2018 Board of Directors
Communications Coordinator, DuBard School for Language Disorders
Liz is currently Communications Coordinator at the DuBard School for Language Disorders where she manages public relations and marketing activities for the organization. A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Liz began her career in public relations at the Utah State Senate before moving to the Utah Governor’s Office, where she worked as a Communications Specialist for Governor Gary R. Herbert. After relocating with her husband to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Liz worked as Communications and Events Director for the Area Development Partnership for four years, before transitioning to the DuBard School. Liz received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Utah and is will receive her M.A. in Mass Communication at The University of Southern Mississippi in May, 2017, where she focuses her research on how mass media influences the American family.
April Jordan, Vice President of Membership
Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Southern Miss Department of Recreational Sports
April is the marketing and public relations coordinator for the Department of Recreational Sports at The University of Southern Mississippi. In this role, she oversees all strategic marketing and integrative communications for programingand services affiliated with The Payne Center, the University’s wellness and recreation center on campus. She also manages a team of graphic designers and interns who have been recognized with numerous local, state and regional public relations honors for their work and special event programming. Prior to joining Southern Miss, April spent 10 years in the public relations and marketing industry sharing her passion for communications across a diverse background of companies, including Singing River Health System, United Way for Jackson and George Counties, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino and GodwinGroup Advertising Agency. She received her B.A. in Journalism with an emphasis in public relations from The University of Southern Mississippi. April has been a member of the Southern Public Relations Federation since 2007, serving in numerous board positions for the Mississippi Beach and Gulf Coast PRAM chapters. She currently resides in Hattiesburg with her husband, Chris and their daughter, Audrey.
Jean Claire Monroe Bounds, Director of Soical Media/Website
Community Relations Director, First Light Home Care
Jean Claire Monroe is a graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University where she studied both Music Education and Public Relations. She is the Community Relations Director for First Light Home Care where she manages all marketing and advertising initiatives. Jean Claire is a member of the Hattiesburg Concert Association performing with the Meistersingers and Hattiesburg Choral Union. An accomplished Christian speaker and writer, Jean Claire enjoys sharing her faith and encouraging others how to find true joy in their everyday lives. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Theological Studies at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Communications Facilitator, Cooperative Energy
Tonya Williams is currently the Communications Facilitator for Cooperative Energy. She has experience in energy, healthcare, hospitality and the education industries. Williams has won several public relations awards including the Judges Choice SPARK Award- the top award for PR work in the Pine Belt. She also was awarded the 2016 Professional Promise Award by the PRAM PineBelt Chapter. Tonya also is an advisor for the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Programs and Engagement Coordinator, African American Military History Museum
Currently with the African American Military History Museum, Shuntasia is responsible for developing museum programs and cultivating attractive visitor experiences. This includes following established communication channels along with the marketing department for social media, online communications, and other advertising mediums. She works to create innovative, educational programs, with a special focus on military service members, for various audiences. Outside of work she enjoys volunteering, traveling, and trying new foods. A native of Prentiss, MS, Shuntasia earned a Bachelor of Arts from Tougaloo College, with an emphasis in TV & Radio Broadcasting and a Master of Science in Public Relations from The University of Southern Mississippi.
Mia Overton, Treasurer
Media Relations & Marketing Coordinator, William Carey University
Mia Overton is the media relations and marketing coordinator for William Carey University. Her office is responsible for internal and external communications, public relations activities, social media and website content, advertising and marketing materials, and campus photography. She also serves as advisor of the student newspaper. She has worked in public relations and marketing since 2010 and prior to that spent more than 10 years in the newspaper business as an editor, publisher and reporter. She has been a member of the Society of Professional Journalists since 2005 and served as president of the East Tennessee chapter. She is a contributing writer for Marina Dock Age magazine. Mia received a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Program Coordinator, Extra Table
Media and Public Relations Coordinator, Mississippi Community Education Center/ Families First for Mississippi
Meghan Burk is the Media and Public Relations Coordinator for the Mississippi Communication Center (MCEC), Families First for Mississippi Program. In her current role, she is responsible for coordinating and implementing public relations and marketing, develop and refine non-profit message to ensure organizational consistency that reflects the organizational strategic mission and vision, oversee special events, and advocate on behalf of MCEC. As a PR practitioner, she is focus on the intersection of creativity and strategy to develop effective communications. It’s her mission to tell the stories and shine the spotlight on those who accomplish good in this world. Meghan is a 2013 graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss To The Top!) with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Public Relations with a minor in Communication Studies. To satisfy her thirst for lifelong learning, she is currently pursuing her master’s in Mass Communications. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching her daughter grow, and seeking out new adventures.
