Our internal USPR Team consists of our founders, along with industry-leading experts who are prepared to support your goals with a variety of public relations, marketing, advertising and communications services.
Co-FOUNDER & CEO
Susan Hamburg has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of PR, marketing and promotions. She founded Susan Hamburg Marketing & Public Relations Consultants in 1995, and has serviced a number of industry leading clients for the past 20 years. Susan has served on the Board of Directors for the Central Florida PR Association, and is a member of the PRSA.
co-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
RAS Associates, LLC founder and owner Bob Schiers has more than 30 years experience in the communications industry, and has received dozens of PR and communications awards ranging from investigative news reporting to feature writing for local and regional publications and national advertising campaigns. And interestingly, Bob also holds several Guinness World Records.
VICE PRESIDENT & TREASURER
As VP and Treasurer of USPR, Cora is responsible for corporate liquidity, investments and risk management related to the network's financial activities. Cora has more than 30 years of financial and administrative experience in the fields of accounting and education.
Dennis oversees the creative direction of USPR, and provides clients with graphic arts and video production support in visual communications, digital photography, web design, and dynamic presentations. He's also responsible for senior account management, special events planning, writing and media relations.
DIR OF EDITORIAL CONTENT
Jay Hamburg has 29 years of journalism experience as a reporter and editor at newspapers that include the Orlando Sentinel and The Tennessean. In addition to earning several local and regional awards, he has been named one of three national finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. After founding his writing and media consulting business in 2009, Jay has done extensive work for the daily internal website and twice-monthly magazine of the Walt Disney World Resort, known as Eyes & Ears. Both are part of an information service for 70,000 local Disney cast members. He also has written scores of articles for the Rollins College website and its alumni magazine. As well, his articles have appeared in Orlando Magazine, Winter Park Magazine and other city magazines.
sr STRATEGIST MEDIA RELATIONS
Dana Swinney is a public relations specialist with pitch perfect skills that make the media want to cover your story. She is a PR natural who has sharpened her skills working with top media outlets. Dana has worked in the PR/Marketing field since 2001, and in 2006, founded DRS Media Consulting.
sr strategist MARKETING
Speaker and author Tami Cannizzaro is a veteran marketing and retail professional with more than 30 years experience working for and with major brands such as Neiman Marcus, Zale, Michaels, Nokia, 7-Eleven and Blockbuster. She has held positions in a variety of areas throughout her career, such as retail buying, advertising, promotions, strategic marketing and communications. Tami's favorite job so far? It's a toss-up between motorsports marketing and being a men's underwear buyer. You never know when that information might come in handy.
Social media strategist & Lifestyle expert
Candace Karu, founder of 3C Media LLC, has more than 30 years experience in marketing, PR, publishing and social media. A practical problem solver and imaginative marketing strategist, Candace is able to help clients navigate the challenging and ever-changing waters of social media. In addition, Candace brings years of experience with brand representation, particularly in the areas of food, fitness, travel, art and design. She is the former Editorial Director of Running Times and former Editor-at-Large at Maine Home+Design. She is on the board of Maine College of Art and Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.
wendy goldman scherer
research & social analytics PARTNER
USPR partners with The Social Studies Group for research & social analytics. Wendy Goldman Scherer is the founder and managing partner of the creative research firm sprung from traditional primary and secondary research roots, that has gracefully stayed a step ahead in imagining new ways to use technology, business intelligence and a little je ne sai quoi to provide insightful input. At their heart, they are a social media research firm that specializes in complex social media monitoring and analysis, issue and industry trend identification and netnography. At their core, they are seasoned business people with vast experience in traditional and non-traditional research methodologies.
sr strategist Community Relations & Diversity management
Larcine Bland founded LLB Consulting with the expressed goal of providing companies with solid, well-proven strategies in the areas of diversity management/inclusion along with enhanced community and customer relations. Bland has worked for and helped to shape diversity initiatives for national retail brands such as Dunkin’ Brands, Blockbuster Inc. and 7-Eleven. She is a member of the national NAACP Special Contributions Fund board of Directors, where she serves on the nationally televised NAACP Image Awards Show Committee. She is also a recipient of various awards and recognitions including the NAACP Trailblazer’s Award, the League of United Latin American Citizen’s (LULAC) Women’s Commission Award and is a National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Clubs Black Women’s Corporate Hall of Fame Inductee.
SR STRATEGIST Syndicated radio
Michelle Jasko founded Nashville Radio Syndication, Inc. - a boutique company that provides timely, informed representation of all media forms to the commercial radio broadcast industry including short & long form programming, research services, newsletters, on-air and social media prep services, production packages, V.O. artist representation and record promotion - in 2002. Michelle has developed a strong base of contacts in radio, trade publications, record labels and advertising firms during her more than 25 years experience in the field. In addition to consulting, producing and affiliate relations work, Michelle has experience working with FCC files, ACT ONE and radio signal mapping programs.
