Our Work

Our Team

In 2003, Mary Beth West planted the seed for a company that would redefine the role of public relations in East Tennessee. Eleven years later, we continue to push the envelope on what strategic communications and marketing can do…now on a national basis. Seated in our core values, we help clients communicate, engage and build meaningful connections with their stakeholders through brand relationships, digital innovation and competitive impact. We don’t mean to brag, but check out our kudos here.  Want to hear more from us? Sign up for our monthly gossip here.

PROFESSIONAL MODE
AFTER HOURS MODE
  • Mary Beth West, APRPRINCIPAL, Mary Beth West Communications, LLC

    Information

    Mary Beth West is a public relations executive with 20 years’ experience managing marketing communications strategies and campaigns, with proven business results meeting companies’ and organizations’ sales/development, branding and reputation management objectives.

    Experiences

    Celebrating 12 years in business in spring 2015, Mary Beth West founded her public relations firm in March 2003. Her team’s award-winning work has included creation and implementation of national media relations campaigns, employee communications programs, consumer and business-to-business marketing initiatives and crisis preparedness systems. More about Mary Beth...

    Mary Beth West, APRMojito Beth

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Staying within consistent proximity to kiss my kids goodnight and be there for the moments of life
    Favorite procrastination method? The Scarlett O'Hara method: "I'll think about that tomorrow."
    What’s your favorite word? "Strategery." Just kidding. Kind of. "Serendipitous."
    Favorite breakfast food? Mixed berries & Chobani Yogurt, when I'm on good behavior.
    Favorite drink after hours? Mojito. Check out the one at The Cloister in Sea Island, GA. It'll make a Mojito your favorite, too.
    Favorite reality tv show? “Inside the Wormhole” with Morgan Freeman is about as close to the reality genre as I can handle!
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? "Life is long...If you give it away." Great song by David Byrne

    Jackie CavnarMANAGING DIRECTOR, TEAM LEADER - NASHVILLE OPERATIONS

    Information

    Jackie Cavnar is the front face and managing director of MBWC’s new Nashville office, where she develops client relationships throughout Middle Tennessee and informs business-savvy strategies for a host of agency campaigns. She leads our team in a senior operations capacity to ensure efficiencies and impact that directly benefit clients. To that end, Jackie also works closely with our Client Service team to ensure our clients are satisfied through and through, and her career experience on the operations side helps connect MBWC’s focus with tangible results that clients need and expect.

    Experiences

    Jackie joins Mary Beth West Communications with more than 20 years’ experience in strategic communications and organizational management. With an MBA from Lipscomb University, Jackie’s most recent posts over the past decade have included serving as chief operating officer of The Rural Partnership; as a physician recruiter for LifePoint Hospitals; and as a healthcare market analyst for Decision Resources Group. Currently an adjunct faculty member in public relations at Western Kentucky University, Jackie serves on the board of visitors for the University of Tennessee College of Communication & Information, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1994. She is a past president of the Nashville Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and is an active sustainer of the Nashville Junior League. Jackie and her husband Steve reside in Brentwood with daughter, Stephanie.

    Jackie Cavnar

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? My family, Blistex, sunscreen, Moroccan Oil.
    Favorite procrastination method? Doing something else.
    What’s your favorite word? Inconceivable! I do not think that means what you think it means.
    Favorite breakfast food? Yogurt.
    Favorite drink after hours? Vodka in the summer and bourbon in the winter.
    Favorite reality TV show? RuPaul's Drag Race.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? Wow, choosing one is difficult. Anything by Sting; Shape of my Heart, Fragile and Message in a Bottle usually rank tops. Billy Joel and Luther Vandross are close seconds.

    http://www.marybethwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/jackie.png Jackie Cavnar

    Tori RoseCREATIVE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL MEDIA

    Information

    Tori Rose has collaborated with Mary Beth West for more than six years, and joined the MBWC team full-time in 2013. In her role she provides creative, technology and marketing services, including design, development, animation, video, illustration, branding, print, e-commerce, database, CMS, search optimization, copywriting, promotions and campaigns.

