Speaker Bios

Speaker Bios

Keynote Speakers (in order of appearance)

Kerry Shearer “The Livestream Expert”
Kerry Shearer thrives on teaching public agency communicators how to use livestreaming and smartphone video production effectively so that they can create great content, get more engagement, and communicate clearly.He is a former broadcaster for KFBK NewsTalk 1530 in Sacramento and served for more than 15 years as a Communications and Media Specialist/PIO for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and Sacramento County Public Health. Kerry speaks regularly at state and national conferences, holds his own social media content creation workshops for communicators, and is a go-to trainer for crisis communicators working in a JIC or EOC during disasters. He is immersed daily in social media, and knows the tricks, techniques and tech that can save PIO’s time and make their content shine!

Brooks Bennett, Assistant City Manager, City of Round Rock
Brooks has served as Round Rock’s Assistant City Manager since February 2015, overseeing Communications and Marketing, Information Technology, the Library, Parks and Recreation, and Sports Management and Tourism. Brooks started his career in the City’s Communications and Marketing Department in 2004, applying his skills in project management, video production, graphic design, and knack for social media to local government. Taking on several roles, he ascended in the organization, ultimately taking on the responsibilities of Chief Information Technology Officer in 2012 before entering city management.

Brooks holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas-Pan American.

Brooks was born and raised in Round Rock and resides here with his wife and two children.

Mark Weaver, President, Communications Counsel
Mark Weaver is an attorney and government communications expert with three decades of experience across the country. Starting his career as a city public information officer, he rose to become a communications director with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and then spokesman for the United States Department of Justice in Washington. After working as a national communications consultant in D.C., he accepted an appointment as the Deputy Attorney General of Ohio, where he managed all the communications and web staff for that office. He has worked with a wide array of public & private sector clients on PR, media relations, social media strategy, and crisis communications. He has lectured around the country on a variety of communications, legal, and social media topics to a many different kinds of agencies and organizations such as the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, Emergency Services Public Information Officers of Colorado (ESPIOC) Annual Conference, and Government Social Media Annual Conference (GSMCON) a. Mr. Weaver’s work as an attorney informs all he does, which is particularly helpful to private and public sector clients during high-profile litigation that threatens an organization’s reputation.

Bobby Blanchard, Director of Audience, Texas Tribune
Bobby runs The Texas Tribune’s audience efforts while strategizing with the newsroom to expand the organization’s reach and engagement across all platforms. He strives to ensure the Tribune is a leading voice every day in the conversation online around Texas policy and politics. A graduate of UT-Austin, Bobby spent his first year out of college at The Dallas Morning News as a reporting fellow, covering Texas politics and breaking news. He got his start in journalism in the poorly lit basement of The Daily Texan, followed by internships at the Houston Chronicle, KUT News and, yes, the Tribune. Born and raised in the Houston area, Bobby is a native Texan. He relies on a steady supply of Tex-Mex and Red Bull to survive.

John Garrett, Founder and CEO, Community Impact Newspaper
After spending the beginning of his career in the newspaper business at the Houston Chronicle and the Austin Business Journal, John launched the first edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 from the game room of their home with his wife Jennifer and three full-time employees covering the Round Rock and Pflugerville edition near Austin, Texas.

Today, the award-winning Community Impact Newspaper has more than 180 employees and 33 hyperlocal editions of the newspaper across Texas, Arizona, and Tennessee and is delivered to more than 2.5 million homes. Additionally, the Garretts opened up a state-of-the-art printing facility in Pflugerville in 2016.

John has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the nonprofit RecognizeGood for ethics in business and community and has been named Austin’s Best Small Business CEO by the Austin Business Journal.

Dave Lieber, “The Watchdog” Columnist, Dallas Morning News
Dave Lieber is national-award-winning Watchdog investigative columnist at The Dallas Morning News who fights for his readers. In 2019, he won the top prize in America’s largest newspaper column-writing contest for his work which a judge called “models of suspenseful storytelling and public service.” The author of eight books, Dave’s latest is AMON! The Ultimate Texan, a published biography of a founding father of Fort Worth. Dave also wrote a companion play of the same name (his first) that was a hit. Dave won an award for Best New Play by a Local Playwright. In his spare time, Dave launched a charity more than two decades ago – SummerSanta.org – that helps children in need with fun summertime activities. The charity has raised more than a million dollars and is all-volunteer with no paid staff or physical office.

