Advertising & PR > About > Diversifying the Industry: The Job’s Not Done

Diversifying the Industry: The Job’s Not Done

Conference planners (left to right): A’nysha Fortenberry, Lorena Saldana, Diana DeLeon, Angie Fayad and Tabitha Ford

Panels and Panelists

Entrepreneurial Women

Carol Williams, Founder, Carol H. Williams Advertising

Carol H. Williams founded Carol H. Williams Advertising (CHWA) more than two decades ago after recognizing the need for advertising that speaks to the sophisticated and influential African-American and ethnic markets.   Started in 1986 in Carol’s living room, CHWA now has offices in Oakland, CA, Chicago, and New York City. A highly diverse and skilled staff produces award-winning advertising and marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies—including General Motors (Cadillac), General Mills, Kraft, Gilead Sciences, HP, Nationwide Insurance, Procter & Gamble, the U.S. Army, The Walt Disney Company, Marriott and several others. CHWA’s annual billings have exceeded $100 million for more than a decade.  Before establishing CHWA, Carol already had more than a decade of pioneering advertising work behind her. Top marketing executives recognized her creative spirit in college and competed to hire her. Carol started her career at Leo Burnett Company in Chicago and quickly earned a position as the first female and first African-American Creative Director and Vice President. After 13 years at Leo Burnett, she served two years as Senior Vice President, Creative Director at Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco. She's behind the timeless Secret Antiperspirant campaign that took it to #1 in the marketplace “Strong Enough For A Man, But Made For A Woman,” and the brand building Pillsbury campaign, “Say Hello to Poppin Fresh Dough.”

Jane Claire Hervey, Founder and CEO, bossbabesATX

Jane Claire Hervey is a Moody College of Communication graduate, Founder of bossbabesATX, and arbiter of all-around cool. As an organization that “exists to build educated, empowered and more equal creative communities,” bossbabesATX has ralled women around events that celebrates the power of their potential. Jane and her organization have been recognized all across the board, from The White House to the many women who have joined the movement for creative independence. Jane is also a regular contributor to Forbes, with a column focusing on entrepreneurship.

Krystle Loyland, Founder and CEO, Preacher

After many years of experience as an executive at Mother, Krystle Loyland and her partners founded Preacher, an Austin-based creative house devoted to “spreading The Good Word” for its clients. Since 2014, Preacher has made creative strides, being named to Advertising Age’s coveted 2017 list of Agencies to Watch. Krystle’s vision for Preacher has quickly made the agency a force for compelling, disruptive work on behalf of brands such as Bumble, SquareSpace, Venmo, and Crate & Barrel. On choosing Austin as the home for the agency, Krystle has cited The University of Texas as a hub of innovation that drew her team here.

Race & Ethnicity

Tony Dieste, Founder, Dieste Inc.

Tony Dieste is a proud Moody College of Communication alumnus, the founder of Dieste, Inc. and a pioneer in shaping culturally relevant brands. With over 20 years of client and agency experiences, along with private ventures, Tony is a communications visionary and has received dozens of industry awards including the coveted Cannes Lions. He was named to the AAF “Hall of Achievement” and was named as one of the 100 Most US Influential Latinos in the US. Tony serves on multiple boards, including the Moody College Alumni Advisory Council, and is a founding member of the Dallas Latino Cultural Center. Tony is a self-proclaimed "techie" and enjoys kicking back at his ranch with family and friends whenever he can.

Audrey Ponzio, Founder, APC Collective

Moody College of Communication alumnus Audrey Ponzio is the founder of APC Collective, an Austin-based public relations agency specializing in strategic brand positioning and multicultural community engagement. Audrey is a long-time veteran and former Senior Vice President of Edelman New York who helped to rebuild the multicultural practice of the PR organization. Audrey regularly cites her Latinx roots as a major influence in her career, with ‘family-first’ values guiding her path. She is a board member of the Austin Hispanic Alliance and Las Comadres.

Kendra Hatcher King, VP Marketing and Consumer Strategy at SapientRazorfish

Kendra Hatcher King is an award-winning creative strategist and 21st century brand builder that thrives in making sense of complexity. She is known for her ability to shake up the status quo and motivate others to try what’s new and next. An advocate of integrated marketing communications in both theory and practice, she has been called a triple threat for her diverse experience in traditional advertising, media and digital. Over the course of her 20-year career in the advertising industry, Kendra has provided strategic guidance for many blue chip clients, such as The Coca-Cola Company, AT&T, Reebok International, Kellogg’s, Bridgestone of America, Miller Brewing Company, Verizon Wireless and Kmart to name a few.