    Experiences

    Tori’s background is extensive and diverse, spanning several marketing disciplines over a period of nearly 20 years at companies in the United States and Canada. Her client work has included Scripps Interactive, PetSafe, PricewaterhouseCoopers, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Shell, Gibbes Museum of Art, and Duke University. Prior to moving to Knoxville, Tori was creative director of Edison Schools in New York, NY – Chris Whittle’s entrepreneurial initiative to change public education in America. Tori was a key player in the design and development of Edison’s distance learning initiative – using live video, animation and Internet resources to deliver a K-12 curriculum program and professional development training to the classroom.

     

    Her areas of expertise include:

    • Strategic, creative visioning and execution of interactive media design, production, functionality, usability, content development and marketing for websites and all associated social communities
    • Pre-production phase management, including evaluation of new and emerging technologies to ensure maximum effectiveness
    • Development of user experience-centered design processes and methodologies as well as visual solutions that provide a valuable user experience and enhance the brand
    • Supervision of in-house and contract production staff, including designers, artists, developers, programmers, writers, copy editors and production crews
    • Development and management of key project documentation includes schedules, budgets, flow charts, wire frames, information architecture, marketing and SEO/SEM specifications, and quality assurance
    • Direction and production of broadcast-quality video for the Internet, including set design and construction, crew supervision, location logistics and talent.

    Tori RoseToritini

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? My kids, my iPhone and Starbucks
    Favorite procrastination method? Cleaning
    What’s your favorite word? Nutbird
    Favorite breakfast food? My mom’s French toast
    Favorite drink after hours? John Daly – 2 parts vodka, one part iced tea, one part lemonade
    Favorite reality tv show? Long Island Medium
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? In Your love / I find release / A haven from my unbelief / Take my life and let me be / A living prayer my God to Thee —Alison Krauss, A Living Prayer

    MIKE LONGSENIOR DIRECTOR, TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

    Information

    Mike brings nearly 30 years of technological design and development, management and leadership experience in the high-tech industry to his role at MBWC. He provides senior level technical consulting on software development and technology solutions for a range of client projects, including mobile apps. Mike achieves results through exceptional subject matter expertise, technology leadership, intensive innovation and client collaboration.

    Experiences

    Mike’s career began in Information Systems where he was instrumental in the implementation of early computer systems integration for Uster Technologies AG. Later he served as chief operating officer of Wagner, a privately held precision machine shop specializing in conventional and unconventional manufacturing of components for the aerospace, defense, and scientific instrumentation sectors. In 2012 he became president and CEO of Echota Technologies Corporation, a comprehensive technology and consulting services company where he oversaw the company’s involvement with commercial enterprises and the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as other federal and state agencies. Mike lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife Donna. The couple has three children.

    MIKE LONG

    Get to know me

    http://www.marybethwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/MikeLongsThumb.jpg MIKE LONG
  • Élan Young PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

    Information

    Élan’s primary role on the team is implementing secondary research of statistical data, past editorial coverage, competitor profiles, and other information in the public domain to support necessary insights for new and incoming clients. She coordinates with senior agency staff to formulate tactical execution grids within timelines and budgets. Additionally, she coordinates special projects for clients, such as client orientation and protocols. Internally, Élan spearheads the integration of agency best practices within digital and interactive communications and spearheads the agency’s own strategic planning. This position was preceded by two years spent as MBWC’s content developer, where she wrote and edited marketing collateral, ads, press releases and website text for a range of corporate and non-profit clients.

    Experiences

    Prior to joining the MBWC in 2012, Élan spent more than 10 years in the communications field where she gained experience in academia, custom publishing, non-profit organizations and freelance writing and editing. Her crossover skills acquired from varied work experiences include an understanding of processes/workflows, brand and organizational strategy, crisis communications, and the ability to write and edit for diverse needs and audiences under deadline. Élan has an MFA in Creative Writing from UNC Greensboro and a BA in Public Policy from UNC Chapel Hill. Since 2010 she has served on the board of the local watershed organization supporting the conservation of the Little River in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.

