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Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Minnesota PRSA has announced a new leadership roster for 2010. Minnesota PRSA is the 10th-largest chapter of the world’s leading organization for public relations professionals.

“Our newly appointed board of directors has a great deal of public relations experience to help lead our industry forward,” said Candee Wolf, APR, president of Minnesota PRSA. “Our chapter is dedicated to showing the value of strategic public relations in an ever-changing media landscape.”

Minnesota PRSA is comprised of more than 350 members who represent business and industry, counseling firms, independent practitioners, military, government, associations, hospitals, schools, professional services firms, education and nonprofit organizations.

The 2010 Minnesota PRSA executive committee includes:

President – Candee Wolf, APR
Candee Wolf is marketing and communications director for American Dental Partners (ADPI) and its local dental affiliates, including Metro Dentalcare. She oversees public relations, marketing and communications for more than 40 dental practices in Minnesota and provides strategic counsel to more than 27 ADPI dental groups in 18 states. Wolf has created and launched communications programs at UnitedHealth Group, North Memorial Health Care and Strother Communications Group. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in communications. Wolf’s work over the years has garnered several Classics awards. She is an active Minnesota PRSA member, having served on the board of directors for four years and with the Classics committee for five years, two as co-chair.

Vice President– Brooke Worden, APR
Brooke Worden is a vice president in the financial services group at Weber Shandwick’s Minneapolis office. During her 10 years at the agency, she has delivered programs for many of the firm’s marquee financial services and government clients, including Prudential Retirement, Allianz Life, CIGNA Retirement, ING, the Business Roundtable/Pension Coalition, U.S. Treasury, U.S. Mint and the Internal Revenue Service. Currently, she leads the Weber Shandwick U.S. Census Bureau team nationwide. Brooke and her teams have received numerous awards at the Classics, as well as Bronze Anvils and a Silver Anvil. A member of Minnesota PRSA since 2000, Brooke served on the Classics committee from 2001-2003 and is a former co-chair of the professional development & networking committee. She earned her APR in 2005, was elected to the board of directors in 2006 and served as a Minnesota PRSA delegate to the PRSA National Assembly in 2008 and 2009. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, Worden was a management consultant in the financial services industry practice group at Accenture and a reporter at Twin Cities Business.

Treasurer – Brant Skogrand, APR
Brant Skogrand is vice president at Risdall McKinney Public Relations (RMPR). Prior to joining RMPR, Skogrand worked as a senior media relations specialist at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a not-for-profit Fortune 500 financial services membership organization. He has provided media relations counsel, public relations planning, employee communications expertise and writing and editing skills to clients and companies for 16 years. Prior to Thrivent Financial, he worked for Thomson West, Tunheim Partners and The Musicland Group. He holds a master’s degree in business communication from the University of St. Thomas, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. He formerly was the professional adviser to the PRSSA chapter at the University of St. Thomas. He has served as secretary, director of communications and director of student relations on the board of directors as well as co-chair of the student relations committee.

Secretary – Arik C. Hanson, APR
Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications, a digital communications firm focused on serving as strategic thought partners to financial services, health care, not-for-profit and other organizations. Through integrated PR, communications and digital programs, Hanson has been able to create tight-knit communities, build strong brand awareness and drive thought leadership for organizations across the country. Hanson has played a lead role in many social projects and initiatives online – both locally and nationally and is a frequent speaker at local colleges, universities and industry events. Hanson has served on the Minnesota PRSA board of directors for the past three years, serving as board liaison to the programming & professional development committees.

Ethics Officer – David Kostik, APR
David Kostik is president of Kostik Associates Inc., a Minneapolis-based firm that provides public relations, fundraising and strategic planning counsel to a variety of nonprofit organizations. Kostik has extensive experience as a senior public relations professional in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. His work has been honored locally and nationally by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). He has been a member of PRSA (and the Minnesota Chapter of PRSA) since 1975. He earned his accreditation in 1986. Kostik served as president of the Minnesota Chapter of PRSA in 1991. He joined the board as ethics officer in 2009 for a three-year term.

Immediate Past President – Janice Hennings, APR
Janice Hennings is communications director for the Minnesota Hospital Association where she is responsible for all external communication strategies and activities. Previously she was the senior public relations consultant at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, where she was the primary public relations contact for pharmacy, medical policy issues, provider reimbursement, E-visits/telemedicine and Blue Cross’s campus development in Eagan and on the Iron Range. Hennings is a member of the PRSA Health Academy. She also spent time in marketing for the YMCAs of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Her experience includes government relations and fundraising. Hennings has been an active member of Minnesota PRSA for 18 years and has served on the professional development committee and on the Classics committee. She has also served as a volunteer board member for the Minnesota Valley YMCA and the Minnesota Music Academy.

