Our Team

Gard is home to some of the best PR pros, designers, writers, web developers and digital strategists in the Northwest.

We share pride in our work and the determination to get it done right. As to our specific resumes, you might be surprised. Check them out below, then read more about our culture.

Jon Bell

Copywriter, Wordsmith, Alpine Enthusiast, Bread Maker

Jon Bell

Copywriter

jbell@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5074

I am a true believer in the power of the written word – when it is written thoughtfully, creatively and sincerely.

Jon Bell

As Gard’s Copywriter, Jon uses his more than 20 years of experience in journalism, writing and communications to craft compelling, effective copy for Gard and our clients. His writing spans the spectrum, from messaging and advertising to public relations, web content and more. Jon writes press releases, communications plans, messaging maps, social media posts, web pages and just about every other kind of copy our clients need.

Having been on the journalist side of the public relations equation for two decades has given Jon valuable insight into how the media works, how messages resonate with audiences and what makes for the most effective communications.

In addition to his role as copywriter, Jon also supports Gard's account managers serving their clients.

A graduate of Michigan State University and the author of the book "On Mount Hood," Jon joined Gard in 2019 after five years as the Portland Business Journal’s commercial real estate reporter. When he’s not at the keyboard, he is likely heading to or from the mountains — or some other natural wonder of the great Northwest — with his wife and two kids.

Read more in Jon's Employee spotlight »

Read Jon's latest post: Behind the scenes at a Gard video shoot

I am a true believer in the power of the written word – when it is written thoughtfully, creatively and sincerely.

Jon Bell

Colleagues Say

“Jon is an incredibly reliable and thoughtful wordsmith. He’s jumped into everything from helping draft strategic crisis plans to reviewing copy for marketing. It’s great to see someone crafting at the level that Jon does.”

Suzanne Pardington Effros

Copywriter, Newsie, Peace Corps Volunteer, Chocolate Lover

Suzanne Pardington Effros

Copywriter

seffros@gardcommunications.com

503.552.5006

Good writing starts with good listening. I enjoy learning about our clients and helping them tell their stories to a wider audience.

Suzanne Pardington Effros

As Gard’s newest Copywriter, Suzanne works with our creative team to write clear and compelling copy for digital, print and video projects. She has more than 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations and marketing and is highly skilled at all types of writing, from ad copy to feature stories.

She started her career as an education reporter at the Contra Costa Times in California and The Oregonian in Portland. Her 10 years as a daily newspaper reporter taught her to be efficient with words and time — writing stories about diverse people and complex issues on tight deadlines. After leaving newspapers, she worked for seven years in communications at Portland State University and then freelanced as a writer and editor, primarily for PSU and Oregon Health & Science University.

Suzanne has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in literature from Scripps College in Claremont, California. She taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon, West Africa, and has traveled to 20 countries. But she grew up in Portland and always knew she’d come home to Oregon. When she’s not writing, she’s probably cheering on her two daughters at volleyball, soccer, choir, drama and life.

Read Suzanne Pardington's latest post: For Women's History Month at Gard: A Q&A with Liz Fuller on leading with intention, authenticity

Good writing starts with good listening. I enjoy learning about our clients and helping them tell their stories to a wider audience.

Suzanne Pardington Effros

Colleagues Say

“Suzanne is one of those rare writers with the ability to adopt a perspective and tone consistent with the subject, audience and need, even if it’s totally new to her.”

Liz Fuller

President and CEO, Ex-ballerina, Foodie, Peloton-addict

Liz Fuller

President and CEO

lfuller@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5067

Our clients are doing amazing work to shape and drive our community. We have the privilege and responsibility of supporting them, and we take the work seriously.

Liz Fuller

Liz joined Gard in 2010 as an account manager. She became President and CEO in 2017 and 2020, respectively. Today, Liz leads and manages the firm, while also specializing in strategy, crisis management and public affairs. A strong believer in community involvement, Liz also enjoys shaping the firm’s ongoing commitment to giving back.

A graduate of Portland State University with a degree in English Literature, Liz currently serves as the Vice Chair of Marketing and Communications on the Portland Business Alliance Board, where she is able to help advocate for the region. Liz was named as of the Portland Business Journal's Forty under 40 in 2021. Many of Gard’s clients care about public policy, and as a business leader, Liz does as well.

A former professional ballet dancer, Liz danced in Seattle and Portland before trading pointe shoes for pumps. She also spent time as a political and nonprofit consultant. Liz has served on the board of the Portland State University Foundation and is a past board chair of p:ear, a nonprofit that works with homeless youth. When she’s not at Gard, Liz is most likely on an adventure with her family, cooking some delicious food or enjoying an arts performance.

