Anna Ruth Williams, Founder + CEO,
After a long story that’s best told over a beer, Anna Ruth woke up one morning in 2012 and decided to start her own tech PR agency. With just an old laptop, a small family loan and a vision to chart the future of PR, it was game on. Her first employee was her dog, but that quickly turned into more than a dozen humans, and ARPR rose to become the 2016 Technology Agency of the Year, a PR News’ TOP Place to Work and one of the top 30 largest tech PR firms in the country (O’Dwyers). In 2017, Anna Ruth earned a spot on PR News’ 50 Game-Changers in PR list, and in 2015 she was named Early Stage Entrepreneur of the Year by the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
A self-professed traditional PR purist, she’s worked with some of the nation’s biggest outlets, such as CNN, Fast Company, Forbes, TechCrunch and Wall Street Journal. In addition to pitching journalists and writing long-form, she loves leading messaging sessions, content brainstorms and media trainings for clients. And nothing gets her going more than hustling in a pair of flats alongside clients at industry tradeshows, such as CES, RSA and HIMSS. When she’s not in Delta 14A, Anna Ruth is in endless pursuit of fixing up her urban loft, watching every documentary on Netflix, covering things in glitter, and doing a better downward dog than her four-legged child, Roscoe.
Blair Broussard, Chief Operations & People Officer,
After her career as a Disney Princess failed, Blair knew she still wanted to do something with the publics that could occasionally be paired with a really good glass of red. After grad school and a few other PR gigs that involved lots of coffee talk, literally, as well as stints with other B2B and B2C industries, she found herself as the first full-time hire of ARPR – helping to build ARPR’s brand into one of the fastest growing technology PR firms in the country, named 2016 Tech Agency of the Year and a top 30 Tech PR Agency by O’Dwyer’s in 2017.
A Social Shake-Up Mover & Shaker Award winner and self-proclaimed social media nerd, Blair can’t stop, won’t stop talking about all things on the digital side of PR; using these tools and her storytelling skills to help clients truly #DriveLeads and #MakeNews from some of the biggest outlets, including Mashable, TODAY Show and Wall Street Journal. Her obsession with the perfect Instagram filter and Twitter hashtags have gotten her featured in Inc.com and Hootsuite Inc., PR News and PR Daily articles and webinars; and she was even included in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Social Media Marketing book series. When she’s not receiving recognition in PRWeek for her work on successful client campaigns at the technology industry’s Super Bowl – CES – you can find her getting her passport stamped across the world…and making frequent trips back to Disney World to visit Elsa, Cinderella and the gang.
Read her thoughts about this 120+-year-old industry and about life as a country Cajun girl living in the Big Easy via Twitter.
Evan Goldberg, Senior Vice President of Client Service,
Evan was first exposed to the public relations industry after a grumpy middle-aged AP reporter, who doubled as one of his college lacrosse coaches, urged him not to pursue a journalism career. Following grad school, Evan quickly developed a passion for technology PR & marketing, but was extremely dissuaded by the PR culture after his tenure at several agencies left him wanting much, much more for his career. Fortunately, Evan found ARPR in 2014, and has since helped grow the firm in size, revenue and prestige. Today ARPR is regularly recognized as Technology Agency of the Year, a PR News’ TOP Place to Work and one of the top 30 largest tech PR firms in the country (O’Dwyers).
As ARPR’s vice president of client service and cybersecurity practice group director, Evan splits his time and energy on agency growth and employee retention, and client satisfaction, measuring client ROI and ensuring extraordinary deliverables. Classified by his peers as a PR purist, Evan is most enthused by ghostwriting thought leadership articles, creating impactful messaging and of course – landing killer media relations placements, which he has done for current and former clients in ad tech, cybersecurity, MarTech, mobility, FinTech, streaming media and more.
When his reconstructed shoulders allow, Evan enjoys a good workout or athletic completion. He is also an avid hot sauce collector, a retainer of information some deem as useless, an aspiring stock market player and world traveler. Most importantly, Evan is a loving husband and dad to two girls – one human and one dog.
Renee Spurlin, Senior Vice President, Digital Marketing and Analytics,
Renee is a rare (read: nerdy) combination of right and left brain. She’s had a passion for writing ever since she was young, likely a result of her hours voraciously reading Sweet Valley High, The Babysitters Club, Michael Creighton, Stephen King and James Patterson growing up as an only child (and if you think that’s a random mix of books, you should see what she reads as an adult). At the same time, Renee aced the science section of her ACTs and has always had a knack for math. So in her career, she’s found a way to marry these talents by bringing an analytical, scientific approach to PR, typically known more for its relationships and storytelling than insights and analysis.