    Élan Young Nom de Plume

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Music
    Favorite procrastination method? Taking pictures of my baby.
    What’s your favorite word? Nimbus
    Favorite breakfast food? Eggs
    Favorite drink after hours? Manhattan
    Favorite reality tv show? I avoid reality tv at all costs. :) I prefer drama.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? I don't have a favorite, but here is one I picked that I love from I Dream a Highway by Gillian Welch “Oh, I dream a highway back to you/love A winding ribbon with a band of gold/ A silver vision, come and bless my soul/ I dream a highway back to you."

    Laura Owens PRODUCTION MANAGER

    Information

    Laura brings her expertise in digital marketing to MBWC, and is the company’s subject matter expert for the digital marketing space. In this part of her role, she leads the strategy development and delivery of digital marketing campaigns to various audiences across multiple digital channels and trains clients on customized social media curriculum. She also manages marketing strategies across all of our client digital media platforms, email promotions and ongoing promotions through social media and digital platforms. On the production side, Laura is responsible for managing multiple projects from initial job start through completion. She works along with the account service team to estimate, schedule and track jobs through delivery. As an internal agency liaison with all departments, she makes sure projects stay on schedule and within budget.

    Experiences

    Laura is a Maryville College graduate and holds certificates in both social media marketing from the University of Tennessee and inbound marketing from HubSpot. Laura has more than 15 years’ experience in marketing and project management and was with national handbag company Maggie Bags prior to joining the team. Among just some of her responsibilities at Maggie Bags, Laura wrote copy for both the website and social media outlets; planned and implemented brand contests; completed graphic design for website, e-mail marketing, and social media; helped plan and facilitate professional photo shoots; handled website maintenance; and managed daily electronic data interchange and drop ship operations. Prior to Maggie Bags, Laura worked for nine years at a higher education professional association as manager of corporate relations, and prior to that, served for five years with a major processor of credit card transactions as relationship manager and team trainer.

    Laura Owens A-LO

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? My DVR
    Favorite procrastination method? Cooking
    What’s your favorite word? Namaste
    Favorite breakfast food? Pancakes
    Favorite drink after hours? Cape Cod with extra lime
    Favorite reality TV show? I can’t pick just one…Deadliest Catch, The Voice, Gold Rush
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics?Don't worry about a thing / 'Cause every little thing gonna be alright / Singing' "Don't worry about a thing / 'Cause every little thing gonna be alright! —Bob Marley

    Taylor HathornCOMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

    Information

    Taylor’s background in journalism and business helps her in her role as communications manager where she oversees local, regional and national media relations and strategic outreach campaigns for a wide range of clients.

    Experiences

    Prior to joining MBWC, Taylor began her career in Washington, D.C., serving as the manager of communications and outreach for the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. While at the Foundation, Taylor was responsible for all social media and media relations, as well as the Medal of Honor Recipient-to-Student webinars and character education outreach. Taylor was also the project manager of the national Citizen Service Before Self Honors Award of which Knoxville favorites Helen Ashe and the late Ellen Turner of the “Love Kitchen” were top 20 finalists.

    Taylor's experiences are heavily weighted in both the sports and political realms. In college, Taylor interned with two video production organizations as well as an international event management company in London. Taylor also worked on two statewide political campaigns, interning for Governor Bill Haslam in 2010 and serving as the East Tennessee regional coordinator for Senator Lamar Alexander’s 2014 Senate re-election campaign. Taylor graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism as well as a minor in business. Taylor is extremely passionate about childhood education and development, volunteering as a high school volleyball coach. She has a strong drive and knowledge regarding veterans affairs. Both a native Texan and a "third culture kid," she grew up in and out of the Lone Star State, attending school in both Kuwait City, Kuwait, and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Taylor has a passion for international travel and politics and can probably be found on the lake during her time off discussing both.