Read more about Liz: Gard’s president and CEO in the PBJ spotlight and Gard Communications Celebrates 40 Years.

Read Liz's latest post: Liz Fuller on Taking a Stance

Our clients are doing amazing work to shape and drive our community. We have the privilege and responsibility of supporting them, and we take the work seriously.

Liz Fuller

Colleagues Say

“Liz Fuller approaches every client, every colleague and every situation with an infectious good humor. She balances a lightness of approach with a keen eye on reality, and this helps clients and colleagues alike feel that any problem is solvable.”

Scott Gallagher

Vice President, Storyteller, Professor, Cider Maker

Scott Gallagher

Vice President

sgallagher@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5003

Everyone, every client has a story to tell. The hardest question to ask is, Who cares? The trick is determining what is the right story, who wants or needs to know it and how best can we share it with them.

Scott Gallagher

Scott is a storyteller who works with our team to create narratives and perceptions that help clients achieve their goals. A former college professor, marketing director for Rogue Ales and the director of communications for Portland State University, Scott collaborates with all of our team members – creative, web design, public relations, marketing, social media and advertising – to share those stories far and wide.

As Gard’s Vice President, Scott also works closely with clients so that they can maximize the benefits of partnering with Gard, a full-service firm with expertise in multiple mediums and communications tools. In addition, he enjoys Gard’s pro bono work, which helps nonprofits succeed and supports a variety of communities.

Scott has a Ph.D. in English literature and creative writing from Ohio University. An entrepreneur in his spare time, he also founded a cider business, Ulee’s Light Cider.

Read more in Scott's Employee spotlight »

Read Scott's latest post: Plan today for a successful year ahead

Everyone, every client has a story to tell. The hardest question to ask is, Who cares? The trick is determining what is the right story, who wants or needs to know it and how best can we share it with them.

Scott Gallagher

Colleagues Say

“Scott is a consummate PR professional. Having worked with him as a journalist and now as a colleague at Gard, I can say that Scott is the kind of PR pro you want on your side: smart, creative, tough, personable, and someone who makes his clients look good.”

Brian Gard

Founder / Advisor, Copywriter, Beachcomber

Brian Gard

Founder / Advisor

bgard@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5023

The designer and philosopher Gyorgy Kepes wrote that “the beholder searches for order.” Our job is to bring order, in the fullest sense, to the presentation of our clients’ brands, reputations and interests to their various audiences.

Brian Gard

A copywriter and creative director by trade – and a strategist by inclination – Brian started the firm in late 1979 to specialize in corporate, public policy and crisis communications. He enjoys realizing opportunities for Gard’s clients, as well as protecting and defending their ability to operate in their best interests.

A graduate and now life trustee of Willamette University, who also holds a master’s in literature from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, Brian also appreciates and enjoys the operational and financial side of the business. He believes you can do great work, but if you can't do it profitably and if you fail to maintain proper reserves of people, cash and determination, then you won't do that great work for very long. Having led the firm for nearly four decades, Brian is now the firm’s senior partner.

From a long list of highlights after 40-plus years in the business, Brian points to Gard’s three decades of work in transportation safety as among the best it has done. In 1990, the firm managed the campaign that passed the adult safety belt measure in Oregon. It had been expected to fail and has since been credited with saving more than 300 lives every year. That accomplishment is what Brian considers the most meaningful to date.

Brian and his wife, Rhonda, have five children and, to date, four grandchildren. Brian likes to read, Rhonda likes to be with her grandchildren, and they both like to spend time in Manzanita.

Read Brian's latest post: The Power of an Unassuming Leader

The designer and philosopher Gyorgy Kepes wrote that “the beholder searches for order.” Our job is to bring order, in the fullest sense, to the presentation of our clients’ brands, reputations and interests to their various audiences.

Brian Gard

Colleagues Say

“Brian is one of the most strategic and thoughtful thinkers I have worked with. He cares deeply about providing the best advice to clients, and his passion and expertise shows in the work.”

Ashley Hagg

Senior Account Manager, Traveler, Politico, Blazer Fan

Ashley Hagg

Senior Account Manager

ahagg@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5011

Ashley first joined Gard for a three-year stint in 2018, left for a little over a year and rejoined the agency as a Senior Account Manager in 2022.

