James Wright
CEO

One of the most recognized agency heads in the world, James is global chairman of the Havas PR Global Collective, CEO of Havas PR North America, group CEO of the Havas-owned Red Agency Australia and responsible for Havas-owned PR agencies across the Asia-Pacific region. He also serves as chief commercial officer for Havas Group Australia/New Zealand, which has tripled in size since he took over. Under his leadership, the Red Agency transformed into a regional powerhouse of creativity and one of the most awarded agencies in the Asia-Pacific region. It is the current Mumbrella PR Agency of the Year and CommsCon Agency of the Year. James joined the Havas Group in 2011 from the U.K. Previously, he was managing director at international agency Grayling, where he led international accounts including BT, HSBC, Sony, Jaguar and Land Rover. In 2017, PR Asia named James Agency Head of the Year at its annual awards show, and PR Awards Asia named him Asia-Pacific PR Agency Head of the Year. That year, he was also the Australian PR juror for the Cannes Lions Festival, the second time he has performed the role, having previously done it in 2013. In 2008, at the age of just 28, he won the coveted PRCA’s Consultant of the Year (U.K.) and the same year was named International CSR Leader by PR News USA at their All Stars Awards. In 2016, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, one of the youngest ever admitted.

Katie McSorley
President, Mid-Atlantic

Katie’s expertise encompasses positioning and messaging, strategy development, media relations, employee and customer relations, community relations, cause marketing, and crisis and issues management. In her more-than-25-year career, she has worked with Transitions Optical, PPG Industries, Bayer MaterialScience, Emerson Process Management, Heinz, Alcoa, US Steel, Nestlé, Jenny Craig, GNC, Johnson & Johnson, PerkinElmer, Kaldewei, Wexford Health and the Nursing Society. Katie is a Manhattanville College graduate with a bachelor’s in English.

Linda Descano, CFA®
Executive Vice President, Philadelphia

Linda joined Havas PR in 2015 to spearhead the agency’s digital, social and measurement practice areas. With more than 15 years of experience, she specializes in providing strategic counsel and tactical implementation of integrated communications programs, incorporating PR, media relations, social media, content partnerships, influencer marketing, thought leadership and advertising. Her work includes a variety of sectors including financial services, economic development, pharma and corporate responsibility. Previously, Linda was managing director and global head of content marketing and social media at Citi, where she launched numerous digital firsts and served as president and CEO of Women & Co., the bank’s award-winning financial lifestyle community for women. Her honors include PR News’ 2018 PR Professional of the Year, 2018 Campaign U.S. Digital 40 Over 40, 2014 Fox Information Technology Distinguished Alumni Award from the Fox School of Business at Temple University, 2014 Pinnacle in Leadership Award from the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and 2013 Changing the Game Award from Advertising Women of New York (now known as She Runs It).  Linda also served as a judge for The Content Council Pearl Awards in 2018 and 2017. Linda serves as a capstone mentor and advisory council member for the Fox School of Business M.S. in Digital Innovation in Marketing program. She currently serves on the board of directors of New York Women in Communications (and is a past president) and Servo Annex, a digital consultancy.

Karina Meckel
Executive Vice President, Director of Strategy

Karina enhances strategic processes agency-wide. Her guidance has become essential for most of our projects, from top-level initiatives to new-business pitches, across all sectors. Named to PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 list for her strategy work at Havas PR, Karina joined the company as a junior planner in 2004, then quickly rose to lead planner on the Nestlé Frozen Foods business and planner on Charles Schwab. She drove significant strategic change for Nestlé’s Lean Cuisine in 2007 by moving it from a diet brand to a key player in the wellness space. This shift resulted in Lean Cuisine’s reaching its goal: becoming a billion-dollar brand. More recently, she worked on Coty Inc. when its CEO left in the midst of the company preparing for its IPO. She helped launch Havas PR’s youth marketing think tank and developed unique marketing research approaches to gain an in-depth knowledge of the youth target for brands such as Clearasil and Pepsi. Karina is a graduate of Brown University.

Melanie Klausner
Senior Vice President, Media Relations, New York

Melanie joined Havas PR in November 2017 as senior vice president of media relations, providing counsel to corporate and consumer clients. She has more than 15 years’ experience in the lifestyle, food and beverage, and travel and hospitality industries, as well as expertise with corporate reputation, issues management, cause, sustainability and education. Melanie specializes in results-oriented strategies and creative public relations tactics that bring fresh perspectives to client messaging. Before joining Havas PR, Melanie was at Finn Partners and managed New York State’s I LOVE NY Tourism campaign, including the launch of the TASTE NY program. She has secured client coverage in national outlets, including The New York Times, Bloomberg TV, Reuters, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Wine & Spirit, Wine Spectator, Beverage Media, Nation’s Restaurant News and Tasting Panel.

Courtney Myers
Senior Vice President, Pittsburgh

Combining experience in business-to-business, consumer, healthcare and technology with a background in art and design, Courtney provides clients a unique perspective on branding and public relations. From strategic counsel and planning to execution, she advises clients on public relations, CSR programs, brand development, company vision, thought leadership and direct marketing campaigns. Courtney is responsible for the ongoing management and development of a range of tactics for clients using traditional, broadcast and social strategies, including media relations, brand and message development, speeches and multi-media presentations, print and video creative, trade shows and special events, and digital marketing. Her efforts have resulted in numerous industry awards for media relations, social media and creative CSR tactics, including the 2013 Bronze Anvil for speeches and Silver Anvil for special events. She has also been named the PR Practitioner of Year by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Business Marketing Association. Courtney graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor’s in industrial design.

