Brandi Gomez is a Corporate Communications Strategist at Navy Federal Credit Union, a role that allows her to help lead the credit union’s corporate social responsibility program through national nonprofit partnerships, manage external communications and media relations for its 340+ worldwide branch network, and coordinate public affairs efforts for its Greater Pensacola Operations campus. This year marks Brandi’s second time serving as FPRA Pensacola Chapter’s President, previously serving in 2018. Her accomplishments include being recognized as an InWeekly Rising Star, graduate of Leadership Pensacola, and receiving a local Grand All Image Award from FPRA.
Brandi is a proud military spouse to Gregory and keeps very busy chasing their two children, Levi and Lola. If not spending time with family, there’s a 99% chance you’ll find her enjoying a sweat sesh on her Peloton or exploring one of many beautiful nature trails along the Gulf Coast.
Immediate Past President
Josh Newby is the Marketing/Communications Director for Council on Aging of West Florida, where his responsibilities include media relations, event management, community advocacy, marketing and advertising, and overseeing fund development.
Newby earned a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership and Communication from UWF in 2014 and a bachelor’s of public relations from UWF in 2010. He is a graduate of the Pensacola Chamber Foundation’s Leadership Pensacola program class of 2016, a board member with Five Flags Rotary and the Florida Association of Aging Services Providers. He is a four-time Image Awards winner and 2019 IN Weekly Rising Star. In his off time, Newby enjoys navigating conflicts between his dogs and young son.
President-Elect / Vice President of Membership
Sarah Whitfield is the public information officer for the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners. She is responsible for the dissemination of accurate and timely information to Santa Rosa County residents, the media and employees via traditional media and social media. Sarah has been with Santa Rosa County since 2010 after earning a bachelor's degree in art with a specialization in graphic design from the University of West Florida, starting out as a library assistant and eventually moving to the public information office in 2014 – the same year she joined FPRA and the Pensacola Chapter Board of Directors.
Actively involved in her community, Sarah serves as a co-leader of the Living Truth Church-Pace Soul Sisters, acts as a buddy for kiddos with disabilities on Sundays and during monthly respite programs, nerds out with the church A/V team at least once a month and serves as the secretary for One Heart Outreach – a group that performs acts of kindness throughout Santa Rosa County each year during the week leading up to Easter. In her spare time, she enjoys perusing the latest The Office memes, taking too many photos of her two cats, coffee dates with friends and spending time with her family.
Kaycee Lagarde is the Public Information Officer for the City of Pensacola, working in the Office of the Mayor to facilitate the city’s communications with the media and public. Kaycee joined the city in May 2019 from the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners, where she worked in the Community and Media Relations Office since 2016. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a bachelor’s degree in communication arts/journalism in 2011. Prior to working in government public relations, Kaycee worked at the Pensacola News Journal as a multimedia reporter and local government reporter. She was named a 2019 Inweekly Rising Star.
Kaycee is passionate about media and public relations, transparency in local government and government communications. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, traveling, listening to true crime podcasts, taking long walks around downtown Pensacola and drinking all of the coffee.
Vice President of Finance
Frank Giammaria is the Director of Community Relations at Gulf Winds Credit Union, responsible for community outreach and corporate communications. In 2020, he helped found the Gulf Winds Cares Foundation, which provides a sustainable funding source for local nonprofit organizations. He also oversees corporate sponsorships, employee volunteer activities, member-focused communication, and media relations.
Before joining Gulf Winds in 2019, Giammaria served the nonprofit community as the Executive Director of Ballet Pensacola, the Director of Campaign Development for the Combined Federal Campaign, and the Campaign Manager for the United Way of West Florida. Giammaria holds a master’s degree in public administration from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal communication from Purdue University.
Giammaria is the proud father of three sons and is expecting a daughter in January.
Vice President of Networking
Kim Stefansson is a retired Navy LCDR Public Affairs Officer and the previous Public Relations Coordinator for the Escambia County School District. Currently, her day job is teaching Language Arts to high school students at Escambia High School, "Go Gators!" Her PR efforts are focused on supporting the development of STEM Story. STEM Story will be a television show on WSRE and other public television stations, hopefully beginning in the Fall season of 2022. "STEM Story Live" are associated events that create live experiences for young women to introduce them to various STEM careers. Her undergraduate degree is in Mass Communications from Towson University, located just north of Baltimore, MD. Her graduate degree in education was earned at the University of West Florida, "Go Argos!" She has served on FPRA Pensacola's Board as the VP of Image, President-elect, President and Past-president and is excited to serve this year as the VP of Networking.
Vice President of Communications
Mallory Wilson is a Pensacola native. In 2007, she graduated from The Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with a minor in Communications. She recently accepted a position at Pen Air Federal Credit Union working as the PR and Communication Specialist. Her experience includes ten years of local non-profit work specializing in events and marketing.
Wilson is a long-standing community volunteer, having served on the boards of organizations like the Junior League of Pensacola, the Krewe of Hip Huggers, Fiesta Forces, Association of Fundraising Professionals and most recently, the Florida Public Relations Association.
Vice President of Digital Media
Brittany Sherwood serves as the Director of Strategic and Presidential Communications for the University of West Florida, where she oversees the development and implementation of communication plans, strategies and initiatives that enhance the University’s visibility. In this role, Brittany manages integrated projects, as well as institutional social media and public relations strategies.
Brittany earned a bachelor's degree in communication arts with an emphasis in public relations and minors in marketing and hospitality from UWF. Previously, she served as the Assistant Director of Strategic Communications, where she managed media relations, publicity and communication strategies for the University.
Vice President of Professional Development
Gordon Paulus is a Sr. Communication Specialist for Gulf Power/FPL. He has been with the company for 17 years and before that was the sports editor of the Pensacola News Journal.
He has twice been the Pensacola chapter president and was the FPRA state president from 2019-20.
Vice President of Accreditation and Certification
Kathy Bowers, APR, is public relations specialist with Baptist Health Care. She handles media relations and manages social media for the organization’s three hospitals, four medical parks and 36 primary care and specialty care practices. Kathy also serves as public information officer during mass casualty/crisis situations.
Kathy earned her bachelor of arts in communication from the University of Alabama. During her career, she has had the privilege of working for some of the best known corporate and healthcare names in Alabama, including Southern Living magazine, The Birmingham News, Hoffman Media and Children’s of Alabama pediatric hospital. She was active in the Public Relations Council of Alabama and earned her accreditation in public relations in 2012.
Vice President of Sponsorships and Fundraising
Betsy Smith earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology/Social Work from University of Texas, Austin and both a Master’s in Adult Education and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Texas A & M University’s College of Education, which named her one of its Thirty Distinguished Graduates. She has served as a Senior Executive at, and/or consultant to, organizations such as: Pensacola (FL) Junior College, Center for Community Education (Texas A&M) and Austin (TX) Independent School District. During 20-year tenure at Pensacola Junior College, she served as Dean, Provost, and Vice President, supervising over 250 employees. She is a graduate of Leadership Florida, Leadership Pensacola, and the Cornell University Institute of Executive Leadership.
Mary L. Mabins is the Marketing and Information Coordinator at Pensacola State College.
She is a former journalist who spent more than 30 years in newsrooms as a reporter, copy editor, page designer as well as a news, business and features editor. She most recently worked at the Pensacola News Journal.
An Alabama native, Mary is a University of Alabama graduate.