Heather Kernahan is a global marketing expert and business leader who has been featured in Fast Company, Fortune, Biz Women, PR Week and Ad Week. She currently serves as the CEO of North America at Hotwire, an award-winning global communications agency.
Heather joined Hotwire in 2013 and in her current role leads offices in SF, NY and Minneapolis. As a member of the Hotwire global leadership team, she has been the driving force behind the firm’s three-year strategy to expand the business. She has challenged the status quo for Hotwire and allowed the firm to think farther into the future.
Prior to Hotwire, she held senior marketing and leadership roles at Enphase Energy and Autodesk. She has focused on integrated brand communications strategies including campaign development, corporate marketing, product marketing, IPO and M&A communications strategy.
Heather consistently offers her knowledge and expertise to her community. She is a strategic advisor to many startups, such as Women’s Startup Lab, Women to Watch Media, and Boatsetter and an investment partner with Portfolia. She is a sought-after speaker on marketing and business leadership topics.
She received her Masters in Business Administration in Sustainable Enterprise from Dominican University of California.
J.J. Carter serves as global chief operating officer and president of FleishmanHillard’s Americas region. In this capacity, he drives operational excellence that contributes to the firm’s growth, competitiveness and performance worldwide. He works closely with president and CEO John Saunders to enhance the overall client experience, the employee experience and the firm’s relationship with DAS and Omnicom partners. Mr. Carter has been with FleishmanHillard since 2005 and has held a variety of key leadership roles, including regional president, general manager of one of the firm’s largest offices in San Francisco; and global client relationship manager for one of the firm’s largest clients.
In 2007, he launched the agency’s global sports marketing practice, calling on his experience as the head of communication for several professional sports teams and leagues. In addition to leading sponsorship programs for Visa Inc, Alibaba Group, and BMW in support of the Olympic Games, Mr. Carter has also provided senior counsel for the NBA’s international expansion into China, and has led global accounts with Nike’s Jordan Brand, Electronic Arts, GoPro, United States Olympic Committee, Callaway Golf, the Women’s Tennis Association Tour (WTA), and the US Ski and Snowboard Association. Over the past two decades, Mr. Carter has developed programs on six continents with many of the world’s most prominent athletes and organizations. A veteran communicator of eight Olympic Games, he has led major event and sponsorship work on behalf of numerous sponsors, national governing bodies and individual athletes, among them major international media events with the world’s most decorated Olympian, Michael Phelps.
Before joining FleishmanHillard, Mr. Carter was director of public relations for the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the international governing body of men’s professional tennis. In that capacity he managed media relations, event operations, and crisis management for players, tournaments, and tour executives. Mr. Carter was responsible for introducing Swiss superstar Roger Federer to the American public through a series of high-profile media tours during his ascension to the world No. 1 ranking.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mr. Carter earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and mass communication with a concentration in public relations.
Mike Santoro is the CEO of Walker Sands. Mike started with the agency in 2007 as the agency’s seventh employee. Two years later, he was named President and got to work refining the firm’s target market and service offerings to help it become the award-winning B2B tech firm that it is today.
During Mike’s tenure, Walker Sands has grown from a seven-person PR boutique into a boundary-pushing, integrated marketing agency with offices in Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle that partners with some of the best B2B brands in the world. An eight-time Inc. 5000 honoree as one of America’s fastest-growing companies, the agency has been a finalist for both Holmes Report and PRNEWS small agency of the year.
As CEO, Mike leads a talented, results-driven team known for its reputation for providing comprehensive, integrated marketing and strategic communications counsel that drives real business results. Along with his underlying mission to make Walker Sands the best B2B marketing agency in the world, Mike is driven by a desire to cultivate a work environment that allows his employees to do the best work of their lives, and strives to empower them to succeed both personally and professionally. His approach has paid off, as the agency’s thriving culture has been recognized by Inc., Crain’s Chicago Business and Entrepreneur in their “Best Places to Work” rankings.
Mike has played a pivotal part in the North American marketing community and is the recipient of a number of awards, including recognition as PRSA Chicago’s PR Professional of the Year and an EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in the Midwest. Outside of the marketing landscape, Mike co-founded the Little Giraffe Foundation in 2011, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting neonatal research and preemie families in the NICU.
As the president and founder of Boston-based tech PR agency March Communications, Cheryl has been an invaluable partner to brands in every corner of tech, spanning from AI, to enterprise software, to consumer wellness. She also plays an important role in connecting and elevating the PR industry as a current member of the PR Council’s Executive Board and a past president of the PR Club in Boston. Before founding March, Cheryl spent 10 years in the UK, where she helped to open Weber Group’s (now Weber Shandwick) first London offices and later launched Band & Brown’s technology division. She credits these years with igniting her lasting passion and curiosity for technology. Cheryl is an adjunct professor of Media Relations Strategies at Boston University. She is also a certified yoga teacher.