As ARPR’s vice president of analytics and digital marketing, Renee is head coach of the inbound marketing team. She brings our Army of Awesome’s media relations, content marketing and social media successes together with lead generation and nurturing to close the gap between traditional PR and sales for winning results. She’s no stranger to traditional PR though, landing clients headlines in outlets like Yahoo!, Time and CNN, as well.
Past president of AMA Atlanta, the American Marketing Association’s third largest chapter, Renee now serves on the board of her local Bark Park in honor of her fur pups, Abby and Lucy. In her spare time, you can find her photographing national parks or scouring Pinterest for inspiration for her latest craft project.
Follow Renee @imapepper (an homage to both Dr. Pepper and her love for hot sauce) for more.
Paul Barren, Health IT Practice Group Director,
Explaining to your parents what you do for a living is always interesting when you’re in PR. Paul learned early in his career that he had a talent for getting people in the news (or out of the news) depending on the day, which he conveyed to his parents.
As practice group director for health IT, Paul brings nearly 20 years of experience to ARPR and its clients to deliver results that earn attention. His expertise is rooted in strategic communications and marketing within the health IT, medical device, biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
Paul’s a testament to his strengths in program development, reputation management, media relations, third-party cultivation, brand architecture, thought-leadership engagement and awareness campaigns. His passions are in client counsel, FDA regulatory, product milestones, spokesperson media training and crisis communications.
Paul looks forward to each day in sharing his industry knowledge and professional experiences from a large-agency background with Edelman, Fleishman-Hillard and Ketchum.
While there are too many clients to count, he has partnered with corporations and organizations of various sizes within the healthcare industry. His specialties include: gastroenterology, oncology, cardiology, payor/provider, patient wellness, and mental health and substance misuse.
Growing up in the Southwest, Paul earned a journalism degree from New Mexico State University. He values his free time traveling with friends and hanging with his dog, Lincoln, at Piedmont Park.
Erika Scholz Van, Account Director,
Erika left life under the big top as a Cirque du Soleil PR rep to nerd out as an Account Director with B2B tech clients in the Big Easy. For as long as she can remember, Erika’s passion for PR stemmed from making B2B tech clients shine while they were in center ring.
Leveraging her circus of an account background, from working with Fortune 500 companies and innovative tech startups to lifestyle brands and entertainment accounts, she’s become a ring leader, and calls the shots, generating creative integrated communications campaigns to help clients safely land top-tier headlines as well as drive qualified sales leads through the magic of PR. She’s a magician when it comes to relationship building and storytelling and her magic acts have resulted in multiple top-tier national media placements ranging from The Wall Street Journal and USA Today to long-form bylines in industry trade publications such as IndustryWeek and ThinkAdvisor. Her high-flying client results and strategic account management helped her earn a top spot in PR News’ Rising Stars – 30 and Under Awards, and her work has been recognized several times by the American Marketing Association, PRSA and CES.
When she isn’t practicing her flying trapeze act or hanging out with the Army of Awesome troupe, Erika enjoys Mardi Gras-ing it up with lots of king cake, beads and beer, but jumps at the opportunity to visit her and ARPR’s beloved hometown, affectionately known as “the A” every chance she gets.
To follow along with Erika as she juggles account management with award-winning work, find her on Twitter @escholzvan.
Cortney Johnston, Account Director,
As a die-hard Alabama fan, it’s only natural Cortney exudes a ‘winning’ attitude. Following college graduation, while most of her colleagues were taking time off to relax and enjoy their summer, Cortney was determined to begin her career and immediately landed a PR/marketing internship with a boutique agency in Atlanta, which is where she discovered her true passion for storytelling. Now with experience servicing B2B and B2C clients of all sizes and in almost every industry, she joins ARPR as the firm’s media relations aficionado, helping clients in the HealthIT and SaaS practice groups craft powerful stories that resonate with the public. Throughout her years in PR she has secured hundreds of media placements in top-tier national outlets such as The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report and HuffPost, to industry trade publications such as Managed Healthcare Executive and CPA Practice Advisor.
