We may be young at heart, but our collective experience working with over 300 companies – from early-stage startups to publicly traded blue-chip companies – spans 225 years, countless industries and every publication you can think of.
Our team consists of entrepreneurs, investment executives, former journalists and yes, of course, grizzled public relations strategists.
Partner and Chief of Experience
With roots in the music, entertainment, and hospitality industries, Stacy is the directress behind the magic at VSC. As the agency’s first partner, Stacy has been instrumental in growing VSC from 0 to 100, both on the staff and client sides of the equation. As the Chief of Experience, Stacy is responsible for the curation of partners, clients and teams. Overseeing client engagements, operations, staffing, finance and marketing, she ensures that the agency provides an unparalleled experience to its partners and that VSC is ahead of the market in its offering. Through her vision and oversight, VSC has maintained one of the highest client retention rates in the industry.
Prior to joining VSC, Stacy worked as the Brand Marketing and Promotions Manager for Sony Metreon, where she was part of the team that built the Metreon brand as a showcase platform for Columbia Pictures, Sony Online Entertainment, Sony Music and Playstation. Stacy executed dozens of campaigns, ranging from PR stunts to large-scale promotional tour stops for franchises such as Wheel of Fortune, America’s Next Top Model and The Game Show Network. Working with local radio stations like Live105 and KFOG, Stacy spearheaded a live music program for Metreon that featured high-profile acts such as Coldplay, The Killers, Radiohead, Indigo Girls and Chris Botti.
Previous to her work at Sony, Stacy held event management and operations roles with The Northern California Human Resources Association (NCHRA) and the corporate and venture capital event management agency Wilson West. Stacy found her passion for experience management working at a boutique bed and breakfast in Carmel by the Sea, which led to the completion of her degree in hospitality management from Golden Gate University. A diehard metal fan, drummer, home and event planner, and family chef, Stacy brings her passions and professional talents to all her daily pursuits.
Archana ‘Archie’ Chattha
Partner and VP, Network
Archie joined VSC as Partner and Vice President of Network, a role honed over nearly two decades in business, marketing, and investing. She will focus her efforts on enhancing VSC’s growing roster of partners, consultants, and investors, uncovering synergies and making strategic connections for VSC clients.
An established business and community leader, Archie began her career at Sony in its music and family entertainment companies. She then moved on to oversee marketing, retail and strategic partnerships for Sony’s global entertainment center, Metreon, developing out of the box programs for the nation’s top technology and entertainment brands. From creating Walk of Game, the first large-scale public installation honoring the luminaries of the video game industry to developing a technologically advanced entertainment test kitchen, Archie exponentially grew the breadth of relationships and value for Sony and its partners alike.
In tandem with her corporate ventures, Archie is dedicated to community building and actively supports programs for children, women, and diversity. One of her passion projects is serving on the Board of Directors of Project Ahimsa, a global effort to empower youth through music. Archie is also a founding member of the Summit Project, an innovative environment built to catalyze growth of entrepreneurs, community leaders, artists and change makers.
General Manager, New York
Eric brings a culmination of more than 15 years of PR, marketing and communications experience to VSC, and currently oversees the NY practice. As general manager, he is responsible for implementing strategy and execution for the firm’s portfolio clients and delivering award-winning PR campaigns. He is also responsible for NY staff development and managing the firm’s international roster of clients.
During his career, Eric has managed more than 100 client campaigns and product launches in industries ranging from adtech, gaming/entertainment, fintech, and mobile telecommunications, to finance, hardware/IOT, and venture capital, working alongside reputable firms like Softbank and Sequoia Capital. He has also led PR efforts around several notable client exits such as Card.io (acquired by PayPal), PlaySpan (acquired by Visa), Openfeint (acquired by GREE), ngmoco:) (acquired by DeNA), and iPlay (acquired by Oberon Media).
Prior to joining VSC, Eric served as Managing Director at a boutique communications agency which specialized in the interactive entertainment industry, and he began his career at MSLGROUP, the fourth largest PR conglomerate in the world and a Publicis company.
He also serves as an advisor to CATES, a global education services and test prep company based in NY. When he’s not in the office actively building his clients’ profile and brand, Eric enjoys playing guitar, watching the Raiders and practicing his head spins.
