Who's Next: 23 young communications professionals helping Arizona find its voice

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From creating marketing campaigns to managing social media accounts, 23 young professionals are making leaving their

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Who’s Next. Every month, azcentral is publishing an installment of this up-and-comer series focusing on a different industry or field. It's an evolution of the 35 Entrepreneurs 35 or Younger program that recognized 350 Arizonans from 2007-2016. 

This time around, we’re highlighting some of the city’s most dynamic advertising, public relations and marketing professionals based on nominations provided by their coworkers and peers. Meet the 23 young people who are the state's next great communicators.

Next up: Arts professionals. Nomination deadline is Oct. 1. 

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Jennifer Adler (Photo: The James Agency)

JENNIFER ADLER

Director of public relations, The James Agency, Scottsdale, thejamesagency.com

33 years old

Connect: Twitter, LinkedIn

Jennifer Adler manages The James Agency's internal public relations team and oversees social media and PR for the company's clients. Adler has represented companies in a variety of industries, including real estate, entertainment and sports and some of her clients include the Arizona Lottery, Tropicana Las Vegas, Marriott International and Montelucia Resort and Spa. Adler's work combines her love of public relations and giving back to the community. Her work on the Hunger Action Month campaign, which funded more than 70,000 meals for Arizonans in need, earned her company various awards. Because of its success locally, Pei Wei launched that campaign regionally in 2016. She was also named "Best Female PR" in Arizona Foothills magazine 2017 Best of Our Valley issue. Outside of work, Adler is an active member of Valley of the Sun Active 20-30 Club where she served as the Vice President of Community Relations for two years. Her nominator said Jennifer's "dedication and passion for what she does are apparent and have enabled her to move up the advertising agency ranks at a young age."  

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Xena Baza (Photo: Landon Sur)

XENA BAZA

President, Students Identifying as Multiracial/Biracial, Arizona State University 

21 years old

Connect: Twitter, LinkedIn,Instagram

The Arizona State University senior leads SIMBA and is pursuing a degree in Asian Pacific American Studies in hopes of becoming a professor. She also oversees marketing for the Asian/Asian Pacific American Students' Coalition. Her communication work extends far off campus as she attends conferences such as NCORE, the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in Higher Education and other events focusing on diversity. She also speaks to professional groups about issues surrounding being multiracial and biracial.  

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Rachel Brockway (Photo: Mike Eller Photography)

RACHEL BROCKWAY

Senior account executive, HMA Public Relations, Phoenix, hmapr.com

39 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn

In her role, Rachel Brockway is responsible for managing a variety of communications strategies for her company, including digital communications, client management, business development and more. She has been recognized by the Public Relations Society of America, Public Relations Global Network and International Association of Business Communicators. She was also named one of the top 100 marketing professors on Twitter by the Social Media Marketing magazine. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University where she teaches classes in marketing, social media. Brockway is also active in the community, serving as a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the Scottsdale Unified School District Capital Override Oversight Committee and on the board of directors for both the Anne Rita Monahan Foundation for Ovarian Cancer and Families Giving Back.

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Adam Brooks (Photo: Submitted by Adam Brooks)

ADAM BROOKS

CEO/founder, Youth Awareness and Safety, Phoenix, youthawarenessandsafety.org  

36 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn,Instagram

Adam Brooks began his career as a special education teacher, but has since transitioned to "train adults to train youth." He started his educational consulting firm, Youth Awareness and Safety, in 2015. Brooks' work has taken him all over the country, but he is most passionate about serving the community here in Arizona where he grew up. His responsibilities include speaking to students, conducting professional development for teachers and staff and running presentations for parents on topics like body image and healthy communication skills. Brooks also uses his expertise in education as an adjunct faculty member for communications at Rio Salado Community College, where he was recently named Teacher of the Year, and as a board member at New Way Academy. He has written two mini-books, "Understanding Millennials" and "The Social Media Handbook." His nominator noted Brooks' "passion, commitment and heart for all students." "Through his work, he has shaped the hearts and minds of many students, parents and educators."

