Professional Advisory Board

The UCM PR program has an excellent group of advisors.

Shawn Arni (1986)
Director of Communications &
Marketing – Medical Children’s
Mercy Kansas City

Shawn is responsible for brand and reputation management of one of the country’s top children’s hospitals. Prior to Children’s Mercy, he served as senior communications coordinator at Health Midwest (now owned by HCA).

Shawn has served as President of the Kansas City Healthcare Communicators Society (KCHCS), the Kansas Association of Health Care Communicators (KAHCC) and the Missouri Association of Health Care Public Relations and Marketing. He’s also been the Kansas City chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators board member.

Shawn is a UCM PR graduate with a marketing minor. While at UCM, Shawn was actively involved in PRSSA and was a contributing writer for The Muleskinner. He has served as a UCM public relations capstone client and is a regular participant in PRSSA’s annual PR Pro Day.


Adam R. Davis (2010)
Government Affairs Director –
Realtor® Association of
Sarasota & Manatee

As the governmental affairs director for the Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee, Adam leads lobbying efforts at the local, state and federal levels on behalf of more than 6,500 members. He has also led advocacy efforts for Missouri REALTORS® and strategic guidance on a successful congressional campaign.

Adam is a 2010 UCM public relations graduate. He is also a founding member and alumnus of Innovative PR. Adam has served as a UCM public relations capstone client, and is a regular UCM PR classroom speaker.



Paula Derks (1979)
President – Aircraft Electronics Association

Paula provides leadership to Aircraft Electronics Association offices in Lee’s Summit, MO, and Washington D.C., as well as a satellite office in Cologne, Germany. She was named AEA’s third president in 1996, following her service to the organization as the director of communications. Paula began her AEA career as the managing editor of the association’s monthly magazine, Avonics News.

Paula is a 1979 UCM public relations graduate. In 2016, Paula was the UCM PR program’s first Hall of Fame recipient. In addition, she is a 2004 UCM Distinguished Alumna.

Paula has served as a UCM public relations capstone client, a PRSSA PR Pro Day participant, a #PRConnect alumni event host, and a UCM PR internship provider.


Tim Doke
TDJ Comm

Tim has CEO-level experience providing strategic communications, public affairs, marketing, branding and media counsel to some of the world’s largest companies, CEOs and agencies. He has national and international media relations experience and is a recognized leader in crisis communications, public affairs, issues management, litigation PR, internal communication, travel and tourism, corporate giving and foundation management, advertising and branding. Currently principal at TDJ Comm, Tim has previously provided strategic direction to UT Southwestern Medical Center, Susan B. Komen for the Cure, Freescale Semiconductor, Dell, Inc., American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Brinker and Hill & Knowlton.

As a result of his American Airlines work during and following the events of 9/11, Doke was recognized in 2002 as Public Relations Professional of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America.

Tim is a 1974 UCM public relations graduate and a UCM Distinguished Alumnus. He’s served as a repeat UCM PR classroom speaker.


John Fay (1970)
Principal – Funding Resources

John is a retired advancement professional and part-time consultant. His career spans 40 years of executive institutional advancement experience with notable nonprofits.

As Funding Resources, LLC Principal, John provides strategic direction to select clients. He’s previously held leadership positions with the Cleveland Clinic, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, and the Inova Health System in northern Virginia. He has also provided strategic development direction to the Missouri Valley College in Marshall, MO; Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL; Drake University in Des Moines; and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

John is a 1970 UCM public relations graduate. He has provided strategic direction for the PR program’s award-winning newsletter.


Sheldon Jones (1974)
Principal –
S Jones Communications

Founder of S Jones Communications, Sheldon has 39 years of experience in the communications field. His depth of expertise spans all public relations areas ranging from the creation and implementation of global reputation strategy, to the management of devastating crisis situations, to the promotion of international sporting events.

His career began in 1974 with Standard Oil Company; it continued with Amoco, Phillips Petroleum Company, Imperial Chemical Industries, S. Jones Public Relations (his own agency) and CIBA. Following the CIBA merger creating Novartis, he filled a Novartis Corporate Communications position. In 1998, he was promoted to VP for US Communication in the Novartis Consumer Health Division and soon accepted global responsibilities. Sheldon assumed the VP for Novartis Corporation role in 2001; in 2009 he was appointed global Head of Corporate Communications for Novartis AG in Basel, Switzerland. He retired from Novartis in 2012.

Sheldon is a 1974 UCM public relations graduate. He has served as a PR classroom speaker.


