Heather Whaling, President
Heather Whaling (@prTini) is founder/president of Geben Communication. An avid Twitter user, Heather can trace the majority of Geben’s business back to relationships that began online. This ability to turn social networking into business outcomes illustrates Geben’s contemporary approach to traditional and digital PR.
After launching the company from her dining room, Heather’s fresh approach to best practices has helped Geben evolve into a highly respected, sought-after, award-winning PR firm. Geben was named the national media relations agency of the year (Ragan/PR Daily) and a top 10 agency for startups (Agency Post). Geben is also the top boutique agency in Columbus, according to Columbus CEO.
Heather is a sought-after speaker on topics relating to traditional and digital PR, as well as technology’s influence on business. Her work and industry perspective has been included in Mashable, Entrepreneur, Inc.com, BusinessWeek and Huffington Post. Additionally, Heather has been named a top PR/marketing pro to follow on Twitter by Convince & Convert, Cision, PR Newser, Onalytics and The Daily Muse.
Heather was selected as one of Columbus Business First’s “Forty Under 40” and named one of Columbus’s top 10 entrepreneurs by The Metropreneur. She also serves on the boards of The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and the Columbus chapter of the American Marketing Association.
Just for fun: Thanks to her iPad, Heather rediscovered the joy of reading – especially books like Half the Sky and Pray the Dressmaker that show women overcoming the odds. Always up for happy hour, Heather won’t say no to a good glass of Zinfendel or craft beer. When Heather’s not working, you can probably find her catching up on the latest Shonda Rhimes show, attempting to become a runner or experimenting with meat-free recipes. Heather is most definitely one of the 91% of people who keep their iPhones within three feet at all times.
Megan Severs, Vice President of Client Strategy
As vice president of client strategy for Geben Communication, Megan is responsible for managing client relationships and strategy, while overseeing the development of the uber-talented Geben team. Megan has spent 11 years navigating the ever-changing landscape of public relations, social media and marketing communications in Chicago, and, for the last four years, Columbus, Ohio. With a passion for storytelling, Megan has helped shape the narrative for brands like McDonald’s, Simplot, Experience Columbus, WhiteWave Foods (Horizon Organic, Silk Soymilk), ConAgra Foods, ZonePerfect, The Home Depot, Chicago Festival Association and The Joffrey Ballet, on both a national and local level. Though Megan is a proud graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, she has turned into a true Buckeye at heart.
Just For Fun (and Favorite Spotify Station!): With a serious case of wanderlust, Megan has traveled across the globe, everywhere from the hidden alleyways of the Left Bank in Paris, to the awe-inspiring Andes mountains and ancient valleys of Peru, to the hauntingly beautiful mosques of Istanbul. When she’s not toting around her passport, you can find Megan with her nose in a book, teaching herself to bake (she can make a mean box of Betty Crocker brownies), drinking flights at local breweries and chasing around her dog, Albert, who she is convinced may be a terrorist. Megan has eschewed iTunes in favor of ad-free Spotify, which is set permanently to her “Boys & Girls with Geetars” playlist.
Nathan Okuley, Director of Social Media
As director of social media, Nathan is responsible for developing and overseeing the execution of strategic social media initiatives and interactive media activations for clients – ranging from Fortune 50 companies to emerging brands. Nathan also oversees Geben’s ever-growing team of community managers. An avid storyteller and content producer, Nathan is passionate about helping forward-thinking interactive brands take the time to connect with their customers to build loyalty, trust and authenticity.
Nathan has spent six years managing social media content strategies for a variety of clients, including Southwest Airlines, Adobe, Panasonic USA and Mission Coffee Co., plus a handful of startups and emerging brands.
Just For Fun: Having spent two years living on the road and traveling as a film festival producer, Nathan has since rediscovered his love of Columbus and the passionate, entrepreneurial community that makes it thrive. When he’s not helping others tell their story, Nathan is likely engaging in his own social interactions. In fact, he’s been the fortunate recipient of over 320 bags of Doritos and a year’s supply of Kerrygold Cheese thanks to social media stunts! He’s a specialty coffee nerd, a lover of patios, and is slightly obsessed with the game of baseball. Nathan writes about his explorations, findings, and watched-films on his website, This Wild Adventure.
