Board of Directors

Edmonton Board of Directors, 2018-19

  • Josie Hammond-Thrasher – President
  • Lyn Brown – President – Elect
  • Cecilia Bloxom, APR – Past President
  • Catherine Hoac – Treasurer
  • Tadra Boulton, APR – Accreditation Chair
  • Melanie Houley – Membership Chair
  • Mary McIntyre – Programming Chair
  • Sonya Jongsma Knauss – Communication Chair
  • Halle Hochachka – Communication Chair
  • Mikiko Van Horn – Mentorship Chair
  • Marjorie Henderson – Mentorship Chair
  • Secretary – Peter Haight

Josie Hammond-Thrasher

Josie Hammond-Thrasher is an award-winning PR practitioner who has built a reputation for planning and delivering innovative communications solutions. As the associate director, marketing & communications and the editor of HEROES magazine for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, Josie is dedicated to giving the sickest kids the best chance, anywhere in the world, to live a long and healthy life.

Josie’s experience includes more than 20 years of owning and operating a professional services business where she worked as a consultant in communications and training roles with organizations such as the Alberta Government, Edmonton Public School Board, TELUS and the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension.

An avid volunteer, Josie serves as a mentor for the CPRS Edmonton mentorship program, mock-client for MacEwan University PR classes and communications panelist for the University of Alberta MBA program. She is the past membership chair for the CPRS Edmonton chapter, former co-chair for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Edmonton Relay For Life and former communications director for the Belgravia Community League.

Josie’s education includes public relations at MacEwan University, psychology at the University of Alberta and art at the University of the South Pacific. An advocate of lifelong learning, Josie will graduate from the University of Alberta’s leadership program in fall 2018. An adventurous Kiwi by nature, Josie and her husband raised their twin daughters in Fiji and moved back to Canada in 2009.

You can find Josie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Lyn Brown

Biography coming soon.

You can find Lyn on LinkedIn.

Cecilia Bloxom, APR
Past President

Cecilia Bloxom, APR, ABC, is accredited in communications by both the Canadian Public Relations Society and the International Association of Business Communicators. As the Senior Director, Strategic Communications for the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), Cecilia is dedicated to sharing awareness of healthcare safety across Canada.

Cecilia has worked in healthcare communications for 15 years and joined CPSI from a senior role in public affairs at Capital Health, Edmonton area. Cecilia is a passionate communicator and believes that Edmonton has serious talent. Cecilia and her team have received over 21 Communications Awards including two Gold Quills and numerous awards of excellence from the Canadian Public Relations Society.

With a diploma in advertising and public relations and a degree in public relations, Cecilia is currently pursuing her Masters in Leadership. When not busy working or supporting the CPRS Board, Cecilia can be found running, skiing, listening to live music, or trying to make her community a better place.

You can find Cecilia on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Catherine Hoac

Catherine grew up in a small town of Two Hills outside of Edmonton. After graduating high school, she decided to pursue a career in accounting. She got distinction in her Accounting and Strategic Measurement Diploma at MacEwan University in 2012. In 2014, Catherine finished her Bachelor of Commerce degree with an accounting major. After graduating, she worked at an accounting firm in Stettler, Alberta where she prepared tax returns for individuals and companies and audited rural schools and towns. She chose Stettler where she could be close to her brother and her niece.

While she enjoyed accounting, Catherine wanted a change that would allow her to be more creative. So she went back to school to get her Public Relations Diploma and a communications internship with the Government of Alberta. Catherine has worked for the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and is currently working for Cashco Financial as a marketing specialist. She is looking forward to expanding her knowledge and skills in the communications field.

In her spare time, she loves to hit the gym, go to the mountains, and take her beloved dog, Luna, on long walks in Edmonton’s river valley trail.
You can find Catherine on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Tadra Boulton, APR
Accreditation Chair

A true Edmontonian who has always lived in our fabulous capital city, Tadra joined CPRS in 2015, participated in the Mentorship Program as a mentor, obtained her Accreditation in 2016, joined the Edmonton CPRS Board in 2017 as Accreditation Chair, and is currently helping local Accreditation candidates with the process.

After a 25-year career in health care communications, Tadra joined the Government of Alberta to lead the Office of the Alberta Seniors Advocate as their Executive Officer.  During her time in health care, she was part of all of the transformations – from the cuts in the 90s, to the formation of health regions across Alberta through to provincialization; what is now Alberta Health Services.  In her progressive career from Advisor to Manager to Director, her wide range of experience encompassed internal communications, media relations, issues and crisis management, social media, community engagement, government relations, business and education partnerships, and leadership. Her current role gives Tadra the opportunity to focus on leadership and providing strategic advice and council.

