a transformation from which we move on in new ways. PRSA Oregon’s professional development series certainly changed — we quickly pivoted to virtual events to provide resources and learning opportunities to our members. Much was learned in that pivot and I am excited to continue on the professional development committee to carry forward the best practices and lessons learned along the way.

And, speaking of transformation, communicators are being called upon to lead and guide organizations amidst tremendous challenges. I am proud of our board for advancing racial equity within Oregon and Southwest Washington. We are sure to provide more sessions to effect social change and to bring our community together again virtually and in person once safe to do so again.


Nominees for Membership Co-Directors

Callie Gisler

Callie Gisler is a communications, public relations, and digital marketing strategist from Portland, Ore. She started her career on the traditional PR agency scene, working with national consumer brands in the fitness, food and beverage, and lifestyle spaces. This is where she fell in love with all things strategic storytelling and digital communications, as well as cultivated a deep-rooted belief that brands can balance purpose and profit.

Callie is the CEO and lead strategist at Coffeehouse Communications, an award-winning strategic communications agency serving purpose-driven businesses and nonprofit organizations. She graduated from the University of Oregon with degrees in public relations and journalism. 

Away from the office, you can usually find Callie sipping her way through the Willamette Valley’s many wineries, breweries, and coffee shops with her husband and tenacious corgi pups, Renney and Booker, in tow. 

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

From serving as my university’s PRSSA chapter president to staying active in PRSA throughout my career, my experience with this organization has been incredibly rewarding. PRSA has enriched my professional life with a fantastic community, continued education opportunities, and so much more. I’m excited to help cultivate that same experience and value for every one of our members.


Eric Johnson, APR

Eric Johnson, APR is the Communications Specialist with the City of Roseburg, where he serves on the management team. Eric’s duties at the City include implementing a comprehensive strategic communication plan, including media relations, website content, writing and designing print publications, managing the City’s social media efforts and electronic communications. Additionally, he is responsible for community engagement with citizens as well as internal systems that promote City employee communications.

Prior to the City of Roseburg, Eric was the Public Relations Coordinator at Explore Lincoln City, where he honed his skills as a PR professional in the destination marketing industry. Outside of work, Eric is an active member of the PRSA Oregon Board of Directors, where he serves as co-chair of the membership committee. Eric is also an avid runner, beer lover, gamer and cat dad.

Eric received his APR in December 2019 after many months of studying and preparing. Throughout the process of achieving accreditation, Eric has learned to think strategically about long-term public relations planning and looks forward to applying that knowledge in Southern Oregon.

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

To continue growing and learning in the public relations field.


Nominees for Advancement Co-Directors

Vicki Guinn

Vicki Guinn, a native Oregonian, is a healthcare public relations strategist for Legacy Health where she is responsible for media relations, community engagement, strategic communications, issues management/PIO duties, social media and crisis management. Guinn previously worked for the State of Oregon Office of the Public Health Director and before that as marketing and communications manager for a small Medicaid and Medicare provider. She’s held positions in media relations, community relations, and organizational development for Kaiser Permanente and is a part-time communication instructor at a local community college. Guinn holds a BS in broadcast communication from Oregon State University and an MS in communication theory from the University of Portland. Outside of work, she serves on boards oriented toward youth and education,  serves on the Vanport Jazz Festival Committee, and enjoys partner dancing, bicycling, and NW wines

Statement of intent to serve on Board in 2021:

I’ve been a member of PRSA off and on for many years. I intentionally look at boards where I have a connection or relationship with someone and where I can work passionately to make a difference. Over the years, I’ve met many public relations professionals connected with PRSA. I most recently enjoyed working with Jaimee Mayfield-Fox and others on the PRSA Diversity Committee. I’m proud of the programming we’ve been able to bring. I’ve volunteered with the University of Oregon Portfolio Reviews and have witness the enthusiasm students have for the field. The concerning side is the lack of diversity among these future PR professionals. I’m volunteering to help brainstorm with the PRSA board on how to better integrate diversity initiatives in our organization and to creatively look at how we can add and influence diversity in the PR field.  


Gail Dundas, MS, APR, Fellow PRSA

Gail’s service to PRSA and experience in communications is extensive. She became a PRSA Fellow in 2019 and previously received the William Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award. She worked for Intel Corporation for nearly 20 years in Global Communications. Her highest professional achievement is serving as campaign co-chair for the passage of a $100 million bond in Seaside, Oregon, to build badly needed new schools for local students out of the dangerous tsunami zone. She holds a M.S. in Communications Management from Syracuse University.