Growth and Business Advisor
Greg Spector is one of the most respected public relations and communications consultants in Silicon Valley. His strategic advice is highly sought after, and has been instrumental in the early stage of now well-known technology companies, including Facebook, RPX Corp., Rebtel, 13th Lab, Epidemic Sound, and 3-D mapping company, C3 Technologies, now part of Apple. At VSC, Greg serves as Growth and Business Advisor, providing strategic counsel on the growth and development of the agency as a whole, and mentoring account managers. In addition to his work with VSC, Greg is currently working with Affirm, Max Levchin’s new consumer finance company; Atlassian, best known for its innovative developer tool; and Survios, whose mission is to create the most mind-blowing, in-home virtual reality experience possible.
Previously, Greg was CMO for Rebtel, the Swedish mobile voice over IP company that he helped found in January 2006. Greg created and led execution of company positioning, marketing and communications strategy for launch in May 2006, service introduction in June 2006, and successfully securing $20 million in Series A financing in September 2006. In that role, Greg’s responsibilities included media and analyst relations, online communications, executive presentations and speeches, website content, affiliate marketing, advertising and paid search programs.
Before Rebtel, Greg was the president and CEO of Blanc & Otus, a WPP technology PR firm. In that role he was responsible for client services, operations, human resources, and financial performance for the agency’s offices in San Francisco, Austin, Boston and London. He also led teams serving Hitachi Data Systems, Blu-ray Disc Association, and Facebook. His work at B&O spanned from global leaders Sony Playstation and HP, to high growth startups at the time E.piphany, Ariba, Openwave, TiVo and Hotwire. Prior to B&O, Greg was president of GCI Group‘s San Francisco office, originally Jennings & Company, which he co-founded in 1990. Under his direction, the office enjoyed steady staff and revenue growth with clients such as Sun Microsystems, MP3.com, Adobe, Red Brick, Seagate, and Visa International.
Greg began his career in 1980 working in “the morgue” and then as a reporter for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He later served as West Coast bureau chief for PC Week.
VP, Enterprise Strategy
Marta is the agency’s resident muse, and carries with her with more than two decades of working in the trenches with venture capital firms and startups ranging from healthcare to insurance to enterprise. As VP of Enterprise Strategy, Marta maintains a bird’s-eye view across teams and helps elevate all of our clients, whether through identifying new areas for market growth or rejuvenating their brand and profile through strategic storytelling. The depth and breadth of Marta’s relationships in the Valley – a result of her skill in identifying synergies – guarantees that VSC has an outsized impact on the technology landscape. Beyond her work on the client side, Marta acts as a mentor and yogi for the junior and senior staff, catalyzing their professional growth and development at the agency.
Prior to joining VSC, Marta was the VP of Marketing and Chief Yoga Officer at Canaan Partners. Before that, Marta was a Network Associate at Draper Fisher Jurvetson where she managed marketing and collaborated on business development initiatives with the DFJ Global Network of 16 funds and its 400 portfolio companies. She also held marketing and strategic business development positions at startups such as Capella Photonics, a telecommunications subsystems manufacturer, and Senvid, creator of MioNet, a remote access and file-sharing service that was later acquired by Western Digital. Marta also worked for Vanguard Ventures and MedTech Ventures, a Vanguard-sponsored medical technology incubator, providing seed-stage companies with strategic planning, due diligence, operations and fundraising advice.
When she’s not diving into strategy sessions and connecting like-minded people, she plays rhythm guitar in the Hyperdrive Kittens, a punk rock band born in San Francisco. On Wednesdays, she can be found striking a pose while teaching the weekly yoga class at VSC. Marta graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Delta Pi with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Scripps College with a major in classics (hence her muse-like abilities) and minors in chemistry and Latin American studies.
Director, Client Strategy
Julia puts her passion for client service and mentorship to work at VSC, moving across teams to develop high-touch, sharp and strategic campaigns, and cultivating senior management by helping to develop training programs and ensuring that the agency is leveraging its talent in the best possible way.
Julia’s been in the Bay Area tech scene for almost 20 years, most recently serving as a vice president at Atomic PR, which was acquired by global communications company Grayling in 2013. Here, she led teams specialized in helping consumer lifestyle, financial tech, enterprise, health tech and retail brands gain media traction and become established brand names. She helped to expand the US user base of the social network Bebo through a series of campaigns in the lead-up to its acquisition by AOL, and her team introduced then-startup LivingSocial as a major force in the daily deals space, launching the company in 250+ US markets. Julia also oversaw successful consumer media, content and executive visibility campaigns for brands like LinkedIn, Jobvite, Fiverr, CareCloud, Perfect365, Closeli, Animoto, and Build.com.
