2020 Board of Directors Candidates
Jennifer Bagdade, APR, PR UNSPUN, LLC
As principal of PR UNSPUN, Jennifer Bagdade, APR, advises and counsels organizations navigating change, transition and transformation to communicate at their best when it is needed most. Throughout her career, she has worked with a variety of public, private and nonprofit organizations from global enterprise to local startups counseling clients, and providing communication and change management strategy and execution. In addition to leading her own business, Jennifer has had extensive experience working for and with many organizations and agencies including Cargill, Travelers, Northwest Airlines and Weber Shandwick. Jennifer holds a master's degree in International Communication from The American University in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor's degree in history and French from Indiana University. She is also a Prosci Certified Change Management Practitioner and Accredited in Public Relations (APR). An active member of PRSA, Jennifer is involved with many other non-profit organizations and currently serves on the executive board of the St. Paul JCC.
Dave Neuger, APR
Dave Neuger, APR, is the Founder, President and CEO of Neuger Communications Group with offices in Minneapolis and Northfield, Minn. A 35-year veteran of the communications field, he has significant experience in both client-side and agency public relations as well as marketing communications. Throughout his career he has emphasized targeted communications strategies in areas such as corporate communications, media relations, issues management, crisis communications, strategic planning and marketing communications. He models an intense commitment to professional counsel and exemplary client service – and is also well known for keeping his desktop jar full of M&Ms® for colleagues and visitors to enjoy.
Before establishing Neuger Communications Group in 2002, Neuger served for five years as the chief communications officer for St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he was responsible for public relations and marketing, WCAL Radio, church relations and music organizations. Previously, he was president and CEO of Neuger Henry Bartkowski, the fastest growing public relations firm in the Twin Cities region at that time. He has also served as the director of public relations and advertising for a major metropolitan medical center that was a precursor to Allina Health Systems. Clients he has counseled include Ziegler CAT, Daktronics, Butler University, First National Bank of Northfield, International Dairy Queen, Marvin Windows and countless other high-caliber organizations.
Neuger is an alumnus of St. Olaf College with a degree in history and economics. He was named one of the “40 Under 40” Business Leaders in the Twin Cities in 1996 and has been recognized many times for top communications programs by the Public Relations Society of America as well as several other awards programs. He has been a member of PRSA since just after the Dark Ages and has been an accredited member since 1988.
An avid sports fan, Neuger continues to play the role of participant every now and again in tennis and golf (having given up on basketball and racquetball a couple years ago before serious injury beset him). He also serves on several boards and professional committees. He and his wife, Ruthie, live in Northfield, Minnesota. They have three adult children, one perfect granddaughter and have learned that empty-nesting can be a delightful phase of life.
Alyssa Augustine, Senior Public Relations Director at Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Alyssa Augustine is currently the senior public relations director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. In this role, she is responsible for the Bank’s media and public relations efforts both nationally and across the Ninth Federal Reserve District.
With experience in TV news and in the banking industry, Alyssa works closely with the Bank’s president and other senior executives to set and reach the organization’s communications goals. She also develops and implements public relations programs to advance the Bank’s mission, research and outreach activities.
A wife, mom of 3, and native Texan, Alyssa holds an M.A. in sociology from the University of Washington and a B.A. in communications and media studies from Fordham University.
Emily Finley, APR, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications at Marvin
Emily Finley, APR, is the Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at Marvin, a 107-year-old window and door manufacturer with 15 locations and more than 5,500 employees. In this role, Emily leads public relations, social media, and internal communications for the company. At Marvin, Emily has worked with CBS Sunday Morning, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and more to share Marvin’s unique story. Prior to joining Marvin, she served as Vice President, Group Account Director at Karwoski & Courage Public Relations, a full-service integrated marketing agency and the PR division of Martin Williams Advertising. Emily earned a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication - Public Relations from Winona State University and received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2019.
Bianca Jones, Associate Manager, External Communications at Best Buy
Bianca Jones is currently on the external communications team at Best Buy in Richfield, Minn. She has been at the company for over four years, supporting communications for major PR campaigns including holiday shopping and Super Bowl PR, along with many merchandising launches. In her current role, she leads communications for Social Impact, telling the story of the company’s work to support teens in tech in underserved communities around the country.
Prior to Best Buy, Bianca spent the early part of her career at various PR agencies in Minneapolis, including FleishmanHillard.
Bianca has previously volunteered on the MN PRSA Classics committee for four years, where she coordinated event logistics and twice served as co-chair.
A Minnesota native, she attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., receiving her degree in communications and journalism.
Joan O'Fallon, APR, Director Of Communications at Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative
Joan O’Fallon, APR, has 25+ years of experience in corporate communications, with an emphasis in public relations. She’s worked in school PR, health care marketing, and is presently the director of communications for Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative in her native northwestern Wisconsin. Joan is a member of her co-op's senior leadership team, responsible for sharing her co-op’s story and building trusted relationships with internal and external stakeholders. She says it’s rewarding to work for her local electric co-op and improve the quality of life in her hometown.
Joan is also passionate about mentoring a new generation of communicators and is an adjunct instructor/guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas, Metro State, and Johns Hopkins University.
Joan has a bachelor's degree in mass communication/public relations from the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she was president of her school PRSSA chapter. She has a master's degree in strategic communication from the University of Minnesota, where her capstone focused on internal communication. Joan believes employees are an organization’s number one audience and good internal communication leads to competitive advantage when employees are engaged brand ambassadors.
Joan is Accredited in public relations and has been a member of Minnesota PRSA since 2011. She served on the programming committee in 2014-2015 and on the Accreditation committee 2015-present; this past year, Joan served as Accreditation chair. She finds it rewarding to help others earn APR, elevating careers and our profession to a strategic level. A highlight for Joan this year was working with Jake Sturgis, APR, and Janet Swiecichowski, APR, to organize a six-month Accreditation prep course for 20 public relations professionals in partnership with Minnesota PRSA, Minnesota School Public Relations Association, and Minnesota Association of Government Communicators.
Jake Sturgis, APR, Chief Storyteller at Captivate Media + Consulting
Jake Sturgis, APR, describes himself as the kid in grade school with the big camcorder documenting family vacations, and the kid in high school who had a public access television show. He has always been fascinated by video and communications, which inspired his childhood dream to become a television news anchor.
While attending college, Jake worked as a newscast producer at KBJR-TV in Duluth, Minn, where he was able to hone his writing and production skills behind the camera working in this role. However, he found that as graduation time grew closer, his dream of working in front of the camera faded away – he needed something that brought him purpose.
He moved back to the Twin Cities and worked in communications at two metro school districts between 2002-2014. It was during this time that Jake learned about the four-step PR process and the need for research and planning before rushing into tactics like video. These were important learnings on Jake's road to earning his APR in 2013.
In 2014, Jake took the leap and started his own business. Captivate Media + Consulting partners with organizations to bring clarity to the content creation process. The company combines the art and science of video, animation, and graphic design to create content that is effective and memorable.
Jake served on the Minnesota School Public Relations Association (MinnSPRA) Board from 2015-2019, including one year as President. Last year, he helped lead the joint APR bootcamp between MinnSPRA and Minnesota PRSA. He is excited to take his experience working with schools, non-profits, and businesses into his role on the Minnesota PRSA board.