Board of Directors

April Jordan, President
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.

Kelsey Hester, Vice President of Programs
Marketing Manager, TRU

Kelsey serves as the Marketing Manager for TRU, a Jones Company, where she is
responsible for all aspects of marketing, branding, and communications. With
over ten years of PR & Marketing experience, Kelsey specializes in
branding, digital marketing, and strategic communication.

She is a proud three-time graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi,
earning her Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, a Master’s degree in
Logistics, Trade and Transportation, and an MBA. Her diverse educational
background provides her with a unique perspective and skill set that she
applies not only to her work at TRU but also to her dedicated efforts within
the community.

Kelsey currently serves as the Vice President of Programs for the Pine Belt
Chapter of PRAM (Public Relations Association of Mississippi) and as a board
member of the Southeast Mississippi Community Investment Corporation. These
roles allow her to contribute to the growth and development of the marketing
and public relations industry in her region.

As a Hattiesburg native, Kelsey is a loyal supporter of Southern Miss and
enjoys attending athletic events – especially baseball games with her friends
and family. She has a deep appreciation for the arts and enjoys attending
cultural events and performances alongside her closest friends. Kelsey resides
in Hattiesburg with her husband, Wes, and daughter, Hayden.

Ashley Rea, Vice President of Membership, Director of Communications, Past President, State Board Representative 
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.

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.

Kat Romero, APR, Secretary/Treasurer Understudy, Community Action Chair
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.

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

Sara Kathryn is a Communications Analyst 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.

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.

Marissa Landon, Scholarship & Student Affairs Chair
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.





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
2023- Ashley Rea