Concurrent Session Speakers (in alphabetical order)

Ann Beck, CPC, Marketing & Communications Manager, City of Mansfield
Ann is the marketing and communications manager for Mansfield Parks & Recreation. She has degrees in communications and marketing, with experience in social media, photography, and community engagement in both private and public sectors. She is a Certified Public Communicator and Certified Park and Recreation Professional, as well as the mom of three teenage girls who keep her current on all things online and on trend!

Melinda Brown, Main Street/Communications Manager, City of Plainview
Melinda has been in her position with the City of Plainview since January 2015 and is a native of the Texas Panhandle.  She is a graduate of Texas A&M University. Returning to the area after a stay in California and Austin, Melinda most recently worked in the healthcare industry as well as the insurance industry.

As the Communications Manager, Melinda is responsible for coordinating marketing and communications for the City of Plainview including press releases, social media, press conferences and marketing of City events and programs. She also serves as the Main Street Manager overseeing the revitalization and renovation of downtown Plainview as well as the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Coordinator and Fair Theater Manager.

Melinda is currently a member of the Plainview Rotary Club, Keep Plainview Beautiful, and is a past president of the Plainview Junior Service League. She has one son, Brendon, a freshman at Texas A&M and they enjoy sports and traveling.

Tom Bryson, CPC, Strategic Communications Consultant, DFW Strategic Communications
As a Strategic Communications Consultant, Tom brings to the table more than 36 years in Communications. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of LSU, Tom turned from committing journalism to local government communications, stretching through three decades with the cities of Duncanville and Farmers Branch in Texas. He is a past president of both the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO) and of the national City-County Communications & Marketing Association, which named him national Communicator of the Year in 2016. Tom serves as a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Certified Public Communicator program at Texas Christian University, where he also serves on the adjunct faculty. TAMIO named him a Cheryl A. Soward Communicator of Distinction in 2020.

Sara Bustilloz, CPC, Assistant Director of Communications & Marketing, City of Round Rock
Sara made the switch from newspaper reporting to government communications in 2012, when she became the City of Midland’s public information officer for all departments, including police and fire. She then served as the Pflugerville Police Department’s public information officer before joining Round Rock’s City Communications Department in 2018. She earned her Bachelor of Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 and graduated from the first cohort of TCU’s Certified Public Communicators program in 2014. Sara currently serves as the Vice President of Communications on the Board of Directors for the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.

Betsy Deck, Assistant to the City Manager, City of Euless
Betsy is the assistant to the city manager for the City of Euless. It’s like being the “Mikey” of Euless as her city manager tends to give her many special projects that no one else seems to want to do. However, when those other duties as assigned come along, the words, “challenge accepted” may or may not emerge from her lips. Ask her sometime about the fundraiser she planned where she convinced a Tongan rugby team to pull a school bus in a race that raised $147,000 in 45 minutes. Or about the garden club she formed out of thin air that engaged a broad audience, including veterans, with City Hall. She’s also a volunteer crossing guard and a pretty decent balloon twister in her spare time.

Send her a LinkedIn request to learn more about her education, work history and recognitions.

Austin Ellington, Digital Communications Coordinator, City of Round Rock
Austin is the digital communications coordinator at the City of Round Rock. Laser-focused on creating compelling content and developing strategies to not only reach but also effectively engage with the public, he considers himself to be a part-time public information officer, blogger, photographer, community engagement specialist, and sometimes government social media geek (oh wait, full-time on that last one).

Prior to joining the City of Round Rock, he held communications and marketing-related positions with The University of Texas System, the City of Austin, and the Texas House of Representatives.