A talented public relations professional skilled in media coverage, crisis communications, strategy and managing creative projects, she manages a varied list of clients who span the public and private sectors. Ashley focuses on her clients while also drafting and pitching press releases, monitoring social media platforms and clips, proofing materials, creating monthly reports, conducting extensive research projects and media audits and managing budgets, among many other tasks.

A graduate of Oregon State University with a B.S. in natural resources,  Ashley spent six years prior to joining Gard in Oregon politics, including working for a U.S. Congressman and as chief of staff to a state representative. It was in these roles where she first honed her media outreach and communications skills by drafting press releases, weekly constituent newsletters, policy briefs and correspondence.

A native of Las Vegas, Ashley still struggles with Oregon’s rainy season but has learned to survive on craft beer, beautiful hikes and Trail Blazer games.

Karah Langson

Digital Media Manager, Creative Detective, Latte Addict, Vintage Aficionado

Karah Langson

Digital Media Manager

klangson@gardcommunications.com

503.552.5009

I love being a collaborative resource with my team and Gard clients. I strive to help make a positive impact, no matter how small, or provide some sense of ease to the people around me.

Karah Langson

Before she joined Gard as our Digital Media Manager in 2023, Karah worked widely in video, photo and social media production. She started as a production assistant for a commercial studio in Los Angeles, but her creative eye quickly vaulted her into the world of shooting and editing video. Eventually, Karah started her own video business – with a dash of SEO and social media consulting on the side – which focused on events, weddings and fashion shoots. That endeavor took her around the world and landed her frequently in Martha Stewart Weddings and Vogue Weddings.

At Gard, Karah manages many aspects of the digital world. This includes paid digital media, such as Facebook advertising, social media monitoring and planning, and the occasional social media video production. She collaborates with nearly everyone at Gard, a testament to how far-reaching and important digital and social media have become.

A graduate of California State University with a bachelor’s in theater and Purdue University with a master’s in communications, Karah is big into paddleboarding, open mic nights, vintage shopping and her dog, Emma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Karah's latest post: How To Recognize AI, Deepfakes and Misinformation in Social Media

Nancy Oganezov

Social Media Strategist, Motorcyclist, Rug Maker, Butterfly Chaser

Nancy Oganezov

Social Media Strategist

Noganezov@gardcommunications.com

503.552.5063

True artists can make a masterpiece even when handed broken crayons.

Nancy Oganezov

A seasoned social media pro, Nancy joined Gard in 2022 as our Social Media Strategist. In that role, she uses years of multi-industry experience to guide teams and clients through training, best practices, campaign planning, crisis and more.

Prior to joining Gard, Nancy wore many hats, from community manager and copywriter to content strategist and account executive, before transitioning to freelance consulting in 2020. She also had a post-graduate internship with the PR firm Edelman, where she was the lead social community manager for Samsung and Hawaii Tourism. Her work there focused on award-winning campaigns and unique crises, including the eruption of Kilauea in 2018.

A graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in communication and rhetoric studies, Nancy is also an avid textile artist. Before relocating to the Pacific Northwest from her hometown of Los Angeles in 2021, she donated various pieces of her art to local organizations to help with fundraising. As of fall 2022, she was working on an eight-foot-wide tufted rug in her home studio.

 

Read Nancy's latest post: What to expect in social media for 2023

Arthur Parker

Lead Developer, Musician, Reader, Pedestrian

Arthur Parker

Lead Developer

aparker@gardcommunications.com

The internet has plenty of room, and I want to help everyone find their place in it.

Arthur Parker

Arthur worked with the Gard team for many years before officially joining in 2021 as Lead Web Developer. He is primarily responsible for turning designs into websites. As such, he chooses the right tools and then uses those tools to build the website. Or, if a client's website has a unique need and there's no off-the-shelf solution available, Arthur builds a custom tool to do the job.

Arthur likes to think that building a website is like building a house: If it has the right foundation and structure, then future changes and customization can be made easier.

A graduate of Emory University with a degree in philosophy, Arthur is a long-time web developer with more than 20 years of experience. He is a native of the Southeast, but he’s lived for 17 years in Portland, where he is a performing and recording musician.

The internet has plenty of room, and I want to help everyone find their place in it.

Arthur Parker

Colleagues Say

“Arthur Parker is one of those rare developers who can focus on details while also stepping back to understand how those details fit into the big picture of clients’ strategies.”

Tanya Partem

Vice President, Operations, Diver, Food Science Nerd, Traveler

Tanya Partem

Vice President, Operations

tpartem@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5073

Choose to do the right thing. Every day. And, put your best effort in.