Kim Sample focuses on helping the PR Council’s 100-plus member agencies thrive and elevating the PR profession overall. Prior to joining the PRC in August 2018, Kim was the founder/CEO of Emanate, a $35 million, 100+ person international marketing communications agency. During her tenure Emanate was named PR WEEK Agency of the Year and CRAIN’S Best Places to Work in NYC, and the team’s work for clients was recognized with numerous industry awards. Kim also worked at Ketchum, Marina Maher Communications and Golin earlier in her career, and has served Fortune 500 clients across a number of industries, including financial services, travel and hospitality, CPG and consumer electronics.
Objective: Participate in an annual audit of the finances of the Association and oversee the implementation of safeguards to protect the financial integrity of the Association.
- Karen Mooney, C+C
- Mark McNulty, Taft Communications
- Mike Santoro, Walker Sands
Eligibility and Membership
Objective: Approve or deny all applications for Membership into the PRC according to eligibility requirements.
- Luke Lambert, G&S Communications
- Marty McDonald, Fahlgren Mortine
- Colleen Moffitt, Communiqué PR
- Kathy Tunheim, Tunheim Communications
Objective: Advocate for ethics within the communications agency industry through thought leadership and events.
- Anne Green, G&S Business Communications
- Peter Verrengia, FleishmanHillard
Objective: Support the PRC team by exercising some, or all of the Board’s powers between Board meetings.
- Heather Kernahan, Hotwire (Chair)
- J.J. Carter, FleishmanHillard (Vice Chair)
- Mike Santoro, Walker Sands (Treasurer)
- Cheryl Gale, March Communications (Secretary)
- Kim Sample, PR Council (President)
Kim Sample focuses on helping the PR Council’s 100-plus member agencies thrive and elevating the PR profession overall. Prior to joining the PRC in August 2018, Kim was the founder/CEO of Emanate, a $35 million, 100+ person international marketing communications agency. During her tenure Emanate was named PRWEEK Agency of the Year and CRAIN’S Best Places to Work in NYC, and the team’s work for clients was recognized with numerous industry awards. Kim also worked at Ketchum, Marina Maher Communications and Golin earlier in her career, and has served Fortune 500 clients across a number of industries, including financial services, travel and hospitality, CPG and consumer electronics.
Andi joined the PRC in October 2018 as Vice President. She brings 15 years of PR experience in public relations, having worked for global PR agencies Ketchum and Fleishman Hillard, and most recently at Westchester County-based Co-Communications. She has deep experience creating and implementing strategic and creative communications strategies and marketing programs for B2B and B2C clients.
Andi’s past clients have included Fortune 100 companies to local, small businesses in the CPG, entertainment, healthcare, employee benefits, legal, education, and not-for-profit sectors. She has coordinated media relations campaigns to support product introductions, CEO thought-leadership, and high-level brand awareness efforts. Andi brings a passion for building lasting, productive relationships – and prides herself on her success with journalists, clients, colleagues, and vendors.
Andi has a B.A. in English from Denison University. On the side, she’s a barre instructor for a local studio in Westchester where she resides with her husband (a PR agency exec), their kids and Havanese, Charlie.
Eva Seidl Chodosh joined the PR Council in December 2017 as the Director of Special Projects and Partner Program. A specialist in public relations and marketing, Eva was previously at WE Communications working as a Marketing Manager on the Agency Marketing team where she was driving internal and external marketing initiatives for the agency.
Before joining WE, Eva spent two and a half years at the New York Genome Center helping to manage all internal and external communications efforts, including running both the internal and external newsletters, media and digital efforts, and member relationships. Eva also worked at MSLGROUP North America. While there, she worked on the Consumer team, specifically on Proctor & Gamble brands including Bounty, Charmin and Puffs.
Eva was born and raised in Manhattan and attended Drexel University for her undergrad and graduate degrees. She received her bachelor of arts in corporate communication and public relations and her master of science in technical communication. She recently received her MBA from the Robert H. Smith School at the University of Maryland.
Kristin D’Urso joined the Council in April 2016 as the Administrative Manager. She addresses the Council’s needs in terms of Human Resources and Benefits, Financials, Office Services, and Member Services.
Kristin came to the Council with an extensive administrative background. Most recently she was the Executive Assistant and Board Liaison for New York Restoration Project, an urban greening non-profit founded by Bette Midler. Prior to that she was the Project Coordinator/Office Manager at Eric Sheffield Architect for nearly eight and a half years.
Kristin was raised just outside New York City in Rockland County. She has a passion for travel, nature, and animals. Kristin graduated from New York University with a B.S. in Sociology.
Jelani Sparrow joined the PR Council in May, 2021, as a Manager. He is assisting with member relations, learning & development, and the Agency-Ready Certificate Program.
Prior to joining the PR Council, Jelani led a team of researchers, content creators, and faculty advisors as a Project Manager for Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications’ inaugural 44 New Voices project, which sought to identify and amplify new and diverse voices in media, public affairs, and civic commentary.
Jelani was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia and received his B.A. in Strategic, Legal, and Management Communications from Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications. He also has a joint degree M.S. in New Media Management from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications & Whitman School of Management.