Elizabeth Brennan is director, communications and marketing, at Fontbonne University. Her responsibilities include the alumni magazine, university media relations, copywriting and editing for both print and web, and managing social media channels.
“So many nonprofit communicators are stretched thin — budgets are tight, staff numbers are small, and sometimes, we’re doing the work of an entire team of people,” she said. “It's so wonderful that organizations like CSPRC are available to support us. CSPRC not only provides professional development opportunities and industry knowledge, but it offers camaraderie and support from a group of people who understand what you do, who have similar challenges and triumphs, and who can offer encouragement when it’s needed.”
After graduating magna cum laude from McKendree College in 2004, Elizabeth interned at Fleishman-Hillard and then moved to Hughes (now HLK) in 2005, where she managed public and media relations for local and national clients and generated media placement in trade and consumer media outlets. During this time, she also edited the now defunct TASTE Magazine. She joined the Fontbonne team in January 2008.
In 2015, Elizabeth earned her master’s degree in nonprofit management at Fontbonne, a program designed to enhance the skills and career prospects of nonprofit professionals.
Elizabeth is married to another professional communicator who works in the corporate world. “We are proud St. Louis City residents and have two dogs,” she said. “I love to read, run, travel and throw parties. I ran my first half-marathon in October!”
- December 2015
Kim Westerman serves as congregational coordinator of communication for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, a group of Catholic nuns “doing all things of which woman is capable” to “serve God and the Dear Neighbor without distinction.”
“Six months ago, I switched career tracks from volunteer management to communications,” she said. “I'd previously attended a couple of joint CSPRC/Metropolitan Volunteer Management Association meetings, so I knew CSPRC is an active, dynamic group of professionals. I know there’s a lot for me to learn about communication, so I made joining CSPRC a priority in my new job. I've already expanded my network and picked up some great tips!”
After graduating from Truman State University with a degree in journalism in 2004, Kim volunteered for a year in the Bronx, and then earned a master’s of public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Moving to St. Louis in 2008, she worked as volunteer coordinator at the St. Patrick Center for two years and the Magic House for three years, then spent two years as a development specialist for the Greater St. Louis Area Council of Boy Scouts.
In April 2015 she assumed her current responsibilities for the congregation. These entailed starting a communications program from scratch, redesigning the website, rolling out social media, and developing an e-newsletter and magazine. She also collaborates with other regional communications coordinators to promote their common message.
Kim’s personal interests include running, craft beer and volunteering with Gateway Pet Guardians and the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project. She lives in St. Louis City with her husband and their two rescued greyhounds.
- November 2015
Molly Crisp has served as communications coordinator for the St. Louis County Children’s Services Fund (CSF) since June 1, 2015. The CSF has funded 80 agencies and 198 programs that provide mental and behavioral health services to youth throughout St. Louis County, including every school district in the county. Working with the board and staff, Molly is responsible for generating public awareness of the CSF and the positive impact it is having for St. Louis County youth.
“I joined CSPRC because it’s important to be part of the industry at a group level, to meet other professionals, and make use of the resources provided by CSPRC,” she said. “I value the interaction of networking as well as the opportunity to represent St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund. I believe my professional experience will be greatly enhanced by joining this organization.”
Molly earned her bachelor’s in political science/communications from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2008. She earned her master’s in international relations from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., in 2012.
Through Molly’s social justice and political expertise, she has worked to promote positive change on local, state and national levels in the arenas of government, socioeconomic strategy and cultural change. She served in a number of roles working for LA Harris and Associates from 2013 to 2015.
A recent St. Louis transplant, she enjoys spending her time jogging in Forest Park, volunteering at Girls on the Run and trying new restaurants.
~ October 2015
Maria Langston became executive director and vice president of the Missouri Credit Union Charitable Foundation in 2013 and oversees all fundraising, stewardship of resources and grant awards. Working with her board, she also plans and executes the foundation’s efforts to support financial education programs, small credit union projects and community development initiatives serving underserved populations throughout the state.
“We joined CSPRC to be part of a group of nonprofit professionals who are working hard to learn new strategies in order to help people improve their lives,” she said. “Ryan Farmer (former CSPRC Board president) said CSPRC was a great organization, and he was certainly correct.”