Tanya Partem

As Gard’s Vice President, Operations, Tanya’s mission and passion is to help sustain the firm as a financially stable, reliable workplace, provide the team with the tools and information to carry out their duties and maintain a healthy work/life balance. All of these help with retention, which in the end serves our clients and helps promote long-term, fruitful partnerships.

Tanya also oversees Gard's media strategy and planning work. She works closely with clients, as well as our account and creative teams, to define campaign goals, create strategies and execute buys that reach the right customers, in the right place, at the right time – all with an eye on maximum efficiency. She also knows her way around information technology. She’s never met software she didn't like or couldn't figure out, which is probably why Tanya also enjoys training her colleagues on software tools and sharing any tips and tricks she’s learned along the way.

Tanya’s first stint with Gard started in 1997 and found her managing several of the firm’s defining clients. She left in 2015 to explore the digital world and gain valuable experience in custom software and websites for Fortune 100 companies — experience she brought back to Gard with her in 2019.

Tanya is an avid nature lover who’s made it her mission to step up the greenery in the Gard office. When she’s not in the office, Tanya, a native of Ukraine, is likely hiking to a waterfall, swimming, paddling a kayak or cooking up something exotic in her kitchen.

Choose to do the right thing. Every day. And, put your best effort in.

Tanya Partem

Colleagues Say

“Tanya Partem is truly a big-picture thinker. She’s multi-talented and is able to dive into details in many different areas, while also being able to see the whole of any situation.”

Jabriel Pierce

Associate, Doodler, Notebook Hoarder, Maker of Playlists

Jabriel Pierce

Associate

jpierce@gardcommunications.com

503-221-0100

I’m glad I’m able to work on a variety of different projects and meet different clients. It’s fun working on something completely different than what you were doing a few weeks ago.

Jabriel Pierce

A former communications specialist in the Sustainability Office at Portland State University, Jabriel joined Gard as an intern through the Emerging Leaders Internship program in 2023. He brought along experience in design and managing and creating content from his stints at PSU and another public relations agency.

At Gard, Jabriel helps the PR team with various tasks, including building media lists, managing social media accounts and drafting press releases. He also assists with client events and shoots B-roll for news stations to use in their coverage.

A graduate of Portland State University with a degree in marketing, Jabriel loves walking around and exploring the city. He seeks out unique events to meet people and have new experiences, and he’s got a green thumb, which comes in handy for tending to his collection of house plants at home.

Read Jabriel's latest post: Collective Team Bonding: Gard Retreats on the River

I’m glad I’m able to work on a variety of different projects and meet different clients. It’s fun working on something completely different than what you were doing a few weeks ago.

Jabriel Pierce

Colleagues Say

“Jabriel brings fresh ideas and an eagerness to learn to each project he’s on. Strategic by nature, he looks for creative ways to uplift clients and advance key initiatives.”

John Plymale

Creative Director, Sheep Farmer, Barn Builder, Dog Aficionado

John Plymale

Creative Director

jplymale@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5070

I love the collaboration of our team, the electricity of that first brainstorm session. I relish a tough challenge and enjoy digging deep to come up with a creative solution, even if it seems an impossible task at first. I like to think I work well within a box, pushing its walls and corners to their limits.

John Plymale

John has had two distinct chapters at Gard, first as Senior Art Director from 1993 to 2000, and then he rejoined the firm as Creative Director in 2005. Self-described as part control freak and part renaissance man, John is a writer, designer and editor who helps clients get to the heart of what they want to say, simplifying and packaging their messages to reach their audience in unique and compelling ways.

At Gard, John directs designers, writers, artists and production teams in house and in the field in the development of all forms of media, including video, audio, digital and print. He designs, writes copy and directs TV, radio, print and digital advertising. John also occasionally writes song lyrics for our clients and works with musicians to create entertaining, yet informational, ear worms.

In addition to serving on the marketing committee at Solve, John co-owns a popular dog training school, opened in 1999 as Portland’s first dog daycare.

Read more in John's Employee spotlight »

Read John's latest post: Successful Rebranding Begins at Home

I love the collaboration of our team, the electricity of that first brainstorm session. I relish a tough challenge and enjoy digging deep to come up with a creative solution, even if it seems an impossible task at first. I like to think I work well within a box, pushing its walls and corners to their limits.

John Plymale

Colleagues Say

“John is our long-time creative director and one of our key strategists. He is a superb graphic designer, brilliant writer of headlines and disciplined producer. His talent is remarkable, but for John its purpose is to serve the needs and goals of our clients. He likes it best when their success is remarkable.”