In addition to her media relations skills, Cortney is a strong B2B writer with experience helping clients create and strengthen corporate messaging, website and collateral content, while utilizing an integrated approach to ensure optimization and engagement. She is an innovative thinker and robust researcher continuously ‘upping her game’ and identifying new ways to help clients #MakeNews. From leading thought leadership campaigns resulting in more than 150 million media impressions to assisting clients in achieving triple-digit web traffic growth, she knows what it takes to exceed client expectations.
Alex Fencl, Account Director,
From a young age, Alex never shied away from telling a good story – from talking to random strangers in the grocery store at five, to hanging in his creative writing workshops in college, or as the frontman of an indie rock band. His motley assortment of interests and gift of gab eventually led him to a career in communications and the rest, as they say, is history.
Alex brings over ten years of communication experience to the team, serving B2B tech clients for the majority of his career. His innate storytelling skills have helped him to provide integrated communications counsel and strategy for public and private organizations – including several Fortune 1000 companies within the security, mobile tech, and telecom industries. Alex has also been successful in positioning his clients into multiple trade verticals, to #MakeNews and #DriveLeads, achieving high-value exposure through articles, case studies and trend pieces in top-tier tech outlets such as: RCR Wireless, Fierce Wireless, Enterprise IoT Insights, Light Reading and SC Magazine.
When he is not rocking out for those clients, Alex is hanging with fellow Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Georgia and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) members. He has also starred as a panelist at past PRSA events for graduating college students and has judged the marketing and entrepreneurship competitions for high school students in the DECA program.
Outside of his passion for PR and writing music, Alex also enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with his wife Jamie, son Davey and Australian Cattle Dog, Henry. He’s also a native of Cleveland and highly recommends a visit to the West Side Market if you visit.
Christina Dela Cruz, Account Director,
In another life, Christina was a master chef, continuously working to perfect her craft with the hopes of one day earning the coveted three Michelin stars. While those dreams are unrealistic in this lifetime, Christina has since pivoted that passion into ascending her rankings within public relations and digital marketing.
With over eight years of experience, Christina has worked in both in-house and agency environments with clients in a myriad of industries including technology, health, agriculture and public utilities. She most recently served as the global public relations manager at an education technology company, where her hunger for digital marketing and analyzing data expanded her responsibilities to include social media and content marketing strategy and execution.
While Christina understands all the essential ingredients of an integrated approach, and she knows they are all needed to make the perfect cake, she’s a traditionalist at heart. She’s always cooking up media hits ranging from influencer blogs and trade publications to top-tier national outlets, including CNN, MSBC, and The Washington Post. With the right ingredients, Christina can create a story that’s hearty and full of flavor; a story with universal appeal.
When she’s not creating the perfect recipe for success at the office or in the kitchen, you can find her picking fruits and vegetables at local Georgia farms or spending quality time with her two-year-old daughter Avery and her fiancé Joe. Follow her latest insights via Twitter at @cadelacruz.
Faria Holland, Senior Business Operations Manager,
Always the golden child and a perfectionist, Faria had quite the time being the best sibling. Thankfully, these qualities paid off throughout school, professional and now personal life. Her very first job was at a Chick-fil-A where she worked long, hard hours. This scored her a role as the General Manager (of a $2.1 million restaurant) at the ripe age of nineteen. She has worked in retail, real estate, and technology before joining the #agencylife. Faria is a proud alumnus of Kennesaw State University and cannot wait until she can join team banter for college football (one day!)- Go Owls!
Faria prefers the quiet life in the OTP and all the luscious green she’s surrounded by. Since her time in retail or shortly after birth, Faria became obsessed with makeup. She is willing to try every beauty product under the sun after conducting hours of research. She recently got married and is a mom to three furry babies (2 cats and a black lab). Among friends, she is the crazy cat lady and proud of the accomplishment. On the weekends, Faria is cleaning and refreshing the decor in her home to match the season. She loves traveling and often wonders how many vacations are too many. Faria loves documenting her life and hopes to become the next social media celebrity, one day.
Chris Shattuck, Account Manager,
A true Atlanta native, Chris first dipped his feet into the journalism pool at the ripe age of 17 while writing columns for a small community paper in Woodstock, Ga. during the middle of the Great Recession. With a front-row view to how shrinking ad revenue was drowning media outlets across the country, Chris continued his journalism career while attending Georgia State University and freelancing for business site Global Atlanta before leading a team of 70+ as editor-in-chief of the school’s award-winning student newspaper, The Signal.