After graduating from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville with a bachelor’s in communications and business in 1996, Maria worked as director of marketing and promotion for Sinclair Radio Group (WIL, KHITS and WRTH). She moved to CBS/Infinity Radio in 2000 to manage the promotional and marketing efforts of Y98 and KEZK FM. After serving for 10 years as development director for the Children’s Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis, Maria became the agency’s executive director in 2010.
Maria has been active with five nonprofits and currently serves on the board of three, including the State Credit Union Foundation, Maplewood Richmond Heights School District and Joe’s Place, a community partnership serving to homeless teenage boys in the Maplewood Richmond Heights area.
On a personal level, “I’m a mom to two wonderful boys, Michael (16) and Matthew (12),” she said. “My hubby Mark and I are very active in our community serving on many local boards and committees. In our free time, we enjoy our lake house at the Lake of the Ozarks, attending our kiddos’ baseball games and school performances, and everything Disney!”
~ September 2015
Stacey McKnight is communications coordinator for Faith that Works, a faith-based Christian organization that empowers and equips leaders to share the love of Christ in practical ways in their own communities. Faith that Works supports education and empowerment opportunities locally for Hispanic families in the Chesterfield Mobile Home Park and also works with Somali immigrants and refugees in the Horn of Africa.
“St. Louis is home to many incredible nonprofits and community leaders, and attending CSPRC events offers me opportunities to connect with and learn from others doing similar work,” said Stacey.
A native of North Carolina, Stacey earned her bachelor’s in communications from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. While a student, she interned with the United Way of Pitt County, helping to promote the Student United Way-Youth Volunteer Council program. She also served as a mission intern at Oakmont Baptist Church during the summer of 2012 and as an after-school proram coordinator for 10 months subsequently.
After graduating with honors in 2013, Stacey moved to St. Louis to join a chapter of the Episcopal Service Corps (ESC), a national network of intentional communities focused on service, justice, simplicity of life and prayer. While in the ESC, Stacey served for a year as a development assistant for Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed, an organization focused on ending homelessness, not managing it.
When her ESC program ended in August 2014, Stacey began working at Faith that Works as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) worker. AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program designed specifically to fight poverty in the U.S.
In her role at Faith that Works, Stacey is responsible for the monthly e-newsletter, social media, the website, the annual communications calendar as well as designing collateral materials to promote the organization and recruit volunteers.
“My work pulls together my love of community, communication, service and design as I get to share stories of both challenge and hope,” Stacey said.
Outside of work hours, Stacey spends her time exploring the city, getting together with friends, seeking out new experiences and making art, including acrylic painting and pen and ink sketches.
~ August 2015
Abby (Buckles) Downs has served as communications coordinator at the United Way of Greater St. Louis since February 2013.
“CSPRC provides me with the tools I need to succeed not only in my position but the position of our organization as a whole,” she said. “Through the monthly luncheons, I have the opportunity to connect with some of the area’s most prominent nonprofit professionals, hear what they’re trying at their organizations and take valuable ideas with me back to the office.”
This dedicated journalist manages the UW online blog and creates marketing materials such as success stories for use on the website, monthly newsletters and social media platforms.
Abby graduated from Lindenwood University in 2011 with a bachelor’s in journalism in just three years while serving as a reporter and assistant editor of the university’s newspaper, a radio broadcaster and a reporter for a local newscast. She subsequently worked as a reporter for the O’Fallon Patch; coordinated corporate, community and charity events for Novus International; and fulfilled a variety of photographic, video and graphic design roles promoting KTVI and its advertisers.
Abby is happily married to her high school sweetheart, Tyler. Currently, the two are in the process of purchasing their dream home – a log cabin on 15 wooded acres in Park Hills, Mo.
~ July 2015
Jana Shortt, director of communications and marketing for the Ferguson-Florissant School District, oversees the internal and external communications for the system of nearly 2,000 employees serving more than 11,000 students across 24 schools in north St. Louis County. She also serves as co-chair of the Ferguson-Florissant Foundation for Education.
“I decided to join CSPRC after attending two recent luncheons and appreciating the valuable information that was shared,” she said. “Being part of a small communications department with an equally modest budget, the reasonable cost of membership helped make it possible for me as well.”
