Karelia Pitts, President
Manager of Communications, The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation
Hailing from Mississippi’s blueberry capital, Karelia 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 or taking part in a tickle war with her daughter.
April Jordan, Vice President of Programs
Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator for Campus Recreation, The University of Southern Mississippi
April is the Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator for Southern Miss Campus Recreation. In this role, she oversees all strategic marketing and integrative communications for programming and 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 and 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.
Stacy Ahua, Vice President of Membership
Director of Volunteer Southeast Mississippi, United Way of Southeast Mississippi
Stacy is the Director of Volunteer Southeast Mississippi at United Way of Southeast Mississippi. In her role with Volunteer Southeast, Stacy is responsible for identifying, recruiting and placing volunteers in Forrest, Lamar, Marion and Perry counties with non-profit organizations and community projects. She also oversees the logistics and planning of volunteer fundraising events, community outreach and external communication. Stacy is an active member of the Pine Belt community and devotes much of her time to local organizations and professional groups with an emphasis on communication strategy and peer-to-peer outreach. A native of Hattiesburg, she completed a master’s degree in Communication Studies from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2014, where she also served as Graduate Instructor and Coach of Southern Miss Forensics Society — a program she helped launch in 2011. She is also a 2010 graduate of USM with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication.
Arlicia Jordan, Secretary
Communications Specialist for University Communications, The University of Southern Mississippi
A native of McComb, Arlicia serves as a Communications Specialist for the Office of University Communications at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, providing communications and project-based support to the Office of the President. Specializing in the area of written communications, Arlicia has held previous communication-related positions in the nonprofit, newspaper, health care, and higher education industries. Arlicia earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in public relations and a Master of Science in public relations from USM. She and her husband, Jeremy Jordan, currently reside in Oak Grove.
Marissa Landon, Treasurer
Communication Specialist, Sanderson Farms
Marissa is a Communication Specialist at Sanderson Farms. As a Communication Specialist, Marissa develops, implements and manages messages, strategies and programs intended to communicate the company’s business objectives, culture and values. Marissa also serves as a staff writer for the Sanderson Farms Newsletter. A graduate of Mississippi State University, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Agriculture. During college, Marissa held the leadership positions of secretary and vice president for the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at Mississippi State University. She was also honored during college with the Gold Congressional Award Medal, the highest honor Congress bestows upon a youth civilian. In 2017, she was named Young Alumnus of the Year by the George-Greene County Mississippi State Alumni Association.
Ashley Rea, Director of Communications and State Board Representative
Manager of Communication, Sanderson Farms
Ashley is the Manager of Communication at Sanderson Farms, the nation’s third-largest poultry producer. As Manager of Communication, Rea serves as Managing Editor of the Sanderson Farms Newsletter, a monthly publication reaching more than 638,000 annual readers across 34 different states. Aside from her duties as an award-winning editor and writer, Rea is responsible for executing strategies related to the company’s approach to media relations and corporate communication. She ensures adequate internal communication is maintained amongst the company’s more than 15,000 employees spanning across five states and 17 different cities. 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.
Will Harvey, Social Media and Website Director
Outreach Marketing Coordinator, Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative
Will is the Outreach Marketing Coordinator for Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative. 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.
Shuntasia Coleman, Workshop Director
Public Relations Coordinator, Hattiesburg Convention Commission
Shuntasia serves as the Public Relations Coordinator for the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. She is responsible for pro-active planning, development, and implementation of all media and public relations strategies, corporate communications and public relations activities, both external and internal, for the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. She previously worked as the Programs and Engagement Coordinator for the African American Military History Museum, one of the facilities operated under the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. In her current role, Shuntasia is actively devising, crafting, implementing and leading the communications and public relations activities for the African American Military History Museum, Eureka School Museum, Hattiesburg Zoo, Lake Terrace Convention Center and the Saenger Theater. Outside of work, she enjoys volunteering, traveling and trying new foods. A native of Prentiss, 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.
Brittney Dykes, Awards Chair
Communications Coordinator, DuBard School for Language Disorders
Brittney is the Communications Coordinator for the DuBard School for Language Disorders at The University of Southern Mississippi. The only school of its kind, the DuBard School uses the DuBard Association Method to serve students with severe language-speech disorders. Brittney promotes the school through storytelling, community engagement, friend-raisers and maintaining an online presence. Brittney has over 10 years of experience in communications, marketing and public relations. She earned a Master’s degree in public relations and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Southern Mississippi.
Tonya Williams, Community Action Chair
Communications Facilitator, Cooperative Energy
Tonya is the Communications Facilitator for Cooperative Energy. This is her third year to serve on the PRAM Board of Directors; she previously served as Awards Chair for two years. A native of Laurel, she is a graduate of West Jones High School, Jones County Junior College, and The University of Southern Mississippi. Prior to her current role, she was the Marketing Specialist for USM Career Services. She also interned at USM’s Office of University Communications and served as the Public Relations Director at Camellia Home Health & Hospice. She and her husband, Chris, live in Hattiesburg.
Jennifer Clark, Scholarship Chair
Owner, Emerge Events
Jennifer is the owner of Emerge Events, an event planning company in Hattiesburg. This company has created several signature events, such as the Pine Belt Women’s Expo, and also works with businesses and organizations on their event planning needs. Jennifer is a 2001 graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, where she still remains involved. Jennifer was a founding member of the Women Business Owners of the Pine Belt and was awarded the Lifetime Membership Award. She is also an inaugural member of the Foundher Network, a national network of high-achieving women business owners. Some of Jennifer’s accolades include being named ConventionSouth Magazine’s Meeting Professionals to Watch and Mississippi Business Journal’s Top 50 Under 40 as a Top 10 Finalist. When Jennifer is not creating events she enjoys spending time with her husband, Steve, and two young daughters, Emi and Ella.
Matt Martin, Past President and Professional Development Chair
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 cellphone, 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.
Amber Sumrall, Member-at-Large for Awards and Students
Sales and Marketing Manager for Event and Conference Services, The University of Southern Mississippi
Born in Monterey, California, Amber spent the majority of her childhood traveling across the U.S. with her military family, living in a total of six different states. Shortly before entering high school, Amber’s father retired from the U.S. Army, and they relocated back to her parents’ hometown of Sumrall, Mississippi. Amber is a graduate of Sumrall High School and a proud alumna of The University of Southern Mississippi, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (2010) and a Master of Science in Public Relations (2013). She has served as a public relations professional within various industries for the past five years and is currently the Sales and Marketing Manager for Event and Conference Services at her alma mater. She is currently enjoying life in Hattiesburg with her son, Isaiah.
Meagan Duckworth, Member-at-Large for Programs and Publicity
Marketing Manager, Merit Health Wesley
Meagan Duckworth works as Marketing Manager for Merit Health Wesley, where she is responsible for the strategic marketing and public relations efforts for Merit Health Wesley’s specialty clinics and the 211-bed hospital. She also coordinates the hospital’s Volunteer and Senior Circle programs. Before joining Merit Health Wesley, Meagan served as Communications and Events Manager for the Area Development Partnership where she was responsible for the implementation of all chamber marketing strategies, print and digital communications, along with overseeing the planning and coordination of monthly and signature events. A native of Petal, Meagan graduated from William Carey University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Biology. She and her husband, Jason, enjoy traveling and exploring life with their two children, Jude and Eliza.