Lesley Sillaman
Senior Vice President, Global

Lesley joined Havas PR in 2006, and since then has been immersed as strategist, content and speech writer, media relations specialist and trainer. She manages the Havas PR Global Collective, coordinating its cross-border work with Havas teams around the world, including on the Kellogg’s snacks and cereals business in EMEA. For Transitions Optical, Lesley launched the Transitions Adaptive Sunwear brand, and has introduced various new products with global brand names like Oakley, Nike, Callaway, Bell and Shoei. She has also been the executive speechwriter for the company’s annual flagship partner education event, Transitions Academy. For Sodexo, Lesley led the planning, messaging strategy and media outreach for the company’s first “Quality of Life” Conference, an international symposium in New York. And for 10 years, she has led all media, content development and partnership initiatives for International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association. Lesley was named PR News’ PR Professional of the Year in 2016. She received her bachelor’s from the University of Dayton and her master’s from the Annenberg School for Communications.

Pattie Sullivan
Senior Vice President, Pittsburgh

From ketchup and polyurethanes to nutritional supplements and process control systems, Pattie Sullivan applies her strategic counsel, media insight and award-winning writing to clients in diverse industries. Since joining Havas PR in 1997, she has worked with such organizations as the American Chemistry Council, Bayer MaterialScience (now Covestro), Emerson Automation Solutions and Heinz North America. Her experience runs the gamut from product launches and special event organization to trade show support, technical writing and everything in between. Pattie leverages her journalism background to develop and deliver crisis communications/media training modules that help prepare clients to communicate using traditional and social media channels. She also actively counsels clients on boosting the visibility of their sustainable activities in renewable energy, eco-friendly building and construction, and alternative energy vehicles. Her freelance stories have appeared in Advertising Age and a monthly Pittsburgh business magazine, and she has won a number of writing awards throughout her career, including three awards for writing excellence from the National Federation of Presswomen’s Pennsylvania Chapter. In 2009, she was named PR Practitioner of the Year by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Business Marketing Association. Pattie graduated from Duquesne University with a bachelor’s in journalism.

Stephanie Clarke
Vice President, Phoenix

Stephanie (almost singlehandedly) founded our Arizona office in 2015, increasing media impressions for our first client, Fox Restaurant Concepts, by 650 percent the first year. She has also supervised clients including the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, Luminance Recovery, One Young World, Revelator Coffee, and Sauce Pizza & Wine. In addition to media and influencer relations, she undertakes dozens of openings and launches for clients each year and provides creative and strategic thinking. Under Stephanie’s leadership, Havas PR was named the No. 1 big PR agency in Phoenix by Arizona Foothills magazine, and her campaign for Risas Dental and Braces was shortlisted in the PRWeek awards. In her first year at Havas PR, Stephanie was named to PR News’ Rising PR Stars 30 & Under and was named a PR Champion by the Council of PR Firms. Stephanie sits on the St. Vincent de Paul Advisory Board in Phoenix, lending her PR and marketing expertise to the organization.

SuJin Oh
Vice President, New York

SuJin has been a media specialist for most of her 20-plus years in public relations, working with a wide portfolio of clients in travel and hospitality, personal wellness and health, food, nonprofit and the arts, real estate and general lifestyle. SuJin offers extensive outreach skills into the media pool, with strong relations among national consumer and business outlets. Most importantly, she brings to the table her love of finding and creating the interesting details, and shaping the story ideas, that interest the press and best portray the client. Within her portfolio of clients at Havas PR is the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, where she leads the team in telling the state’s economic rebuilding story. For Teva Pharmaceuticals she nurtures media relations with top-tier business and industry journalists to garner coverage including CEO profiles and company brand stories and to raise awareness for its patient-centric programs. SuJin is a graduate of Brooklyn College-CUNY with a bachelor’s in English.

Melissa Rieger
Vice President, Pittsburgh

During her 12-plus years at Havas PR, Melissa has contributed to results-driven programs for clients, including the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society, LivaNova, MilliporeSigma, PPG Industries and Transitions Optical. Melissa plays an integral role in program strategy and project management, working with her clients every step of the way—from initial planning and program conception to tactical execution to analysis and delivery of results. Melissa has a knack for bringing client messages to life through content creation for media, multimedia and social marketing materials. She has vast experience developing programs and content geared toward technical, professional and consumer audiences.

Melissa’s work has been recognized regionally, nationally and locally—with her work on Transitions Optical’s multicultural and managed vision care programs alone receiving more than four dozen honors, including the 2013 Community Relations Campaign of the Year by the International Public Relations Association and PRWeek’s 2012 Multicultural Marketing Campaign of the Year. Her work on the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society also earned “Best in Show” at the 2016 IABC Golden Triangle Awards, and her work for MilliporeSigma’s Curiosity Cube earned several top honors, including first place in Community Affairs for the 2018 PRNews CSR Awards.

Prior to joining Havas PR, Melissa worked as an on-air television news reporter for local Fox and ABC affiliate stations in Central Pennsylvania.