2021 Board of Directors

Alex Miller
President 

Alex Miller is a senior communications strategist for Parson + Associates (P+A), bringing creative and professional strategies into any project he is involved in. From planning and executing a special event, building relationships with community leaders and business owners, or talking directly with media members, Alex has the proven experience to bring clear and cohesive messages to the public for some of Kansas City’s largest public/private projects. 

 

Contact Info:

[email protected] 
816-601-0137

 


Erin Barham, APR
VP-Finance

Erin has over 17 years of communications, public relations, design, and website experience in a wide variety of sectors from non-profit to healthcare to state government. Her passion for the details and adherence to accuracy, allows her to be a proficient planner of projects covering complex and delicate subject areas. She possesses a creative background, grassroots resourcefulness, and government practicality. Raised in the nation's heartland, Erin is a native of Kansas City and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Currently, she works as a senior communications strategist at Parson + Associates, a public relations firm rooted in Kansas City. And, not one to sit on the sidelines, she has a passion for community and volunteers for multiple organizations, such as Thelma’s Kitchen and KC Downtowners.

One of her life goals is to visit all 63 of the National Parks. She is obsessed with gardening and is also a 200-hour registered yoga teacher.

 

Contact Info:

[email protected]
816-601-0136


Caitlyn Camacho
Assistant VP - Finance

Caitlyn Camacho (she/her pronouns) is a communications manager at H&R Block and a recent transplant to Kansas City. In her current role, she manages local media relations across the U.S. and enjoys corporate storytelling supporting H&R Block’s community impact platform, Make Every Block Better. She has experience in nonprofit communications specializing in health and science organizations in Washington, D.C. In previous roles she led PR campaigns around the launch of the Youth Pride Clinic and Children’s Mental Health Summit at Children’s National Hospital, and the adoption of a new scientific society ethics policy labeling harassment as scientific misconduct. She holds a master’s degree in PR and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of New Jersey. In her free time she enjoys exploring local hiking spots, volunteering with Harvesters, and learning to play the ukulele.

 

Contact Info:


Jennifer Rusch
VP - Business Opportunities

 

 


Jenna Gant
VP - Communications

Jenna Gant is the communications and public engagement manager at the City of Merriam, Kansas. Before coming to the Kansas City area, Jenna worked in public information at the Ohio Supreme Court. She made a switch to public relations after a career as a TV and newspaper reporter. Jenna graduated with honors from the University of Missouri - Columbia School of Journalism in broadcast news. She has received several GKC-PRSA PRISM and 3CMA awards.

 

Contact Info:

[email protected]

 


Bridget Koan, APR
VP - Social Media

 

Bridget Koan is a public relations specialist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She writes about the Conservatory of Music and Dance, the School of Computing and Engineering, Theatre, the Department of Economics, the Department of Art and Art History, and facilities. Bridget also monitors the University's social media accounts and coordinates social media initiatives.

She's a self-proclaimed news junkie addicted to talk radio, reading and all things social. You can find her on Twitter at @bridgetlhk.

 

Contact Info:

University of Missouri-Kansas City
[email protected]

 


Michael Grimaldi
Senior VP - People

Michael Grimaldi is the strategic initiatives coordinator at KC Water - the water, wastewater, and stormwater utility of Kansas City, Missouri. Previously, he was press secretary to Mayor Sly James, senior communications consultant at Trozzolo Communications Group, issues management director at Corporate Communications Group, and a newspaper journalist. He joined PRSA in 1989, and formerly was the GKC-PRSA secretary and treasurer. He was the chapter’s Roger Yarrington Public Relations Professional of the Year in 2014.

 

 


Celeste Burks, APR
VP - Member Connections 
Celeste has been in the public relations and corporate communications field for 15 years on both the for-profit and non-profit sides. She is currently a marketing director at Saint Luke’s Health System. She has served the GKC-PRSA Board for several terms in different positions. 
Celeste earned her bachelor of science in public relations from University of Central Missouri, in Warrensburg, Missouri. And, she received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2016. She also was awarded the Bill DeLay Award for Distinguished Service in 2017.