Before Grayling, Julia was the communications & marketing manager at the popular San Francisco entertainment and retail destination, Sony Metreon. She served as the primary media contact and ran high-impact publicity campaigns for several globally recognized Sony properties, including game launches at the world’s first PlayStation Store, consumer electronic product debuts at Sony Style, movie premieres for blockbusters such as Spiderman and other fan events and listening parties for Sony Music.
Julia began her career in the San Francisco PR scene after graduating from the University of San Francisco with a degree in Human Communications and Mass Media. Starting with internships at KGO-TV and Chevron, she got hooked on tech PR working at agencies like Bravo! Marketing and The Weber Group during the first tech boom. Julia loves discovering new nooks and crannies in her hometown of San Francisco, and sampling every single dance class the city has to offer.
Director, Talent and Growth, PHR
As the agency’s culture alchemist, Trina wields her powers of organizational change to make VSC the most innovative, rewarding, and growth-driven workplace for marketing and communications professionals. Her passion lies in building a team from a collection of outstanding individuals and fostering a vibrant environment for collaboration. At VSC, she is the go-to resource for most everything that bridges our bi-coastal staff, including workplace culture, recruiting, training, career development and advancement (both in and beyond the agency), operations and events. Through her leadership, VSC continues to attract the best talent in the industry, as evidenced by the agency’s recognition in the Top Places to Work in PR.
Prior to joining VSC, Trina ran the Operations departments for Jump Associates, a hybrid strategy consulting firm, and The Chasm Group, a strategic marketing and management consultancy founded by noted business guru, Geoffrey Moore. Trina is also an entrepreneur, founding a home healthcare agency that connects caregivers with people looking for in-home care for low-income seniors.
When she’s not planning company events and meeting with staff, Trina serves on the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish YPAC board, where she promotes general advocacy of the nonprofit’s mission through fundraising, promotion, corporate speaking, networking and events. Her other philanthropic efforts include addressing local schools and community groups with the Harm Reduction Coalition, where she promotes public health reform and raises visibility around overdose prevention. In her spare time, Trina enjoys collecting and crafting taxidermy displays by uncovering the beauty in life’s small, unusual creatures.
Senior Account Manager
With a background in crisis communications, Maggie brings a depth of experience to tackling the most critical challenges in public relations, from narrative development to media relations to strategic counsel. Over the last decade, she has worked with companies ranging from AI-powered software and hardware, to virtuality reality, to consumer products, to enterprise technologies. As Senior Account Manager, Maggie is responsible for setting the high-level vision, objectives, and strategy for her account teams, and working closely with the client to ensure these are aligned with key business development goals. She is deeply involved in the day-to-day execution, leading her account teams in initiative planning, thought leadership, creative events, and beyond.
At VSC, Maggie has worked on hundreds of campaigns for early-stage and well-established companies alike, earning them visibility in top-tier publications like the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and USA Today. She has also earned her clients recognition and accolades, including CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list, Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” list and Entrepreneur’s “Most Brilliant Companies” list. Her bold approach has allowed her clients to become leaders in their respective industries, from launching first AI-powered bot platform on Slack, to helping secure funding for the first AI-powered website builder The Grid, to creating an entire new category for education with Nearpod Virtual Reality.
Prior to joining VSC, Maggie specialized in issues/crisis management and represented Fortune 100 companies and high-profile executives facing public challenges at a boutique agency in Florida.
Maggie has a passion for helping others, and she’s served in a variety of leadership roles for nonprofits in the emotional intelligence and female empowerment categories. She graduated with a BA in mass communications – public relations from the University of South Florida.
Senior Account Manager
James is the strategic communications coach every company wishes to have at their side, 24/7. No matter what industry, size of company, or scale of competition, James brings his extensive experience in day-to-day management, strategic communication, and plan execution in order to win. He’s worked with companies across a broad spectrum of industries, including financial technology, enterprise software, advertising/marketing technology, mobile apps, and leading Silicon Valley venture capital firms.
As Senior Account Manager, James leads a range of account teams and ensures his clients are set up for success, whether that means providing strategic counsel, crafting compelling content, coordinating media relations, or preparing C-level executives for briefings, on-air interviews, and events.