Lindsay currently serves as the Communications Director at AAA Anserphone & Doctor’s Exchange, LLC. She is responsible for the implementation of all marketing strategies, public relations, and communications. Lindsay is a native of Hattiesburg and attended Mississippi State University where she received a B.S. in Business with an emphasis in Marketing. Upon graduation, Lindsay accepted a job as the Marketing Coordinator at Florida State University. After moving back home to Hattiesburg, Lindsay accepted a position as the Events Coordinator at the Area Development Partnership where she was later promoted to Communications and Events Director. Lindsay was responsible for all Chamber of Commerce events, marketing, graphic design, and social media.
Ashley Rea, Director of Communications
Manager of Communications, Sanderson Farms, Inc.
Ashley Rea is the Manager of Communication at Sanderson Farms, Inc., the nation’s third largest poultry producer with nearly $3 billion in annual sales. As Manager of Communication, Rea serves as Managing Editor of the Sanderson Farms Newsletter, a monthly publication reaching more than 600,000 annual readers across 42 different states. Aside from her duties as an award-winning editor and writer, Rea is responsible for identifying and executing strategies related to the company’s approach to media relations and corporate communication. In addition to spearheading the company’s communication efforts, she ensures adequate internal communication is maintained amongst the company’s more than 14,000 employees spanning across 25 divisions in five states and 16 different communities. Rea is a summa cum laude graduate of Mississippi College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. She also earned a Master of Science degree in Public Relations from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Outreach Marketing Coordinator, Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative, Inc.
As the Outreach Marketing Coordinator for Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative, Inc., he develops marketing strategies to meet operational and clinical objectives for the SeMRHI network of community health centers. Will is responsible for the logistics, planning, and promotion of all company-sponsored events, fundraising campaigns, and community outreach. He oversees the management and reporting of the patient portal, which allows patients to communicate with their medical provider outside of the clinic setting. Will also coordinates special projects, drafts press releases for local and national circulation, and serves as the project manager for advertising and patient-facing communications. In addition to his marketing role, Will is an Adjunct Adult Basic Education Instructor at Pearl River Community College. He works with adult learners to prepare them for the high school equivalency examination. He is a graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi where he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing.
Karelia Pitts, Member at Large
Manager of Communications, The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation
Hailing from Mississippi’s blueberry capital, Karelia Pitts is an enthusiastic public relations professional with a passion for strategic and visual communication. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Mass Communication from Louisiana State University. Karelia has found great satisfaction working in a variety of industries, including higher education, nonprofit, transportation, architecture and art. Karelia was awarded the 2017 Professional Promise Award by the Pine Belt PRAM Chapter. As manager of communications for the USM Foundation, Karelia has the pleasure of sharing how Southern Miss’ generous donors impact the lives of incredible faculty and students every day. When she’s not writing, editing video or coordinating photo shoots, you can find her exploring the great outdoors with her husband, Chris, or taking part in a tickle war with her daughter, Kensley. Karelia enjoys traveling, live music and pizza for breakfast.
Matt Martin, Past President
Creative Director, MightyPenguin Design
Matt is the owner and creative director of MightyPenguin Design, an imaginative and innovative source of creative, clever and unconventional advertising, photography, graphic design, and public relations. MightyPenguin Design’s nationally-recognized, award-winning work has a distinctive look and feel, garnering numerous ADDYs and PRisms, Lanterns and Maggies, and even a glorious golden cell phone, for a host of regional, national and international clients. Having received his BA in English from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi, Matt keeps his writing fresh by teaching English at Pearl River Community College. He has served as president of the Board of Directors for several professional and non-profit organizations in Hattiesburg as is currently in his second term as President of the Pine Belt Chapter of PRAM.