DIR of Healthcare marketing & PR
Jennifer Heinly, founder of J&J Consulting, has more than 25 years of experience in PR and marketing. Current and past clients include those in the health care, legal, high tech, publishing, sports marketing, construction/engineering services, food, insurance and financial service industries. Her current areas of expertise include media relations, news release and article writing, and PR and marketing planning. Jennifer is the past Chair IPA Section of PRSA; past Programming Chair for IPA Section of PRSA; past president of the International Association of Business Communicators, Colorado Chapter; and a past member of the Colorado Sports Council, Short Track Speed Skating Championships committee. She is currently the secretary for the Healthcare PR and Marketing Association. Jennifer is also an adjunct professor at Concordia University and Vanguard University in Orange County, California.
DIR of Hispanic affairs
Anna Figueroa is President and Owner of Vantage Communications, a full-service communications and advertising agency she founded in Miami in 2009. With two decades of experience in both general audience and Hispanic markets, Anna has shown a wide array of national and local clients how to strengthen brand identities and increase market share. Fully bilingual in English and Spanish, Anna specializes in combining media, digital media, marketing, PR and reputation management to create strategies uniquely tailored for clients in sectors that include healthcare, automotive, legal, insurance, business-to-business, charities, packaged goods for both domestic and international markets and retail. She also provides translation services.
DIR OF crisis, governmental & Political communications
John Kerezy, MA, APR, was in journalism and PR for 25 years before beginning a second career in higher education. He's an associate professor of JMC at Cuyahoga Community College. He's also a section Vice President of AEJMC, the association for college journalism educators, and has been a member of PRSA for more than 30 years. Kerezy's areas of expertise include crisis communications, and governmental and political communications. He was also one of the conveners of the YouToo Social Media Conference, which began at Kent State University in 2008.
MILLENNIAL marketing specialists
Culture Cube is a creative agency that specializes in developing interactive out-of-home brand experiences as well as Millennial consulting. From current trends to the latest tech, Culture Cube is in tune with today’s ever changing culture. Based in Los Angeles, they regularly work with brands all across the US. They have brought unique insight and valuable experience to top brands including Gannett, The Hollywood Reporter, People Magazine, Goodwill, The Motion Picture & Television Fund, and Delta Airlines. Their core team has a rich background in advertising, marketing, technology/software, consulting and content production. @kyleagriffin
DIR OF CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS PLANNING, TRAINING & CONSULTING
Deb Hileman, CMP, is President and CEO of the Institute for Crisis Management (ICM), a boutique firm specializing in crisis management and communications planning, training and consulting. Founded in 1990, ICM was one of the first consulting firms to focus solely on crisis management. ICM provides expertise and support to companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies, trade associations, colleges, universities and other organizations in North America and across the globe. A business leader with 30 years’ experience in public and private companies and non-profit organizations, Deb has led high-performing communications teams in health care, manufacturing, insurance and financial services and higher education, among others. Her most significant areas of expertise include reputation/crisis management, change management and employee engagement, strategic communications planning and media training. Deb earned a Communication Management Professional (CMP) certificate from the Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC).
DIR OF consumer marketing & marketing to women
Linda Landers, founder and CEO of Girlpower Marketing, is a recognized leader in consumer branding and lifestyle marketing, with a specialty in developing integrated campaigns that resonate with female consumers. She has worked with dozens of mid-sized companies and blue-chip brands to launch new products, sustain heritage products and resurrect older products. Accounts under her direction have included Procter & Gamble (Ivory Soap, Pampers and Old Spice), United Airlines, Hilton Hotels, Kashi, Heritage Foods, Seneca Farms, Disney Interactive, Barnes & Noble, Dell, American Suzuki and BabyFirstTV. Before launching Girlpower Marketing, Linda was a Managing Partner with PainePR (now CitizenRelations), considered one of the nation’s most creative consumer public relations firms. At PainePR she chaired the women’s practice, recognizing early on the vital role that women play in business and consumer spending. She’s been quoted on the female mindset in Brandweek, Adweek, PRWeek, and USA Today, and speaks frequently on the purchasing power of women. She is the recipient of numerous national public relations industry awards, including the “Best of” Silver Anvil.