Kirya Francis, VP Solutions, Decision Sciences at GSD&M

Kirya Francis has a keen ability to understand complex and advancing technology and simplify them for agency-wide comprehension. She continues to play a key role in the development of GSD&M’s media proprietary tools, most recently the discrepancy management system and guideline compliance tool, which improve effectiveness for the media and accounting departments. After stints in the automotive and broadcast journalism industry, Francis began her career in the media industry. In 2000, she made her way to GSD&M as the DDS liaison on the local broadcast SBC (AT&T) team, which grew into the role of media technology director for all mediums for every GSD&M client. Today, Francis manages relationships with the agency’s key media vendor partners and continues to propel GSD&M forward by spearheading the creation of tools that improve work efficiency and effectiveness. She’s also a proud, founding member of the Core Team—a group of employees responsible for personifying and preserving the agency’s 45-year history, its core values, community and culture. 

Inclusive Representation in the Media

Valerie “Val” Salinas-Davis, CEO, Co-Founder, EnviroMedia Inc.

Val Davis is a Moody College of Communication alumna and powerhouse communicator; among many successful campaigns, Val is often known as the driving force behind the “Don’t Mess With Texas” campaign, winner of the America’s Favorite Ad Slogan competition. At Austin-based EnviroMedia, Val leads a team of advertising professionals in supporting non-profit organizations working toward the goal of healthier communities. With a special emphasis on sustainability, even around their office, this woman-owned and led agency continues to support the growth and development of Austin. Val is the recipient of the American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal Award for her contributions to the industry.

Carol Williams, Founder, Carol H. Williams Advertising

Carol H. Williams founded Carol H. Williams Advertising (CHWA) more than two decades ago after recognizing the need for advertising that speaks to the sophisticated and influential African-American and ethnic markets.   Started in 1986 in Carol’s living room, CHWA now has offices in Oakland, CA, Chicago, and New York City. A highly diverse and skilled staff produces award-winning advertising and marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies—including General Motors (Cadillac), General Mills, Kraft, Gilead Sciences, HP, Nationwide Insurance, Procter & Gamble, the U.S. Army, The Walt Disney Company, Marriott and several others. CHWA’s annual billings have exceeded $100 million for more than a decade.  Before establishing CHWA, Carol already had more than a decade of pioneering advertising work behind her. Top marketing executives recognized her creative spirit in college and competed to hire her. Carol started her career at Leo Burnett Company in Chicago and quickly earned a position as the first female and first African-American Creative Director and Vice President. After 13 years at Leo Burnett, she served two years as Senior Vice President, Creative Director at Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco. She's behind the timeless Secret Antiperspirant campaign that took it to #1 in the marketplace “Strong Enough For A Man, But Made For A Woman,” and the brand building Pillsbury campaign, “Say Hello to Poppin Fresh Dough.”

Meredith Singer, Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive, IBM

Meredith Singer is a Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive in IBM’s Washington, D.C. office. In this role, she serves as a Capitol Hill and federal agency lobbyist, responsible for advancing IBM’s interests in immigration, diversity, LGBTQ+ issues, labor regulation, healthcare and retirement. She chairs the US Chamber of Commerce’s immigration committee and serves on the boards of multiple organizations promoting public policy literacy. She also lived in Moscow, Russia, where she worked for the American Chamber of Commerce as a Senior Policy Advisor and has served as president of the American Women’s Organization. Outside of work, Meredith is a certified Les Mills BODYPUMP™ fitness instructor and meal coordinator at a local women’s homeless shelter.

Ruby McCleary, Director of Supplier Diversity, United Airlines

Ruby McCleary was appointed Director of Supplier Diversity with United Airlines in 2008. In this role, she is responsible for developing United’s Corporate Supplier Diversity/Supply Chain strategy across multiple product lines and services. As a Director for United Airlines, Ruby was named Supplier Diversity Professional of the Year 2017 and one of Top 25 Women in Power in Diversity by Diversity Plus Magazine in 2012 and 2015. She currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors on the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (CMSDC). She also is on the Board of Directors for WBENC and chairs the Program Committee. Ruby participates as a Corporate Partner with WBDC, serves as Chair of the NMSDC Air Transportation Group and is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Deidre Walsh, Director of Marketing, Silicon Labs

From hackathons to IPOs, @deirdrewalsh has spent the last 16 years building award-winning marketing programs at technology companies, including Silicon Labs, Jive, and National Instruments. Her passion for communications, equality and education also earned her a spot as a White House LGBTQ Tech & Innovation Fellow under President Obama. Deirdre is a proud graduate of The University of Texas Public Relations program, and her superpower is finding the perfect .gif for any situation.

LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

Garrett Mireles, Student, Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations

Garrett Mireles is a third-year Advertising major from Beaumont, Texas, and is serving his second year as the Undergraduate LGBTQ+ representative in the Stan Richards School's Diversity and Inclusion Student Council. The mission of this council extends into other areas of his life. As a Student Ambassador for The Office of Admissions, he serves prospective students with a special consideration for giving marginalized students the resources to access great educations like those offered at Texas. In his free time, he enjoys trying Austin’s newest coffee shops, or evangelizing about the joys of being a morning person.

Janet Lea, Special Projects, Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing

Janet Lea has worn many hats in a career that has spanned more than 40 years. From social worker to lobbyist to small business owner to ad executive, she has always trained her sights on making the world a better place. She was a Senior VP at Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing for more than fifteen years, specializing in public service campaigns and cause-related marketing. After a long career on the ground shaping media for positive change, she joined the ranks of many FIPs (Formerly Important People) in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she continues to be involved in business development and public relations while finding time to do pro bono work for the Santa Fe Botanical Garden and the International Shakespeare Center.

Kyle Nguyen, Media Planner, GSD&M

Kyle Nguyen is a graduate of the TexasMedia sequence with an Bachelor’s in Advertising. During his time at The University of Texas, he participated in diversity and inclusion programs like MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Internship Program) where he interned in New York City. He is currently a Media Planner at GSD&M (Austin, TX) and has continued his work in diversity and inclusion through initiatives like GSD&M’s internal diversity program, JoinIN.

Valerie “Val” Salinas-Davis, CEO, Co-Founder, EnviroMedia Inc.

Val Davis is a Moody College of Communication alumna and powerhouse communicator; among many successful campaigns, Val is often known as the driving force behind the “Don’t Mess With Texas” campaign, winner of the America’s Favorite Ad Slogan competition. At Austin-based EnviroMedia, Val leads a team of advertising professionals in supporting non-profit organizations working toward the goal of healthier communities. With a special emphasis on sustainability, even around their office, this woman-owned and led agency continues to support the growth and development of Austin. Val is the recipient of the American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal Award for her contributions to the industry.

A Family-Friendly Workplace

Tabitha Ford, Student, Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations

Tabitha Ford is a second-year Advertising major from San Antonio, Texas. She is particularly interested in the intersection between advertising and positive social change, with hopes to propone for diversity in the industry. As a returning student, mom, and working-student, she serves as the Non-Traditional Student Representative for the council. When she should be sleeping, she devotes her spare hours to turning trash into treasure, making a mess in her kitchen, and working on design projects (such as the pamplet for this event and the student t-shirts).

Steven Darby, Creative Director at Heavy Heavy, Steven Darby

As Creative Director of an 11-year-old son (and his San Antonio-based agency Heavy Heavy), Steven Darby is a career parent who believes that work shouldn’t be measured against life in the quest for balance. With years of experiences at creative agencies and as a mentor in the Austin entrepreneurship scene, Steven is an advocate for doing work that builds on a strong foundation of values. Steven as his team at Heavy Heavy apply this values-based creativity to building brand identities for clients.

Shanteka Sigers, Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director, Sanders/Wingo

Shanteka Sigers is an award winner: Business Insider “Top Creative Women in Advertising,” Black Enterprise “Top Women in Marketing and Advertising,” Complex Magazine “Top Creative Innovators,” and a recurring panelist at The 3% Conference and SXSW. As Vice President and Executive Creative Director of Sanders/Wingo, Shanetka drives Creative for a Black woman-owned agency in Austin, Texas, using ‘cultural fluency and behavioral science to inspire dramatic results for clients.’ A regular commentator on diversity and inclusion in communications industries, Shanteka has claimed a title becoming of her vision and magic: “unicorn.”

Natalie Brown-Devlin, Assistant Professor, Stan Richards School of Public Relations & Advertising

An assistant professor in the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations, Natalie Brown Devlin researches crisis communication and digital media in the context of sport. Her work examines how social media empowers organizational stakeholders during sports-related crises. She previously worked in digital advertising as a senior analyst of strategic account analytics, where she provided custom analyses and consumer insights to client marketing executives. Devlin currently teaches a course on digital metrics in the TexasMedia Program. She is a mother to infant twins.