After graduating from St. Louis University in 1998, Jana worked as an account manager for Adamson Advertising and then as public relations manager for Hardee’s Food System. From 2007-11 she worked as a freelance consultant. Then she moved to Twist and developed marketing plans for local and national clients, including The Limited, the BlackFinn and SmashBurger restaurant concepts, Jazz St. Louis and the law firm of Cordell & Cordell.
Since joining the school district in 2012, she has managed internal and external communications related to the transfer of students from unaccredited districts in the summer of 2013, major changes in district leadership in 2013-15, development of a districtwide strategic plan, school district communications related to the crisis in Ferguson in 2014, and successful tax levy and bond issue campaigns in 2014 and 2015.
Jana also developed comprehensive brand standards for the district, redesigned the district website and all elementary and middle school websites, implemented a new districtwide rapid notification system, significantly increased the district’s social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, and revamped annual district events resulting in increased attendance and community engagement.
In 2013, Jana was recognized by North County Inc. as one of its “30 Leaders in Their Thirties” award recipients.
Jana lives with her husband Trent and three children: Grace (11), Henry (9) and Helen (6). She enjoys reading, coffee, old movies and – seriously – “severe weather”!
CSPRC remembers Jana Shortt, who died shortly after this profile was written, as a dedicated nonprofit professional whose life and career serve as an inspiration to all of us.
~ June 2015
Rebecca Dohrman, PhD, is program director of undergraduate communications and assistant professor of communication at Maryville University.
“CSPRC luncheons provide a very valuable space for professionals in the field to get together and think through some of the cutting-edge campaigns, stories and initiatives happening in the nonprofit space related to public relations,” she said. “I often share stories with my students from the speakers and case studies presented at CSPRC!”
A native of Belleville, Ill., Rebecca earned a bachelor’s in Spanish and international studies from St. Louis University (SLU) in 2003, a master’s in communications from SLU in 2006, and a doctorate in organizational communications from Purdue University in 2010. While earning her master’s, she worked in the SLU development office helping coordinate the Young Alumni Association for a year. From 2004-06, she coordinated academic advising for more than 300 honors students at SLU. She also facilitated diversity awareness discussions over five half days in 2012-13. Since 2009, Rebecca has served as a consultant for the National Center for Women & Information Technology based in Boulder, Colo.
Rebecca joined the communications program at Maryville in 2010. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, she initiated a data collection program to assess student satisfaction with the curriculum and interactions with professors. She has taught Maryville students in Madrid during the summer of 2013 and in Paris during the summer of 2014. This fall she is launching the Global Scholars Program that will enable high-achieving students to earn a double major in three years at Maryville and three summers studying abroad.
Rebecca is married to John Weiler, a computer engineer for General Motors. They live in Warson Woods and are the parents of Noah, 6, and Ella, 4. Rebecca loves trying new restaurants, travelling and having long dinners with interesting people.
~ May 2015
April Dzubic has served as senior director, community engagement for the American Cancer Society (ACS) since 2013. As the senior officer in the chapter, she is responsible for leading the integration of a high performing cross-functional staff team to maximize market success across a variety of events, mission programs, health systems, corporate accounts and constituents – all in an effort to further the mission of ACS in St. Louis and the state of Missouri.
April has served on the CSPRC board of directors since 2012. As chair of the membership committee, her organizational skills have helped grow CSPRC membership to 300+ for the first time since its founding in 1971.
“CSPRC has helped me develop my career over four different jobs at two separate health agencies spanning more than 13 years,” she said. “The knowledge I’ve gained and incredible professionals I’ve met have molded me into the nonprofit leader I’m fortunate to be today.”
After graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000, April completed an internship at Fleishman-Hillard in St. Louis and worked for two years as community relations manager for The AIDS Foundation of St. Louis.
April began her career at the America Cancer Society managing local Relay for Life events – part of the largest charity walk in the world – and then served as communications director for seven years. As a three-year survivor of stage 1 melanoma – caught early through screening – and with many close family members who have had cancer, she also has personal experience of the great work and resources available from nonprofits like the American Cancer Society.
April grew up in northern Illinois, is happily married to Damir and is the mother of two children, and loves to travel.
~ April 2015
Sandra Sullivan serves as communications and marketing manager for the St. Louis Regional Chapter of the ALS Association, the only national not-for-profit health organization fighting Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) on every front.
