Strategic Communication Leadership Network

Our Strategic Communication Leadership Network brings together some of the top communication leaders in the world—executives from companies such as Microsoft, Nike, WE Communications, and Edelman Public Relations—to network with students, discuss the state of the industry, and guide our program’s offerings. This unique group helps us prepare our graduates for successful careers and offers an impressive starting point to build their networks in the strategic communication field.

Learn More about the Strategic Communication Master's Program

Meet the Leaders

portrait of Doug Badger

Douglas Quinn Badger

Co-founder and Partner, Quinn Thomas; Co-Owner, DHM Research

Quinn Thomas provides corporate communications, integrated marketing campaigns, public affairs, and creative services. Its corporate clients include numerous Fortune 500 brands, including Walmart, AT&T, Bank of America, AWS, PacifiCorp, Weyerhaeuser, Pfizer, Georgia Pacific, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, and the Portland Trailblazers. Public-sector clients include the Washington Health Care Authority, Washington Health Benefit Exchange, Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, Port of Vancouver, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Quinn Thomas has won several recent workplace awards, including Best Places to Work from both Puget Sound Business Journal and Portland Business Journal.

Before entering the public affairs and public relations world, Doug spent 15 years as a legislative director and chief of staff on Capitol Hill for the late U.S. Representative Jennifer Dunn and U.S. Rep. Bob Smith, a political appointee in the Executive Office of the President under U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, executive director of the 2004 Oregon Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, and a Pacific Northwest political consultant.

Doug has taken on leadership roles within professional organizations and the University of Oregon. He served as co-chair of the PRSA Oregon/SW Washington Chapter’s Communicators Conference in 2022 and 2023. He is also a current member of the Oregon Business & Industry Foundation Board of Directors. He served as president of DC Ducks, the UO’s alumni chapter in the nation’s capital and as president of the national UO Alumni Association Board of Directors. He has guest-lectured at the SOJC, spoken to the UO PRSSA Chapter, and participated in the SOJC’s Portland Paddle on numerous occasions.

portrait of Gail Baker

Gail Baker

Principal and Strategist, Three Peaks Strategy

Gail Baker leads corporate and executive messaging, stakeholder and employee communications, public relations, social media, and brand strategy. With a mission-driven, collaborative approach, she drives strategic communications and engagement with key internal and external constituents. She has a track record of measurable results as she supports Cambia’s vision of creating a consumer-centric health care system for all.

Before joining Cambia in 2012, Gail was director of corporate communication and community affairs at Portland General Electric where she led branding, advertising, community engagement, public relations, social and interactive media as well as customer, employee and financial communications. Prior to joining PGE in 1996, Gail held marketing and communications positions at Banc One Corporation, Stephens Advertising, and the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Gail is an active member of the community and passionate about helping children and has served on various nonprofit boards and committees over the years, including CASA, The Leadership Roundtable, and YWCA of Greater Portland. Gail has won the Cambia Values Award for Trust as well as various Spotlight awards through the Public Relations Society of America. Gail earned bachelor's and master's degrees in communications from the University of North Dakota.

portrait of Lindsey Bastani

Lindsey Bastani

General Manager and senior vice president, WE Communications

As a key executive at WE Communications, Lindsey serves as the North America lead for the agency’s global Intel client and is responsible for the development of talent, culture, new business, and operations of WE’s Portland office.

There’s a growing need in strategic comms for a true orchestrator skillset—being the person who can zoom out and envision how all the pieces of a program are going to fit together, build on one another, and land with your audiences with impact.
Lindsey Bastani

During nearly two decades in communications, Lindsey has helped global brands connect authentically with audiences through award-winning integrated campaigns and storytelling spanning earned, social and digital, employee communications, and executive communications. Her focus on finding new ways into the cultural conversation has delivered impact for clients including Intel, Microsoft, Volvo, McDonald’s, LEGO, and Rover. Lindsey served as a lead on WE’s Microsoft account for 10+ years, across corporate global integration, consumer campaigns, retail, product teams, and executive communications. Prior to WE, Lindsey worked at DeVries Global in New York, managing integrated campaigns for Procter & Gamble brands including Crest, Scope, and Glide. 

