Mary was a partner at Eventions, an event-planning company, and Director of Media Relations for the Houston Public Library System prior to founding Hardin-Francis. She also taught in the Visual Communications Department at Lone Star College and provides marketing communications services to charitable organizations in Houston.
Mary has been involved with the Southern Region since she created the website for Align ’09, the region conference held in Houston. In addition, Mary chaired one of the 2013 mini-conferences, served as Southern Region Portfolio Conference Director and is the current Silver Quill Chair. She is an IABC Houston past president and remains active in the local chapter. A native Houstonian (one of the few left still living there), Mary is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Journalism degree and Marketing specialization.
Patrick has worked on three AARP early state primary campaigns and has met just about anyone running for President. Over the years, he has worked on numerous state level campaigns including home and community based services, passage of the cigarette tax for Medicaid, consumer issues including predatory lending, consumer fraud and served as the interim state director for AARP Virginia during the summer of 2017. Patrick was honored with AARP’s Community State & Nation Award for Excellence in Communications in 2016.
Patrick earned a BS in Communications/Public Relations at Appalachian State University (Go Apps!) and just completed a Mini MBA from Clemson University (Go Tigers! He likes schools with national championships.) Patrick served as the 2015 President of the IABC South Carolina chapter and has been active as a board member serving in numerous leadership roles. He is also a 2016 graduate of Leadership South Carolina.
Mary Ellen Gitachu (IABC Austin), is an award-winning, results-driven communications leader. Mary Ellen has more than 20 years of expertise in developing sound strategies to align internal employee communications venues, including innovative brand identity, social media and blogs, to support organizational goals and desired cultural change. Her media relations, corporate and internal communications achievements come from a diverse career with global companies like Dell, Motorola and Freescale Semiconductor.
Mary Ellen is currently President of IABC’s Austin Chapter. She served as VP Communications for IABC Southern Region and VP of Communications on the Chapter Executive Board for National Black MBA Association – Austin Chapter. Most recently, she was Director, Communications at Charter Communications (formerly Time Warner Cable). A Boston native, Mary Ellen earned both a master’s degree in Journalism and bachelor’s degree in Communications from Northeastern University.
Jordan earned her bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration from the University of North Texas, which allows her to bring a unique perspective to communication and coaching for the executives she supports. She is passionate about partnering with leadership teams to help them achieve their strategic goals through communication and employee engagement.
Jordan served as the President, President Elect and VP Finance for the IABC Houston chapter and has received Bronze, Silver and a Gold Quill awards for her work with BP.
Mark is a longtime member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and also serves as an appointed member of the IABC Academy Committee, which oversees all education and certification programs for the international association. He is a past president of the Austin chapter and co-chaired the IABC Southern Region Conference that was held in Austin in October 2014.
Paul began his career in TV news working as a photographer, reporter, producer and assignment manager at WAAY TV in Huntsville, Alabama, and then Assignment Manager at Fox 13 in Memphis, Tennessee. He earned a BS in Broadcast Journalism from Troy University and a Master of Arts in Corporate Communication from Austin Peay State University. Paul has served the Nashville IABC Chapter for the last ten years, as president, vice president of communications, sponsorships and education.
Prior to Pioneer, Laura worked for Thousand Trails, a membership campground company, the Richardson Independent School District and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Her areas of specialty include writing, editing, strategic planning, problem solving and leading a team. Laura has an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University, a master’s degree from The Florida State University and has completed coursework on a master’s degree in Journalism at Indiana University. In May 2014, she completed the Strategic Communications Management certificate program (CSC) at Ithaca College.
A Massachusetts native, David earned his bachelor’s degree in English at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and his master’s degree in Journalism/Public Relations at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications. A member of the NC Triangle IABC chapter since 2009, David’s leadership roles have included VP of Finance, Chapter President, Past President and Southern Region Chapter Services Director.
Chip holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia with a major in magazines and a minor in biology and chemistry. (Yes, there is a story there.) He held numerous board positions with IABC Atlanta, served two terms as Grants Chair for the Southern Region and was a member of the International Student Relations committee at IABC headquarters. Chip received the 2008 IABC Atlanta President’s Award for his financial work with the chapter.