Chelsea Punian

Director of PR and Public Affairs, Tea Connoisseur, Sports Fanatic, Reader

Chelsea Punian

Director of PR and Public Affairs

cpunian@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5015

Effective listening is key. Understanding all sides challenges how you think about an issue and will make you a better advocate.

Chelsea Punian

Chelsea joined Gard as a Public Affairs Account Manager in 2021 and quickly helped expand the agency’s expertise in public affairs, becoming Director of PR and Public Affairs in 2023. She brings a wealth of professional experience in public affairs and public relations to accounts that have legal or political components. Chelsea also leads Gard’s skilled team of public relations and public affairs specialists, affectionally known as the A-Team, setting strategy, executing plans and delivering the results our clients want.

A graduate of Michigan State University with a B.A. in International Relations, Chelseaearned a Juris Doctor from Lewis & Clark Law School and has taken her love of public policy in several different directions over her career, making the transition from law school to politics to consulting. Prior to Gard, she was Chief of Staff for Oregon State Senator and former Majority Leader Ginny Burdick. While in the Oregon State Capitol, she worked on cutting-edge gun reform legislation, helped close tax loopholes and supported other critical initiatives around Northwest and Southwest Portland.

An avid sports fan ­ – watching, playing and hopefully coaching one day – Chelsea loves reading, drinking tea, enjoying the outdoors and spending time with her husband and her dog.

Read Chelsea's latest post: Gard’s first work conference since COVID – sun, sand and indoor air quality

Effective listening is key. Understanding all sides challenges how you think about an issue and will make you a better advocate.

Chelsea Punian

Colleagues Say

“Chelsea combines her knowledge and love of public policy with sharp analytical thinking – and just the right dose of humor. She’s a pleasure to work with.”

Jenna Rose

Senior Producer, Photographer, Animal Lover, Time Traveler

Jenna Rose

Senior Producer

jrose@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5008

I believe there is an artist within all of us, and it’s our job to nurture the artist not only within ourselves but in others. We can lend a hand to pull them out, encourage them, and help them grow. If we aren’t helping each other’s inner artist, we aren’t doing it right.

Jenna Rose

An accomplished photographer, videographer, digital media strategist and social media expert, Jenna serves as Gard’s Producer. In that role, she produces cross-platform media, such as streaming video, TV ads, radio ads, animated graphics and more, working closely with our creative director on strategy. From pre-production planning to post-production editing, she is involved in every stage of the process.

Jenna also manages our clients' digital media campaigns – Google, social, e-newsletters and others – and she is responsible for strategy, monitoring and reporting. An expert video editor, she is also our in-house photographer and regularly provides photo services for clients, most often event photography for public relations. Jenna enjoys working with diverse talent and production companies of all sizes, and she loves hiring voice talent because she can hire anyone across the globe.

After managing a veterinary hospital, where she wrangled pets and paperwork, Jenna joined Gard in 2011. A graduate of the University of North Texas with a B.A. in anthropology and psychology, she has explored every coastal town in Oregon, and she knows more about Star Trek than anyone else in the office (with the possible exception of Brian Gard). Picard is her captain.

Read more in Jenna's Employee spotlight »

Read Jenna's latest post: Agency Work/Life Balance

I believe there is an artist within all of us, and it’s our job to nurture the artist not only within ourselves but in others. We can lend a hand to pull them out, encourage them, and help them grow. If we aren’t helping each other’s inner artist, we aren’t doing it right.

Jenna Rose

Colleagues Say

“Jenna can accomplish just about anything you ask of her. If it’s not in her current wheelhouse, it soon will be.”

Katie Sakurai

Graphic Designer, Seamstress, Bargain Hunter, Maker of Things

Katie Sakurai

Graphic Designer

ksakurai@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5052

I believe that good design is essential; it combines function and beauty in a way that elevates the message and helps bring credibility to a project.

Katie Sakurai

Katie has been a graphic designer at Gard since 2008. She works hand-in-hand with our creative director and the rest of the team to bring concepts to life in print and digital formats. Her clean style and attention to detail helps maintain brand consistency across multiple channels for each of Gard’s clients.

Katie specializes in combining all of the elements – the copy, images and brand style – to create cohesive designs that align with the overall strategy and project goals. She prepares files for printing and delivers digital assets to clients, working directly with printers and other vendors to ensure the highest level of quality from start to finish.

