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Nichole Parker is an expert at figuring things out; she knows how to tackle a challenge. Nichole has more than 25 years’ experience conducting research and generating economic impact reports. As president and co-founder of Parker Philips, she understands how to combine quantitative and qualitative research to present results in a verifiable and defensible manner while capturing messages the public can understand.
Nichole takes the lead in completing the agency’s research and economic impact reports. She has been conducting qualitiative, quantitiatve, and economic impact analysis since 1998. Nichole knows how to develop methodology, outline research objectives, and complete statistical analysis to comply with industry standards.
Being able to effectively use data to tell a client’s story is fundamental to Nichole’s success. She presents research in a way people can understand; this guarantees research reports accomplish specific goals that have an impact in the community. Nichole conducted intense research as part of the feasibility study for Erie County Community College. The project ultimately brought the first new community college to open in the state in more than two decades to Erie.
In addition to her work for Erie County Community College, Nichole has completed reports for a number of colleges and universities, academic health centers, health systems, and research collaboratives. She served as the principal project director for a leading national firm in Pittsburgh for 18 years and completed more than 400 customized research, analysis, and consulting projects.
Nichole earned a master’s degree in economic and social development from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public & International Affairs and remains a died in the wool Panther. (Kate doesn’t hold it against her.) She also completed her undergraduate work at the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on political science, anthropology, and Latin American studies.
Kate Philips is an accomplished, respected marketing and communications professional who cares about the client experience. In her role as CEO and co-founder of Parker Phillips, she is dedicated to creating work that has both a head and a heart. Under Kate’s guidance, projects produced at Parker Philips are of the highest quality and have the ability to make an impact in the world.
Much of Kate’s work at Parker Philips is focused on connections. She connects Parker Philips with the community, attracting clients who would benefit from the agency’s brand of expertise. Then, Kate assembles the best team of individuals to meet each client’s unique needs. Finally, Kate connects the client with the public, tailoring a plan to tell their story through brand identity, media outreach, and advocacy.
Connections have been fundamental to Kate Philips throughout her career. She began as a TV reporter before directing communications efforts for the 2000 Census in Maryland. By meeting with residents and leaders, Kate learned about the unique needs of different communities and the importance of both data and narratives in achieving specific goals.
Kate spent most of her career in the public sector on the front lines of politics and government as a spokesperson for Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and Pennsylvania Congressman Bob Brady.
As chief spokesperson for Governor Rendell’s administration, she developed messages for and defended five multi-billion dollar executive budgets. During her time as the governor’s press secretary, she directed communications for legislative achievements including: the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act of 2004; the $2.8 billion economic stimulus legislation of 2004, Growing Greener II, which established a $625 million fund to protect and preserve the
Pennsylvania environment; the first increase in the Pennsylvania minimum wage in more than a decade; and the successful passage and implementation of “Cover all Kids,” which extends healthcare coverage to all Pennsylvania children.
Kate earned her Bachelor of Science in Journalism at West Virginia University where she learned about the role journalism plays in the pursuit of justice. Her expertise in the field helps Kate guide clients through interactions with the media, which she understands are an essential part of the public narrative.
With more than twenty years of experience in the public and private sectors, Kristianna Del Grande knows how to complete a project on time, on point, and on budget. Her degree in international relations and political science from St. Joseph’s University and White House internship led her into a government post that set the foundation for a successful career in communications and advocacy.
As vice president of marketing & communications at Parker Philips, Kristianna uses her years of experience in marketing and public relations, art direction, and project management to oversee dozens of clients, a handful of designers, and several staff members. She develops client communications and marketing plans, including public relations tactics, social media strategies, brand roll-outs, paid advertising campaigns, and event planning. Kristianna’s attention to detail and ability to multi-task ensure client needs and deadlines are met.
While serving as a deputy press secretary under Governor Edward G. Rendell, Kristianna perfected the art of calmly keeping projects on track under a variety of circumstances. Her talent for writing and persuasion led to a career in communications far beyond government, landing a public relations position within the financial sector. Having experienced both the private and public sectors of communications, Kristianna wanted a position serving clients from all sectors and joined with Kate Philips to help successfully launch the Pre-K for PA campaign in 2014. Since then, the campaign has secured several hundred million dollars of funding in the state budget, allowing thousands of children to have access to high-quality pre kindergarten programs.