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

PRSA has been a vital component of my career and life. I built deep friendships and connections while debating over conference tables during evening meetings and executing events for PRSA locally, and met people who ultimately enriched my life, by becoming clients, colleagues or employers. I want to be on the front line as PRSA evolves its understanding and embrace of diversity, equity and inclusion, topics which have been of great interest to me over my career.  I want to help elevate the reputation of the profession for which I am so grateful.


Nominees for Regional Co-Directors

Jaimee Fox, MA, APR
Communications Manager 
Multnomah County Health Department

Jaimee L. Fox, MA, APR is a champion for public service and employee engagement. As a versatile PR professional, Jaimee has nine years of experience in internal communications, project management, stakeholder engagement and event planning.

A native Oregonian, Jaimee received her bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in political science and global studies from Washington State University and a master’s degree in public relations from Michigan State University. Jaimee is accredited in public relations by the Universal Accreditation Board. 

In her spare time, Jaimee loves traveling, capturing memories through her photography and, above all, spending time with her family. 

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

PRSA Oregon has and continues to provide me with incredible networking and leadership opportunities. I believe in paying it forward by volunteering to provide members with professional growth opportunities and diverse programming. 


Erin Merz, MA, APR

Advocacy Director Erin MerzErin Merz, MA, APR, serves as director of marketing and communications for The School of Business at Portland State University where she’s responsible for developing and implementing strategies that support the institution’s recruitment and retention goals. Erin has worked at PSU since 2015. Prior to, she held a variety of marketing and communications roles that span the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

As a seasoned, purpose-driven professional with over 15 years of experience, Erin’s passion for storytelling, results-driven mindset, and commitment to building and maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders adds substantial value to the organizations she works with.

Erin has a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from Grand Valley State University, a master’s degree in communications from the New York Institute of Technology and holds the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). She’s an active member and volunteer with the PRSA Oregon. Connect with her online at

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

PRSA Oregon welcomed me with open arms when I moved to Portland in 2013. I’ve since had the pleasure of giving my time and expertise at the benefit of the chapter, and have benefited myself from the leadership development and relationships I’ve gained along the way. Now a resident of Bend, I welcome the opportunity to engage more Central Oregonians and enhance the chapter’s presence east of the Cascades.


Nominees for Leadership Assembly Delegates

Lise Harwin, APR
Employee Communications Manager 
Port of Portland & Portland International Airport

For 17 years, Lise Harwin made a career in media relations — pitching organizational stories ranging from life-saving at a Level 1 trauma hospital to life-affirming at the American Red Cross to life-changing in higher education. Now she’s turned her corporate raconteuring and social media savvy inward, transitioning to employee engagement and communication for the Port of Portland and PDX, America’s Best Airport. Lise most recently served as VP of Communications for PRSA’s Employee Communications section and has presented several times at the section’s annual Connect conference.

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

Throughout an unusual year, I’ve seen the PRSA Oregon board step up with leadership, commitment, enthusiasm and creativity. It’s an honor to be part of this team and to represent the chapter at Leadership Assembly, which will hopefully be held in person in 2021!


Dave Thompson, APR
Former Public Information Officer and Supervisor (Retired)
Oregon Department of Transportation

Dave Thompson, APR spent 20 years as a TV News reporter/producer/anchor and then 20 more as a public relations executive and spokesperson for a variety of companies and industries, including Director of Corporate Communications for a pre-IPO angel-invested startup and Public Information Officer and supervisor for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Dave specializes in strategic planning, crisis communications planning and media interview coaching. Dave has presented his series of classes on how to be interviewed to hundreds of people, including four PRSA, IABC or IAP2 chapters, three national conferences and half a dozen government agencies. Dave has provided media training to Oregon’s state executive leadership training program for most of the past decade. Dave has also co-taught FEMA’s G-290/291 Basic PIO three-day course to about 1,000 government communicators over the last ten years.

Statement of intent to serve on the Board in 2021:

I want to continue to serve because I get so much out of it. PRSA Oregon is a family, as much as a support organization. I learn so much from talking to my PRSA colleagues! And I’ve made life-long friends. When we work together collaboratively, we all rise.

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