AdPR Executive Advisory Board welcomes seven new members

Headshots of seven new AdPR Executive Advisory Board Members
The Department of Advertising and Public Relations welcomes seven new board members to its Executive Advisory Board. (Photos: submitted)

AdPR Executive Advisory Board welcomes seven new members

September 26, 2023

The Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the Grady College welcomes seven new members to join its Executive Advisory Board, including three University of Georgia alumni: Peter Bunarek, Whit Clay, Ben Deutsch, Brian Kaiser, Evan Levy, Karen Mawhinney and Julie Saxon. 

The AdPR Executive Advisory Board, created in 2014, includes a diverse group of leading communications professionals committed to supporting the vision of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. The Board assists the department with activities aligning with the most current industry drivers in the commercial and public sectors worldwide. Board members also provide valuable opportunities to students by supporting internships and other professional experiences, in addition to expanding the university’s corporate partnerships.

“We are thrilled to welcome these seven industry leaders to join our board,” said Juan Meng, professor and head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. “They bring different streams of experience and expertise as industry leaders and senior executives in our field. Their vision in advertising, corporate communications, digital and creative content, financial communication, health marketing, new business development, public relations, and talent management make this cohort a valuable addition to our board. We look forward to their contributions as our advisory board members.”  

New Board members include:

Peter Bunarek, CEO of BBDO Atlanta, leads one of the world’s top creative agencies. Clients include The Home Depot, AT&T, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Lottery, Voya Financial, and HoneyBaked Ham. Peter’s 25+ year career spans marketing and leadership roles on the agency and client side across every conceivable vertical. Regardless of vertical, he knows agencies are at their best creatively solving complex business problems and doing it fast. 

Whit Clay, Co-Chief Executive Officer at Sloane & Company, has been with the firm for more than 21 years. Beyond day-to-day leadership and management of the firm, he leads its financial and crisis communications practice with a focus across multiple sectors and clients.

Whit has worked on complex transactions, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, litigation and numerous other special situations. He provides strategic counsel to the C-suite and taps his deep relationships with the media, business and financial community to achieve successful outcomes. Clients span a range of industries, including Archer Aviation, Bloom Energy, Centrus Energy, Fortis, Francisco Partners, IMAX, Liberty Media, NOVA Infrastructure, Paladin Capital and Stagwell, Inc., among others. 

Ben Deutsch is an independent communications consultant and adjunct professor at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Before this role, Ben was the vice president of corporate communications at the Coca-Cola Company and was responsible for internal and external communications for the company. Ben is an accomplished executive with over 30 years of experience in strategic communications with extensive corporate and agency experience. He has a strong background in social and digital communications, media relations, brand public relations, issues communications and sports and event marketing. Ben is also an advisory board member of BoxLock, a start-up security solutions company, and Own the Room, an interactive communications training organization and sits on four non-profit boards, all with a focus on underserved youth. 

Brian Kaiser, Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy at Klick, is an accomplished agency leader, healthcare marketing strategist, and serial “intrapreneur” with a 25-year track record of launching, nurturing and scaling diverse, innovative marketing disciplines—including digital, strategy, and healthcare verticals within both agencies and client organizations. In the agency world, he conceived, launched and led growth efforts for a highly successful healthcare vertical practice within Targetbase, a leading Relationship Marketing agency with clients that included GlaxoSmithKline, Astellas, Abbott Nutrition and UCB. Since joining Klick in 2014, Brian has played a pivotal role in developing Klick’s expansive range of go-to-market capabilities for emerging biotech and pre-commercialization brand teams. Brian holds an MBA from the University of Georgia.

Evan Levy, President at Fitzco, started his career in 1996 as an assistant account executive with the company. He’s since served as an account manager, account director, new business coordinator, copywriter, creative director, chief digital officer and managing director. Evan proudly represents Fitzco on the boards of both 4As Atlanta Council and Advertising for Change, a coalition of agencies committed to cementing Atlanta as the leading city for diverse advertising and marketing professionals. 

Karen Mawhinney (ABJ’ 96), Chief Talent Officer at Hill Holliday/EP+Co, has over 25 years in the advertising industry, understanding and valuing the power of people, which has always been her utmost priority and focus. Karen notes that people are the work; they are the insight, the innovation, the execution and often, the magic makers. Karen’s extensive expertise working across an incredible portfolio of brands such as Denny’s, Chick-fil-A and John Deere has given her both business and cultural experience that she is able to weave into the fabric of Hill Holliday, EP+Co, building a space that is equitable and inclusive. 

Julie Saxon, Chief Revenue Officer for The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is responsible for overseeing revenue growth for both the B2B and B2C lines of business. She brings more than two decades of experience in sales, sales management, digital marketing, partnerships, and programmatic advertising to the role. She is a Terry College of Business graduate at the University of Georgia, where she currently serves on the Marketing Executive Board and leads the mentoring program. Before joining The Weather Company, Julie was Vice President at Yahoo!, managing multiple sales teams across the East, South and Midwest regions. She was a sales director at AudienceScience and held sales leadership roles at Verizon, AOL, and MySpace.