Board of Directors

Alison Skratt

President, Two-year Term ends December 2022

Alison Skratt is Head of Communications at Berkshire Bank, a $11.7 billion regional bank with 107 branches in New England and New York. Prior to her current role, she served as Vice President, Strategic Communications and Vice President, Corporate Communications at Connecticut-based Webster Bank. 

 

A former award-winning journalist, Alison began her career in the newspaper industry in New York, California, and Connecticut. As Business Editor, she led her staff at the Republican-American newspaper in Waterbury, Connecticut, to earn national recognition with the prestigious Society of American Business Editors and Writers' Best in Business Award. She also spent several years as an independent public relations consultant, specializing in financial services, higher education, and health care.

 

A native Californian, Alison earned her Bachelor's of Science degree in journalism from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.

Allison O'Leary

Secretary, Two-year Term ends December 2021

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. 

Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo

Treasurer, Two-year Term ends December 2021

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.

Andrea Kovacs

Board Member at Large, Two-year Term ends December 2021

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.

Joan Huwiler

Board Member at Large, Two-year Term ends December 2022

Joan Huwiler has over 15 years of experience in communication and outreach roles with high profile, public-facing organizations. She has worked for state government, utilities and nonprofits, including a national legal advocacy organization in New York. She has served as a spokesperson for organizations; explained policies and legal issues as well as worked with coalitions on legislative and grassroots matters. She joined Post University in 2108 as the Director of Communications.

 

Philanthropy and nonprofits are her passion projects. She loves to tell well-crafted stories that bring life to issues. Joan earned her MBA from University of New Haven, a Master’s in Journalism from Boston University and Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Southern Connecticut State University. She has served on several nonprofit boards, including the Lelia Day Nursery, Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, the New Haven Road Race and the United Way of Greater New Haven.

Paddi LeShane

Board Member at Large, Two-year Term ends December 2021

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 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.

Elizabeth Walden

Board Member at Large, Two-year Term ends December 2021

Elizabeth Walden is the Regional Senior 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.

Derek Beere

Immediate Past President, Effective January 2021

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.

Leadership Members

Leadership Members are pivotal contributors to PRSA CT Committees 

Erin Cox

Professional Development/Programs Committee Chair

Erin Cox manages internal and external communications for aircraft supporting the U.S. Marine Corps at Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company. Erin joined Sikorsky in 2015 after nearly two decades as a broadcast journalist in Connecticut. She previously worked as a broadcast journalist in radio and television where she earned awards for her coverage of high profile criminal trials and government corruption.

Dan Meaney, APR

APR Committee Co-Chair

Dan Meaney, APR, has over 35 years of experience in media and communications. He has worked as a radio and television news and traffic reporter in New England and Midwest, and in public relations for the Town of Enfield. He joined Connecticut Water Company, a public water utility, in 1994. Over the years he has been a key member of the communications teams that serve employees, customers, government leaders, and investors. He currently serves as the Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs and is the company’s primary media spokesperson. 

Dan earned his Master’s in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Emerson College in Boston, MA. He attained his APR (Accreditation in Public Relations) in 2001. He has served on the boards of the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (now known as AdvanceCT), the South Windsor Chamber Commerce, and the Connecticut Water Works Association. His news reporting was recognized with a “Heart of America” award from the Kansas City Press Club and he was the 2019 Practitioner of the Year for the Greater Connecticut Chapter of PRSA. In his free time, you may find him sailing the waters of Long Island Sound with his family.

Doug Fenichel, APR

APR Committee Co-Chair

Doug Fenichel, APR, is a semi-retired accredited public relations practitioner. A resident of Orange, he volunteers as public information officer for the local volunteer fire department and other causes. 

He retired in 2018 as the executive officer of the Metropolitan Builders Association in Northern New Jersey and moved to Connecticut. Before that, he created In-House Public Relations in 2010. He was the region director of public relations for K. Hovnanian, one of the nation’s largest builders. He entered public relations in 1983, part of the team that shepherded AT&T through its historic breakup. He has worked for agencies and corporations, winning numerous awards along the way. For several years, he taught communications classes as an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickenson University. Before entering PR, Fenichel was a reporter and editor.

Before joining the Connecticut chapter of PRSA, he was a member of the New Jersey Professional Chapter, where he served as president and ethics officer. He was also region chair. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Fenichel did graduate work at Webster University in Kansas City.