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  6.  | New President, Executive Promotions at Thompson & Co. Public Relations

New President, Executive Promotions at Thompson & Co. Public Relations

Jan 23, 2024 | Professional Services, Right Moves

Thompson & Co. Public Relations

Thompson & Co. Public Relations (T&C) launched a new corporate entity that formally combines with sister agency Blueprint Alaska. The company led by T&C owner and CEO Jennifer Thompson and Blueprint Alaska President Sarah Erkmann Ward also gains a third leadership partner, in addition to several executive promotions.

Heather Handyside

Thompson & Co. Public Relations

Heather Handyside is joining the firm as T&C’s President and Chief Operating Officer. Handyside was most recently chief communications officer at GCI.

“I’ve worked with the T&C team for years and I’ve come to rely upon their team to develop effective communications strategies and remarkable events,” Handyside says. “I’ve always been impressed with T&C’s work ethic and commitment to clients, and I’m thrilled to join the agency to help lead this fun, fearless, innovative team.”

Handyside earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from American University in Washington, DC. She has worked for the Municipality of Anchorage as director of emergency management and homeland security and as deputy municipal manager during the administration of Mark Begich, and she was also his press secretary when Begich served in the US Senate.

Current Issue

Alaska Business April 2024 Cover

April 2024

In addition to changes in organization, T&C is promoting several staff to executive positions, including Liz Baker as Senior Vice President. In nearly twelve years at T&C, Baker is credited with contributing to the firm’s steady growth and reputation for strategic solutions, client service, and company culture. In her new role, she provides counsel and leadership to the staff and clients. Baker is a graduate of the University of South Carolina. She spent five years in T&C’s Anchorage office and now works remotely from South Carolina.

Liz Baker

Thompson & Co. Public Relations

Kailee Stickler is also promoted to Senior Vice President. Stickler joined the T&C team immediately after graduating from UAA, and she spent the last seven years developing the agency’s digital services, now T&C’s fastest-growing division. In her new role, she oversees all aspects of the digital department, in addition to providing strategy oversight for the agency and its staff.

Kailee Stickler

Thompson & Co. Public Relations

Ariel Walsh Amand is T&C’s new Chief Administrative Officer. With the new agency structure, Walsh Amand focuses on day-to-day operations in accounting, employee benefits, and employee and client onboarding. With fourteen years of agency experience, Walsh Amand is integral to overseeing and managing the finances for the agency and client budgets.

Ariel Walsh Amand

Thompson & Co. Public Relations

Emily McLaughlin is promoted to Vice President. McLaughlin joined T&C as an intern ten years ago, after graduating from UAA with a degree in journalism and public communications. Today, she leads accounts across industries like education, economic development, healthcare, and more. As vice president, she oversees and executes client strategy, agency growth, and company culture.

Emily McLaughlin

Thompson & Co. Public Relations

Kelsey Baker is also promoted to Vice President. In her seven years at T&C, Baker has supported clients through strategizing and creating compelling content, conceptualizing and executing unique events, and managing accounts across multiple industries. In her new role, she continues to help clients reach their goals while contributing to agency development.

Kelsey Baker

Thompson & Co. Public Relations

Ashleigh Carson is another new Vice President, receiving another promotion shortly after becoming a senior account manager. Carson joined the agency in 2017 after working for ten years in newsrooms. In her new role, Carson continues building media relationships on the national and local level for clients in tourism, banking, and more. She brings an analytical mindset and an unwavering commitment to client success.

Ashleigh Carson

Thompson & Co. Public Relations

Alaska Business April 2024 cover
In This Issue
The 2024 Corporate 100
April 2024

In their company kitchens, the Corporate 100 blend wholesome ingredients with exquisite utensils to create the scrumptious ambrosia that keeps employees gratified and contented. Meet the top Alaska employers ranked by number of Alaskans on their payroll, and learn the recipe for success. This issue also includes a focus on economic development initiatives in Anchorage and Kodiak.

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