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Adrianna Dalpiaz (Photo: Anderson Advertising)

ADRIANNA DALPIAZ

Director of account services, Anderson Advertising, Phoenix, anderson-adv.com/ 

35 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn

Though working in the industry for 12 years, Adrianna Dalpiaz found her true passion when she started in her current role at Anderson Advertising. In this position, her responsibilities include communicating account information and client news to her team and overseeing her team's daily activities and projects to name a few. She leads by example and keeps a philosophy that "we are people first." Previously, Dalpiaz worked at Off Madison Ave, where she managed the Arizona Office of Tourism account and helped launch multiple initiatives for the organization. In her free time, Dalpiaz volunteers at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, supports Halo Animal Rescue and is a member of the Phoenix Ad Club. From her nominator: "She truly embodies what it takes to be a successful communications professional in today's climate and inspires everyone around her while doing so." 

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Samantha DeRose (Photo: Jessica Pate)

SAMANTA DeROSE

PR associate and social media specialist, The McRae Agency, Paradise Valley, mcraeagency.com

22 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn

A graduate from Arizona State University, Samantha DeRose found her love for social media after an internship at IntraEdge. Shortly after, she transitioned to a full-time position with the company, but wanted to try her skills in public relations. Now, she manages all of the McRae Agency's clients' social media and creates their digital newsletters. From her nominator: "Samantha is very accomplished for someone so young."

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Maria Dillon (Photo: Santy)

MARIA DILLON

Chief client officer & director of operations, Santy, Scottsdale, santy.com 

33 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn

Maria Dillon leads the client services team that works with companies like Hormel Foods, Paradise Bakery and Snapple. She also helps oversee the growth and management of her agency, which led her to create a culture road-map two years ago. She "epitomizes the person we all aspire to be" according to her nominator. Outside of work, Dillon gives back to the community by volunteering at Arizona Humane Society, St. Vincent de Paul, Homes for Wounded Warriors and Goodwill of Arizona. In her spare time, she's an avid hiker, traveler and reader.

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Michelle Donati-Grayman (Photo: PRSA Phoenix)

MICHELLE DONATI-GRAYMAN

Communications manager, AAA Arizona, Phoenix, az.aaa.com 

34 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn,Instagram  

It was a flat tire on the freeway that kick started Michelle Donati-Grayman's career with AAA Arizona. Now, she serves as the spokesperson across seven states as the communications manager. In addition to public relations and campaign development, she has worked on strategies for the company's legislative agenda, helping strengthen Arizona's driving laws. Outside of work, she was also part of the Valley of the Sun United Way's Destination Graduation Program at Central High School for five years. 

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Anna Ebert (Photo: Justine Miller Photography)

ANNA EBERT

Co-founder, FunnelCake: Social Media Architecting, Phoenix, feedthefunnelmarketing.com 

32 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn,Instagram

Anna Ebert co-founded FunnelCake with a goal of community building through social media. Her nominator said she guides artisans like Arizona Artisans Collective and Women Who Startup Phoenix through social communication challenges, as well as educates the community about communications at local events, such as PHX Startup Week. Ebert is interested in what small businesses can contribute to Arizona and wants to help them "thrive and tell their story through social media."  

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Shelly Everson (Photo: Sarah Mauldin Photography)

SHELLY EVERSON

Public relations coordinator, Duet: Partners In Health and Aging, Phoenix, duetaz.org 

31 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn

As public relations coordinator, Shelly Everson uses her skills to spread the word about Duet's services. She enjoys working for nonprofits and "using my talents and know-how for causes I believe in." Her work at Duet has helped increase awareness of the company, as well as amount of volunteers and donations. In addition, Everson is managing editor of Arizona Health & Living Magazine, copy editor of Arizona Parenting magazine and a freelance writer for several magazines across the Valley.    