Molly Fox, CPC, Director of Communications, City of Bedford
Molly is the Director of Communications for the City of Bedford. During her 10 years in municipal communications, she and her team have won more than 100 state and national awards for their work. Prior to joining Bedford, Molly served as the Director of Communications for the Town of Flower Mound, spent 5 years in school district communications, and learned a long-term career in print journalism was not for her. She has a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, a Master of Journalism degree from UNT, and is a 2016 graduate of TCU’s Certified Public Communicator program. Molly also serves as the TAMIO Vice President for Awards.

CoCo Good, Communications & Marketing Director, City of McKinney
CoCo has more than 20 years of experience in all facets of strategic communications and marketing. In 2004, CoCo became McKinney’s first Communications and Marketing Director for the City of McKinney. She created an up-to-date brand image for the city, built and leads a multi-functional team to ensure effective communication across multiple genres. Good spearheaded the effort to launch the brand: Unique by Nature, emphasizing McKinney’s unique heritage and qualities, garnering national media attention. Among a host of national accolades, McKinney was ranked #1 on the Best Places to Live in America list published by Money Magazine.

Previously, Good was Global Communications and Marketing Manager at EDS (now HP). She provided external and internal communications strategies and counsel for senior executives and executed marketing programs across more than 40 countries. Before that she managed state and national accounts at a PR/advertising agency and served as a freelance speechwriter for corporate executives.

Good earned a bachelor’s degree in PR / journalism from the University of Oklahoma. She is nationally published, is a frequent speaker and has won more than 75 state, regional and national awards. She is currently pursuing her MPA at the University of Arlington with expected graduation in May of 2022.

Julie Goodgame, Director of Marketing & Communication, City of Tyler
Julie has served as director of marketing and communication for the City of Tyler since 2016, and is in her 15th year of communications and marketing for public and private sector agencies. In addition, she directs the City’s legislative affairs program and the City of Tyler’s Liberty Hall Historic Theater which offers live music, theater, comedy and revivals of classic films for East Texas. She is currently a producer and host of the City of Tyler’s Roses & Weeds podcast.

You can find Julie on LinkedIn.

Brian Groves, Communications Manager, City of San Angelo
Following his graduation from Angelo State University in 2008, Brian joined the City as the assistant community information coordinator, spearheading the City’s video production. He was named City Videographer in 2017 and promoted to Communications Manager in 2019.During his time behind the camera, Groves contributed to more than 60 local, state and national awards won by the office, including two regional Lone Star Emmy awards. He was a 2013 honoree in the local 20 Under 40 program that honors rising young leaders in the community. He also oversaw the migration of SATV, the City’s governmental access channel, from standard to high definition as programming on the channel was revamped to reduce the number of meetings and to increase original content. Groves was also integral in the redesign of the City’s website, the growth of the City’s Facebook page to 40,000-plus followers, the modernization of audio-video equipment in the City Council chambers and the construction and equipping of a TV studio.

Jeff Hahn, Principal, Hahn Public Communications
Jeff is the owner and principal of a family of integrated agency brands including Apron Food & Beverage Communications, Hahn Public Communications, the Predictive Media Network, and White Lion Interactive. His team of 36 people serve an array of clients ranging from the food and beverage space, healthcare, transportation and energy. He concentrates on reputation protection and restoration.

Jeff is the author of the 2020 book, Breaking Bad News: 12 Essential Crisis Communication Tools.

Jeff received his master’s degree in communication studies from Texas State University, has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and an associate’s degree from the Community College of the Air Force.

Will Hampton, Communication & Marketing Director, City of Round Rock
Will has been the City of Round Rock’s communication director since March 1998. During Will’s tenure, the City has won more than 70 awards from state and national organizations for communications excellence. He was named 3CMA Communicator of the Year in 2018. Prior to joining the City, he worked as a newspaper editor and reporter. He earned his Bachelor of Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. Will married recently, has two sons, one dog, two cats, and an unhealthy obsession with Longhorn football.

