Peer Mentor Program

Some of the most successful communications professionals credit mentors for helping to guide their path. WCA’s Peer Mentor Program pairs you with other members who can assist you with any stage of your career. Mentors are available to listen and offer feedback based on their own professional and personal experiences. For those who volunteer to serve as mentors, this is a great way to develop leadership skills.

Women Communicators of Austin’s Peer Mentor Program is a “win-win.”

Mentees benefit from personalized guidance, whether through answers to quick questions, specific career guidance or longer term mentoring. Identifying peer mentors who can guide you for a limited period of time or for the longer haul can be the smartest way to advance professionally throughout your career. Our mentors also serve our student members by giving them a chance to tap into the advice, job search and networking guidance of a seasoned professional. 

The program also gives members the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise and act as a “sounding board” by serving as a peer mentor to help other members with professional development and career advancement. WCA Peer Mentors gain a chance to build their leadership skills, along with the personal reward of potentially shaping someone’s path to success.

Have career questions or need deeper insights? See our Ask a Mentor blog.


Work with a Mentor

Whether you’re a student or already working, a stay-at-home parent choosing to go back to work in communications or wanting to change direction, students and professional members can be a mentee (i.e., request a peer mentor). Learn more with our Demystifying Mentorship for Mentees handout.

Ready for a mentor?
Meet the Mentors

Questions?– Email

Be a Mentor

No matter your years of experience, role in communications, or familiarity with other fields, you can be a mentor. Mentoring can take place anywhere – whether it’s face-to-face over coffee, lunch or happy hour; video chat; or via email or phone. Professional members can mentor students or other professional members. Learn more with our Demystifying Mentorship for Mentors handout.

Ready to become a WCA Peer Mentor?
Fill out this form.

In addition to guiding me through some important decision-making, my mentor shared her philosophies on living a more fulfilling life and connected me to some really amazing professionals who would later help benefit my career. I also owe her for helping me find my calling: supporting the Girls Empowerment Network, an organization we both care about. I now sit on the nonprofit’s board! I am so thankful we have this group because it provides so much value to women of all ages. Everyone should have a mentor!

— Clarisa Ramirez, Digital & Social Media Lead, Austin Board of REALTORS®

How are WCA Peer Mentors different from my previous paid coaches? My WCA mentor is not looking for an opportunity to upsell her own stuff! In fact, she authentically enjoys facilitating my process and celebrates my successes.  She suggests paths to take and teaches me without judgment. WCA Mentors are a smart and experienced group. The Mentor Program is a significant members-only benefit to further your career.  It certainly has been a catalyst in mine.

–Reesa Woolf, PhD, Founder and CEO, Confident Speaking

I joined WCA when I decided to pivot back to communications after a stint in another role. The mentee program was a big part of that decision for me. The industry had changed so much, and I wasn’t sure where to start in my job search. My mentor helped me refine a resume full of experience into a concise, appealing summary of my capabilities, and she helped me define what I really wanted to do. After many months looking for a full-time job, I landed one after working with my mentor and I know what steps I can take next to find pursue my passion in the world. 

—     Jodi Gonzalez, Policy Editor, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

I chose a WCA mentor after attending a Careers Over Coffee meet-up. The group of women had great information to share and mentioned, “If you like this, you should talk to one of our mentors.” So I took the group’s advice. The conversation was deliberate yet caring at the same time. My mentor not only gave me sound career advice but help me discover the confidence I thought I had lost. 

–Monique Carreon, Marketing Campaign Manager, ESO Solutions

Program Guidelines

What WCA’s Peer Mentors can do:

  • Speed mentoring.
  • Short term mentoring: Guidance on a specific topic requiring limited involvement – for instance, what subjects should a student take for a career in communications; where to intern; or assistance through a job application and interview process.
  • Longer term mentoring: students looking for on-going career guidance; professionals looking to brainstorm and implement career moves, discuss challenges at work, or find a sounding board for creative development.
  • Help mentees answer a series of questions to gain clarity on their talents, strengths, and career interests. This can be part of a short or long term mentoring arrangement.
  • Provide honest feedback about cover letters, portfolios, and other professional materials. This can be part of a short or long term mentoring arrangement.

What WCA Peer Mentors cannot do:

  • Provide professional-grade career coaching sessions. WCA has many qualified members who can provide that service.
  • Provide specific logistical assistance in starting or revamping a business venture.
  • Provide any kind of psychological input or feedback beyond a friendly ear and helpful suggestions based on their own professional experiences.

Meet the Mentors

Meet the more than 20 mentors who have generously volunteered their time to assist you. Once you have identified a mentor with whom you’d like to work, please complete the form below to request her; she will assist you subject to her availability. If she is unable to assist you at this time, we will ensure that you are matched. If you are not sure who would be suitable, you may leave the mentor field blank and we’ll match you with a mentor we believe will fit your needs. Feedback is welcome! If you have comments or need support with your mentor relationship, please contact

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...
Anne Lasseigne Tiedt

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

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

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, 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

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, WCA Mentor

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

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, 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, WCA Mentor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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 C

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

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 Estate, Mentor

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.

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