Favorite Spotify Station: Nathan has obsessively created over 180 playlists to cater to every setting, occasion, or ambiance. You’re most likely to overhear him listening to (and singing along with!) “It Won’t Get Better Than This” or “It’s a Modern Day Gatsby Party.”
Taylor Ray Orsbon, Senior Account Manager
As senior account manager, Taylor Ray Orsbon is responsible for developing and implementing traditional and digital PR strategies for several Geben Communication clients. A creative storyteller and media relations strategist, Taylor’s experience includes media and influencer relations; social media; strategic brand planning; technical, news and feature writing; event planning; online monitoring and research. Taylor has a proven track record of securing high-profile placements in national media outlets and blogs, including Pando Daily, Mashable, Forbes, PureWow and Babble, among others.
With multiple planners and to-do lists in-hand, Taylor also specializes in project management and helping clients plan and execute creative campaigns. Before joining Geben, Taylor worked at one of the Midwest’s largest full-service marketing communications agencies, where she served a variety of clients in the tourism, consumer, technology, business-to-business and nonprofit industries.
Just For Fun: Continuously exploring all that Columbus has to offer, Taylor is an avid seeker of live music and a good craft beer. Both a coffee connoisseur and proud foodie, Taylor enjoys embracing new tastes and dining at a variety of restaurants. While at home, she admits she likes to indulge in the latest guilty pleasure sitcoms, but you can also catch her out and about at local events like dime-a-dog night at a Clippers game or OSU tailgates with her friends and family.
Favorite Pandora Station: Today’s Country (Raised a country girl, she just can’t seem to shy away from her southern roots.)
Rose Finnerty, Account Manager
As an account manager, Rose Finnerty develops and implements results-driven PR, digital and marketing initiatives for Geben’s diverse portfolio of clients. Skilled in creative storytelling, media relations, research and social media, she specializes in helping clients determine the right mix of tools and messages to reach their target influencers and audiences. Rose has secured coverage for her clients in a wide array of publications, including the New York Times, Family Circle, Crain’s New York Business and others.
Prior to joining Geben, Rose worked in New York City with several high-profile tourism lifestyle, food, beverage and small business clients focusing on project management, media relations, event coordination and content creation. Rose graduated from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.
Just for fun: Rose is in love with food – cooking it, eating it, talking about it, reading about it and everything in between – and has recently begun falling in love with the worlds of craft beer and mixology. A Cleveland native turned (soon-to-be) Columbus PR pro, she looks forward to exploring all the delicious things Columbus has to offer. Rose also enjoys reading and has a book in some form (Nook, Audible or hard copy) on her at all times.
Favorite Spotify Station: With an eclectic taste in music, Rose is equally likely to be listening to jazz, 90s hip hop, classic rock and today’s pop. Just depends on her mood!
Jeana Harrington, Communications Manager
An original member of Team Geben, Jeana became the company’s first full-time employee in 2010. As communications manager, she is responsible for internal community management, coordinating Geben’s e-newsletter and assisting with proposal and new business development. Jeana also helps guide social media strategy, content creation and reporting for Geben’s clients, plus coordinates team-building activities and assists with client relations as the team’s “Cruise Director.”
Jeana is a self-proclaimed Twitter stalking ninja (If you’ve ever shared your email address on the web, she’ll find it!) with a black belt in editing and research. She regularly helps clients win PR/social media and industry awards, plus she has secured placements in leading publications, including Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Inc.com and FastCompany.com. She is a proud member of Otterbein College’s final graduating class (the school was renamed Otterbein University in 2011).
Just for Fun: Jeana is an avid reader, Golden Girls/The OC fanatic and lover of anything with caffeine or sparkles. With spare time and the right ingredients (directions are helpful too!), she’s also a surprisingly good cook. She never passes up an invitation to lunch or happy hour – especially when sangria and spinach dip are involved – and enjoys exploring Columbus and spending time with friends and family.
