Gard is an advertising and public relations firm, specializing in corporate and public policy communications. We think strategically and creatively, and we execute with discipline and attention to detail.
The firm has significant experience in crisis communications, issue management and social marketing, as well as communications related to regulatory, permitting and litigation matters.
We work in traditional and digital environments, creating and managing content in paid, earned and social media.
Over the years, we’ve developed a set of principles that guide the firm. We call them the Manzanita Notes. The first one remains first in importance: Concentrate on the work and the rest will follow.
Since 1979 we have developed deep and balanced expertise in a wide range of services. Strategic in approach and creative in execution, we are focused on exactly what needs to happen in order to achieve our clients’ goals. We select the right tools for a particular situation and adapt if the situation changes. Our services include:
Many of our clients have retained the firm for years and even decades. We have grown primarily by referral and reputation. Gard carries out work regionally, nationally and internationally for clients headquartered in Portland, Spokane, Salt Lake City, Chicago and Boise.
We believe in pragmatic strategies carried out with grace and respect. The finished work is authentic, strong and useful. And award-winning.
Current clients include:
While we have different backgrounds and skill sets, we share an egalitarian spirit, pride in our work and a real commitment to our clients. More than half of the firm has worked together for more than 15 years. We all know how to rise to the occasion on behalf of our clients.
An award-winning art director, Mary Ann studied art at Portland Community College and Portland State University. Before joining the firm in 1983, her career encompassed environmental signage, packaging design, and photography. Mary Ann and Brian were the firm’s first creative team. She serves as chair of the advisory committee to the Portland Community College Commercial Art program and is a past member of the William Temple House board of directors. She also volunteers in classrooms teaching art to children.
Natalie is a Maryland native who started her career as a journalist covering natural resource and energy politics in Congress. As a grant writer for The Nature Conservancy and other nonprofits, she raised $11 million for philanthropic work. She also led communications for a regional nonprofit and managed her own consulting PR business. She earned her master’s degree in strategic communications from the University of Oregon. When not developing strategic, straightforward communications for clients, you can find her paddle boarding on the Willamette, cross-country skiing on Mt. Hood, or advocating for better school lunches in her community.
Bringing years of experience from the public sector, Ashley joins Gard as a senior associate. A native of Las Vegas, NV, she moved to Oregon to attend Oregon State University. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in natural resource policy she moved between several roles in Oregon politics: from the district office of Congressman Kurt Schrader, to the Legislative Policy and Research Office, and then as chief of staff to an Oregon legislator. She brings experience in communications, project management, and research to the public relations team. When not in the office she enjoys reading for her book club, cycling, and cheering on the Portland Trail Blazers.
Liz joined Gard in 2010. Originally from California, Liz came to the Northwest to dance ballet professionally with Pacific Northwest Ballet and Oregon Ballet Theatre. After leaving the stage, Liz worked as a fundraising consultant to state and federal political campaigns and was the Executive Director for the Cultural Advocacy Coalition, which advocates for cultural policy and funding in Oregon. She serves on the board of the Portland State University Foundation and is former board chair of p:ear, a nonprofit that supports homeless youth. A born strategist and a highly disciplined manager, Liz and Brian share responsibility for management of the firm.
Director of Public Relations
Originally from West Virginia, Scott settled in Portland after earning a Ph.D. in English literature and creative writing from Ohio University. He learned marketing and public relations “on the fly” as the director of marketing and communications for Rogue Ales breweries and pubs. He joined Gard after eight years as the director of communications and spokesperson for Portland State University. Scott serves on the board of New Avenues for Youth, a nonprofit with the goal of getting homeless youth off the streets and into jobs. If he doesn’t answer his cell phone it’s likely because he is out riding his motorcycle.
After graduating from Willamette University, Brian received a Master of English Literature (Style & Criticism) from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where he also taught for several years before returning to Oregon. Brian started the firm in August 1979, initially specializing in issue management, crisis communications and social marketing. He has served as board chair of Oregon Business Association (now Oregon Business & Industry), Literary Arts Inc. and Acumentra Health (now HealthInsight Oregon), and served on the board of The Nature Conservancy of Oregon and as a governor-appointed member of the Oregon Commission of Children & Families. He currently serves on the board of Special Olympics Oregon and is a Life Trustee of Willamette University. Brian shares leadership of the firm with its president and fellow shareholder Liz Fuller and continues to serve clients as a copywriter, strategist and advisor.
Director of Finance & Operations
A graduate of the University of Oregon, Valarie worked at a local CPA firm and a research consulting firm prior to joining the firm in 1982 and has managed its administration and finances ever since. Valarie has also served as treasurer for numerous political campaign committees. Her longtime love of the arts is carried through by her support of and participation as a choreographer and dancer with various local dance and theatre companies. When she’s not dancing, she’s often running and training for her next racing challenge.
Director of Media & Promotion
Michelle first worked for the firm from 1991 to 1998. She spent the next four years as the marketing director for OregonLive.com before returning in 2003 to manage the media department and the company’s event practice. In addition to working on a variety of accounts, she specializes in building partnerships among clients, businesses and charitable organizations to drive revenue and sales through multiple marketing channels. Michelle volunteers at the Humane Society and is a former board member of Our Children’s Store and an advisory board member for Campfire.