The 2010 Minnesota PRSA board of directors includes:

Director – Melanie Boulay Becker, APR
Melanie Boulay Becker is the owner of Boulay Becker Communications. She has provided strategic public relations counsel to corporations, small businesses, nonprofits and academic institutions for more than 20 years. Her experience includes seven years at one of the nation’s leading public relations firms. Previously, she served as director of communications for the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. Becker has served on the Minnesota PRSA board in 2009 and has been a PRSA member since 1987. She has previously served Minnesota PRSA as a board member from 1998 to 1999 and as a committee co-chair for five years. She has received two Classics awards and a University of Minnesota Communicators Forum Gold Award for her work. Melanie has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Director – Tracy Carlson, APR
Tracy Carlson is a media relations supervisor at Padilla Speer Beardsley. Her successful media relations efforts have contributed to several campaign awards including: a National PRSA Silver Anvil, a National PRWeek award, Minnesota PRSA Classics Best of Show and several Minnesota PRSA Classics. Tracy received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, summa cum laude, from St. Cloud State University. Previously, Carlson worked in the communications divisions of the Little Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Boys & Girls Club of Central Minnesota. Tracy has served on the Minnesota PRSA board the past two years, and is board liaison for the communications committee. Previously, she was board liaison for the Classics committee, and the co-chair for the student relations committee for five years. Carlson also serves as secretary on the Helping Paws board of directors.

Director (two-year term) – Patricia Effenberger, APR
Patricia Effenberger is a member of the editorial board at the Pioneer Press, and also handles community relations for the company, with an emphasis on the paper’s literacy and education programs in the community. Over the years she also has handled corporate communications, including media and public relations and community partnerships. She is a graduate of the College of St. Catherine and a PRSA member since 2002. She received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2003.

Director (one-year term) – Kelli Harms, APR
Kelli Harms is a public relations and marketing specialist at Winnebago Industries, Inc., a leading U.S. manufacturer of motor homes based in Forest City, Iowa. For the past 10 years, Harms has worked toward furthering Winnebago Industries’ well known brand reputation through media and community relations, product promotion and product placement in the TV and the film industries. Prior to joining Winnebago Industries, Harms also worked in the nonprofit and financial sectors, with special emphasis in writing, editing and promotion activities. She also serves on various community boards and brings public relations and marketing expertise to those organizations. Harms earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in communications/public relations from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), Cedar Falls, Iowa. In 2009, she joined Minnesota PRSA’s board of directors as a liaison to the accreditation and JobMart committees.

Director (two-year term) – Leah Otto, APR
Leah Otto is an adjunct professor of mass communications at St. Cloud State University, and a consultant specializing in marketing and public relations strategy. Otto has served an array of small businesses and helped launch Minute Clinic. Otto’s roles have required her to wear many hats, including TV spot and interactive marketing production at Best Buy. Otto also helped create and launch the original award-winning “Peanuts on Parade” campaign in St. Paul. Otto holds a master’s of business communication and is accredited in public relations. She currently serves as co-chair of the Minnesota PRSA accreditation committee.

Director – Anna Lewicki Long, APR
Anna Lewicki Long is the communications director for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs where she is responsible for all statewide public relations, marketing and advertising efforts. Long previously worked at Mall of America in the corporate PR department. She currently serves as a public affairs officer in the Minnesota Air National Guard and has conducted missions in Croatia, Bosnia, Central America, Norway and Germany. After 9/11 she spent six months as chief of media relations for First Air Force under NORAD. Over the course of her military career, her unit has received more than a dozen awards, including an Emmy in 2008, the Air Force award for photojournalism, two Bronze Quill awards and a Northern Lights award. Long has a background in journalism and holds a BA in mass communications and has completed the Department of Defense’s Public Affairs Officer Training program. Long helped launch the Alphabet Bash on behalf of PRSA and has co-chaired the PRSA programming committee. Anna has served on the Minnesota PRSA board since 2009.

The 2010 nominating committee includes Anna White Lovely, APR; Jan Hennings, APR; Candee Wolf, APR; Shireen Gandhi, APR; and Joel Swanson, APR.

A comprehensive leadership roster can be found on the Minnesota PRSA Web site ( under Minnesota PRSA/About Us.