Lindsey earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Loyola University Chicago. At home in Northeast Portland, Lindsey spends time with her husband and two children, trying new recipes and sinking into a good book whenever possible.

portrait of Sara Blasing

Sara Blasing

Vice president of Corporate Narrative Communications, Nike, Inc.

As head of corporate narrative communications at NIKE, Inc., Sara sets long-term vision for Nike’s global communications team, defining opportunities and shaping strategy across the function and business. She guides the acceleration of Nike’s future narrative through global insights, storyline development, message strategy, media and influencer relations, and multi-platform storytelling. Sara is passionate about helping youth succeed and the intersection of people and innovation. She has a proven track record of driving transformation through strategic communications.

Previously, she held leadership roles across Nike’s Jordan Brand, Innovation, Women’s, and North America communications teams, overseeing high-profile product launches, key innovation storytelling, upstream strategy development, and global and local brand positioning.

Before Nike, Sara managed global accounts at Waggener Edstrom (now WE Communications), leading worldwide campaigns for clients including Microsoft, HTC, MasterCard, and other consumer, technology, and healthcare brands. She also spent time early in her career as a communications director for Teach for America and has lived and worked in London, New York City, Seattle, Sydney, and Portland.

A graduate of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, Sara currently lives with her husband, two children, and dog in Portland. She loves mentoring youth, helping people develop in their careers, and building teams, and she aspires to make a difference by being the best leader, mother, and wife that she can be.

portrait of Kelley Bonsall

Kelley Bonsall

Corporate Communications Director, Port of Portland

Kelley is an accomplished communications strategist with experience in companies and the public sector. She currently serves as the director of corporate communications for the Port of Portland, leading marketing and communications for PDX airport (also known as “America’s Best Airport”) and the Port’s marine terminals and industrial properties.

At Levi Strauss & Co., Kelley launched “A CareTag for Our Planet,” a campaign to help educate and inspire consumers to change their laundry habits to help make a difference for the environment. Kelley began her career in Washington, D.C., as a press secretary for a number of congresspeople, including U.S. Senator John Kerry. She served as deputy communications director on John Kerry’s presidential campaign.

Kelley lives in Portland with her husband and two daughters. She is picky about a perfect cup of coffee first thing in the morning and loves to discover great food in near and far places.

portrait of Louis Capozzi

Louis Capozzi

Former Chairman, MSL Group

Louis Capozzi has a broad background in public relations and corporate communications. After 40 years' experience in  major public relations firms and with large multinational corporations, he now teaches in the Strategic Communication Master’s program at the University of Oregon.

He served as CEO of Manning, Selvage and Lee (MS&L), one of the world’s largest public relations firms, from 1999 until 2002, when it was acquired by Publicis; in 2003, it was named “Agency of the Year.” At Publicis, he led the MSL Group, which included nearly 30 firms around the world, until his retirement in 2008.

Louis was awarded the PRSA Gold Anvil for lifetime achievement in 2017. He served for three years as president of the PRSA Foundation. In that role, he worked to drive diversity in the public relations profession. He is a member of the Arthur Page Society, a former chairman of the Council of Public Relations Firms and the International Communications Consultants Organization, as well as an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America and a member of its College of Fellows.

portrait of Ryan Cudney

Ryan Cudney

General Manager, Edelman Pacific Northwest

Ryan Cudney, who leads Edelman’s integrated team in the Pacific Northwest with offices in Seattle and Portland, is an eight-year veteran of the agency. Previously, as executive vice president within Edelman’s Corporate Advisory Services practice, Ryan counseled some of the firm’s largest clients on enterprise transformation, including recovery in the wake of a crisis, portfolio realignment, and culture change. Ryan also served as global chief of staff to Edelman CEO Richard Edelman and partnered with senior leaders of the firm to pursue strategic opportunities, recruit and retain top talent, and advance Edelman’s intellectual property and thought leadership.

portrait of J. Cory Curtis

J. Cory Curtis

Vice president of Corporate Communications, The Omidyar Group

Cory leads a group of communication and marketing professionals who provide counsel and service across The Omidyar Group portfolio of work. Founded by Pierre and Pam Omidyar, The Omidyar Group is a diverse collection of companies, organizations, and initiatives working to catalyze social impact.

