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Communications Counselor
Provide one-on-one or one-to-many advice and counsel to clients on variety of communication topics: media relations, crisis communications, strategy, internal conflict resolution, inclusivity, capacity building, and leadership, among others. Known for discretion, supportive strengths-based style, creative approach, and dedication to client success and satisfaction.
Partnership and Alliance Developer
Builder of social and "in real life" networks of affiliation and interests. Use this skill to buttress clients' visions for success by forming alliances with those most likely to support new programs, as well as developing acceptance and buy in from potential critics.
Organizational Development
Continuous learner in leadership, currently mastering adaptive leadership as it applies to organizational development. Believe communications is a key element to any successful change effort.
Social Media Strategist/Specialist
Began using social media tools and technology in 1996 with early forums such as Usenet, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), and the WELL. This evolved with technology and today am considered among peers as an expert in social media. Often paid to speak at events on the topic.
Content Strategist/Developer/Manager
Successful communications programs require strong strategic underpinnings reinforced by messaging in content across multiple channels. Experience includes understanding the particular language of an organization and honing that "voice" into multi-purpose content. Content including video, collateral, and campaigns have won consistently won awards in peer-juried competitions.
Internal Communications
Expert competency from within own consulting company to client organizations, internal communications, particularly regarding message consistency and brand excellence at all touchpoints. Expert crisis communicator able to pinpoint potential hot spots before they are publicly known and then contain, counteract, and pivot the conversation to deflect heat and also in many cases, build good will.
Communications Strategy and Planning
More than 13 years of experience designing and directing communications strategy in service to non-profits, foundations, and government agencies. This includes every aspect of traditional public relations strategy and execution as well as a blend of organizational capacity building, media relations. Hallmark of style is to be collaborative and forge strong partnerships to amplify the success of any communications plan implementation.

Work experience

Jun 2007Present

Founder and President

Fourth Sector Consulting, Inc.

Founded Fourth Sector as a hybrid organization: a for-profit entity with social mission and values. We are powered by people: an in-house staff of five, two virtual part-timers, and a national freelancer network.

Our team includes strategic communicators, writers, policy experts, brand gurus, marketing mavens, geeks, and designers, we:

  • Communicate sustainability and other complex systemic issues
  • Facilitate common visions among diverse stakeholders
  • Inform policy and educate policy influencers
  • Develop online food communities
  • Help clients avoid and manage crises
  • Develop communications and organizational infrastructure
  • Conduct research and analysis on food systems issues

Recent client work under my care includes:

  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation - strategy development, communications plan implementation with an emphasis on policy, social media, mainstream media relations, partnership and network development, and internal communications.
  • Battle Creek Community Foundation - communications strategy and technical assistance for Neighborhood Venture Investment Program, an innovative social entrepreneurship body of work that energizes Battle Creek community participants to develop businesses that benefit neighborhoods.
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders- technical assistance with social media, strategy review and development of communications plan, and collateral design for annual conference.
  • Grains for Health Foundation - conceptual ideation for this new foundation and facilitation for its major stakeholder meetings.
  • School Food FOCUS - internal communications and communications infrastructure building using Software as a Service platforms to ensure a virtual workplace. Developed external communications plan and helped project gain footing in its implementation, which included hiring a communications staffer.
  • - developing a strategic concept and plan for launching an online home for children's nutrition information that could bring together disparate groups around "one tray."
  • Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy - multiple engagements including internal communications and strategic planning, and informal advising about the Food and Society Fellows program.
  • F3 Foundation/Lunch Box Project - Direct all aspects of communications and organizational implementation for innovative new tool to help change the way we feed our children in schools. Serve as interim staff. Develop strategic partnerships which have included: Whole Foods Market, Heifer International, Slow Food USA, Roots of Change, Environmental Working Group, Barbara's Cereals, and Google.

Our clients include the above as well as: Orfalea Foundations, Chez Panisse Foundation, Saint Paul Public Schools, Hennepin County, Minnesota Department of Health, University of Minnesota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Transit for Livable Communities, Wallace Center, Winrock International,, District202, Fair Food Foundation (now Fair Food Network), Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, and seventeen counties in Minnesota (for technical assistance with communications in implementing State Health Insurance Planning).

Jun 2004Jun 2007

Vice President, Communications

Headwaters Group

Led strategic communications and innovation at small consultancy serving philanthropists. I also generated and managed business for the firm. Principal communications client was W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Food and Society program. For that account, managed five consulting firms to execute an ambitious scope of work over several years. Also served on local business advisory council, contributed to firm's overall client work, internal branding initiative, and other leadership duties. Supervised three people directly, and many more subcontractors and freelancers. Managed on average $1.2 million in client accounts.