Despite the (mild) jeers of some of his classmates and colleagues at graduation, Chris changed strokes to pursue a career in PR after internships with the Carter Center and two Atlanta agencies helped change his opinion for good about the “Dark Side.” In the time since making the switch to agency life, Chris has secured awards like the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s CFO of the Year and Pacesetter Awards for clients, as well as press coverage with CNN, the Associated Press and Entertainment Weekly. He has experience working with a diverse group of clients across the manufacturing, hospitality and live entertainment industries.
A founder of the Signal Alumni Network and an active member of the Atlanta Press Club, Chris is a firm believer that doing PR the right way involves good, old-fashioned trust and relationship building – above all else. However, he also understands that modern PR requires a comprehensive approach that integrates traditional media relations with strong social and digital components to deliver measurable results.
When he’s not dreaming up an integrated messaging strategy or writing whitepapers for clients, it’s a safe bet you can find this amateur music critic at a local concert or on the back of his motorcycle, a red ’99 Honda VFR, if he’s not too busy photographing his family’s pack of oversized German Shepherd Dogs (take a peak via @TheIndoorWolf).
To stay current with his clients’ successes and Chris’ experiences across the South and beyond., follow @ChrisShattuck on Twitter.
Patrick Taylor, Digital Marketing Manager,
Patrick decided to trade the dry heat of Phoenix for the muggy climate of New Orleans when he began his studies in Marketing at Tulane University. Quickly falling in love with the Big Easy, Patrick also found his passion for digital marketing at his first full-time gig at an advertising agency straight out of college. So, now both his mind and his heart are forever tied to #NOLA.
With boundless curiosity and hunger to learn new technologies, it’s only as natural as a muddy bayou that Patrick would have a passion for all things SEO, PPC and any other acronyms in the digital marketing world, and holds numerous digital marketing certifications including Google Ads, Google Analytics, Bing Ads, and multiple programmatic platforms.
He uses online insights and analytics to reach customers in their digital moments of need, helping B2B and B2C businesses alike double sales and increase leads by triple digits. Fully recognizant of the fact that the best products solve a problem for its customers, Patrick takes an “in all things: service” strategic, problem-solving approach in everything he does for his clients and his teammates.
Now, as a SEO and PPC Whiz, Patrick uses his expertise to tie the bow on ARPR’s entire Panorama Approach, taking that headline all the way to a sale using a unique combo of digital advertising, lead generation and SEO strategies and tactics.
On a personal note, Patrick is an easy-going, dog-loving, adventure-seeking millennial who likes iced coffee and a good dive bar.
To keep up with his adventures check him out on Instagram.
Casey Zintel, Creative & Digital Mastermind,
As marketing strategist for ARPR, Casey specializes in digital marketing, with a proven record in strategic online marketing campaigns. Utilizing an integrated marketing approach, Casey helps clients shape brand identity through graphic design, and brand awareness through social media.
Having spent the last decade in Washington, D.C., Casey has a strong background in legislative, fundraising and advocacy strategy for both corporations and trade associations. Most recently at a leading marketing and PR SaaS company, she collaborated with clients spanning the service, retail, manufacturing, defense, higher education and financial sectors, on how to best utilize the software solution.
Casey graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in political science, with a minor in telecommunications.
Casey resides in the technology and cybersecurity hub of Huntsville, Alabama. Her proudest accomplishment to date is her baby daughter. When she’s not dreaming up her next travel, she loves trying new recipes and is a college football enthusiast.
Taylor Spung, Marketing & Business Development Coordinator ,
Raised in Atlanta suburbia, Taylor grew up in a highly creative and ambitious household with an artistic mother and an entrepreneurial father. With early dreams to pursue a career in an imaginative environment and an unhealthy obsession for all things furry and four-legged, Taylor combined her passion and innovative nature to begin working as a receptionist and digital marketing coordinator at a local animal boarding facility at 15. After eight years of working with animals and a PR degree from Georgia Southern University, Taylor sought out to utilize her skills in a fast-paced environment that would challenge her.
Beginning her public relations journey representing SMBs and fortune 500 companies, Taylor has dived into all aspects of B2B and B2C PR in both agency and in-house settings. With her furry friends cheering her on, she’s built meaningful relationships and constructed creative, utilizing these skills to PRopel ARPR’s Marketing and Business Development program. Taylor shapes our brand identity through graphic design, media relations, website development and social media all while tapping into her analytical side to help drive ARPR’s marketing programs.