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Stephanie Jarnagan (Photo: Babe's Photos)

STEPHANIE JARNAGAN

President, Think Communications, Chandler, thinkcommaz.org 

37 years old

Connect: Twitter

Stephanie Jarnagan "places a high value on working with clients who value giving back to the community" and "has a passion for connecting companies with nonprofits." She launched the Chandler-based public relations firm Think Communications, which now includes clients such as Ford Motor Company and Mission of Mercy. She also serves as managing editor for SARRC's Outreach magazine and is active in her community as a member of the Parks and Recreation board for the City of Chandler, a Girl Scout troop leader and media relations chair for Ocotillo Neighborhood.  

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Karen Loschiavo (Photo: Submitted by Karen Loschiavo)

KAREN LOSCHIAVO

Communications manager, Maricopa County Recorder, Phoenix, recorder.maricopa.gov

23 years old

Connect: Twitter, Instagram 

There's "not much room for error" in Karen Loschiavo's job and "everyday presents a new challenge." As communications manager for Maricopa County Recorder, Loschiavo works to make the Office "transparent and accessible" serving as Public Information Officer at just 23 years old. She manages all communications for the office, as well as public perception for the elected official. 

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Dallas McLaughlin (Photo: The James Agency)

DALLAS MCLAUGHLIN

Director of interactive marketing, The James Agency, Scottsdale, thejamesagency.com

31 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn,Instagram,Youtube

Dallas McLaughlin is responsible for optimizing consumer engagement across all forms of digital communications. He's in charge of researching, planning, social media, search engine optimization and more. His work got him recognition with the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association's Rising Star Award for his "innovation, collaboration and results in the field of interactive marketing." Recently, he launched a new marketing campaign for his agency, as well as created weekly Facebook Live question and answer sessions. McLaughlin has always been involved with digital communications, starting his first online company at just 14 years old.  

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Sarah McLeod (Photo: Bart Butler)

SARAH MCLEOD

Client services director, Activate Health, Scottsdale, activate-health.com/ 

34 years old

Connect: LinkedIn 

Sarah McLeod has more than 10 years of healthcare communications experience. She has managed corporate communications and media relation activities at both Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial organizations. Previously, on the board of the Junior League of Phoenix Foundation, McLeod created a brand plan that utilized all forms of communications to increase funding for the organization by 200 percent.    

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Michael Morefield (Photo: Arizona Animal Welfare League)

MICHAEL MOREFIELD

Marketing and communications manager, Arizona Animal Welfare League, Phoenix, aawl.org 

34 years old 

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn

There's no typical day at work for Michael Morefield. From media interviews to rescuing homeless animals, all of Morefield's work is in hopes of increasing adoptions and donations for his company. As marketing and communications manager, Morefield runs the company's social media and website, which has seen an increase in community engagement under his management. He's also in charge of coordinating marketing efforts, which have landed local and national attention. Morefield likes to "throw every creative effort and inspiration into my job, because it’s making families. And there is no paycheck in the world better than that."  

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Lisa Nicita (Photo: Submitted by Lisa Nicita)

LISA NICITA

Senior account executive, Fingerpaint, Scottsdale, fingerpaintmarketing.com 

39 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn

Lisa Nicita works to create powerful campaigns for her clients, working on issues from school closures to domestic abuse. Her nominator said she "has a way with words" and is known to "give a voice to issues that she feels need attention." Notably, she was part of the management for the Don't Trash Arizona campaign that helped reduce highway litter in Maricopa County. She also led the concept and development of a storytelling initiative at her agency that launches soon. Nicita also previously worked as a staff reporter for the Republic, covering features, sports and Queen Creek.  

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Liz Renninger (Photo: Jennifer Kaplan)

LIZ RENNINGER

Director of public relations, Evolve Public Relations and Marketing, Scottsdale, evolveprandmarketing.com 

34 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn,Instagram

Liz Renninger didn't have much public relations experience before landing her first position with Evolve. She had previous positions in marketing and reporting before finding her true passion. In her current role, Renninger oversees eight account managers with more than a dozen clients of her own, as well. She has also done pro bono work on various campaigns for Purple Drug Guide, One n Ten and Phoenix Children's Hospital. Her nominator said Renninger is proof there's nothing selfish about public relations. 