Madison joined Gard after graduating from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and a minor in writing. In college, she worked as an intern at the OSU Foundation, where she helped raise funds for university campaigns, scholarships and academic programs. Madison is an Oregon native, who loves exploring the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys backpacking, playing tennis and traveling.
Anne has kept the books in order for over 26 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in theatre from the University of Portland. She was drawn into the world of accounting when she went to work for Transamerica Financial Corporation, where she worked as a loan officer. Anne is an active member of her community church and volunteers every weekend.
John was an art director at the firm from 1993 to 2001, returning in 2005 as creative director. An award-winning designer and writer, John’s approach is to meld the power of creativity with the discipline of strategy. John recently received the Business for Culture and the Arts’ “Hero for the Arts” award for pro bono advertising for the arts. In his free time, he helps out with his wife’s dog training business, cheers on his own dogs at herding competitions (his version of soccer dad), or enjoys country life with his dogs, ducks, a llama and a small herd of sheep.
Jenna is an accomplished photographer, videographer and web developer who has helped many of Gard’s clients implement successful digital strategies. She joined the firm in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of North Texas. She shoots and produces web video, conducts photo shoots and manages digital media, including web development with the Gard creative team. She previously managed a busy veterinary hospital, where she combined her love of animals with strong organizational skills. Jenna is a member of Search Engine Marketing Professionals of Portland (SEMpdx), a local organization for SEM professionals and area businesses.
Katie graduated from Pacific University with a degree in Japanese. She then spent two years in Japan helping junior high teachers teach English. After returning to the U.S., she realized her ambition was in design, so she went back to school and graduated from Portland Community College with a degree in graphic design. After a design internship at the Oregon Zoo, she has worked at Gard since 2008.
Director of Strategy
Scott specializes in strategic planning, messaging and copywriting. He joined the firm in 1989 and has provided creative and account services to a wide range of Gard clients, winning significant awards in all media. He has worked extensively in the areas of healthcare, energy and traffic safety. Before joining Gard, Scott supervised public involvement for Seattle City Light. He has a literature degree from Antioch College and is the author of an award-winning novel, Wire to Wire.
Director of Web & Digital
An expert web strategist and user experience designer, Julia has an eclectic background in visual art, philosophy, linguistics and design. She is a New Zealand native who has lived in Portland for over twenty years. She taught at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and founded Blue Mouse Monkey, a highly regarded web design firm, before joining Gard in 2014. She holds bachelor degrees in philosophy and fine arts from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., as well as an MFA in painting from Portland State University. Julia is a practicing artist who exhibits regularly.
Andrew joined Gard in 2016 after moving to the Pacific Northwest from Atlanta, where he worked in public relations and public affairs. In an earlier stint in Oregon, he worked as a legislative associate for Thorn Run Partners, while completing the Portland Fellows program at the Oregon Leadership Development Institute. He has worked with clients in a variety of industries ranging from healthcare, technology, government, legal, higher education and the emerging commercial space market. Andrew is a graduate of Wheaton College (IL), with a B.A. in communication and Spanish, along with a certificate in journalism. In his free time, he enjoys photography and going on hikes with his wife.
Andrew has years of experience in both the public and private sectors and has worked in almost every aspect of website development. With his extensive work in the California Community College system, he gained a deep understanding of coding to strict accessibility standards and developed multiple sites for the best user experience, catering to users of all abilities. He joined the Freeform Portland radio station web committee and volunteered his time to give the station’s site an updated look. He also designed, built, and helps maintain a website for the Oregon Science Project, which is an equity-focused, statewide professional learning network designed to build regional science education leadership throughout the state, which was created by and continues to be run by his wife, Cristina. Having played guitar and performed for much of his life, Andrew is always looking for opportunities to get involved in new musical projects. Andrew is a Canadian native, born in Montreal and raised primarily in Edmonton, Alberta. He, his wife, and their two cats have called Portland home since 2015.
Before joining the firm, Luciana received degrees in history, philosophy and Italian literature from the University of Tuebingen in Germany. For almost twenty years, Luciana’s work as an account manager focused on the firm’s healthcare and transportation safety clients, such as OHSU and ODOT Transportation Safety. A native of northern Italy, she rejoined the firm in 2015 in a leadership role after an extended sabbatical in Europe researching wine making. Until then, Luciana served for many years on the OHSU Heart Research Center Marketing Committee.
Twice named one of the top writers in the country by the Society for Features Journalism, Ryan spent 16 years in a variety of roles at The Oregonian. He has authored two books, Springsteen: Album by Album and Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way. Ryan’s portfolio includes writing for Sports Illustrated, the Wall Street Journal, Portland Monthly and the occasional column called ‘Daddy Issues’ for Metro Parent magazine. He grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, graduated from the University of Michigan and wishes there were a few more places to play hockey in Portland.
Alexis joined the Gard team as an account manager with a wealth of experience in digital ads tech, finance, operations and environmental design. She received her degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and, after graduation, drafted multi-home communities for Mount Diablo Habitat for Humanity. A San Francisco native, her career most recently included six years of digital ads management for publishers Twitch (Amazon) and Warner Brothers. Alexis served for 10 years as the finance manager and executive producer for her hometown’s premiere community musical theater, Ray of Light Theatre. Currently, Alexis volunteers as a copywriter for PDX Women in Tech and coaches new voices in public speaking.
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1140 SW 11th Ave, Third Floor
Portland, Oregon 97205
Director of Finance & Operations