2024 Board of Directors

Elected Positions

President: Angela Navarro

Angela is the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Downtown Alliance. She is experienced in public relations, marketing, and digital design professional with a history of writing, event planning, graphic design, website administration and volunteer management. She started her own marketing and graphic design consulting business, Olympia Creative Marketing, Co. which aims provide specific development opportunities for small and start up businesses. Angela previously served as the DEI Chair as well for PRSA Austin. 

President Elect: Kellin Puello

Kellin has worked as a journalist, professor, and communications professional in the education and energy fields in her native Colombia. Her path has led her to coordinate and develop communication strategies for internal audiences and support external strategies for different publics in the most significant oil and gas project in her country, an experience that motivated her to come to Texas to sharpen her communications and PR skills.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Communications from Universidad de Cartagena and a Master of Arts in public relations from the University of Houston. Prior to joining the Austin chapter of PRSA, she served as the Public Relations Director at the International Student Organization at the University of Houston.

Treasurer/Secretary: Amelia Folkes, MPS, APR

Amelia is Director of Public Relations at Raise Your Hand Texas. She oversees communication campaigns that support Raise Your Hand Texas’ statewide regional advocacy director team and the mission to advance the reputation of strategic priorities across policy, advocacy, and legislative engagement.

Prior to joining Raise Your Hand, she worked in technology PR supporting large multinational firms in their thought leadership communications. She also worked at State Farm for 11 years in community relations and brand strategy where she managed Texas-based grant programs positively impacting students, schools, and education-based nonprofits across the state of Texas. Her work includes winning several awards including a Silver Anvil for a financial literacy program geared to underserved Hispanic families hit hard by the housing crisis. She also spent time at the internationally recognized PR firm, Fleishman-Hillard, working with clients such as the Department of Homeland Security, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Office of National Drug Control Policy, AT&T, and others.

Folkes is fluent in Spanish and has extensive experience researching issues dealing with access to education for underserved communities and working with multicultural audiences. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Latin American Studies from Texas A&M University and a Master’s of Professional Studies in Strategy Public Relations from George Washington University. She received her professional Accreditation in Public Relations in 2016 and is active on the Austin PRSA Chapter and Hispanic Public Relations Association.

Director-at-Large Communications: Debra Price

Debra Muller Price is an Assistant Professor of Practice in Public Relations and serves as PR Program Coordinator in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Price is a skilled communications professional who brings decades of experience in journalism and public relations into the classroom. She specializes in teaching a variety of public relations courses at Texas State University, including beginning and advanced writing, campaigns, case studies, and crisis communication.

She earned a bachelor of journalism degree from The University of Texas, where she served as managing editor of The Daily Texan. Price launched her professional career in New York City, working as an intern for Esquire magazine and as a magazine editor at three global publishing companies – Hearst Magazines, Meredith Corporation, and Gruner + Jahr.

Over the years, Price developed expertise in interior design, arts, antiques and travel, leading to a freelance career writing for national and regional publications. Her work has appeared in Country Living, Coastal Living, Art & Antiques, Veranda, Traditional Home, Forbes FYI, The Boston Globe, and the Charlotte Observer. She is the author of two books, "Garden Decorating" and "Christmas With Country Living."

Director-at-Large Marketing: Sarah Warnke

Sarah Warnke is an account executive at ECPR Texas.

Warnke works with a variety of clients, including Amplify Credit Union, Downtown Austin Alliance, Karlin Real Estate, Texas Water Utilities and Workforce Solutions Capital Area. She enjoys coordinating impactful events, building relationships and articulating brand missions. Recently, she helped conceptualize and facilitate Amplify’s first-ever Central Texas Affordability Summit, which addressed affordable living in Central Texas.

In her spare time, she enjoys exercising, sand volleyball, hot yoga, cheering on UT football and volleyball, seeing her favorite artists in concert and spending time with her friends and her cat, Rocky. Warnke is from Dallas, Texas and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a minor in business.

Director-at-Large Assembly Delegate: Larry Springer, APR

Larry served in various public relations leadership roles within the energy and chemical industries, including Enbridge, Conoco, DuPont and the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association. 

He has served as chairman of the Public Awareness Group for the American Petroleum Institute (API), communications lead for the Emergency Response Team of API and the Association of Oil Pipelines and as chair of the Environmental Justice Committee of the American Chemistry Council. Previously, he worked for almost 10 years as a member of the news media in Austin, Texas, and has advised student newsrooms at Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at Austin.

