Meet the Mentors

  • Amy Hufford

    Amy Hufford
    Owner, Stellar Communications – Amy helps small businesses, government agencies and non-profit organizations look their best online through award-winning web site design and email marketing campaigns.  Before launching Stellar Communications in 2000, Amy was director of internet technology at the Austin Board of Realtors where she led the creation of  She is a past president ...
  • Anne Lasseigne Tiedt, APR

    Anne Lasseigne Tiedt, APR
    Anne grew up working summers at the Port of Brownsville Shrimp Boat Basin. It was there she learned how to work smarter, not harder, to achieve what you want in life. She’s taken this lesson and applied it to more than 20 years of communications experience, all logged in Austin, Texas...
  • Barbara Springer

    Barbara Springer
    Veteran Communications Professional. Barbara Springer has over 30 years of professional experience working for software and hardware technology companies, including Intel, Dell, Novell, SAS Institute and several start-ups. She has extensive experience with system engineering, training, customer service/technical support, marketing, business development, event planning, strategic alliances and account management...
  • Gina Helfrich

    Gina Helfrich
    Program Officer for Global Technology, Internews. Gina has over 10 years of professional communications experience spanning nonprofits, technology, higher education, and entrepreneurship. She has spent the past five years working to make technology better serve the needs of vulnerable and marginalized people...
  • Ilene Haddad

    Ilene Haddad
    Ilene Haddad, owner of Ilene Haddad Graphic Design, has been a freelance designer for more than 25 years. After graduating with a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and a brief stint as a ski bum, Ilene eventually moved back to Austin to become a full-time graphic designer. In 1998 she opened her own studio and hasn't blinked or stepped outside since.
  • Jane Baxter Lynn

    Jane Baxter Lynn
    Principal, JBL Strategies. Jane Baxter Lynn is an experienced strategic planner, facilitator and professional communicator. She has spent three decades in global, national and regional communications, marketing and non-profit management, and has a wealth of contacts and resources worldwide...
  • Jennifer Stayton

    Jennifer Stayton
    "Morning Edition" Host, KUT 90.5 FM. Jennifer Stayton is a native Austinite with nearly 30 years of experience as a radio broadcaster. She has worked in both public and commercial radio as a host, newscast anchor, interviewer, news reporter, DJ, producer, writer, editor, news assignment coordinator, delivery and speech coach, intern supervisor, and (briefly) salesperson...
  • Julie Wickert

    Julie Wickert
    Principal, True Story Communication. Julie Wickert is a longtime communications professional with a technical writing background and a knack for capturing the essential marketing messages and the stories that substantiate them. She has extensive experience in proposal management and writing (RFP responses). Her career spans work for Fortune 500s, startups and nonprofits...
  • Kate McKerlie

    Kate McKerlie
    Kate McKerlie, MSSW, MPH is currently the Communications Director at the Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing at the University of Texas at Austin, Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Her mission is to make information clear and kind. Kate directs TXICFW’s communications by managing the team who maintains the institute website, e-newsletters, promotional print materials, and social media platforms...
  • Kirsten Longnecker

    Kirsten Longnecker
    VP, Communications & Content, Kasasa. She oversees client communications, B2B marketing, PR, social media, events, and content strategy for one of Austin's Top 3 Best Places to Work, managing a small but badass team. From an internship on the Hallmark Cards writing staff she moved to marketing copywriting, then editing and managing a large stable of contract writers, then content strategy. She has worked at startups, large public corporations, and for herself...
  • Lani Rosales

    Lani Rosales
    COO at The American Genius (news network for entrepreneurs + SMBs), Co-Founder of the Big Ass Social Happy Hour (monthly networking event), and Founder of ADJ (Austin Digital Jobs - wild, massive Facebook Group) as well as the newly added RDJ (Remote Digital Jobs)...
  • Lisa O’Neill

    Lisa O'Neill
    Principal and Founder, Breakaway Public Realtions. Lisa O’Neill has more than 25 years experience in public relations and integrated marketing with a focus on clients in hospitality, travel and non-profit sectors. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Lisa began her career on the east coast working at agencies, in-house and ultimately running her own PR consultancy in Boston...
  • LuAnn Glowacz