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Sebastien Reyes (Photo: Submitted by Sebastien Reyes)

SEBASTIEN REYES

Director of external communications, U-Haul International, Phoenix, uhaul.com

31 years old

Connect: LinkedIn

Sebastien Reyes was hired as the youngest Director at U-Haul. In this role, his responsibilities include overseeing all public, media and community relations for U-Haul North America and AMERCO affiliates, where he is also the Director of Investor Relations. He is also a company spokesperson. His work also includes giving back to the community by leading the company's charity work efforts, benefiting organizations like Maggie's Place and the Pat Tillman Foundation. He created a corporate internship program and has helped create various partnerships.   

 

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Anna Stewart (Photo: Submitted by Anna Stewart)

ANNA STEWART

Communications consultant, APS, Phoenix, aps.com 

31 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn

Anna Stewart worked on many political campaigns in Washington, D.C., but has since transitioned to corporate communications with APS. Her nominator said Stewart is "committed to Arizona and making our state the best it can be." Her expertise in communications lies in a variety of areas, including social media, speech writing and crisis communications. In her role, Stewart communicates topics about the company like their policies and community to its almost 3 million customers. From her nominator: "She is a truly gifted communicator and Arizona is lucky to have her."  

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Jessica Taylor (Photo: Ashley Barden)

JESSICA TAYLOR

Director of internal communications, PetSmart, Inc., Phoenix, petsmart.com

34 years old

Connect: LinkedIn

With experience working in communications for government, Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations, Jessica Taylor has gained expertise in public relations, social media, crisis communications and more. Some of her freelance work has been featured in Huffington Post and Forbes. In addition to her role at PetSmart, Taylor volunteers with organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Great Hearts Academies. When she's not working or volunteering, Taylor is also an independent health and wellness coach.   

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Susan Timm (Photo: Carl Schultz)

SUSAN TIMM

President, Knife & Fork Media Group, Phoenix, knifeandforkmedia.com

38 years old

Connect: Instagram

At age 30, Susan Timm moved away from her finance career to start her own media company, Knife & Fork Media Group, with no previous background in public relations or marketing. The company has more than 40 clients in five states. Timm and her employees do a lot of work for non-profit groups, including Share Our Strength and Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation. Timm said her knowledge of finance and business gives her a unique perspecitve when helping her clients. In her free time, Timm is an avid tennis player.    

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Shelby Tuttle (Photo: Anderson Advertising)

SHELBY TUTTLE

Director of public relations, Anderson Advertising, Phoenix, anderson-adv.com/

38 years old

Connect: Twitter, LinkedIn,Instagram

Previously in real estate, Shelby Tuttle said the career had "no sense of reward and no real connection to people." She decided to pursue public relations where she now is "able to make a difference" and "connect with people everyday." In her current role, Tuttle oversees client plans, media relations and client campaign strategies. She is most proud of the Larry H. Miller "Keys to Car Seat Safety" campaign that helps provide free seat belt checks around the area. In addition, Tuttle is an active volunteer with the Valley of the Sun Active 20-30 Club and also looks for opportunities to volunteer with her clients.   

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Sophia Zaft (Photo: Round Lens Photography)

SOPHIA ZAFT

Senior manager of marketing and communication, Romulus Restaurant Group, Phoenix, romulusinc.com

32 years old

Connect: Twitter,LinkedIn

Sophia Zaft has made it her priority to educate and mentor those aspiring to be in the communications field while continuing to work herself. In addition to her role at Romulus Restaurant Group, Zaft is an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University, where she teaches public relations and communications. She believes it is important to "give students real world experience in the classroom" and aims to provide useful information about a career in the industry. She said it's beneficial working in the field while teaching so she can provide honest information. 

 

 

 

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Article Who's Next: 23 young communications professionals helping Arizona find its voice compiled by Original article here

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