Emily Schmitz has more than 25 years of medical communications experience, including a stint in television news as a medical reporter and producer.
This broadcast experience gives her an edge in understanding how the media can effectively promote a business, educate or tell a compelling story. Emily has solid editorial judgment and knows how to creatively pitch a story to media outlets including broadcast, print, bloggers and trade publications.
Leslie Branon is a marketing professional with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Prior to joining MedVoice PR as a project manager and outreach consultant, Leslie was the marketing and community relations director for the largest orthopedic surgery practice in Central Texas.
Leslie’s time leading the marketing efforts for a private practice gave her the opportunity to wear many hats. From operations and strategy, business development, community outreach and event planning, Leslie has been involved in all aspects of running a marketing and communications department. She is able to leverage her strong community and provider relationships to build client brand awareness and meet strategic goals.
Leslie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration and a minor in Mass Communications.
Alyssa’s 15-year career in public relations stems from her longtime love of writing and wordsmithing. Her portfolio includes press materials, testimonials and case histories, social media content, marketing collateral, and everything in between – you name it, she has written it!
With prior stints at agencies in Chicago, Houston (Vollmer Public Relations, since acquired by Edelman), and Dallas (The Richards Group), Alyssa has supported clients in a variety of fields such as energy (Shell/Shell Chemicals), and technology (Questia.com). She also has promoted iconic national brands like American Standard (Plumbing/Heating & Air Conditioning) and worked as an in-house marketing specialist for the Society of Petroleum Engineers, a technical organization boasting more than 140,000 members worldwide.
In addition, her media relations efforts have garnered coverage in Forbes, Newsweek, Time, USA Today, on television (Bob Vila's Home Again), and in local business journals, and industry trade publications. She also possesses event planning and trade show experience. Alyssa received her bachelor’s degree in French and International Relations from Lake Forest College and is a former member of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America).
media outreach strategist
Keri Bellacosa Walling is a media outreach consultant, notable communications professional and longtime TV/event host in Austin, Texas. Keri takes the technical, innovative and personal stories of MedVoice PR and messages them effectively for a variety of audiences--a skill she parlayed from her decade-long TV news career as an anchor and live reporter. She knows from experience that medical news appeals to everyone.
With nearly 20 years in media and public relations, Keri’s expertise includes crafting compelling storylines, gathering pertinent information, writing to the ear and ensuring that her clients feel comfortable on camera. Keri has a toolbox of valuable media and healthcare relationships that she has built and fostered over the course of her career.
Keri has produced more than 150 marketing videos for a major healthcare system on a variety of subject matter--some of them award-winning--during her time leading the video production department at a reputable PR firm in Austin. Her TV news career includes time at KTBC-TV/FOX 7, where Keri launched the latest hour of Good Day Austin. Prior to her role as a news anchor, she worked as a live field reporter. Keri started her on-camera career in Tyler, Texas, at KYTX-TV/CBS 19, where she anchored CBS This Morning.
Invested in her community, Keri serves on the board of directors for Pop Up Birthday for foster children. She recently chaired CASAblanca, raising $2 million for CASA of Travis County. Prior, she chaired The Junior League of Austin's iconic holiday event and million dollar fundraiser, A Christmas Affair. In her community, Keri practices the same effective storytelling and connection to an audience as she does professionally. You can still find her behind the mic as M.C. or guest speaker at many events throughout the year. She has found her passion in supporting important needs in her community.
Byron Johnson is a communications and issue advocacy professional with two decades of experience using strategic communications to solve the business, legislative, regulatory and perception challenges facing health care entities, nonprofits organizations, government agencies and trade associations on a local, regional and national audiences.
He supports clients with a variety of expertise, including strategic communications planning and implementation, media outreach, issue advocacy, media relations engagement, key audience outreach, event management and crisis management.
Prior to working with MedVoice, Byron developed grassroots capacity for the Minnesota Medical Association and developed and implemented a communications campaign to support regulatory and legislative advocacy supporting a client in the at-home kidney dialysis space. He also created a comprehensive regulatory campaign to support an advanced nursing trade association in their efforts to secure Medicare payments for services performed.
Byron graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Currently, Byron serves as a board member of First Candle, a national organization focused on improved outcomes for African American and Hispanic mothers and newborns.
video content strategist
Todd Rogenthien is an award-winning video storyteller with more than two decades of experience in communications. With more than 100 industry awards for video production, marketing and communications, Todd brings a wealth of experience and knowledge as a consultant to MedVoice PR.
Prior to working with MedVoice PR, Todd worked for Scripps Health in San Diego as a video production specialist on the MarCom team. Todd worked to bring their video marketing in house and build the video unit from the ground up. Upon moving back to Austin, Todd consulted with LCRA for 6 months, working with their communications team to help train their staff and put in place a system of policies and procedures for their video team to work more effectively. Before embarking on a career in marketing, Todd worked for two decades in television journalism and live sports production in various markets all over the United States.
Todd has been honored 14 times as Photographer of the Year by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the National Press Photographers Association, the Radio and Television News Directors Association and the Associated Press. He has been honored with more than a dozen Emmys, Tellys and Bernays Awards for his creative storytelling and communications. He won back to back national Edward R. Murrow awards for videography in 2006 and 2007.