Shannah Hayley, CPC, Director of Communications & Community Outreach, City of Plano
Shannah’s pursuit of living life to the fullest has taken her all over the world with various communications-focused jobs, from teaching in Kenya to consulting in the United Kingdom. Shannah now serves as the director of communications and community outreach for the City of Plano, the 69th largest city in the United States. Her team is nationally-recognized for its video work, ranging from commercials for events like Texas Recycles Day to mini-documentary features like Plano by Air to educational series like Ask Plano. Other notable award-winning projects includes trend-jacking campaigns like It’s a Little Plano in Here, resetting public narrative through Traffic Woes Press Relations, and its in-house Live Green in Plano logo refresh.

Ryan Hunt, Managing Editor, City of Arlington
A 2011 graduate of Virginia Tech, Ryan joined the NBC affiliate in Roanoke, VA, out of college and spent three years there as a news producer. In 2015, he received a Capital Emmy nomination for his work. As managing editor for the City of Arlington Office of Communication, he currently oversees the City’s COVID-19 communications and outreach, editorial content, award submissions, social media pages, and marketing content for major economic development projects and the 2020 Census campaign. Ryan also produces video content for the City’s government cable channel and Arlington recently received a Lone Star Emmy Award for its FY2020 Budget Video. Ryan is the proud parent of two cats, a blind rescue pug named Rosie, who you can follow on Instagram @thepugsnug, and has an unhealthy obsession for movies.

Rosealee Hoffman Kertok, Communications and Marketing Director, City of Willow Park
Rosealee (Rose) is the communications and marketing director for the City of Willow Park in Parker County. Rose spent 20 years in print journalism before joining the Willow Park team and built the city’s communications and marketing department beginning in 2018.

Rose oversees the city website, social media, external and internal communications, serves as the PIO for the city fire department, and manages event planning and community outreach. She is also active in the community as a volunteer and served on the Aledo Education Foundation Board of Directors, the East Parker County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Forum, and currently serves as the marketing and media relations chair for the Rayfield Wright Celebrity Golf Tournament.

In her spare time, she enjoys teaching dance at a local dance studio and spending time with her two favorite people: her granddaughter Nora and her dog Molly Ivins.

Frances La Rue, Communications Manager, City of Ana
Frances La Rue is the first communications manager for the City of Anna. She is responsible for creating and implementing a strategic integrated communications plan for the city and serves as the public information officer for all departments and public safety agencies. Before Anna, Frances worked in municipal communications for the City of McKinney, and the City of Corona, CA.

Frances received a Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication & Innovation and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Digital & Social Media from Texas Tech University. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from California Baptist University.

In 2019, Frances and her husband Charles became the proud parents of son Logan Steele. She enjoys being outside together, walking, visiting splash pads, camping, and going on road trips.

Joshua Lee, Director of Communications, City of Pearland
Joshua is originally from the City of Pearland, where he now works. His background is in advertising and marketing in the private industry; and when he saw the chance to dedicate those skills to the community that raised him, he jumped at the chance. Since joining the City of Pearland, Joshua has made significant upgrades to communications efforts, and has had the opportunity to participate in several memorable emergency activations. With the City of Pearland he has found his passion and looks forward to coming into work each day to see what new adventure awaits.

Kelli Lewis, Marketing Director, City of Carrollton
Kelli is a seasoned communicator and recovering ad agency executive who has served as Carrollton’s chief communicator for the past 14 years. She holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and advertising from Southern Methodist University (SMU) and SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute for Education and Research, as well as a master’s degree with an emphasis in business marketing from the University of Texas at Dallas.  Kelli lives in Carrollton with her husband, two of the cutest children ever born, and two feisty Jack Russell Terrors…er, Terriers.

Brian Ligon, CPC, Communications & Marketing Director, City of Mont Belvieu
Brian is the communications and marketing director for the City of Mont Belvieu. After graduating from Baylor University, Brian spent 17 years working in broadcast television specializing in production and marketing. In 2012, he started his career in civic government with the City of Round Rock where he found a passion for public communications. In 2018, he and his family moved to Mont Belvieu so Brian could be the City’s first full-time communicator. He also spearheaded the marketing behind the launch of Texas’ first broadband internet utility, MB Link. Brian has worked hard to bust the stigma that government communications is dry and boring; those efforts have resulted in multiple state and national awards. His proudest achievement is being husband to Jessica and dad to Zak.

