Board of Directors

Ashley Rea, President
Senior Vice President and Director of Marketing and Communications, The First Bank 

Ashley Rea is the senior vice president and director of marketing and communications for The First Bank. She has nearly a decade of experience specializing in employee communication, executive communication, crisis communications, public relations, environmental and social governance communication, diversity and inclusion communication, and reputation management for private and public companies.

Rea is an award-winning public relations practitioner garnering over 120 public relations and advertising awards in local, state, regional and international levels of competition, including being named one of PRNEWS’ 2022 Top Women in PR, Public Relations Practitioner of the Year and Copywriter of the Year. A summa cum laude graduate of Mississippi College, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a Master of Science degree in Public Relations from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Kelsey Barrett, Vice President of Programs
Account Manager, The Ramey Agency

Kelsey Barrett is an Account Manager at The Ramey Agency, a marketing and advertising firm located in Ridgeland, MS. With a keen eye for identifying new growth opportunities, Kelsey excels in developing client relationships, managing projects, and analyzing market trends to deliver exceptional results. Her extensive experience in the energy, automotive, hospitality, and community development industries has enabled her to develop highly effective marketing campaigns that increase sales, ROI, and brand awareness. Kelsey is an alumna of The University of Southern Mississippi, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management in 2016. She is actively involved in the Hattiesburg community, serving as Vice President of Programs for the Pine Belt chapter of Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM), as well as serving on the boards for Partners for the Arts at Southern Miss, the Community Impact Committee for United Way of Southeast Mississippi, and as an alumni of the Leadership Pinebelt program. Outside of work, Kelsey enjoys traveling, attending concerts, being on the water, and spending time with her fur babies, Hattie and Marc.

Marissa Landon, Vice President of Membership and State Board Representative
Communication Specialist, Wayne-Sanderson Farms

Marissa is a Communication Specialist at Wayne-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.

Matt Martin, Treasurer
Creative Director, MightyPenguin Design

Matt Martin, APR, is the owner, creative director, and centerfielder for MightyPenguin Design, an imaginative and innovative source of creative, clever, and unconventional advertising, photography, graphic design, and public relations solutions.

Matt began his career earning a B.A. in English from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi while feeding the news hole at several newspapers. Now recognized as a Senior Practitioner for his more than 25 years of experience and accredited in public relations through the Univeral Accreditation Board, he keeps his prose fresh and dope by teaching English Composition at Pearl River Community College.

In 2022, both the Public Relations of Mississippi and the Southern Public Relations Federation honored him with their most prestigious distinction as each organization’s Professional Achievement Award winner.

Matt has served as the president of several professional and non-profit organizations and is currently the president of PRAM’s State Board of Directors and Mississippi’s representative to SPRF.

Tate Williams, Director of Communications
Assistant Director for Communications, Southern Miss Alumni Association

Tate is the Assistant Director for Communications at the Southern Miss Alumni Association. She assists with the Association’s communication efforts including social media, website, email communication and The Talon magazine. Tate is a 2021 graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi having earned a Master of Science degree in public relations. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication with a concentration of public relations from Mississippi State University in 2020.

Sara Kathryn Diffey, Director of Social Media and Website
Communications Analyst, Wayne-Sanderson Farms

Sara Kathryn is a Communication Trainee at Wayne-Sanderson Farms. She manages Wayne-Sanderson Farms corporate social media channels, coordinates digital and social media employment advertising and analytics, and coordinates and composes content for corporate publications. A graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies.

Anthony Palazzolo, Awards Chair

April Jordan, Community Action Chair
Assistant Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Campus Recreation, The University of Southern Mississippi

April is the Assistant Director of Marketing and Public Relations 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 two daughters, Audrey and Aria.

Shelby York, Scholarship and Student Affairs Chair

Shelby is the Marketing Specialist for the Corporate Resources division of Jones Capital.  Shelby designs all Jones Capital promotional materials. Additionally, Shelby also manages social media, email campaigns, events, and advertising as well as internal network platforms to provide effective communication within the organization. Basically, she makes Jones look good. Shelby is a 2022 graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi having earned a Master in Business Administration. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communication and journalism with an emphasis in public relations from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2016. Shelby loves a good novel and great design in that order. 