Most recently, Cory served as vice president of communications at Intellectual Ventures, where he led the invention company’s global communication team. Prior to that, he served as managing director for the Seattle office of global public relations firm Porter Novelli. As communications director for Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, Cory served on the governor’s executive staff and advised the governor and cabinet on daily communications efforts, including key policy initiatives and critical crisis responses.

Cory has served in a variety of marketing, communications, and spokesperson roles with Porter Novelli, Waggener Edstrom, Human Rights Campaign, the Seattle City Council, and Lifelong AIDS Alliance. He has represented a diverse list of clients, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Microsoft Corp., Puget Sound Energy, Challenge Seattle, Safeco, and many more and has helped guide those teams as they overcame complex, contentious, and sensitive issues.

Cory is originally from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and is a graduate of Lewis & ClarkCollege in Portland.

portrait of Courtney Chiang Dorman

Courtney Chiang Dorman

Managing Partner of the Americas, Brunswick Group

Courtney works with organizations, boards, and leadership teams on their most critical issues, including strategy, executive communications, reputation, and crisis management.

As managing partner of the Americas for the Brunswick Group, she helps drive the firm's global strategy and advance key objectives throughout the region around growth, business planning, financial performance, people and talent development, and operational excellence. Prior to her current role, she was the firm’s chief business officer, responsible for the strategic development and management of Brunswick’s sectors and offers globally.

Courtney joined Brunswick in 2019 from the law firm Wilson Sonsini, where she spent nearly 17 years, most recently as the firm’s global chief operating officer. In this role, she focused on key strategic, cultural, operational, and growth initiatives. In addition to working with Wilson Sonsini’s executive leadership team to develop and implement firm-wide internal and external priorities, she was responsible for aligning, building, and managing all operational and people functions across the firm. She also acted as firm spokesperson, leading all internal, external, and crisis communications. Courtney has also served as director of marketing for a technology-focused investment bank and as vice president for a large global communications firm.

portrait of Jennifer Gehrt

Jennifer Gehrt

Co-Founder of Communiqué Public Relations

Jennifer is a co-founder of Communiqué PR and co-author of Strategic Public Relations: 10 Principles to Harness the Power of PR.

Jennifer has more than 25 years of PR experience, developing and managing corporate and consumer campaigns for a wide variety of companies, from Fortune 500 giants to nimble startups. She is also a frequent speaker on the topics of social media and public relations.

Prior to founding Communiqué PR, Jennifer was with Waggener Edstrom, where she held positions such as account director and director of business development. Before joining Waggener Edstrom, she was director of marketing communications for Tegic Communications, and then was with AOL after Tegic was acquired in December 1999.

portrait of Mary Ellen Glynn

Mary Ellen Glynn

Directory of Corporate Communications, Columbia Sportswear

Mary Ellen is the director of corporate communications for Columbia Sportswear Company, a portfolio of brands that includes Columbia, Sorel, Mountain Hardwear, and prAna.

Mary Ellen has more than two decades of communications experience, including as the deputy press secretary at the White House, assistant spokesman at the U.S. Department of State, communications director for the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and communications director for Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. She has also run a state policy commission, and most recently was the executive director of the Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries, a statewide nonprofit that helps families at risk of abuse and neglect. She holds an M.A. in international relations and communications from Boston University and a B.A. in economics from Northwestern University.