Favorite Pandora Station: Jeana converted to Spotify in 2014, thanks to her side gig as Team Geben’s resident DJ. There, she listens to “The Productivity Playlist,” “Girl Power” and “Spring Cleaning,” as well as any-and-all John Legend/Sam Smith tracks.
Miranda Scott, Social Media Manager
Miranda is a Chicago-based social media manager for Geben, and one of several community management specialists on the team. In this role, she is responsible for planning, executing and measuring effective big brand social media strategies, all while staying on top of the latest technologies, trends and applications.
Prior to joining Geben, Miranda worked at a Chicago-based public relations agency primarily serving B2B clients. She has experience in media relations, content creation, digital analytics, social media strategy, and more.
Just For Fun: Outside of work, Miranda enjoys practicing yoga, rocking out at concerts and taking in anything and everything Chicago. She can often be found curled up with a cup of coffee or glass of wine, and is always ready for new adventures!
Favorite Spotify Station: Constantly on the lookout for new tunes, Miranda loves checking out Spotify’s “New Music Tuesday” playlist every week.
Nicole Spears, Social Media Manager
Nicole Spears, social media manager, works closely with Geben’s Fortune 50 clients to provide social media strategy, content creation, community management, reporting and evaluation. Nicole specializes in consumer relations and customer service, with an eye for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as up-and-coming social platforms. A Cleveland-area native, Nicole now lives and works out of NYC.
Nicole has also contributed articles to Brit+Co. and Social Fresh. Before joining Geben, she conducted media relations and produced content with tech startups at a full-service NYC PR agency. While enrolled in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Nicole completed PR internships in the tech/tourism industries in San Francisco and Paris. She graduated with a focus in anthropology and business administration, was recognized by the Greater Cleveland PRSA Chapter as the 2013 PR Student of the Year.
Just For Fun: During her time away from the three screens, Nicole explores all that NYC’s five boroughs have to offer – especially great food, beautiful parks and bountiful thrift shops. She likes to feign fluency in French and fluidity in yoga class. A believer in the power of technology to augment ever-changing societies, Nicole also volunteers as a crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line, a national nonprofit.
Favorite Spotify Station: Only Nicole’s custom “radio” will give her the eclectic mix of Third Eye Blind, Stevie Wonder and Shania Twain that she need to make it through her commute.
Briana Saunders, Social Media Manager
Briana Saunders is a Seattle-based social media manager, working closely with Geben’s Fortune 50 clients to provide social media strategy, content creation, community management, reporting and evaluation. Her approach to community management is customer first and if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.
Briana previously managed social media at a B2B technology company, Microsoft and several technology startups. She live-tweeted President Obama’s first inauguration for the National Post of Canada, and organized one of the first tweetup groups in the US. In addition to proven community management expertise, Briana brings experience in event management, customer service and nonprofits to Geben. Briana studied African Studies at the University of Kansas.
Just for fun: When she isn’t heads down on her iPhone or laptop, Briana loves to explore Seattle. She’s an avid foodie, trying the latest restaurants and whipping up her own dishes whenever she can. Briana also sails, hikes and loves a good wine tasting trip, taking in as much of the beauty the Pacific Northwest provides as possible. Finally, she’s an intense Kansas Jayhawks fan and regularly organizes alumni watch parties in Seattle.
Favorite Spotify Station: It’s a tie between Acoustic Afternoons, Piano Ballads, and Songs to Sing in the Shower.
Lexi Messenger, Account Executive
As Geben Communication’s account executive, Lexi Messenger is a jack of all trades, providing support to Geben’s diverse portfolio of clients. Equipped with a “get it done” mentality, Lexi’s days are spent writing, researching and monitoring. Plus, she’s always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to blend traditional and digital PR.
Before joining Geben, Lexi interned at a non-profit arboretum, where she helped manage social media, wrote feature stories, worked with the local press and developed a love for all things nature. Additionally, Lexi interned for her alma matter, Ohio University, getting hands-on media relations and social media experience. While at Ohio University, Lexi was a member of the Ohio University Marching 110, a high-energy marching band. They even went viral – check out the YouTube videos!