His career started as a public relations intern and has come full circle as a versatile communications specialist who will effectively market your brand and ideas to your clients with video.
media outreach strategist
Emmy award-winning journalist Jeff Salzgeber has over 25 years of experience in broadcast news and public relations. Jeff has degrees in English and Telecommunications from Indiana University and began his career working in public television.
Prior to working with MedVoice PR, Jeff served as senior media consultant with GCI Read-Poland (now Cohn & Wolfe) and launched his own consultancy, Radiant Media Group, in 2007.
Jeff also spent more than a decade with CNN, where he served as correspondent, producer and, most prominently, senior assignment editor. In this capacity, he was responsible for coordinating CNN’s coverage with its domestic news bureaus and 900+ local television affiliates. It was in this role that Jeff and his team won a special Emmy for the network’s 9/11 coverage.
As a PR practitioner, Jeff provides public relations services to consumer brands and B2B clients, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. He has leveraged his national media contacts and yielded unparalleled results for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, Extend Fertility, TourDeFit, and the Heimlich Maneuver awareness campaign. He has also developed and executed PR campaigns for numerous non-profits and state government agencies such as the CDC’s Office of Smoking & Health, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Communication Service for the Deaf, and the CATCH My Breath Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Program.
Leslie Rhode is a storyteller, communicator and advocate of good news. Her award-winning television news career spanned more than 23 years in Washington, D.C., Arkansas and Texas. Leslie was an anchor and reporter in Washington, D.C. for five years at WJLA-TV (ABC). She worked two stints at KXAN-TV (NBC) in Austin for a total of 13 years as an anchor and reporter. She spent some of that time covering stories in healthcare.
Through her communication consulting business, Leslie helps purpose-driven businesses, nonprofits and individuals refine their stories and tell them in a way that makes an impact. She has provided communication consulting services, media training and public relations services for leaders in healthcare, education, government agencies, journalism, and nonprofits.
Leslie is also the co-founder of ATX Good News, a media outlet sharing uplifting, positive stories happening in the Central Texas community. The stories highlight individuals, organizations, and businesses taking action to solve problems or simply help a neighbor in some way.
Leslie is a big believer in community involvement. She currently serves on the state Advisory Board of the Texas Advocacy Project which provides free legal services for victims of domestic violence, and she is a vocalist in her church worship band. She was a Community Ambassador for the Dripping Springs Independent School District and has volunteered with several other community groups. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, two teenagers and two hound dogs, Luke and Leia.
Tonyia Cone is an editor and writer who has been making complex, technical messages accessible and interesting to general audiences for 20 years. While working her way through college and graduate school, she discovered a passion for medical writing as an administrative assistant in the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Department of Surgery and as media relations assistant and production assistant and media buyer at the Texas Medical Association.
Tonyia has reported on a wide variety of topics for many publications, blogs and websites, including the Austin Business Journal, Houston Business Journal, A Magazine, Austin Woman magazine, RunTex.com, Austin Fit magazine, Texas Family Magazine, howstuffworks.com and County, the Texas Association of Counties' magazine.
From 2007 to 2021, Tonyia reported on Austin’s Jewish community for The Jewish Outlook, first as reporter and, later, editor for the monthly publication. Previously Tonyia was communications director at the Texas Rural Water Association, where her work was published in membership and consumer magazines.
Tonyia holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a master’s in print journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.
Tonyia strongly values education and the outdoors and combines the two as scoutmaster for Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America) Troop 5131, a Northwest Austin troop for girls. She previously served on the board of directors for the Austin Professional Chapter of The Association for Women in Communications (now Women Communicators of Austin), Congregation Beth Israel, and the Kathy Caraway Elementary Parent Teacher Association.
media outreach strategist
Rebekah Epstein is a media relations specialist with over 12 years of experience. She specializes in PR and media relations for healthcare clients.
Rebekah helps her clients get the media coverage they deserve by creatively finding ways to tell their stories to catch the media's attention. She has gotten her clients placements in Good Morning America, People, TODAY, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and many more outlets.
Known for sharing authentic and actionable strategies, Rebekah regularly speaks at national conferences about DIY PR, freelancing, and entrepreneurship.
media outreach strategist
Lindsey Hall is a 10+ year seasoned PR Pro and renowned mental health advocate, speaker, and award-winning writer dedicated to addressing and investigating the often overlooked aspects of mental health and healthcare.
Lindsey began her PR career at Finn Partners in NYC, working primarily with books before transitioning her expertise into both B2B and B2C industries as an Account Manager and later an Account Director at agencies in New York, Colorado, and Switzerland. Her proficiency extends to multiple industries, though her passion lies in healthcare, technology, real estate, and fintech. She also has a keen interest in Influencer Marketing, where she has made significant contributions to PR firms and private companies alike as a Influencer Marketing consultant.
Beyond her professional pursuits, Lindsey is an avid hiker and former “vanlife” lady. She has embarked on many journeys with her converted white Dodge Ram ProMaster van - “Jolene” - accompanied by her beloved (but permanently displeased) cat, Smudges. Together, they have explored 40 states, conquering trails and sleeping at whatever campground they find. Originally from Texas, Lindsey now resides in Montreal, Canada with her partner, their pets, and big plans to retrieve the van from Texas so they can continue to explore Canada.