2019 Board of Directors


Derek Beere is the Director of Client Services at Mason, an integrated marketing communications firm located in Bethany, Connecticut. He has more than 15 years of public relations experience that includes media relations, crisis communications, social media, message development, product launches and brand strategy. Combining the right balance of strategy and creativity, Beere’s approach to integrated-marketing communications helps organizations make a positive impact and achieve their goals. 


Beere’s experience includes a mix of consumer and B2B, including Resorts Casino Hotel, Bruegger’s Bagels, Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, Yale New Haven Health, Black & Decker, Odyssey Logistics & Technology, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, The United Illuminating Company and more. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Central Connecticut State University.


Derek Beere

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Allison O'Leary is a seasoned communications professional with 10 years of data-focused and outcome-driven insight into social media, public relations, traditional and digital marketing, and passion brand development in the higher education industry. She currently manages the social media team as Assistant Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications at Southern Connecticut State University. 


Allison O'Leary


Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo is vice president of admissions and marketing at Chapel Haven, one of the country’s oldest and most successful transitional programs for adults with cognitive and social disabilities. Catherine oversees the admissions process for all three of Chapel Haven’s core residential programs - REACH, the Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition (both in New Haven, Conn., where Chapel Haven was founded) and Chapel Haven West (Tucson, AZ). 


In addition, Catherine coordinates Chapel Haven’s communications and marketing components, including social media, conferences, presentations and media coverage. Previously, Catherine served for 10 years as director of communications for New Haven Public Schools and as press secretary to Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master of Science in communications management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. Catherine has taught as an adjunct professor of journalism at Southern Connecticut State University.


Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo


Andrea E. Kovacs is charged with developing and implementing a comprehensive communication and marketing strategy that enhances the Albertus Magnus College public image; strengthens the Albertus brand; and supports strategic initiatives. Andrea brings a diverse creative background in communications, brand management, marketing, and fundraising to her work.


Prior to Albertus, Andrea directed the Annual Fund at Fairfield University; she was Sr. Vice President for Marketing and Community Relations for United Way of Eastern Fairfield County, also responsible for individual gift fundraising; she lived a previous life in the fashion industry. Andrea earned her B.S. in Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) and her M.A. in Leadership from Albertus Magnus College.

Board Member at Large

Andrea Kovacs

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Caroline Lee is the Public Relations Account Supervisor at Mintz + Hoke, a full-service agency voted a “Top Workplace” by the Hartford Courant and FOX61, located in Avon, Connecticut. She has more than a decade of public relations experience in both agency and in-house roles. Caroline specializes in fusing traditional public relations with social media tactics that has helped brands across various industries amplify narratives, build communities and manage reputations. Prior to Mintz + Hoke, Caroline cultivated her experience in Boston and western Massachusetts. Her work has been awarded by the Publicity Club of New England and the Connecticut Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri, the nation’s very first and highly esteemed school of Journalism, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts.  

Board Member at Large

Caroline Lee

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Paddi LeShane has expertise in local and state government relations, message development, strategic media relations, reputation management, crisis communications, market entry strategies, issue campaigns has provided a wide variety of experiences to hone her craft in finding solutions to client problems and needs. Prior to starting Sullivan & LeShane, Paddi served as the director of External and Public Affairs for a highly respected statewide medical and vocational rehabilitation organization with seven affiliated centers. Roles as a public and community relations liaison, as well as a leadership development director she developed as statewide network of community and political leader’s engaged in her initiatives. It served as the perfect seqway into lobbying. Paddi is a member of the board of trustees at University of Saint Joseph serving on the executive committee and chairs the Academic affairs committee; Vice chair and executive committee member of the Washington based Public fairs council a professional association of corporate and national organizations and was recently honored as PRSA CT practitioner of the year by the Greater CT Chapter.


She received a Master’s in healthcare finance from The Rensselaer Lally School of Business in Troy, NY and a BS in Community Leadership and Development from Springfield College in Springfield Mass. Selected to participate in Stanford University School of Business Management’s inaugural program Strategy Beyond Markets – Building Competitive Advantage through Integrated Public and Government Affairs, Paddi lead the discussion on disruptive innovation and its impact on highly regulated industries. In addition, she has participated in two executive level programs at McGill University’s Institute for Business in working with teams to develop a strategic plan for Canada’s Postal Service and developing an analytical program using big data and predictive behaviors to enhance her work at Sullivan & LeShane.

Board Member at Large

Paddi LeShane

Alison Skratt is vice president, Community Banking Strategy, Insights & Communications, at Webster Bank, a $26.5 billion regional bank based in Connecticut, managing executive communications and PR support for Webster’s largest line of business. Previously, she served as vice president, corporate communications at Webster, managing enterprise-wide employee communications. Prior to that, Alison spent several years as an independent public relations consultant following a 15-year career as an award-winning journalist in the newspaper industry at papers in New York, California, and Connecticut. As business editor, she led her staff at the Republican-American newspaper in Waterbury, Connecticut, to earn the prestigious Society of American Business Editors and Writers's Best in Business Award. A native Californian, Alison earned her Bachelor's of Science degree in journalism from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.

Board Member at Large

Alison Skratt


Evelyn Gard is an experienced Public Relations and Marketing specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Highly skilled in Public Affairs, Coaching, Media Relations, and Social Media, she utilizes her strong leadership skills as President of PRSA, leading it towards success and prosperity. 

Immediate Past President 

Evelyn Gard


Elizabeth Walden is the Regional Manager of Public Relations for Comcast. She is responsible for helping shape the company’s image with external audiences in Connecticut, Vermont, Western Massachusetts, Western New Hampshire and Carmel, N.Y. Prior to joining Comcast, Walden was Vice President at Quinn, a lifestyle public relations firm with offices in LA, Miami and New York City, where she oversaw a team of public relations executives who carried out day-to-day media and operations for a portfolio of 20 business, real estate and technology clients, in addition to being responsible for building the firm’s client base and developing strategic public relations campaigns. She graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and currently resides in Bristol, Connecticut.

Board Member at Large

Elizabeth Walden

Leadership Members

Leadership Members are pivotal members of PRSA CT committees and often go on to join our Board.

Adam Chiara is an assistant professor of communication at the University of Hartford and is an authority on issues relating to social media’s impact on politics and media. He is a regular contributor for The Hill and is frequently interviewed by the media for expert commentary. Early in his career, Chiara was an award-winning journalist who covered stories for several media outlets in the Hartford area. He also worked at Yale University’s Rudd Center (now UConn Rudd Center) and was a communications associate at Universal Health Care Foundation. In addition to journalism and public relations, Chiara has a background in politics, public policy, and legislative process from the time he spent managing political campaigns and working at the Connecticut General Assembly. Chiara earned a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Central Connecticut State University.

Chris Zaccaro is a Public Relations Associate at Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc. (SLPR) in Hartford, CT. Over the past decade, Chris has gained invaluable experience while working within the non-profit, corporate, quasi-public, broadcasting, education, tourism and transportation sectors.


Prior to joining SLPR, Chris served as the Marketing Manager for a Hartford-based non-profit, where he oversaw marketing efforts for multiple entities within the organization. He has also held communications and community outreach positions with several Connecticut-based companies over his career. Chris received a BS in Communication, with a concentration in Advertising & Promotions, from Southern Connecticut State University, and a MS in Education from the University of New Haven.

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