Kevin Lyons, Founder and CEO, Flashvote
Kevin studied stuff in two different PhD programs so you don’t have to. Now he is a sought after keynote speaker and educator on government topics like public input – because after 25 years of learning governance from Nobel Prize winners and top practitioners, he can finally explain everything you need to know in terms of pizza and beer. He is Co-Founder and Chief Scientist for Governance Sciences Group, and co-inventor of the FlashVote survey system that collects statistically valid community input in 48 hours for government decision support. He has formal training from the Business and Public Policy Ph.D. Program at UC Berkeley, and from the Chemical Engineering Ph.D. program at UCSB, where he also learned to surf.

Erin Mudie, Managing Director of Communications & Marketing, Town of Little Elm
Erin is currently serving as the Managing Director of Communications and Marketing for the Town of Little Elm. Erin has been with the Town since 2018, starting as a digital content specialist. Over the past three years, Erin has worked to centralize all Town communications to one department and to advance the Little Elm brand. Prior to working with the Town, she worked in marketing and digital content creation for a wide range of industries, including real estate and high-end cosmetic and plastic surgery services. Erin is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a B.A. in English and a B.A. in American History.

LeaAnn Petersen, CPC,, Director of Communications, City of Seabrook
In January 2012, LeaAnn Dearman Petersen was hired to fill the role of marketing manager for the City of Seabrook’s and by the end of the year she was promoted to serve as Seabrook’s first director of communications.

LeaAnn received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from UT Permian Basin in 2002 and then went on to receive a Master of Science in Interactive Communication from Quinnipiac University in 2004.

LeaAnn’s role in Seabrook is constantly changing and since 2012 she has taken on additional responsibilities including event planning, tourism and economic development marketing, volunteer management and the oversight of all civic art projects. She now holds the title of Director of Community and Visitor Relations..

LeaAnn is the mom to three amazing kids, 11-year-old John, 7-year-old Isla and 2-year-old Brianne. She couldn’t juggle her career and home life without the love and support of her husband Ivan. When LeaAnn is not at work she is more than likely at the ballfield watching her son John play baseball.

Deanna Phillips, Community Services Director, City of Burleson
DeAnna is the director of community services for the city of Burleson, where she oversees marketing and communications, library, senior activity center, strategic planning, and legislative affairs. She has worked in municipal government for 14 years, serving the cities of Keller, Texas, and Roswell, New Mexico, in roles that range from special event coordinator to economic development director to public affairs director. She graduated from Texas Christian University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Public Relations. In 2011, she completed her Masters of Business Administration from Texas Woman’s University. She is married to Jonathan Phillips, who also works in local government and together, they have two really cute kids. In her free time, she likes to anger the general public with her insistence to place roundabouts everywhere in her community, refusing to offer teens fun things to do, making sure road projects are always delayed, and forcing people to wear masks.

Keith Reeves, Acting Deputy Communications Director, City of Austin
In Keith’s current role as the City of Austin’s Acting Deputy Communications Director, he oversees marketing, video production, departmental budget, and strategic communications for the City of Austin Communications and Public Information Office.  His career started with the City of Denton as their first full-time video producer before moving to the City of Austin to be Station Manager for their PEG channel.  His team in Austin went from producing meeting coverage to winning 14 Lone Star EMMYs with an additional 20+ nominations as well as numerous regional and national awards.  Before he found his calling as a public servant, he worked as a screenwriter and producer of indie films which provided experience in managing large crews and finding ways to get challenging demands covered with minimal budget resources.  He has spent his 20+ years of experience in government communications developing his teams and finding innovative and creative ways to communicate with the public.  Keith has served on the Board of Directors for TATOA and NATOA and has been a featured speaker at many conferences and seminars.

Russ Rhea, Predictive Media Network
Russ spent 15 years as an anchor, reporter and producer in media markets across the country and won several Emmy and Associated Press awards. He has been the lead spokesperson trainer with the Predictive Media Network for more than a decade and conducts training workshops for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and non-profits.