When Taylor isn’t making news and driving leads for ARPR you can find her holding a Canon, a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos or making an appearance in Atlanta’s many music venues. She is a proud mother to a fluffy blonde golden retriever named Piper who doesn’t understand that she isn’t also a human.
Nick Holland, Account Coordinator,
Imported from Detroit. After dealing with harsh winters his whole life, Nick quickly realized that southern sunshine was calling his name and relocated to Atlanta to study marketing at Morehouse College. Nick started his career selling enterprise software in Boston and after a few years of experience, decided to return to Atlanta to pursue his passion for digital marketing and communications…and warm weather of course.
Experiencing first-hand how marketing, PR and sales fit together in a large enterprise, Nick understood that he knew what it’s like to be in a client’s shoes and decided to bring his unique perspective to the agency side of the business. Nick started as an ARPR intern in December of 2016 and quickly transitioned to a full-time role within a few months. His passion for digital marketing led him to become a HootSuite certified social media consultant in college, and he currently holds certifications for Google AdWords and Hubspot as well. With this, he desires to assist the team in increasing engagement and awareness for clients, as well as helping them drive leads.
During his time at ARPR Nick has been responsible for everything from website updates, to monthly client reporting dashboards and client research. Recently, Nick was named ARPR’s marketing master where he is responsible inbound and outbound marketing, sponsorships, social presence, awards planning and much more.
He spends his spare time with family, traveling, playing any sport he can, and debating Michigan sports with local Falcons fans. Follow him on Twitter @itsShow_Time.
Alexis Pastrana, Junior Account Coordinator,
Alexis was born and raised on the Westbank of New Orleans (locally known as the “Bestbank!”). She didn’t stray too far from her beloved city as she earned her tiger stripes and bachelor’s degree in mass communications at Louisiana State University, where she discovered her passion for marketing and advertising.
Still bleeding purple and gold and proud to know how to pronounce Tchoupitoulas and always shouting “Who Dat!”, Alexis decided to join a local New Orleans public relations firm as an intern, where she was able to help local B2B and B2C business through her love of PR and marketing. This, coupled with her opportunity to work as a marketing specialist for a local photographer, helped Alexis to hone her craft and identify her strengths.
Alexis began her journey with ARPR as an awesome intern where she learned how to take her incredibly creative social media marketing tactics and design skills and combine them to help technology clients land qualified sales leads. Now, as our social media and creative conqueror, she helps our Health IT and Fintech clients score double-digit social media follower growth, and then showcases the impact of that growth and the rest of the teams’ efforts through analyzing data and connecting headlines to sales every month through ARPR’s Influence and Impact Reports.
In her free time, Alexis enjoys working out, eating beignets (that’s pronounced ben-yay) and listening to an eclectic mix of music (a little bit of lil Wayne, a few Disney theme songs and some country). She has a knack for finding cringingly bad movies to watch on Netflix and comparing everything in life to her fur baby, Chico the Chiweenie.
Follow her on Instagram to see her many puppy photos and amazing adventures.
Justin Stewart, Edgie,
Born with blood type “hustle and bustle,” Justin grew up in the Big Apple with a head full of dreams and a handful of action figures before relocating to the Peach State. With early aspirations of saving the world, he combined his passion for leadership along with helping others while working as a head lifeguard at the age of 16. Shifting from making saves to making A’s, Justin earned his PR degree from Kennesaw State University where his artistic passions of storytelling and discovery reverberated its halls.
Dynamic and hopeful, Justin began his PR career providing counsel to healthcare and impact-investment clients. At the heart of Atlanta’s concrete jungle, he also learned the ropes of B2B and B2C transactions within an agency setting. Utilizing his bravado and curiosity, Justin continued to augment his communication savviness by providing media relations, digital media activations and strategic planning for global leaders in consumer, environmental and high-end technology, as well as cybersecurity and political foundations.
Justin brings a wealth of experience and value to ARPR’s Army of Awesome. As the first of the newly revamped Edge Internship program, he’s fearless in pushing the boundaries to support his team members on Health IT, Cybersecurity and SaaS. His eagerness to contribute to ARPR and its shareholders makes him a viable asset for problem solving, creative development, new business propositions and pursuit of passion.
Justin’s personal mission is simple – be the best version of himself to impact society and inspire those within. Outside the office when he takes off his cape, you can find him whipping up fancy meals, dominating the e-sports community or scoring a screamer with his fellow futbol-fanatics. Justin is tenacious, a food and style guru and unapologetically wants to make a difference.