Feb 2000Jun 2004

Manager, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Practice/Senior Account Supervisor

Vanguard Communications

I directed agriculture, rural affairs, and consumer-related accounts. I also generated business related to these fields. Supervised the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Society account as well as served as client lead for the Federal Trade Commission. For the Federal Trade Commission, designed and implemented public communication campaigns on Internet Security, Identity Theft, and Financial Literacy. Supervised teams ranging in size from four to 12 people and managed up to $2 million a year in client accounts.

Apr 1999Feb 2000

Media Analyst

ProMarc (bought by Hill&Knowlton)

Developed media analysis competency for the business intelligence unit of this high tech PR firm (which was acquired by Hill & Knowlton). This included performing analysis of technology media at a time of unprecedented growth in venture capital investment. Though it was a short sprint, I attended many Silicon Valley conferences and media junkets, successfully enabled the pitching teams to earn positive media coverage for firm clients, and presented proof of concept of business intelligence unit to industry analysts.

Feb 1998Apr 1999

Account Executive

Matthews Media Group

Account executive responsible for multimedia management of following accounts: National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and Office of Technology and Industrial Relations. Also developed intranet for firm, worked with multimedia and business development teams. Also served on business development team, writing proposals for government and GSA contracts, as well as developed the firm's first Intranet in collaboration with colleagues on interactive team. Worked on project with company president to develop a business plan for an Internet startup that was later bought by WebMD.

Jun 1996Feb 1998

Special assistant to trustee

Barr Charitable Trust

For Patricia Barr, Esq. (deceased), served as assistant performing a wide range of activities for the organizations upon whose boards she sat, including: Americans for Peace Now, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, National Breast Cancer Coalition, Breast Cancer Network. Traveled with Barr and coordinated her public speaking and participation in national and statewide policy formation, including for: Vermont's then Governor Howard Dean, Senator Patrick Leahy, then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, among others. As Barr was dying of metastatic breast cancer, developed an electronic archive of "memories" for her two daughters by interviewing via video Barr's closest friends, family, and colleagues.




Williams College

Paid for education by working three jobs while in school full-time. Also contributed to the institution's literary journal, wrote for the paper, and served as a deejay for the radio station.


Ann Cooper

Kathy Wilson

Ricardo Salvador

Ali Webb

Relevant Recent Experience


Experienced communications strategist/developer/director of comprehensive social and traditional communications programs. Proven leadership experience with strong track record of exemplary oral and written communications, facilitation, internal/external/crisis communications capacity building, organizational development, social network creation, social branding, and public communication campaigns.

Volunteer Leadership

  • Board member, - 2010 to present
  • Founding board member, Real Food Federation of Bloggers - 2009 to present
  • Former membership chair, Minnesota Women in Marketing and Communications - 2007 - 2009
  • Former secretary, Grand Avenue Business Association - 2006 - 2007

Speaking Engagements and Presentations


• Organic Valley Organic Dairy Association Conference: speaker (upcoming)

• Farm to Cafeteria Conference: social media panel (upcoming)• Produce for Better Health Foundation's Annual Board Meeting: Social Media 201 (upcoming)• Minnesota League of Women Voters Leadership Conference: Women and Technology (upcoming)• University of Minnesota: Panelist on sustainable food systems (upcoming)• IgniteMpls: Small Batch: a New Orleans story of hope in a bottle• Google's National School Lunch Program Work Group: How school lunch works• School Nutrition Association's Child Nutrition Industry Conference: Building• Chez Panisse Foundation and Los Angeles Unified School District: Social media tools to help schools

2009• Heifer International and Arkansas Farm to School Conference: Building• Unsummit3: Storytelling in the social media world• Association of State and Territorial Health Departments: School Food Messaging in a Social Media Environment.• Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders: Webinar on Online Tools of Change for Funders.• Farmers Market Coalition: Webinar on Strategic Planning for State Farmers Market associations.• W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Food and Society Conference 2009 : producer, host, planning committee member (ninth year).• W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Food and Fitness Conference 2009: presentation on "what is good food."• Community Food Security Coalition's Farm to Cafeteria Conference 2009: Presentation about Farm to Cafeteria Messages Online.• Kansas Farm Bureau Association Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference: Perceptions of American Agriculture.• Food and Society Fellows Orientation: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: How Americans think about food and farming.• Battle Creek Community Foundation: Neighborhood Venture Investment Program: How to develop "crosswalk" messages about your business.

2008• W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Food and Society Conference 2008: Messaging for the food movement.• National Agri-Marketing Association Conference: Perceptions of American Agriculture.• Community Food Security Coalition Conference: What the heck is Twitter and why should I care about it?• University of Minnesota: Regional Food Systems Partnerships Summit, Minnesota: The difference between consumer marketing and strategic framing.• Minnesota Women in Marketing and Communications: Partnerships with unlikely allies.