DIR OF retail communication
Margaret Chabris has more than 30 years of experience in journalism, public relations and marketing communications. Founder of Counsel Rock Communication, her current clients include companies in the manufacturing & distribution, financial services, commercial real estate and retail sectors. For six years she was a newspaper general assignment reporter, features writer and lifestyle editor and produced stories used by the Associated Press. She directed 7-Eleven, Inc.’s corporate communications department for a number of years, engaging in all facets of public relations and marketing communication. An award-winning PR professional, Margaret’s work has been recognized a number of times by the Public Relations Society of America with its highest honor - the Silver Anvil trophy. She is a results-oriented communications leader, with a proven track record of enhancing and protecting brands while driving public awareness in support of increased sales and shareholder value. Her expertise covers strategic, marketing, crisis, internal and external communications, media relations, customer and community relations.
DIR OF government contracting & Minority business relations
Johnny Little, Jr. has over 16 years of communication and strategic planning experience. Prior to starting eLittle Communications Group in 2007, he worked as the executive director of communications for Missouri’s largest school district, St. Louis Public Schools, handling public relations, marketing and advertising. eLittle Communications Group, is certified as a participant in the Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development program. Entrance into the SBA’s 8(a) business development program was granted after eLittle Communications Group completed a rigorous application process to ensure it met the standards for entering this coveted program. Firms that apply to the program are rigorously evaluated on ownership, operations, financial health, and past performance. SBA 8(a) certification includes one-on-one counseling, training, workshops and other management and technical guidance. Certified firms are also considered small disadvantaged business concerns for federal contracting purposes. Firms that are approved are certified by the SBA for a period of nine years. Mr. Little majored in television production at Rust College in Holly Spring, Mississippi. He began his professional television career as a news producer at WJTV (CBS) in Jackson, MS. The following year, after a stint as a news producer for WBBM (ABC) in Birmingham, AL, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri and worked as a news producer for KTVI Fox 2. Little then returned to CBS as the first African American news executive producer at KMOV-TV 4. Little received his master’s degree in business from Webster University in St. Louis, MO. Little’s team assisted the City of Ferguson by creating a media relations department in November 2014. The office is responsible for issuing press releases, media sheets, media advisories, and arranging and facilitating media coverage for Ferguson officials. Currently, ELittle Communications Group has two offices; Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri. The agency has received MBE/DBE certifications from the cities of Memphis and St. Louis. They are also MBE certified in the states of Missouri and Tennessee and are certified to participate in the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program.
DIR OF SENIOR & BOOMER MARKETING
Laura Mitchell has over a decade of experience in the aging, technology and digital health market. She cofounded and led the marketing and business development team for GrandCare Systems, a remote patient monitoring and telehealth technology pioneer. In 2008, she launched the first series of aging and technology industry-wide webinars, was a founding member of the Aging & Technology Alliance (AgeTek) and is a recognized digital health expert having authored several white papers and articles on enabling technologies in the aging space and reaching the senior market. She has spoken at shows across the country including AARP, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Digital Health Summit, the MHealth Summit, the Medicare/Medicaid Summit, LeadingAge, American Society on Aging and more. In 2015, she began a consulting firm (Laura Mitchell Consulting: LMC) to help new and growing organizations run their marketing and business development efforts. Known for her expertise in brand evangelism, the aging market and social media, Laura has been featured in Forbes magazine, was named Dealerscope Magazine's "Top 40 under 40", awarded the 2014 Connected World women of M2M, and was a 2011 recipient of the Mary Furlong Silicon Boomer Venture Summit Award for innovation and leadership. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two boys and two dogs.
digital marketing / creative branding / entertainment
Lisa Vega, founder of the Lisa Vega Group (LVG), is an expert at navigating the digital landscape, creating the pieces that tell your story to reach and engage your audience. Lisa’s team of photographers, videographers, editors, web designers, and social media influencers utilize all creative communication tools available to make a brand stand out. An early adapter to online marketing, Lisa has been lending her expertise to clients in the entertainment, beauty, and lifestyle space by creating effective strategies utilizing the latest in digital marketing. She has worked closely with pop culture’s most influential icons including: David Bowie, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, Duran Duran, Snoop Dog and Steven Van Zandt. LVG has worked with top record labels and rock festivals, and well-known consumer products like Rolling Stone Magazine, Rolling Rock Beer, Brahma Beer, Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. LVG has also provided senior marketing counsel to high-profile charity events including the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Foundation and the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Golf Tournament. In fact, Lisa was responsible for creating the “Osbourne” phenomenon via a strategic campaign that transformed Ozzy from rock ‘n’ roll madman to lovable family man, thus initiating the media frenzy that established the Osbournes as cultural icons. As an overall part of her efforts, Lisa carefully crafted a branding strategy that saw the Osbournes move beyond the successful MTV show to gain mass appeal resulting in mainstream advertising and sponsorship deals for the Osbourne brand.