In a typical year, he leads more than 250 spokespeople through their skills training on an array of topics from health care to food safety. Russ is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

Roxana Rubio, Senior Public Affairs Officer, City of Dallas
Roxana is a senior public affairs officer with the City of Dallas. Roxana has a news reporter background in broadcast and is also experienced working with nonprofits. Roxana grew up in a hard-to-reach, redlined community in San Antonio. Learning to reach residents with similar backgrounds as the community she grew up in is a strong passion for Roxana. Combining her background with racial equity training by Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) she has helped nearly 50 City departments start to strategize more equitable communications to 1.3 million residents. Roxana can be reached at Roxana.Rubio@dallascityhall.com.

Sharron Rush, Co-founder & Executive Director, Knowbility
Sharron is the award winning co-founder and executive director of Knowbility, a nonprofit advocacy, consulting, and training company based in Austin. Since 1998, Sharron has led national efforts to raise awareness and skills around the issue of access to technology for people with disabilities. Her work at Knowbility includes policy review, performance analysis, technical consultation, and training development for private and public companies, government agencies, and schools. Her technical expertise, understanding of the barriers faced by people with disabilities, and strong communication and training skills have contributed to her leadership position in the field. Since 2007, she has served as an invited expert at the W3C, developing and applying global accessibility standards for their Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). In 2014 she became co-chair of the Education and Outreach Working Group at WAI.

Jen Samp, Communications Manager, City of Austin
Jen Samp is the communications manager of the Austin Public Health Department and lead public information officer for the COVID-19 response. She directs the messaging for Austin-Travis County and coordinates the communications for the central Texas area. The Austin metropolitan area has sustained the lowest per capita COVID-19 death rate among all large Texas cities. Jen is currently focused on outreach and education to underserved communities hesitant to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Jen Samp began her career in communications 15 years ago traveling the southwest as a news anchor and award-winning investigative journalist. Following the call for public service, she made the seamless switch to government communications. Jen initiated and managed several successful marketing campaigns in Albuquerque and Austin such as the Bike to Work Day, Vision Zero Hero, ATX Detour Day, #AirAware Ozone Action Days, Get Home Safe, and I-Pledge to Share the Road. She also organized a myriad of events from large public meetings, press conferences, ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings, to Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative in New Mexico.

 “I hope this pandemic redefines how we treat ourselves and each other,” said Samp. “Sustained kindness is a discipline worth exploring.”

Jay Socol, CPC, Director of Public Communications, City of College Station
Jay Socol has served as the City of College Station’s director of public communications since October 2009.

Before joining College Station, Jay led the office of Communications & Marketing Services for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, or TEEX — a state agency under The Texas A&M University System. Prior to his work with TEEX, Jay spent more than a decade as a radio news director and anchor before becoming public information officer for the City of Bryan, Texas.

A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M University (Communications/Journalism), Jay holds Certified Public Communicator designation through Texas Christian University. He is a past-president for the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers; a longtime member of the City-County Communications & Marketing Association, or 3CMA; a past representative for the southwest U.S. region for Government Social Media’s leadership council; and a member of Texas A&M’s Communication Department Alumni Advisory Board.

You can find Jay hosting his city’s “All Up In Your Business” podcast, as well as on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Steve Stoler, Director of Media Relations, City of Plano
After 34 years in TV news, Steve moved on to the “other side” of the communications world, or as his former news media friends call it, the “dark side.”  In December, 2013, he joined the City of Plano as director of media relations.  His extensive experience in broadcast journalism and media relations give him a unique perspective on working effectively with the media.

Steve developed several media training courses and is a highly sought after speaker at state and national conferences.  Steve is a veteran Emmy Award winning television news reporter, whose career spanned more than three decades at six television stations in Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Texas.  Steve serves on a variety of nonprofit boards and lives in Plano with his wife, Susan, and two sons, Jordan and Jake.

Reyne Telles, Vice President & Public Sector Practice Leader, Cooksey Strategic Communications
Before starting at Cooksey Strategic Communications, Reyne spent six years as the executive director of communications and community engagement for the Austin Independent School District (Austin ISD).  He led marketing, stakeholder, and communication efforts that supported 130 schools and 81,000 students. The 40+ member department staff he managed included a Lone Star Emmy-nominated, 24/7 public access television station, as well as the team responsible for the outreach and messaging behind a successful $1.1 billion bond.