Roxann Kinkade (1981)
Director of Public Relations –
Pinnacle Entertainment

Roxann is the director of public relations for Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. She has provided oversight for the Ameristar Kansas City property since 2004. Prior to joining Pinnacle, Roxann was the public information officer for Kansas State University Research & Extension in Johnson County. Roxann is a UCM public relations alumna.

Roxann is a 1981 UCM public relations graduate. She is a repeat UCM PRSSA’s PR PRO Day participant, as well as a host to UCM PR class visits including the popular PR and Entertainment special topics course.



Nick Mortallaro (2005)
State Farm Agent & Financial
Services Representative –
State Farm

Nick is founder and owner of Mortallaro Insurance Agency with two offices, one in Grain Valley and a second in Blue Springs, MO. He offers a full range of insurance options through State Farm, Inc. In addition, Mortallaro Insurance Agency also provides financial services counseling. Nick has been named to the State Farm President’s Club and the State Farm Chairman’s Circle, as well as the global industry Million Dollar Round Table.

Nick is a 2005 UCM public relations graduate. He is a repeat UCM PR classroom speaker and a UCM PR internship provider.




Lisa Qualls (1994)
Senior Account Executive –
ProActive Solutions

A senior account consultant of ProActive Solutions, Lisa is an expert in matching technology to client need. She’s held leadership positions in sales, marketing and IT/network at IBM, Summit Marketing and Sprint. She also has entrepreneur experience having served as CEO and managing partner for Fresh ID in Kansas City.

Lisa is a 1994 UCM individualized major graduate. Lisa is a repeat UCM PR classroom speaker.




Jason Roth (2001)
VP, Resource Development –
Boys & Girls Club of
Greater Kansas City

Jason serves on the serves on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City’s executive leadership team as vice president, resource development. He has a long history of serving through leadership and has provided strategic direction to Camp Fire USA, National Kidney Foundation, and Angel Fight Central.

Jason is a 2001 UCM public relations graduate. He has served as a UCM public relations capstone client, a host for visiting UCM PR student classes and a UCM PRSSA PR Pro Day participant.




Mike Swenson
President – Crossroads

Mike Swenson serves as President of Crossroads, one of the leading independent firms in the U.S. It is part of Barkley, a full service marketing communications agency. Swenson founded the PR firm at Barkley in 1988.

After careers in broadcast news and as press secretary to a Kansas governor, Mike founded the agency in 1987 as Barkley PR. In 2012, Mike led the rebranding effort to Crossroads. Mike is a nationally recognized expert in cause branding and crisis communications, serving as a consultant to brands in a variety of industries, including restaurant, fashion and CPG. Mike is past president of IPREX and has been named PR Pro of the Year by both the Greater Kansas City PRSA and IABC Chapters.

Mike serves as the UCM Robert Kendall Chapter of Public Relations Society of America professional advisor, is a repeat visiting instructor and a is long-time UCM PRSSA PR Pro Day participant.


Tony Winders (1990)
CMO & Principal Consultant –
Winders Consulting Group

Founder, CMO and principal consult at Winders Consulting Group, Tony is a digital marketing pioneer whose leadership, creativity, strategic insights and integrated programs have contributed to many consumer and B2B campaigns over the past 20 years. As CMO and principal consultant at Winders Consulting Group, he leads a team of content marketing and lead generation experts who provide marketing consulting and services to help sales organizations increase awareness and drive revenue at scale.

Tony has served as senior vice president of marketing at GumGum, vice president of marketing for ValueClick Media and was co-founder of one of the world’s first interactive agencies, iAgency, in 1995.

Tony is a 1990 UCM public relations graduate. Tony is a repeat UCM  visitor and PR classroom speaker.


Heather Woodard, APR (2003)
Director, PR & Social Media –
H&L Partners

Heather recently oversaw the development of the H&L Partners public relations department in St. Louis. She has also provided professional leadership to Weber Shandwick and FleishmanHillard clients, among others. Her work has received national honor through the receipt of a PRSA Silver Anvil Award.

As an accredited PR professional with a special interest in multicultural marketing, Woodard is dedicated to professional and academic excellence. She maintains membership with PRSA, and is on the local boards of the UNCF, St. Louis Crisis Nursery and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Heather is a 2003 UCM public relations graduate. She has served as a repeat UCM public relations capstone client, a regular classroom speaker, a UCM PRSSA agency tour host and a UCM PRSSA PR Pro Day participant.