“My CSPRC membership provides so many opportunities to network with and learn from communications and development professionals who are on top of the latest trends in the nonprofit sector,” she said. “The monthly luncheons are a great place to stay in touch with my colleagues and to learn more about topics pertinent to my position.”
Sandra helps develop and execute the organization’s marketing and communications activities and handles editorial and media relations to support program, development and outreach efforts. She also coordinates the organization’s social media, website and e-mail communications.
Prior to her joining the ALS team in 2014, she worked as a freelance communications consultant and graphic designer for a number of nonprofit organizations in the St. Louis area for nine years. She previously served as the communications coordinator for Progressive Youth Connection (2005-06) and Ronald McDonald House Charities (2000-05). She recently completed her master’s in nonprofit management from Washington University. Previously, she earned a bachelor’s in literature from Webster University.
Sandra served for three years on the board of VOYCE, an organization dedicated to ensuring quality of care for those residing in long-term care facilities.
~ March 2015
Jennifer Henry, communications manager for Francis Howell School District, was recently recognized by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) as one of the top “35 Under 35” school public relations professionals in the country. She understands the importance of belonging to professional organizations like NSPRA and CSPRC.
"I really value CSPRC and the connections I have made with colleagues across the St. Louis area,” she said. “The monthly luncheons and annual Spectrum conference are wonderful professional development opportunities that have helped me expand my professional skills and network."
After graduating from Lindenwood University with a bachelor’s in communications in 2002, Jennifer began working at the Boy Scouts of Greater St. Louis. She worked in the training and advancement department, while pursuing her master’s in communications, which she earned in 2003. While with the Scouts, former CSPRC president Joe Mueller was “a great mentor” for her, she said.
She then served as marketing coordinator with a medical supply company for nearly two years before moving to Francis Howell in 2006. Some of her accomplishments involve revamping all 23 school websites, the district website and employee intranet. Jennifer has also implemented a rapid notification system; introduced social media and created guidelines for staff; planned and executed many events; and created staff, school and community email newsletters for this district serving 18,000 students in 150 square miles.
She helps the district manage any crisis, including the communications efforts for recent student transfers from unaccredited districts. She also created the communications plan and materials for a successful tax levy and bond issues.
She lives with her husband, 20-month-old twins and two fur babies in St. Peters. In her spare time, which there isn’t much of with toddlers, Jennifer enjoys playing soccer and is an avid St. Louis Blues Hockey fan.
~ February 2015
Katie Lineberry serves as project manager for Incite, a marketing and communications firm that specializes in marketing that motivates positive behavior change using local media and grassroots engagement to inspire people to take positive action, creating impact for brands and communities.
“CSPRC encompasses many of the things that I care about both personally and professionally,” she said. “I care about making valuable connections with people, and helping to maintain a high value of communication among nonprofit and for-profit entities. CSPRC provides a great vehicle in which to do both of those things with a group of influential, impact-oriented individuals.
Katie joined Incite after graduating with a bachelor’s in mass communication, with minors in business and sociology, from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2010. While a student, she did internships at a number of media outlets, including FOX 2 KTVI, KSHE 95, Time Warner Cable, FOX Sports Midwest and the St. Louis Blues.
As project manager, Katie works directly with community-focused corporations and nonprofit organizations to develop strategic community outreach partnerships. She identifies grant opportunities, manages social marketing campaigns and serves as the main point of contact for all cause-marketing clients, including American Lung Association, City of St. Louis Department of Health, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Department of Transportation, PNC Bank, State Farm and Subaru of America. Her efforts helped grow Incite revenue by 275 percent in three years.
Katie has always been active in the community, volunteering at Columbia Second Chance (a no-kill animal shelter) and Big Brothers Big Sisters; raising money for multiple sclerosis; and going on service immersions to La Chinantla, Mexico, and Harmons, Jamaica. In addition, Katie has belonged to a number of nonprofit boards, such as the Family Resource Center Young Professionals Board and the Humane Society of Missouri’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Married for just over a year and living in Affton, Katie is an animal lover and a St. Louis Blues season ticket holder. Her hobbies include reading, biking, running, water skiing, trying new restaurants and drinking wine.
~ January 2015