His humble, laid-back personality belies a laser-focused, persistent approach that garners serious results. Over the past decade, his work with more than 40 startups and enterprises has resulted in more than $1B in exits, including when he led PR efforts and day-of media strategy for two IPOs – Rocket Fuel and Yodlee. He also developed and executed media strategy for SteelBrick, which ultimately helped lead to the company’s acquisition by Salesforce in 2015. James was a Senior Account Executive at Atomic PR, where his clients included the NCAA, Livefyre, Opower, Jobvite, BrightRoll, Credit Karma, and Martini.
He graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelors in public relations and minored in communications and comparative literature. James is a sports fanatic, enjoys cooking, the outdoors, and playing golf not particularly well.
Senior Account Manager
A lifelong athlete who played NCAA Division 1 water polo, Lauren approaches communications and PR with the strategy, skills, and tact of a person well beyond her years. Over her career, she has developed a special talent for zeroing in on each person’s skills and understanding how that can be played to the best advantage for each client. Her natural ability to lead has helped grow companies across a range of industries – from consumer technology, enterprise software, Internet of Things, mobile applications, healthcare IT, to premiere Silicon Valley venture capital firms. As Senior Account Manager, Lauren oversees a range of account teams and ensures they are in a superior position for wins across multiple fronts – from product launches, to thought leadership, to salon dinners, and beyond.
Lauren has worked her way up quickly through the ranks at VSC, growing from Account Coordinator to Senior Account Manager in less than three years. Over that period, Lauren has managed or supported dozens of companies, launching groundbreaking new consumer products such as Teforia and Nanit. She recently led the communications and PR strategy for Sapphire Ventures’ $1B fundraise from SAP – the 7th largest of 2016. Prior to joining VSC, Lauren worked as a Senior Editor at Marketwired, managing press release editing and distribution for many Fortune 1000 companies.
She graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a bachelor’s in communications and an emphasis in journalism. Lauren is obsessed with animals, food and wine, yoga and will take on anyone, anywhere, anytime for a game of cornhole.
Senior Manager, Finance and Operations
For more than 15 years, Gwyn has worked in finance at a range of companies, from the art world to retail to marketing. As Senior Manager of Finance and Operations, Gwyn is focused on the financial health and stability of our agency. This entails managing the contracts for VSC’s portfolio of clients, including processing payments, invoices, as well as tracking terms and milestones. She is also responsible for financial forecasting, budgeting, and policy adherence, whether for VSC events and retreats or relationships with vendors. On the operations side, Gwyn helps coordinates the operations staff to ensure to the office runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
Prior to joining VSC in 2012, Gwyn was a Finance Manager at Daniel Rosenthal & Associates, a direct marketing company. Before that, she worked for several years in the art industry, first as Finance Manager at Clars Auction Gallery, which has sold more than $140M in fine art and furnishings, and then as Finance and Accounting Manager at Amsterdam Art, a Berkeley-based independent art supplies store. She began her career as an accountant for R.W. James & Associates, a forensic architectural firm, and also worked as a financial consultant at TMP Worldwide, a global talent acquisition company.
Gwyn graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a double major in American Studies and Psychology. She is a long-time East Bay resident, and enjoys swimming and biking and escaping to the beach whenever possible.
Messaging and Narrative Strategist
Laine Conklin has worked delivering communications and media coaching for senior executives and spokespeople for the last 20 years. Her experience runs the gambit from startup companies and Fortune 100s, including Pfizer, eBay, AOL/Time Warner and Deutsche Bank. She has trained the most high-profile CEOs in the world, including Meg Whitman and John Donahoe of eBay, Bob Greifeld of the NASDAQ, Jeff Jordan and Scott Thompson of PayPal, and Jack Dorsey of Twitter. She has also worked with many celebrities and athletes, including Al Harrington, Shawn Johnson, Dr. Drew, Suze Orman, Joey Kramer and Creed.
Recognized for her peer-level coaching and ability to transform technical concepts into layman’s language, Laine is sought after by senior executives and has extensive experience in the healthcare, technology, financial services and consumer goods sectors. She has also trained hundreds of subject matter experts in a variety of setting including witness preparation. Laine specializes in executive/leadership communications skills, presentation skills, media skills, and expert testimony. She has worked with consumer advocate groups, specifically, Consumer Reports president and spokespeople for press inquiries and government advocacy.
