Board of Directors

CPRS Edmonton Board of Directors Group Photo

Edmonton Board of Directors, 2016-17

Cecilia Bloxom, APR

Cecilia Bloxom, APR, ABC, is accredited in communications by both the Canadian Public Relations Society and the International Association of Business Communicators. As the director, strategic communications for CPSI, Cecilia is dedicated to the mission of safe healthcare for all Canadians.

Cecilia has worked in healthcare communications for 10 years and joined CPSI from a senior role in public affairs at Capital Health, Edmonton area. She had the opportunity to work in acute care, rural care, geriatrics, rehab, long-term care, home care, supportive living, and public health. Cecilia is the executive lead on Canadian Patient Safety Week and the Co-Chair of Canada’s Virtual Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement.

With a diploma in advertising and public relations and a degree in public relations, Cecilia has held various communications positions over the past 15 years, including for the Alberta Public Affairs Bureau.

Melissa Pennell

Melissa Pennell is a communications consultant who has been practicing strategic public relations for over 12 years. Melissa was first introduced to CPRS when completing her BA Communications at the University of Calgary, where she sat as the student rep for the University on the CPRS Calgary Board.

Melissa’s career began in Fort McMurray, where she found her passion for the public sector working as the Manager of Communications at the Northern Lights Health Region. Melissa began consulting in 2006, and her clients have included environmental monitoring and research groups operating within the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, as well as several other not-for-profit and community groups.

From 2009 to 2011 Melissa took her skills abroad, relocating to the United Kingdom and working as a Communications Business Partner with the Scottish Police Authority – the body responsible for maintaining, promoting and continuously improving policing in Scotland.

Melissa was the Director of Communications with the Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) from June 2015 to July 2016 (when the Agency was rolled back into government). She is currently the Manager of Public Affairs for the Alberta Medical Association.

Dan Vankeeken
Past President

Dan VanKeeken has been The King’s University College vice-president for institutional advancement since September 2011. Dan has more than 30 years of experience in communications and marketing in a variety of sectors in two provinces, which has included senior positions with ATCO, NOVA, the Alberta Motor Association and NAIT.

He is the longest-serving instructor in the Public Relations Program at MacEwan University, and is a tutor for Athabasca University (AU).
A former journalist, Dan has a communications degree from AU and earned a certificate in Corporate Community Relations from the Boston College Centre for Corporate Citizenship.

Prior to joining the King’s community, Dan served as a senior communicator with the City of Edmonton where he led two teams, one supporting city councillors and one supporting the Corporate Services Department. He has been a volunteer fundraiser for various organizations for decades and earlier in his career was responsible for communications and development for the Fraser-Burrard Hospital Society in the Vancouver area. He has also served on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations. At King’s, Dan leads four teams responsible for student recruitment, fundraising, marketing and communications, plus alumni and parent relations.

Catherine Hoac

I first moved to Edmonton from a small town called Two Hills, Alberta in May 2010. Pursuing a career in business and accounting was my first passion. I received my Accounting and Strategic Management Diploma in 2012 and then my Bachelor of Commerce with an accounting major in 2014. I had a great opportunity in accounting when I moved to Stettler, Alberta for a year where I worked at a chartered accountant firm and was able to visit my brother and niece on a daily basis. After working in public accounting, I realized I wanted to explore my creative side. I have always loved communicating with different people and event planning. Hence, I took a leap into exploring the field of communications and public relations. I decided to enrol in the Public Relations Diploma at MacEwan University in fall 2015 and will be completed in June 2016. I am excited to learn more about communications and can’t wait to find out what is next!

My work experience in accounting led me to being nominated as the Treasurer at the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS). In my spare time, I love going on long walks with my lab/pitbull named Luna in Edmonton’s beautiful river valley.

Marjorie Henderson

Biography coming soon.

Tim Conrad, APR
Accreditation Chair

Community Entrepreneur, Butterfly Effect Communications | Marketing | Strategy

He’s a future-thinking strategist with nearly two decades of reputation management, crisis communications, and marketing. Tim continues to be a leader in integration of communications and marketing across multiple platforms, from social media to media relations, advertising to sponsorship, and digital media to outreach programs.

An avid volunteer from a young age, Tim has loved contributing as a board member for tourism boards, large events, advocacy groups, building associations, fire departments, and Special Olympics.

With varied work experience including retail, tourism, government, facilitation, food service, non-profits, events, sports, utilities, safety, sports, construction, emergency services, education, and even funeral services, he’s always up for an interesting challenge.

This is the second venture for Tim as an entrepreneur, after a nine-year hiatus to be an employee in the non-profit, government and business sectors, gaining valuable experience and credentials along the way. He is excited to help community businesses and organizations excel and improve our community, working with a strong set of consultants, advertisers, designers, and suppliers.

To no surprise, “impossible” is not a word in Tim’s dictionary.

Josie Hammond-Thrasher
Membership Chair

Josie Hammond-Thrasher is a multi-award winning PR practitioner who has built a reputation for planning and delivering creative communications solutions on time and on budget. Currently, she is a communications advisor with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Josie’s work experience includes four years of owning and operating a professional services business. She has more than eight years of experience in communications and training roles with organizations such as the Alberta Public Affairs Bureau, Workers’ Compensation Board, Edmonton Public School Board and Christmas Bureau of Edmonton.

An avid volunteer, Josie is the membership chair for the Edmonton chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society, former co-chair for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Edmonton Relay For Life and former communications director for the Belgravia Community League.

Josie studied psychology at the University of Alberta, art at the University of the South Pacific and is a graduate of Grant MacEwan University’s public relations program.

An adventurous Kiwi by nature, she moved to Edmonton from Fiji in 2009.

Jamie Ausmus
Mentorship and Education Chair | @JamieAusm

Jamie has worked in the public relations industry for three years and is looking to carve her own niche in Edmonton’s communications and marketing community.

She is currently a Marketing and Communications Specialist at Edmonton Economic Development, employing her skills in the Enterprise division. EEDC pushes the community, both from an industry focus and in promoting local events to Edmontonians. Currently, she is working on the marketing strategy for Ignite Edmonton, a platform developed to enrich the entrepreneurial spirit and activity within the city.

She is a graduate of Grant MacEwan University’s Public Relations program, and also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Alberta. Prior to joining EEDC, Jamie worked in the not-for-profit sector with the Art Gallery of Alberta and Bottom Line Productions, an arts management agency based in Edmonton.

She has an extensive professional background in arts and culture, – specifically in the dance world – and now helps to stimulate its growth and community support in a freelance setting. Alongside her freelance work, she is a board member with the Brian Webb Dance Company, which promotes Canada’s leading contemporary dance talent.

Jamie joined CPRS as a student in 2012. She volunteered for the past year on the Mentorship Committee and is very excited to join the CPRS board as Chair of the Mentorship Committee for 2015-2017.

Mary McIntyre
Programming Chair

Mary started her public relations career at the University of Alberta before moving to Alberta Innovates where she works as a communications Officer. She has more than seven years of experience in communications and training supporting organizations’ internal and external needs. She became a CPRS member early in her career while at the University. Her previous careers as a coach and a teacher in Alberta’s Parkland School Division influenced her decision to redirect and focus on a career in communications.

Mary is a programming co-chair at the Edmonton chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society and former co-chair for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Edmonton Relay For Life. She has an education degree from the University of Alberta, a Radio and TV Arts diploma from NAIT and a national equestrian coaching certificate.

Mary shares her life with a devoted husband, three horses, two dogs and two cats.