    Taylor Hathorn

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? God, my family, football, Olive Garden breadsticks, Netflix, and a good political debate ... all of which are usually happening at once.
    Favorite procrastination method? Thinking about ways to procrastinate. I also play the flute and am trying to learn guitar. Thus, I spend my time learning arabic when I'm procrastinating the first two. I really should just settle on one hobby.
    What’s your favorite word? Y'all
    Favorite breakfast food? A good ole fashioned Egg McMuffin.
    Favorite drink after hours? Diet Coke runs my life.
    Favorite reality TV show? I'm not huge on reality TV, but "Chrisley Knows Best" re-runs get me hooked every lazy Saturday. Don't get me started on my passion for HGTV ... I have enough potential housing floorpans mapped out to house an entire nation.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? Don McLean - American Pie, Kansas - Carry On Wayward Son, George Strait - Write This Down, Alan Jackson - When Daddy Let Me Drive, or any Texas Country music song. Can you tell I grew up in the South?

    http://www.marybethwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_2837.jpg Taylor Hathorn

    Jessica StephensACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

    Information

    Jessica is responsible for managing client and project activities for Mary Beth West Communications. She is designated as the liaison between clients and the MBWC team to ensure streamlined communications, accurate information and client satisfaction across all components.

    Experiences

    Jessica has a variety of marketing and communications experience stemming from work with the State of Tennessee, engineering firms and various entrepreneurial clients. Through these experiences, she executed client and project management for public sector, real estate and technical service organizations. Also, she currently serves as the communications chair for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation East Tennessee Chapter. Jessica graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s in public relations and minor in business administration in May 2012. During her collegiate career, she worked for the Athletic Department in media relations while serving in leadership positions for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, the Public Relations Student Society of America and Susan G. Komen – Knoxville.

    Jessica StephensWild as a mink. Sweet as soda pop.

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? The 5 F’s: Faith, Family, Friends, Football, Food
    Favorite procrastination method? Cleaning, baking and eating
    What’s your favorite word? Cake
    Favorite breakfast food? Pecan Waffles
    Favorite drink after hours? Whiskey (Tennessee Honey) and (Diet) Coke
    Favorite reality tv show? I don’t really watch reality shows. Do sporting events count? Currently, my favorite sitcom is Scandal. I also regularly rotate through the ten seasons of F.R.I.E.N.D.S on DVD.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? “Rocky Top, you'll always be home sweet home to me. Good ole Rocky Top, (WOO!) Rocky Top Tennessee.”

  • Sarah ZimmermanACCOUNT SERVICE COORDINATOR

    Information

    Sarah’s main responsibilities at Mary Beth West Communications are to support the client service team with general communications and outreach tasks including media relations, community relations and organizational outreach. Her focus is on successfully fulfilling client scopes of work, meeting client service needs and helping grow client relationships.

    Experiences

    Sarah gained experience in project management and sustainability communications through her previous position as the communications manager for the University of Tennessee’s EcoCAR 2 team. During her senior year, she made connections throughout the community through her role as Co-Vice President of the Sammie Lynn Puett Chapter of PRSSA. She also worked for the University of Tennessee Outdoor Program, where she assisted with trip marketing, trip leading and group building. Sarah graduated from UT with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in business administrationin August 2014. Her campaign studies focused on nonprofit fundraising and member and donor relations.