 

Contact Info:

[email protected]


Patrick Early, APR
VP - Professional Standards 

Contact Info:
[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 


Sophie Shafter
VP - Professional Development

Sophie Shafter brings 13 years of experience in public relations and digital marketing to the PRSA 2021 board. Most recently, she served as communications director with Jennings Social Media & MarTech, focusing on growing influencer marketing programs, overseeing content messaging and earning awards and media recognition for the agency and its clients.

Born and raised in California, Sophie has traveled throughout the country - from Alaska to Georgia and Colorado to Kansas City - working with agencies and corporations in a consultative role. She brings a coast-to-coast perspective when it comes to industry trends and communications strategies.

Sophie is passionate about wellness and spends her time practicing yoga and educating the community on tools for achieving work/life balance.

 

 


Katherine Frohoff, APR
VP - Student Relations

Katherine Frohoff is director of university relations at Rockhurst University, where she serves as university spokesperson and counsel to leadership on messaging and issues management. In addition, she is editor of RU magazine, serves on the crisis management team, the RU Neighborhood Council, and oversees media relations efforts at the Center for Arts and Letters. Prior to coming to Rockhurst, Katherine served on the university communications staff at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she developed a passion for higher education. In addition, she gained experience in client relations through stints at Kansas City advertising and public relations agencies. She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism, Master of Arts in English, and an MBA. In 2007, she received accreditation in public relations from PRSA. Her work has earned PRISM awards from the GKC-PRSA chapter and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

 


Carrie Stapleton
VP - Diversity
Carrie Stapleton is President and CEO of Phillips-West Public Relations and Communications. Phillips-West, which opened in 1988, is a Kansas City-based full-service, Certified MBE/WBE, African American/woman-owned public relations, advertising, marketing, public involvement and special events firm with local and national clients. Before starting Phillips-West, Carrie worked in several public relations positions including Coordinator of Public Relations for the Kansas City, MO, School District; Speakers Bureau Director for the Heart of America United Way, and Director of Public Relations for the Black Archives of Mid-America. Carrie also worked as a Public Affairs Coordinator to former Jackson County Executive Bill Waris.

Carrie, who holds a Journalism Degree from Kansas State University, began her career as a reporter and women’s editor for the Salina Journal, the third largest paper in the State of Kansas. While at the Salina Journal Carrie, worked as a general assignment reporter, a columnist and she also served as the Assistant Women’s Page Editor where she directed the layout of the four-page section. 

Of the many projects Carrie has promoted, she is most proud of her first venture into public relations and event planning while at the Black Archives of Mid-America where she served as the Project Manager for the Kansas City Exhibition of the Emancipation Proclamation, the landmark document that freed our nation’s slaves. The document was on loan to Kansas City from its permanent home at the National Archives and Records in Washington, D.C. This was only the second time the National Archives hadever allowed the document to be displayed outside of Washington.

While in Kansas City the document was displayed at the Nelson Atkins Gallery of Art for four days, during which over 10,000 people viewed the document. Carrie also has participated on boards and committees of numerous community and professional organizations.


Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA
Past President

Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, is president and founder of Germinder + Associates, Inc., a public relations agency founded in Kansas City in 1998 with offices in New York City. Germinder returns to the Kansas City chapter board in the role of Past-President and Co-Chair of the Inez Kaiser Scholarship Committee after serving on the board from 1991 –2001, ending as President Emeritus, Midwest District Chair. She has also served as president of the PRSA-NY chapter and at a national level on the board of directors of PRSA and as a trustee of the Public Relations Society of America Foundation. She earned her APR while in the Kansas City chapter in 1992.

As a woman business owner, Germinder champions women’s issues through mentorship, membership and giving back. She has mentored interns, women from PRSA and PRSSA, her alma mater, the University of Dayton, and as a PRSA Fellow. She has earned the PRSA-NY Makovsky Mentorship Award, the Women Who Mean Business Award from the Kansas City Business Journal/Kauffman Foundation, the national Enterprising Women of the Year Award, the PRSA Silver Anvil Award, and several GKC-PRSA PRISM awards.