Jessica Breazeale, MS, APR, Professional Development / APR Chair 

Owner/Consultant, Jessica Breazeale Consulting

Jessica Breazeale is a 2000 graduate of Wesson High School and a 2003 graduate of Copiah-Lincoln Community College, where she was captain of the Colettes, voted “Miss Co-Lin”, vice president of publicity for Phi Theta Kappa, a member of the concert choir, Sojourner show choir, SGA, Trailblazers, and was a Diamond Doll. She holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Public Relations from The University of Southern Mississippi. At USM, she was a Dixie Darling captain and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa organization.  While working towards her master’s, she worked in the USM Office of Admissions as a recruiter for North Mississippi and North Alabama. Breazeale has been a public relations practitioner for 19 years, and began her career working in entertainment on the Disney Cruise Line. She also spent four years working in tobacco education and prevention as a PR spokesperson for a Tobacco-Free Alabama. She has served in various PR and marketing roles within multiple industries. Breazeale now has her own public relations consulting business, Jessica Breazeale Consulting, which provides services to clients all over the United States. Holding an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), Breazeale has won numerous public relations awards. Breazeale is an adjunct professor at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. She currently serves on the Wesson Chamber of Commerce Board as well as the Co-Lin Band and Colette Alumni Association board. Breazeale has been married to her husband Ricky for 15 years and they have one son, Walker. They are members of CenterPoint Church where she and her husband pastor. Anyone who knows Breazeale knows she absolutely loves her profession and that PR is a true passion.

Kat Romero, APR, Secretary/Treasurer Understudy
Public Relations Specialist, City of Laurel

Kat Romero oversees the public relations activities for the City of Laurel, including maintaining and growing the city’s online presence through its website and social media accounts. She is is a graduate of Jones College and the University of Southern Mississippi where she double majored in English and Mass Communication with an emphasis in film production. She began her career with Wyatt Emmerich newspapers working as a reporter and photographer for the company’s papers in both Laurel and Magee. From 2017 to 2021, she worked for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health– first in the public relations department of Ellisville State School as a videographer/producer of staff training videos, and later as the Public Relations Director at South Mississippi State Hospital in Purvis. She has been a member of the Pine Belt Chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM) since 2019. She obtained Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in December 2021.

Dr. Jae-Hwa Shin, APR, Member-At-Large

Jae-Hwa Shin, Ph.D., MPH, MBA, APR, Professor of Public Relations, Strategic Communication Program Lead & Online Public Relations Master’s Program Coordinator, School of Media and Communication, the University of Southern Mississippi. 

She is a faculty advisor for the USM Chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America and also serves as a campus advisor for National Millennial and GenZ Community. She was recently elected to head the National Communication Association in Public Relations Division for a three-year term. She is currently a member of the editorial board of Journal of Public Relations Research

She holds a doctorate from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and her research focuses on public relations from a strategic conflict management perspective across cultural settings in social media environments. Her publications include numerous journal articles and book chapters. She has co-authored books that include widely used textbooks, Public Relations Today: Managing Conflict and Competition, Think: Public Relations, and Public Relations Strategies and Tactics which is a resource for Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). Her latest publication, Public Relations Theory: Capabilities and Competencies, received the 2021 PRIDE award from National Communication Association.

Before her academic career, she was the communication director for the Korea Economic Research Institute and Center for Free Enterprise of the Federation of Korean Industries, which was founded in 1961 by multinational corporate members such as Samsung, LG, SK, and other industry leaders. 


1996 – Steve O’Malley
1997 – Dena White
1998 – Dana Coleman
1999 – Hazel Cole
2000 – Vanessa Molden
2001 – Tracie Bertaut
2002 – Joanne Marsh
2003 – Joanne Marsh
2004 – Jennifer Venditti
2005 – Sara Paterson
2006 – Christie Walters
2007 – Tracie Rouse
2008 – Matt Martin
2009 – Shawn Mercer
2010 – Julie Russum
2011 – Ashlea Maddox
2012 – Nicole Ruhnke
2013 – Dara Stockman
2014 – Samantha McCain
2015 – Amber Ross
2016 – Catherine Lott/Hanna Knowles
2017 – Matt Martin
2018 – Liz Radley/Josh Wilson
2019 – Josh Wilson/Karelia Pitts
2020 – April Jordan
2021 – Brittney Dykes
2022 – Ashley Rea