    Sarah ZimmermanSaracha

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? The opportunity to play outside
    Favorite procrastination method? Cleaning/organizing- it makes me feel less guilty because I’m still being productive.
    What’s your favorite word? Bungalow
    Favorite breakfast food? Fruit and veggie smoothies when I’m being good, cinnamon rolls when I’m being bad…or breakfast burritos! (I love breakfast)
    Favorite drink after hours? Irish Car Bombs- they bring back great memories.
    Favorite reality tv show? I’m more of a live performance type of gal.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? We should run through the forest, we should swim in the streams
    We should laugh, we should cry, we should love, we should dream
    We should stare at the stars and not just the screens.
    You should hear what I’m saying and know what it means…
    To sing, sing at the top of your voice,
    Love without fear in your heart.
    Feel; feel like you still have a choice.
    If we all light up we can scare away the dark.”- Passenger

    Marijo SotoGRAPHIC DESIGNER

    Information

    Marijo graduated from the Universidad del Valle de Mexico in graphic design in 2003 with honors. From 2005 to 2009, she was a part of the creative team of La Jabonera Studio, designing for companies such as Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola, Bticino and Hafele. She also collaborated developing brand design for entrepreneur mothers in Singapore and a few other clients in Australia, México and the United States.

    Experiences

    Marijo has worked with members of the MBWC team for more than 10 years, producing award-winning graphic design for a wide range of client campaigns and projects. She specializes in computer hand illustration. As a mother of three kids (a girl and twin boys) with developmental disabilities, she has become a hearted advocate for special needs children’s rights in her home town and founded a project that encourages mothers in the same situations to find happiness within adversity.

    Marijo Soto

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Siesta! I wouldn't survive a day without it.
    Favorite procrastination method? I'm sure I have Alzheimers, that explains everything.
    What’s your favorite word? Bologna!
    Favorite breakfast food? Pancakes, nothing too fancy.
    Favorite drink after hours? I'm allergic to alcohol, it makes me sneeze, seriously! So iced tea is my thing.
    Favorite reality tv show? Oh! Can you watch TV after you have kids? At…what time?
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? If I had a Million Dollars by Bare Naked Ladies. The whole song makes me laugh.

    Alison BurgCOMMUNICATIONS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

    Information

    Alison Burg serves as the agency’s communications and administrative assistant, where she primarily assists the media relations team with her research, writing and editing skills. Prior to this role, Alison was an MBWC intern who juggled many tasks depending on the day. Alison developed her experience in public relations through an internship with B&H Publishing Group, where she crafted press releases announcing new books, events and up-and-coming authors. This position also gave her experience with developing marketing strategies and pitching ideas on how to position authors and their books for a fall release campaign. Additionally, she learned about non-profit event planning through an internship at the Helen Ross McNabb Center, where she gained experience in securing event sponsorships and managing direct mail and RSVP lists for multiple events.

    Experiences

    Burg is a summa cum laude UT-Knoxville graduate in public relations with minors in Spanish and business. During her time in college, she was a volunteer leader with the campus ministry Cru. She led a small group of freshman girls and assisted in emceeing weekly meeting and retreats as well as planning Cru parties and events. In her free time, she can be found running at Knoxville's Lakeshore Park or the Greenway or trying out new recipes in her very small kitchen.

    Alison Burg

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? My planner and sticky notes.
    Favorite procrastination method? Buzzfeed videos, Instagram, Pinterest.
    What’s your favorite word? YOLO.
    Favorite breakfast food? It's a tie between egg in a hole and french toast. It depends if I'm craving salty or sweet.
    Favorite drink after hours? Coconut rum with coke and a lime.
    Favorite reality TV show? HGTV's Fixer Upper.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? Any James Bay song.

    http://www.marybethwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/alison.jpg Alison Burg

Our Process

Discovery

Discovery

The discovery is the starting point for all clients. We’ll listen to you and gather information to begin a thorough assessment of where and how we can work together. This might include learning about the company’s strengths and challenges, or collecting information such as mission, vision and positioning statements. It might include looking at business and strategic plans for the company as a whole or for specific projects. The discovery usually helps our clients know what services they need us to focus on before we get to work. This process should be a two-way conversation, with our goal to be able to create a framework for our relationship. With that process in place, we’ll be able to determine which promotion tools will best create a positive result for each type of business and each budget. 