A longtime accredited member of the Public Relations Society of American (PRSA), Larry is a past president of the Austin Chapter of PRSA, a founding member of the Montana PRSA chapter and a former PRSA national assembly delegate for the Austin, Montana and Houston PRSA chapters. Larry also is a past president of the Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA) and a past chairman of the Public Relations Foundation of Texas.

Board Chair - Membership: Jennifer Scharlach

Jennifer Scharlach is an Assistant Professor of Practice for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University.

With a background of non-profit marketing, public relations, fundraising and event planning experience, Scharlach brings a real-world perspective to the role of teaching our next generation of public relations professionals. Scharlach enjoys working with clients and students to find solutions to business problems through relevant research and outside-of-the-box ideas.

Scharlach has worked in the non-profit public relations industry for over 20 years. Her partnership/research with the Texas Association for Mexican American Chambers of Commerce recently received statewide media coverage and was awarded the 2022 Translational Health Center award recipient. Her work on several public safety campaigns has been honored by receiving awards like the North American Boating Education Advancement Award, US Boating Education Advancement Award-Southern Region, Texas Public Relations Society - Community Relations Silver Spur, and National Water Safety Congress - Award of Merit. Scharlach’s public relations and marketing efforts at Texas State have been awarded the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) - District IV Silver Medal for Publication Design, and the CASE - District IV - Outstanding External Program for the Gold Book. In her spare time, Scharlach enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Board Chair - APR: Grace Capwell, APR

Board Chair - Diversity Equity and Inclusion: Angel Leverett

Board Chair - ProAm Day: Michelle Hargis

Michelle Hargis is a vice president and account manager with Cooksey Communications, a full-service strategic communications and public affairs agency. As the lead in the Cooksey Austin office, Michelle’s role with the firm has evolved over the past decade to include many strategic communications functions. Well-versed in civic and professional services PR, Michelle works on many accounts involving economic development, public-private sector partnerships, real estate, architecture, engineering and construction, public affairs and financial services.

 In her earlier years with Cooksey, Michelle focused on developing PR plans for the firm’s professional services companies. Most recently, she leverages her media expertise to achieve substantial print, broadcast and digital placements for Cooksey’s clients.

With more than 20 years in the communications profession, Michelle has also worked with hospitality, retail/consumer, pharmaceutical and technology clients on media outreach, brand awareness, public affairs and thought leadership strategies. 

Michelle earned her undergraduate degree in public relations from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She is a volunteer with CASA of Central Texas.

Board Chair - Student Liaison: Natalie Tindall, Ph.D., APR

Natalie T. J. Tindall, Ph.D., APR is the Director of the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Texas. Her research focuses on diversity in organizations, specifically the public relations function, participatory culture, the situational theory of publics, and intersectionality in strategic communication practices.

She has authored book chapters and online publications along with peer-reviewed journal articles published in Journal of Public Relations ResearchPublic Relations ReviewPublic Relations JournalHoward Journal of Communications, PRism, and the International Journal of Strategic Communication. She is the co-editor of three books in public relations: two on the intersection of participatory culture, fandom, and public relations and one on LGBTQ issues in strategic communication. She serves as the co-director for the Institute of Public Relations' Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and has served as the Head of the Public Relations Division for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the Public Relations Society of America.

Board Chair - Ethics: Fabiana Melendez Ruiz

Fabiana is a Venezuelan-American communications expert and strategic storyteller serving as the founder and CEO of Refuerzo Collaborative. She grew up with her mother repeating one daily mantra “cada cabeza es un mundo,” which roughly translates to “everyone’s head is their own world.” As a result, Fabiana has always been interested in why people think the way they do. Fabiana uses her industry expertise and passion to educate clients on marketing and PR processes while developing in-depth strategies and brand awareness. She loves immersing herself in the world of her clients, from James Beard Award winning restaurants, to well-known B2B tech companies, non-fiction authors, and everything in between. She has secured coverage for clients in Business Insider, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Texas Monthly, etc. In addition to her media relations skills, she is an expert in micromedia strategies, an occasional event planner, an influencer master and so much more. Her work has been recognized by Reagan and PR Daily, Women Communicators of Austin, and The Association for Women in Communications.