Reyne’s professional experience also includes a six-year tenure with the City of Austin. As the City’s manager of media relations, he earned recognition from the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers for Best Media Relations and Best Social Media multiple times. He has also served as the director of communications for Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, building an executive-level communications plan.

He received his bachelor’s degree in communication and political science from Eastern New Mexico University and his master’s degree from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.

Terri Toledo, CMP, Communications Director, City of Pflugerville
Terri is communications director for the City of Pflugerville, Texas, and previously served as the City public information officer. Terri’s experience in media relations and branding contributes to Pflugerville’s outreach and messaging campaigns including Pf Connect. Prior to the City of Pflugerville, Toledo worked for the City of Round Rock on sponsorship, marketing, and event promotions. She has worked in city government since 2002.

Toledo obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications specializing in Public Relations from Texas State University in San Marcos and earned her Certified Public Communicator from Texas Christian University. She is a 2017 Texas City Management Association Ridley Scholarship recipient and in 2019 completed her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Kristen Waggener, Communications & Marketing Director, City of Bryan
Kristen is the communications and marketing director for the City of Bryan, where she is responsible for leading the strategy and implementation of the City’s communications and marketing efforts for all departments, graphic design, the city’s PEG television station, media relations, the city’s website, and social media. Before coming to Texas, Kristen spent seven years as a communications specialist for the City of Lenexa, Kansas, where she specialized in website management and social media. She has also served on numerous boards, including GSMCON, the Social Media Club of Kansas City, and the Kansas City Regional Association of Public Information Officers.

Jay Warren, CPC, Director of Communication & Legislative Affairs, City of Arlington
Jay is an award-winning journalist and communicator.  He spent 20 years in broadcast news including 15 years at the NBC affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, as the primary anchor and senior political reporter. While there, Jay’s work covering politics, moderating statewide debates and reporting live from the 9-11 attacks and the shooting massacre at Virginia Tech earned him Walter Cronkite Award for Individual Achievement, a national Peabody Award, and AP Reporter of the Year.

Jay, a proud graduate of TCU and Texas Tech, returned home in 2013. He is the director of Communication and Legislative Affairs for the City of Arlington. In this role, Jay oversees the City’s communication operation, intergovernmental affairs, City Secretary, Document Services, support staffs for the City Manager and City Council, and the Action Center.

Dorothy White, CPC, Public & Media Relations Director, City of Garland
Dorothy has handled media and public relations duties for the City of Garland since 2002.  She and the Public & Media Relations Department have been recognized the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO), the Texas Association of Telecommunications Officers & Advisors (TATOA), the National Association of Telecommunications Officers & Advisors (NATOA), and the City-County Communications & Marketing Association (3CMA) for excellence in communications.

Dorothy has a Certified Public Communicator designation from Texas Christian University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas and holds a Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism at Texas Tech University.  She has completed FEMA’s Advanced PIO Course at Emergency Management Institute.

On a personal level, Dorothy has a daughter, Ashley, who is a singer/songwriter in Nashville.  The two enjoy singing together and in various choirs and ensembles.  Dorothy is also an avid camper and also enjoys hiking with a camera in hand.

Belinda Willis, CPC,Strategic Communications Consultant/Content Specialist, DFW Strategic Communications
Belinda is a strategic communications and marketing professional specializing in content creation for government, business and industry.

Most recently Belinda served for more than 20 years as the director of communications and marketing for the City of Mansfield, starting the city’s first Communications & Marketing Department and serving as its public information officer. She retired in 2021.

As communications and marketing director, Belinda was responsible for generating content for the City’s various channels including social media, website, print, and marketing. She also directed the organization’s media relations and crisis communications. During her 20 years with the City of Mansfield, Belinda initiated the City website, social media and newsroom function.

Belinda has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of North Texas, with concentrations in political science and radio/TV/film. She spent 20-plus years as an award-winning journalist and editor in Dallas-Fort Worth covering local government and politics, education, and business.