Just for fun: Secretly a little nerdy, Lexi is a fan of books like A Game of Thrones, The Hobbit and Harry Potter (and their corresponding shows/movies). Outside of the office, you’ll probably find her being a wannabe crafter on Pinterest, cheering on the Ohio Bobcats or standing in line at the local coffee shop.
Favorite Pandora Station: Mumford and Sons or 90s Pop Radio (Both help turn a stressful day into a fun one!)
Beth Shaheen, Account Executive
As an account executive for Geben Communication, Beth Shaheen is responsible for content creation, social media management, research, trend monitoring and media list development – always while maintaining a laser-like focus on supporting client goals. A constant list-maker, Beth loves crossing off to-do items to keep projects moving forward, on time and on task — a quality that came in especially helpful when she project managed a Fortune 50 brand’s social media policy/guideline playbook.
Before joining Geben, Beth completed two internships, one at a a full-service advertising agency, and the other at a non-profit organ procurement organization. While she attended The Ohio State University, Beth was heavily involved in OSU’s chapter of PRSSA and spent three years on the executive board. Since graduating, she’s become involved in Central Ohio PRSA.
Just for fun: A lifelong bookworm, Beth enjoys reading anything and everything and does not discriminate against any one genre. She has studied Spanish for 10 years and plans to visit Spain before she turns 30. In her free time, Beth loves cooking, exploring Columbus and white wine.
Favorite Pandora Station: Mumford and Sons is her default but she also likes to mix it up with Jay Z or Adele, depending on her mood.
Heather Phillips, Account Coordinator
Heather Phillips, account coordinator, provides day-to-day support for several Geben Communication clients. Heather focuses on research, results reporting and trend monitoring, while also supporting social media management and media/blogger outreach.
Heather landed her first major media placement just months after graduating from Ohio University, helping to secure a story in USA Today for a Pittsburgh-based startup that she worked with prior to joining Team Geben. She also gained relevant PR and social media experience through two internships, one working with the digital media team at a full-service advertising agency and one as a student brand manager for a large corporate company. While she attended Ohio University, Heather was an active member of the Scripps PRSSA chapter and an account associate for their student-run PR firm, ImPRessions.
Just for fun: A Cleveland native, Heather is continuously exploring her new home and all it has to offer. Outside of the office, you’ll likely find her shopping all things local, dancing to live music, wandering the streets of Columbus with her dog or cheering on a Cleveland sports team. She loves to unwind with dinner and a glass of wine at one of her favorite restaurants, or at home behind her Kindle with a new recipe she is trying in the oven.
Favorite Pandora Station: Dave Matthews Band
Ellen Schneider, Office Manager
Ellen oversees the day-to-day operation of Geben’s headquarters, where she manages everything from office administration and finances, to coordinating travel schedules and furnishing our soon-to-be-outgrown space (and, of course, fueling our team’s addiction to sparkling water). Organized, efficient and detail-oriented, she is also responsible for supporting Geben’s CEO and VP of client strategy, plus keeping employees – in Columbus and across the US – cool, calm, collected and connected.
Ellen’s prior experience encompasses customer service, staff development, program management, special event coordination, and administration of grant programs. Before signing on to help manage Geben’s growing team, she spent 15 years in the nonprofit industry, managing office/programs and coordinating volunteers for the American Diabetes Association, YMCA of Central Ohio and The Boys & Girls Clubs of Rutherford County in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Ellen received her BS in recreation management from the University of Tennessee.
Just For Fun: When she’s not golfing, running or doing yoga, Ellen enjoys quilting, crafting or killing time on Pinterest. She’s a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio State Buckeyes and Tennessee Volunteers, and (somewhat) unashamed to profess her love for reality TV, Survivor and anything on Bravo. Ellen has been to 45 states, with a goal to visit all 50 by 50 (it’s no shock she loves to travel!).