Laine has worked with many spokespeople on the international front, including the president of Tom Online in China, the president of Latin American Operations for Swiss Re, the president of Mercado Libre, the online marketplace for Latin America, and the head of operations for NASDAQ in India among others. Her client list, which includes celebrities, athletes, and authors, also notes President Bush’s daughter for a book tour on disenfranchised youth in Latin America. She has written promotional material, developed communication strategy programs and roadshow presentations for startups and Fortune 100 companies.
Digital Growth Hacker
Ben brings to the table more than a decade of experience as a digital marketer and growth hacker for startups in Silicon Valley and beyond. As founder and CEO of Admirant Digital, Ben helped launch many of the most successful startup products in market, including Osmo, Tile, Navdy, Coin, Eero, and Lily. At VSC, Ben will work across clients to build strategic, data-driven digital campaigns that generate the right leads and enable the business to grow rapidly and sustainably. His expertise is managing online ad campaigns, with a focus on managing performance ad campaigns on Google AdWords and Facebook.
Prior to joining VSC, Ben founded his first company Text Ad Labs, a powerful and easy to use online ad analysis software. Before that, he was Senior Paid Search Analyst at Norvax, where he was responsible for day-to-day management of PPC ad campaigns, where he applied statistical analysis to optimize keyword selection, bids, copy, and landing pages using platform-specific data.
In addition to his work in online advertising, Ben has also worked as a data scientist and statistical analyst. He holds an MS in statistics from Stanford University and a BBA in economics from the University of Iowa. Ben also owns a patent for predictive dialing based on simulation. When he’s not working, you can often find Ben in the music studio producing a new track. He’s an outdoor enthusiast whose interests include running, hiking, tennis, soccer, and snowboarding.
Consumer Media Specialist
Jill Budik is a media relations expert with two decades of experience across a range of public relations disciplines. Her strong relationships with many of the top decision makers in the media, from producers at morning and talk shows, to bloggers and editors at top magazines, allows her to secure great coverage. At VSC, she leverages those relationships on behalf of our consumer-focused clients, ensuring they reach target audiences in print, online, and broadcast.
Jill was previously the broadcast media director at M Booth & Associates where she worked on a wide array of accounts, including beauty, lifestyle, travel, fashion and consumer products. Prior to M Booth, Jill planned and executed media relations at DeVries Public Relations for companies including 3M, LVMH’s Sephora and Procter & Gamble’s Olay and Pantene brands. Earlier in her career, at LaForce & Stevens, Jill worked on high-profile media events, including media outreach and front-of-house for numerous high profile fashion shows during Fashion Week. Throughout her career she has also conducted media relations outreach on behalf of home décor, spirits, office products and retail accounts. A former reporter and producer, Jill began her career at ABC News and WOR Radio in New York City.
Jill is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where she earned a double major in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. Jill is currently a member of Writer’s Guild of America, East. She splits her time between New York and Minnesota, and enjoys traveling and spending family time on her boat.
Social Media and Digital Strategist
Tim Schraeder is a passionate believer in the power of social media to connect people and spread ideas that matter. For the past decade, he has helped a broad spectrum of businesses, organizations, and individuals engage and earn loyal followers across all social media and digital platforms. At VSC, Tim is the in-house social media guru, responsible for scaling our clients’ core social audiences from the ground up and amplifying messages that align with business goals. His specialties include but aren’t limited to social media strategy, social media management, blogging, live event social media, and online communication.
Tim’s professional accomplishments are as varied as his personal interests, but what ties them together is his ability to think “big and beyond.” Prior to joining VSC, Tim was a social media and digital strategist for international brands and managed social media accounts with followings in excess of 5 million. He has also worked with authors and artists to launch new releases on social media and has helped over a dozen make the New York Times bestsellers and iTunes and Billboard Top 10 albums lists. Tim has also worked closely with several startups – such as TheGrid, Nanit, Grasshopper – to launch their online and social presence. Beyond digital and social media strategy, Tim has been a consultant and coach as well as a sought-after speaker and author who helped write the book on communication and social media for the church.
Tim is a diehard Chicagoan who can be found in any neighborhood coffeeshop that has free Internet, though Intelligentsia is his favorite. When he’s not there, Tim may be strolling around Lakeview, his neighborhood. He’s an ardent SoulCycler, and is brushing up on his Spanish language skills in his free time.