Before joining Gard, Katie helped teach English to students in Japan. She has degrees from Pacific University in Japanese Studies and Portland Community College in graphic design.

Outside of designing for work (and for fun), Katie enjoys reading a good book, cooking a new recipe and sewing a one-of-a-kind garment. And she loves finding exactly what she didn’t need at thrift stores and estate sales.

Read more in Katie's Employee spotlight »

Read Katie's latest post: Employee Spotlight: Katie Sakurai, Graphic Designer

I believe that good design is essential; it combines function and beauty in a way that elevates the message and helps bring credibility to a project.

Katie Sakurai

Colleagues Say

“Katie is not only the fastest graphic designer I’ve ever met – arguably the fastest in the industry – she’s also the most reliable. In the 10 years I’ve worked with her, she has never, ever been late on a deliverable.”

Erica Schroeder

Associate, Public Affairs, Houseplant Curator, Jigsaw Puzzler, Powered by Dark Chocolate

Erica Schroeder

Associate, Public Affairs

eschroeder@gardcommunications.com

503.552.5028

A former committee assistant in the Legislative Policy and Research Office at the Oregon State Capitol, Erica joined Gard as a Public Affairs Associate in 2023. Using her background in research and her knowledge of the Oregon political landscape, she supports clients with drafting content, communications and community engagement plans. She also compiles stakeholder lists to help support clients in forming long-term relationships.

After graduating from Lewis & Clark College with a bachelor’s in biology, Erica worked as a research assistant in a biotechnology lab that propagated desirable rootstock for fruit tree growers. She later earned a master’s degree in student affairs administration, also from Lewis & Clark, where she held multiple student affairs positions. She then pivoted toward government relations in higher education, which led her to work as a research analyst in the government relations office at Portland State University.

A Portland-area native, Erica enjoys hiking, paddleboarding and yoga. She’s also a big fan of her dog, Lambeau, and the United States Women’s National Soccer Team.

 

 

 

Read Erica's latest post: It’s 2024 election season. Are your digital campaigns ready?

Colleagues Say

Shelby Schroeder

Digital Project Manager, Planner, Pup Whisperer, Architecture Lover

Shelby Schroeder

Digital Project Manager

sschroeder@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5013

“Despite my problem-solving prowess, I believe that if you approach work – or life – like a series of problems to solve, you miss out on a lot of fun!”

Shelby Schroeder

Shelby is a Digital Project Manager for the web team at Gard who simultaneously keeps projects on track while looking out for new skills, hidden software tricks and better ways to collaborate. He joined Gard in early 2022.

With a bachelor’s degree and very brief stint in print journalism, Shelby moved from his hometown in Ohio to join the world of marketing and communications before finding his niche in project management. With more than a decade of experience that spans PR and content strategy to social media and web design, he’s comfortable touching many parts of a project in order to make it its best. An innate planner, Shelby is always thinking ahead to the questions and concerns clients might have, and he aims to make each step along the way easy and understandable.

In his personal life, Shelby is a longtime meditator, dog whisperer and connoisseur of top-notch reality TV. His deep knowledge of the Real Housewives franchise and early Drag Race is virtually unmatched. When not at work, he’s dancing in the kitchen with his husband, Googling photos of "jungle brutalism," sipping kombucha at a bar or doting on his elderly lab-pointer mix, Nico. 

“Despite my problem-solving prowess, I believe that if you approach work – or life – like a series of problems to solve, you miss out on a lot of fun!”

Shelby Schroeder

Colleagues Say

“Shelby has the rare talent of being able to keep the big picture and the small details in mind at the same time. He’s also a genius at herding cats. He moves projects forward with thoughtful empathy and friendly good humor, and he is a huge asset to Gard.”

Hannah Smith

Associate Director of PR, Globetrotter, TV Critic, Community Builder

Hannah Smith

Associate Director of PR

hsmith@gardcommunications.com

503.221.0100

Each client is unique and interesting, and I enjoy telling their stories.

Hannah Smith

After working for various public relations and public affairs agencies in Portland for more than 10 years, Hannah joined Gard as an Account Manager in 2022. Here, she helps clients achieve their strategic communications goals, with a focus on project management and an eye for details.

In her time before Gard, Hannah gained a wide range of experience spanning sectors from health care, food and beverage and natural resources to education, nonprofit and finance. A native Oregonian, she has a strong background in digital communications – she once developed an internationally award-winning social media campaign for Tillamook Cheese – as well as awareness of government relations, political campaigns and grassroots initiatives.