Mary Ellen lives in Southeast Portland with her husband and two children. She is active in the local public schools, coaches youth soccer, and skis, hikes, and runs whenever she is not watching her kids play sports.

portrait of Erin Hart

Erin Hart

Chief Innovation Officer, Spitfire Strategies

Erin believes that communication is a powerful driver for social change. She’s worked with foundations, nonprofits, government agencies, and more to help them engage their audiences and develop programs that make a difference for people’s health, the environment, and social justice. At Spitfire, Erin directs the firm’s learning work and collaborates with clients including The California Wellness Foundation, Conservation Law Foundation, Gates Foundation, and Heising-Simons Foundation.

Before coming to Spitfire, Erin served as Fenton’s chief client officer and built the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s first strategic communications department. Erin has developed public education campaigns on a variety of issues. She created a California campaign on the need to grow and diversify the state’s healthcare workforce, and the campaign included Health Jobs Start Here, speaking directly to youth and young adults. Erin worked with the American Legacy Foundationand its popular truth® campaignand state and local health departments to develop tobacco-control campaigns that prevented youth from starting to smoke. Her government work includes serving as the state of Florida’s environmental education director and developing environmental citizenship campaigns.

She has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Florida, which recognized her as a 2016 Alumna of Distinction. She collaborates with the first-ever chair in public interest communications to grow and diversify the field through work. She and her Spitfire colleague Kristen Grimm co-teach strategies for policy impact at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy.

portrait of Melissa Havel

Melissa Havel

Principal and Founder, Melissa Havel Marketing Communications

Melissa is a communications pro with moxie, constantly pushing herself to be at the leading edge of the craft of brand storytelling.

Melissa previously worked at Portland General Electric as the senior director of brand, marketing, and communications. Before that, she was the executive vice president in the technology sector and general manager at WE Communications.

Someone with a strategic communication graduate degree will understand the difference between management versus leadership, know when to wear which hat, and have a clearly defined leadership style.
Melissa Havel

Melissa has more than 25 years of communications strategy and storytelling experience that spans corporate, executive communications, crisis and issues management, and product for companies in all phases of their life cycle from start-ups looking to secure their first round of funding to established companies working to transform and enter their next chapter.

Before WE, Melissa spent four years at Fleishman-Hillard Inc. In this role she worked on a wide variety of business-to-business, financial, healthcare, consumer, and nonprofit public relations programs. Her diverse client roster at Fleishman-Hillard included Bank of Montreal, Anheuser-Busch, Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland, McDonald’s Corp., Muscular Dystrophy Association, SBC/ Cellular One, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Melissa has a bachelor’s degree in advertising with an emphasis in public relations from Michigan State University.

portrait of Orest Holubec

Orest Holubec

Executive Vice President, Chief Communication Officer, Providence

As chief communication officer at Providence, Orest Holubec leads brand, public relations, organizational communication, media relations, crisis communication, issues and reputation management, community relations, and social media and influencer strategy.

Previously, Orest served as director of external communication for Catholic Health Partners, now Bon Secours Mercy Health in Ohio. Prior to working in health care, he was director of communication and press secretary to Ohio Governor Bob Taft, led communication strategy for statewide political campaigns, and held communication leadership roles for the Ohio Legislature and the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

Orest serves as a board member of the Catholic Health Association of the USA, Providence High School, and the Institute of Public Relations. He holds a bachelor of arts in philosophy from John Carroll University and a master’s in Catholic clinical ethics from Georgetown University and the Catholic University of America. Orest lives in the great Pacific Northwest with his wife Natalie and their sons Julian, Stefan, and Xander.

portrait of Kelly Jankowski

Kelly Jankowski

Managing Director, Corporate Practice, MSL Group

Kelly specializes in helping organizations and their leaders build reputations. As managing director of MSL’s corporate practice, she oversees a national team focused on telling stories that shift perception internally and externally. These teams create market-shaping campaigns, employee engagement programs, purpose consulting, newsroom management, and executive positioning that drive business results and consumer choices.

Prior to joining MSL, Kelly led corporate communications practice at Edelman, where she worked with Regeneron, Northwestern Mutual, and Booking Holdings. She launched an integrated digital campaign for Regeneron featuring the scientists who drive the company. She specialized in companies with a story to tell about their contributions to the world and their financial results. Kelly also managed Edelman’s work with PayPal in North America, including issues management, financial communications, and a CEO-led web series.

Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. She is a member of the Milken Institute Young Leaders Circle and a participant in the Aspen Institute’s Society of Fellows, and she sits on the board of directors for CureSMA. She is in the process of moving to Seattle, Washington, with her husband and daughter.

portrait of Carol Keese

Carol Keese

Vice President for University Communications, University of Oregon

Carol Keese is the vice president for university communications and the chief marketing officer at the University of Oregon. Before joining the UO in December 2023, she previously worked at the University of Virginia as the associate vice president for marketing and brand strategy. Prior to that, Carol was the vice president of marketing for Children's National Health System. Her experience also includes leadership roles at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Virginia Health System. She earned her bachelor's at the University of Virginia, holds a master's in business administration in marketing from the University of Phoenix, and is a graduate of the Executive Leadership program at UVA's Darden School of Business.

portrait of Sarab Kochhar

Sarab Kochhar, PhD

Senior Communications Officer, Global Communications Team, Gates Foundation

Dr. Sarab Kochhar is a senior communications officer and a key member of the Global Communications team within the Communications Division at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She works with the Foundation Voice team to assess high-value opportunities to use the most senior-level voices in the foundation and achieve programmatic and brand and reputation goals.

Before joining the foundation, Sarab was director of communications at Kaiser Permanente. She holds a PhD in business strategy and communications and specializes in strategic communications, crisis communications, corporate diplomacy, stakeholder engagement, public affairs, and measurement and evaluation. In her previous roles, Sarab was director at APCO Worldwide, advising the office of the founder and executive chairman. She served as a strategic counsel for clients to help conceptualize, drive, and accomplish their global communications strategies. She has led project teams in the areas of technology, aerospace, and many other sectors in her work with Burson-Marsteller in Bangalore, India. She has also worked with the Government of India, where she managed the tourism function, including sports, medical, health, and cultural tourism.

portrait of Cynara Lilly

Cynara Lilly

Executive Director of Advocacy and Communications, Ballmer Group

Cynara Lilly is the executive director of advocacy and communications, leading Ballmer Group’s strategy to advance policies and amplify work that increases economic mobility for children and families. Cynara holds two decades of experience at the intersection of strategic communications and public policy. She has also led and advised on impactful national, state, and local political campaigns that secured lasting educational and environmental wins.

portrait of Tina McCorkindale

Tina McCorkindale, PhD, APR

President and CEO, Institute of Public Relations

Tina McCorkindale, PhD, APR, is the president and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations. Previously, she taught as a full-time professor and worked in corporate communication and analytics. She is a member of the Page Society, The Seminar, the Commission for Public Relations Education Steering Committee, the Diversity Action Alliance Steering Committee, the AMEC Academic Advisory Board, and the University of Florida School of Journalism and Communications Public Relations Advisory Board. She frequently publishes in academic journals and industry publications about the current and future state of the public relations and communication industry.

[Strategic communication] prepares you not just for your next job, but for a career as a smart and strategic communication leader and problem solver.
Tina McCorkindale

Tina is the recipient of the 2017 PRSA David Ferguson Award and the 2020 PRSA Puget Sound Professional of the Year award. She was inducted in the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame in 2018. In 2019, she was selected as one of 40 national leaders to participate in the 91st Joint Civilian Orientation Conference hosted by the Department of Defense.

Tina received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi, a master’s degree in corporate communication from the University of South Alabama, and her PhD in communication from the University of Miami. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Frank Shaw

Frank X. Shaw

Corporate Vice President of Communications, Microsoft Corporation

As corporate VP of communications, Frank X. Shaw is responsible for defining and managing Microsoft’s communications strategies worldwide and company-wide storytelling, including planning and execution, product PR, consumer marketing, media relations, executive communications, employee communications, global agency management, and military affairs. Frank is an avid technologist and digital conversationalist with a Twitter following of more than 26,000 (@fxshaw).