    LuAnn Glowacz
    President, WordCove. LuAnn has mastered the art of working from home in her pajamas, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. After 15 years in agencies and in non-profit, technology and healthcare PR, she decided to slow down—for her family’s sake—and focus solely on executive ghost writing and editing...
  • Margaret Barry

    Margaret Barry
    Owner and Principal, Exit 6 Communications. Margaret is an award-winning marketing strategist whose entire career has been in marketing for nonprofit organizations. Before moving to Austin, Margaret led marketing strategy and implementation for five top business schools, including the Wharton School, New York University’s Stern School of Business, Columbia Business School and the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business...
  • Mary Ann Roser

    Mary Ann Roser
    Founder & Chief, Roser Prose, LLC. After a decades-long journalism career in Kentucky, Washington, D.C., and Texas, Mary Ann transferred her writing, editing and interviewing skills to Roser Prose, LLC, a communications consulting company she created in mid-2016...
  • Mary Anne Connolly

    Mary Anne Connolly
    Founder/Chief Creative, MACMedia. Mary Anne has spent nearly 20 years in journalism – the first 10 in New York as a production associate for ABC News’ 20/20 and John Stossel Specials; then as a newsmagazine producer for FOX News at FOX Files and the Fox News Channel. Upon returning to her college town of Austin to be closer to family, she rediscovered her first love of print media...
  • Maura Thomas

    Maura Thomas
    Founder and Chief Trainer at Maura is an international speaker and trainer on productivity, attention, and effectiveness for clients such as the American Heart Association, Honeywell, Dell, and L’Oreal. She is a TEDx Speaker, founder of, and author of two books...
  • Nicole Basham

    Nicole Basham
    Digital Content Manager, Downtown Austin Alliance. Nicole Basham has worked in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors, as well as being self-employed as a freelancer. She is currently the content marketing strategist at Full Funnel Digital Marketing, a sister company to Monkee-Boy Web Design. In that role, she is responsible for helping small and medium-sized businesses reach their goals...
  • Raye Elizabeth Ward

    Raye Elizabeth Ward
    Principal, Chrysanthemum Marketing. Raye’s career is rooted in the pioneering days of technology public relations. It spread through public policy (privacy), e-commerce, natural resources (water), public-private partnerships and education. A fifth-generation Texan, she cut her teeth working with Apple, IBM and Kaiser Electronics in Silicon Valley, jumped to Edelman Public Relations in New York City where IBM, a client, hired her during the company’s tectonic cultural shift...
  • Reesa Woolf, Ph.D.

    Reesa Woolf, Ph.D.
    CEO, SPEAK LIKE a TED TALK. Reesa is a TED Talk Trainer who prepares executives and ESL Speakers for leadership. She has worked with corporate leader executives and technology & sales departments in executive development and influential leadership for 25 years. Reesa studied in-person with the father of cognitive therapy Albert Ellis, Ph.D., in his 90’s and Ram Dass after he published Be Here How...
  • Roberta Coffin

    Roberta Coffin
    Principal, Scripta Communications. A creative strategist and demand generation specialist who thrives on challenges, Roberta Coffin has an extensive agency background and experience in both B2B and B2C marketing, primarily in housing, real estate, construction, investment and finance. Starting out in opinion research, she transitioned into public relations and then into advertising...
  • Sandra Kleinsasser

    Sandra Kleinsasser
    Owner and Editor-in-Chief, Sandra is a veteran journalist who left the news business after 30 years to reshape a career that needed some fresh air. Now, she is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys crafting success stories, blogs, newsletters and other business correspondence for clients promoting their professional services...
  • Sarah Estapa

    Sarah Estapa
    Sarah Estapa is an experienced copywriter who specializes in Hispanic/Latinx marketing and advertising. After 14 years in the marcom industry, she launched her own copywriting business, Latinx Copywriter.