A University of Oregon graduate with a B.A. in journalism, Hannah enjoys the Portland food scene, camping and hiking. She is also an avid traveler who, so far, has visited 22 countries, spent seven months backpacking through Southeast Asia and hiked a section of the Camino de Santiago in Europe.

 

Each client is unique and interesting, and I enjoy telling their stories.

Hannah Smith

Colleagues Say

“Hannah is very organized. You see it in the fact that she’s always pushing projects forward, checking in with her team on work progress and keeping us all updated and engaged. The whole team relies on her attention to detail.”

Julia Stoops

Director of Web & Digital, Artist, Author, Critical Thinker

Julia Stoops

Director of Web & Digital

jstoops@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5075

When you make something for someone to use, it’s important to remember that they’ll always approach it differently from you. Always. My motto is, be kind to the user. Make their interactive experience as easy as possible, so they can focus on the content and not on how to navigate it.

Julia Stoops

In her role as Gard’s Director of Web & Digital, Julia provides strategic planning and design for large, complex web projects for clients in mission-critical sectors, such as government, healthcare and energy. This involves creating the information architecture, user experience and user interface design – all three of which she considers her craft – and conducting usability testing.

As a user experience designer, Julia’s mission is to understand and advocate for her clients' audiences, because meeting those audiences' needs and goals is crucial to a successful interactive experience. She's also committed to elegant design, and her background in visual art makes her sensitive to the power of aesthetics on the web.

Julia joined Gard in 2015 after running her own successful web design company. Originally from New Zealand, she has lived in Portland for more than 25 years, and every spring she falls in love with the flowers all over again. Julia has degrees in visual art and philosophy, and both disciplines inform her web design work. She’s a former college professor, and she's also a published novelist and visual artist.

Read more in Julia's Employee spotlight »

Read Julia's latest post: Web design usability mistakes

When you make something for someone to use, it’s important to remember that they’ll always approach it differently from you. Always. My motto is, be kind to the user. Make their interactive experience as easy as possible, so they can focus on the content and not on how to navigate it.

Julia Stoops

Colleagues Say

“Julia Stoops is a genius at creating beautiful websites that are user friendly. This is both an art and a science, but she really brings the art to it more than any other web designer I’ve ever met.”

Angela Tait

Media Buyer, Amateur Chef, Aspiring Traveler, Dog Lover

Angela Tait

Media Buyer

atait@gardcommunications.com

The media landscape is perpetually changing. You must be willing to learn and evolve to stay relevant.

Angela Tait

Angela joined Gard in 2021 as a Media Buyer. She works with the team to plan and execute media strategies to ensure the client’s message is effectively reaching the desired audience. By staying on top of market trends and ever-changing media consumption habits, she helps to create more responsive and relevant media campaigns. Maintaining vendor relationships is a pivotal part of Angela’s role and is essential for negotiating and maximizing media budgets.

Angela comes to Gard with 20 years of experience as a buyer/planner. A graduate of the University of Oregon, she has an extensive background in various media channels, including TV, radio, print, out of home, digital and social media.

When not strategizing, Angela enjoys hiking with her pup Milo, cooking for friends and family and planning her next adventure.

The media landscape is perpetually changing. You must be willing to learn and evolve to stay relevant.

Angela Tait

Colleagues Say

“Angie is one of those people who immediately strikes you with their competency and self-directedness. She can come into a project, assess it quickly, ask insightful questions – and be off to the races in no time.”

Daniel Thoennessen

Video Storyteller, Creator, Learner, Oregon Wine Enthusiast

Daniel Thoennessen

Video Storyteller

dthoennessen@gardcommunications.com

“How you tell a story is just as important as what the story is. My job is to make sure that it grabs viewers’ attention and doesn’t let go.”

Daniel Thoennessen

After more than a decade working on the East Coast as a video producer and creative storyteller, Daniel joined Gard in 2023 as our Video Storyteller. His diverse professional experiences have helped him cultivate an appreciation for every stage of video creation – from big-picture ideation to the small technical details of composing individual shots – and how they come together to tell a successful and engaging story.

A graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in psychology and New York University with a master’s in food studies, Daniel previously worked for the New York University Stern School of Business and the National Association of Manufacturers. At Gard, he manages every aspect of our video and storytelling process, ensuring that our clients’ brands and messages are translated to the screen in the most visually and narratively compelling way. And he’s always looking out for innovative spaces to feature visual stories and reach new audiences.