Strategy

Strategy

Next we’ll develop a strategic blueprint that will be a custom-tailored blend of traditional and interactive digital media to enable you to reach the right audience with the right message on time, every time. We do this by evaluating the company and its goals, crafting brands, digital products and messaging to fit those goals, and then disseminating these through social and traditional media outlets that we have developed trusted relationships with. With over ten years in business and up-to-the-minute digital technology in our company’s toolbox, we help all our clients achieve greater impact with their messages and digital impact by leveraging the business and media relationships we’ve developed locally and regionally. 


Creative

Creative

Creative is key to captivating your audience’s attention and making a strong visual and emotional impact. Our competent and creative team is known for award-winning approaches to solving complex and everyday brand problems. Our content and digital design isn’t just going to tell a story, it will pull people in to engage them at a new level. We’re confident because we’re competitive about having fun. When we let loose our creative minds, our clients win big time. 
 


Execution

Execution

A brilliant, creative plan means nothing without the ability to execute it seamlessly with professional finesse. With an effective plan in place, we go to work to turn it into reality. Execution takes place with the help of timetables and open communication, not to mention our ability to engage our friends in business and media to help us connect your message to thought leaders. 


Intelligence

Intelligence

Once the plan has been executed, we won’t leave you wondering what the effect of our work was. We’ll take a look at the tracks we’ve made and put together analytics that are easy to understand to help you navigate how your company is growing in its public perception and digital footprint. Whether you need analytics for a one-time project or on an ongoing basis, we’ve got subscription tools and skills to crunch data for all your pr and marketing needs.

Services

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Through public relations campaigns, we help our clients position themselves in line with their business goals and enable them to successfully reach their audiences. Our work connects the right strategies with relationship-building outreach as well as compelling content for local media and other points of influence. Our public relations expertise includes media relations, community outreach, employee communications, crisis preparedness and response, event planning / execution, investor/donor relations, third-party stakeholder outreach, and industry trade / B2B campaigns.

SOCIAL MEDIA

We provide intelligent and effective interactive social media plans to our clients. Every day, we help manage the communities surrounding a variety of brands and use our resources to widen a company’s audience. Our team has experience with a full range of social media tools and strategies to weave into traditional PR strategies.

DIGITAL

Our team of creative and technical experts will develop custom digital products to help your business strengthen its presence in today’s digital universe from mobile apps and responsive website design to social media contesting, digital brand development and much more.

ADVERTISING & MARKETING

As a full-service agency, we offer print and digital advertising design and marketing for a range of media outlets. Whether you need a brand overhaul or help creating a specific powerful message, we have the creative and strategic capacity to take you wherever you need to go with your brand.

  • Our members—retailers, restaurants, spas, salons, galleries—were  looking for ways to  increase foot traffic and drive sales. Wow! We have been blown away  by the sleek mobile app they developed for us. Customers are ecstatic.
    Our members—retailers, restaurants, spas, salons, galleries—were looking for ways to increase foot traffic and drive sales. Wow! We have been blown away by the sleek mobile app they developed for us. Customers are ecstatic.

    -Bebe Vogel, The District in Bearden

  • I can’t say enough about how well their team did on our first project. From the project’s onset through to the final deliverable, their team impressed me with their knowledge, communication, and expertise.
    I can’t say enough about how well their team did on our first project. From the project’s onset through to the final deliverable, their team impressed me with their knowledge, communication, and expertise.

    -Aaron Gerraughty, WAXIE Sanitary Supply

  • From the very beginning, their team quickly understood our business challenges and helped develop solutions that addressed them.
    From the very beginning, their team quickly understood our business challenges and helped develop solutions that addressed them.

    -Mike Asbury, Personal Computer Systems

  • I have found them to be very focused. They actively listen to you…no canned “stuff” based on what they do but targeted solutions in response to what we need – results confirm this. They are definitely a part of our team…an extension of our firm, darn near family.
    I have found them to be very focused. They actively listen to you…no canned “stuff” based on what they do but targeted solutions in response to what we need – results confirm this. They are definitely a part of our team…an extension of our firm, darn near family.

    -David Cockrill, Red Chair Architects

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