A proud Grant MacEwan alum, Tadra is passionate about golf, personal & professional growth and development, and coaching others to succeed.  If you have been considering Accreditation, give Tadra a call and she can help you decide if this is the right time for you!

Melanie Houley
Membership Chair

Biography coming soon.

You can find Melanie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Mary McIntyre
Programming Chair

Mary joined the board in 2016 and is responsible for providing ongoing professional development opportunities to members, public relations professionals and students. She previously volunteered as co-chair for the Canadian Cancer Society’s largest annual fundraiser: Relay for Life.

Her former careers as a coach and an educator helped lay the ground work for a successful career in communications. Mary has practiced strategic public relations for more than a decade beginning at the University of Alberta in Dentistry and later Pharmacy.  She is now a communications officer at Alberta Innovates working with a talented team that serves 600 employees.

A proud University of Alberta and NAIT alum, Mary enjoys spending her spare time with family, her horses and pets as well as outdoor activities in Parkland County.

You can find Mary on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Sonya Jongsma Knauss
Communications Chair

Sonya began her communications career as the founder, owner, and editor in chief of a neighbourhood newspaper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Later, she helped launch a new publication for the media conglomerate Journal Communications. Over six years, she held 3 positions within the company: assistant editor for MKE weekly magazine, member of the Editorial Board at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel daily newspaper, and Editor and Manager of a niche website for Milwaukee parents. She was a regular guest and host on local television and radio programs.

After her work in Journalism, Sonya switched her career track to higher education communication, taking a position as Director of Marketing and Public Relations at her alma mater in Iowa for six years before moving to Edmonton to work as University Relations Director at The King’s University. Sonya has a bachelor’s degree in English (writing emphasis) and minor in political science. She earned her master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She and her family of six have embraced Edmonton and returning to their Canadian roots; they enjoy living near downtown and exploring the beautiful river valley. Sonya participates in a number of Edmonton running groups.

You can find Sonya on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Halle Hochachka
Communications Chair

Biography coming soon.

You can find Halle on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Marjorie Henderson
Mentorship Chair

Marjorie Henderson, MA, is an award-winning Digital Marketing and Public Relations professional with nine years experience in public relations and integrated digital marketing campaigns. Currently, she freelances and runs her own digital marketing and public relations consultancy firm that specializes in: social media marketing, websites, paid search, media relations, communications strategy, content writing and data reporting for both small business and large organizations.

Marjorie understands how to drive online engagement by taking website, content, social media, paid search, data analysis, turning these into credible campaigns to effectively tell a brand’s story. Her expertise in public relations and digital marketing has benefited organizations such as the University of Alberta, Oxfam, CPRS Edmonton and IABC Edmonton. She has a strong portfolio of digital projects, campaign development and project management successes through serving as a Marketing Advisor, both with the British Civil Service and the United Nations.

She has a Master of Arts Degree in International Development from the University of Manchester along with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Political Science and minor in Psychology from the University of Alberta. She is also working towards a Citation in Strategic Social Media Marketing from the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension along with a Digital Communications Certificate from NAIT.

She is an active volunteer in the local chapters of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).  She has always volunteered with Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters (BGCBigs) and Oliver Community League. When she isn’t glued to her AirMac writing content for her clients, you can always find her out and about in the city.

You can find Marjorie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Mikiko Van Horn
Mentorship Chair

Like many members of the local communications community, Mikiko found her way into public relations through the PR program at MacEwan University. She spent her year as a student using every spare moment outside of class volunteering and building on the skills offered by the program. It was through meeting the diverse communicators of Edmonton that she found this opportunity to support students like herself and joined the board of CPRS Edmonton.

A junior public relations practitioner, Mikiko applies her creativity and communications skills as Communications Coordinator with the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors. She continues to volunteer with a number of organizations, including the Stollery Women’s Network and Canada Learning Code.

Mikiko holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria, specializing in Pacific and Asian studies. When she’s not wandering farmers markets, crocheting projects or popping up at networking events, she’s planning her next DnD campaign. Mikiko’s always looking to meet new people and talk shop, so feel free to reach out!

You can find Mikiko on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Peter Haight

Biography coming soon.

You can find Peter on LinkedIn and Twitter.