Having recently transplanted to Portland, Daniel enjoys exploring the Rose City’s renowned food and drink scene and learning everything he can about Oregon wines. He’s also looking forward to snowboarding on Mt. Hood and learning how to crab and clam on the beautiful Oregon Coast.

 

 

 

Liz Vargas

Account Manager, Homesteader, Artist, Experience Seeker

Liz Vargas

Account Manager

lvargas@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5017

A natural networker, I believe communications can be used to build bridges between multiple groups, highlighting our shared humanness to develop trust and, ultimately, to relate to and rely on one another.

Liz Vargas

An experienced account manager who spent more than six years at prominent Portland agencies before joining Gard as an account manager in 2023, Liz has worked extensively with nonprofit, government, consumer and business clients. Among her specialties are identifying key media moments, elevating the reputations of her clients and promoting them to their target audiences. A strategic thinker and results-driven storyteller, Liz also ensures client alignment, implements strategies and continually brings fresh ideas to help her clients capitalize on growth opportunities through communications and PR.

A graduate of the University of Oregon with degrees in both public relations and political science, Liz gained a love of communications while working in community organizing and advocacy with a range of nonprofits. Her approach to work is informed by her personal experiences with neurodivergence, queerness, disability and racial diversity.

A poet, healer and artist, Liz enjoys traveling, music and reading. Outside of work, she keeps herself busy with endless home and gardening projects and two energetic dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Liz's latest post: Five Things You Can Learn From a Communications Audit

Julie Wallis

Office Manager/Bookkeeper, Nature Journaler, Stargazer, Maker of Menus

Julie Wallis

Office Manager/Bookkeeper

jwallis@gardcommunications.com

503.221.0100

“Small connections – a warm smile, a kind word or a simple act of compassion – hold the power to leave enduring impressions, fostering more meaningful work and deeper satisfaction.”

Julie Wallis

Look out over the Portland skyline and you may just see a little bit of Gard’s Office Manager/Bookkeeper up there. That’s because in an earlier life, before she joined Gard in 2023, Julie worked as an associate principal and marketing manager at Bora Architecture & Interiors, where she played key roles in securing signature building projects across the Northwest – and beyond.

Julie’s 20-plus-years in marketing and communications also included nine years as the office manager for Portland State University’s marketing and communications department. There, she oversaw everything from office management and executive assistance to human resources, accounting and orchestrating events large and small. At Gard, Julie is dedicated to the smooth functioning of our agency and the accuracy of our financial records. With a keen attention to detail, she also spearheads projects that enhance office efficiency.

A native Oregonian who graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing, Julie finds solace in nature travel, seeking out hot springs and exploring new hiking trails. She’s also a volunteer dog walker for a rescue organization, and she loves the joy that comes from hosting gatherings and cooking for friends and family.

“Small connections – a warm smile, a kind word or a simple act of compassion – hold the power to leave enduring impressions, fostering more meaningful work and deeper satisfaction.”

Julie Wallis

Colleagues Say

“Julie just makes everything easier, whether it’s working on billing, planning fun activities that bring everyone together or simply offering a smile and kind word to help you get through the tough days. Her optimism is infectious.”

Alexis Wong

Senior Account Manager, Theatre Maker, Singer, Drafter of Lists

Alexis Wong

Senior Account Manager

awong@gardcommunications.com

503-552-5016

I would say my job is like good makeup: If you don’t notice anything being done, then it’s being done right.

Alexis Wong

In her role as Senior Account Manager, Alexis maintains the professional relationship between clients and the rest of the hardworking strategists, creative heads and production people here at Gard, building impactful messaging and advertising campaigns. With SEO and content being huge drivers of attention today, Alexis also specializes in UX Content Design/Writing and enjoys collaborating with the team on Gard’s website builds.

Alexis is also part of Gard’s EDI Committee. In that role, she keeps an eye on our Diversity Growth and ensures that diverse voices are heard and recognized on our team and in our efforts.

A U.C. Berkeley graduate with a degree in architecture, Alexis joined Gard in 2018 from San Francisco, where she worked in digital advertising at Twitch and Rotten Tomatoes/Flixster. She has produced, worked and performed in theater for more than 15 years, privately coaches public speaking and serves on staff at PDX Women in Tech as a copywriter.

Read more in Alexis' Employee spotlight »

Read Alexis's latest post: Gard rides along during distracted driving month

I would say my job is like good makeup: If you don’t notice anything being done, then it’s being done right.

Alexis Wong

Colleagues Say

“I am always in awe of Alexis’ ability to catalog and memorize each aspect and dimension of her work.”