In 2016 Frank was recognized by Business Insider as #1 on a listing of the 50 best PR people in Tech, and was awarded a SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in 2016. With more than 20 years of experience in communications, Frank has led diverse teams representing government, entertainment, food, and retail. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2009, he was president of the Microsoft account worldwide at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, where he held key responsibilities for all global PR, communications, and influence efforts.

Frank proudly served in the US Marine Corps and is a graduate of the Department of Defense Information School. He holds a bachelor of science degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and is a current board member of the Seattle YMCA.

Faculty Leaders

portrait of Donna Davis

Donna Davis

Associate Professor; Director, Immersive Media Communication Master’s Program and Oregon Reality (OR) Lab

Donna Davis is an expert in virtual reality (VR), digital embodiment, tech equity and inclusion, and digital social capital. She is an associate professor and director of the SOJC's Oregon Reality Lab and the Immersive Media Communication Master’s program. She also served as director of the SOJC's Strategic Communication Master’s program for 10 years.

Donna's ethnographic research focuses on the potential uses of social virtual worlds, gamification, and other emerging immersive media, with a special focus on marginalized and vulnerable communities. Her research on embodied experience and identity among people with disabilities in virtual reality was funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation. She has also extensively studied people with Parkinson’s disease who find and build support in the virtual world. Her research continues to explore the impacts of these experiences on both the promise and peril of technosolutionism, recognizing both the isolating and connecting powers of these emerging immersive environments.

Dean Juan Carlos Molleda

Juan-Carlos Molleda

Edwin L. Artzt Dean and Professor

Juan-Carlos Molleda is a tenured professor and the Edwin L. Artzt Dean of the SOJC. He is also a US Fulbright Senior Specialist. He has accumulated 22 years of experience teaching and researching public relations and communication management at the University of Florida (2000–2016), University of South Carolina (1997–2000), and Radford University (1995–1997).

Juan-Carlos received his bachelor of science in social communication (1990) from Universidad del Zulia in Venezuela, a master of science in corporate and professional communications (1997) from Radford University in Virginia, and a doctor of philosophy degree in journalism and mass communications with an emphasis on international public relations and international business (2000) from the University of South Carolina. Since his doctoral studies in South Carolina, Molleda has become a leading teacher and scholar in global corporate public relations management. In 2010, he was awarded the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

In addition to his outreach to the professional community, Juan-Carlos is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Public Relations and a founding member of its Commission on Global Public Relations Research, the Latin American liaison of the Public Relations Society of America’s Certification in Education for Public Relations, a member of The LAGRANT Foundation Board of Directors, and a Public Relations Committee member for the HIV Alliance in Eugene, Oregon.

portrait of Attila Schillinger

Attila Schillinger

Professor of Practice; Director, Strategic Communication Master’s Program

Attila Schillinger joined the SOJC faculty in fall 2023. He directs the Strategic Communication Master's program at SOJC Portland. Based in Eugene, he is a professor of practice dedicated to sharing his more than 25 years of international corporate and sustainability communication experience with students.

With a background in business law, corporate communication, and climate change-specialized conflict resolution, Attila has consulted for some of the top European and global brands, including Microsoft, SAP, Nestle, L'Oreal, GSK, Lilly, Pfizer, DuPont, T-Mobile, AIG, Heineken, Asahi, Carlsberg, McDonalds's, Coca-Cola HBC, Tesco, RWE Energy, Citi, Deutsche Bank, EasyJet, Lufthansa, and Delta Airlines, to name but a few. He is an expert in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and ESG communication. His industry expertise includes technology, health care, food and beverage, retail, energy, finance, infrastructure, transportation, and aviation.

Attila is a member of the Sustainability Council of the Budapest Business School, where he was appointed public relations adjunct faculty in 2010. He holds a law degree from ELTE Faculty of Law, Budapest, Hungary; a public relations master's degree from Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana; and a conflict resolution master's degree specialized in climate change from the University of Oregon.