Kristianna is a member of the Public Relations Society of America as well as a graduate of Chester County Leadership Connection.
Kyle McMillen thrives on relationships that create meaningful connections. As an individual, Kyle’s ability to empathize with others has helped him achieve professional success. In his career, he has connected his research expertise, particularly in the field of education, with advocacy roles that have brought about positive change.
As the senior project manager at Parker Philips, Kyle coordinates the quantitative research process for economic impact reports. His understanding of how information will be used in public relations efforts helps Kyle to shape the research he conducts. Kyle looks at the big picture, taking a holistic approach to connect research and advocacy while producing quality products that meet client needs.
Personal relationships were fundamental to the work Kyle did as a classroom teacher and a community organizer. He was a political team member for the campaign of Senator Gary Peters of Michigan and a campus organizer for NextGen Climate Action. Kyle’s skills as an advocacy expert were further developed through his work as an outreach director for Educators for
Excellence. In this capacity, Kyle helped organize teachers in Los Angeles to fight for more equitable funding. He also worked to elevate issues connected to early learning during the 2022 election cycle by serving as the early childhood education civic engagement coordinator for Children First.
Kyle received his bachelor of science in history and political science from Grand Valley State University. He has a master of arts in history from Eastern Michigan University and a master of arts in education from the University of California, Riverside.
Mary Wassell understands the power of words. As the marketing and communication director at Parker Philips, Mary can take one sentence and turn it into a written masterpiece to tell the stories and ideas of clients — moving the needle to achieve goals for her clients.
Since joining Parker Philips in 2021, she has worked closely with clients, and enjoys helping them make a meaningful impact. As a project manager, Mary clearly communicates to first assess and then develop a plan to meet client needs. She is a skilled copywriter and editor who understands the role that dynamic social media content, informative press releases, robust op-eds, and strong relationships with the media play in achieving client goals. Mary’s work was fundamental to the 2021 Level Up campaign to ensure more adequate and equitable funding for the poorest school districts in Pennsylvania. By constantly churning out written content, including press releases, op-eds, letters to the editors, and newsletters, and planning a targeted public relations campaign, she helped to garner the attention of targeted audiences and elected officials, ultimately using her communication skills to win a victory for the client and for school districts and students throughout Pennsylvania.
Understanding the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Mary received her DEI certification from Cornell University. Through rigorous coursework, Mary learned techniques to advance equity, break down barriers in the BIPOC community, and foster a more inclusive environment. Mary now uses her certification to guide client initiatives to create more equitable and inclusive solutions.
Before joining the Parker Philips team, Mary held communication and event planning positions at non-profit organizations, including the Presque Isle Partnership. She received her bachelor of science in marketing with a minor in advertising communication from Gannon University. Mary is active in the Erie community, serving as a member of Young Erie Philanthropists, the Northwestern PA Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and on parish council at her church.
Through her career and academic pursuits, Abby Harris has learned about the importance of social media in giving clients a larger voice than they can imagine. With over ten years of experience and a commitment to learning about evolving best practices and trends, Abby understands how social media fits into a comprehensive communication strategy.
Since 2020, Abby has worked as the social media and digital marketing manager at Parker Philips. She manages content and calendars for 50 different social media accounts, using a consistent brand tone and voice for each client. Abby develops social media content, ensures posts are scheduled, and manages calendars for graphic designers to keep projects on track. In addition, she monitors audience engagement while using analytics to develop performance reports that can provide insight for future optimization. Abby regularly attends webinars and classes focused on social media outreach to stay informed about industry trends.
Abby understands social media outlets help clients tell their unique stories, and various platforms invite new and creative ways to share a narrative through a different lens. When working on the PA Schools Work campaign, Abby helps tell the story of 45 Guy, a character whose social media presence educates the public about Pennsylvania’s 45th ranking in state share of education funding and the need to provide adequate and equitable funding for all Pennsylvania students.
A graduate of Youngstown State University, Abby has a Bachelor of Science in communication with minors in advertising and public relations. Abby has also worked as the social media director for a well-known wedding designer, a marketing director for a non-profit, and events and marketing coordinator for a start-up brewing company.
Kate Nash is an artist who experiences the world through visualization. She knows how to use images to tell a story, a skill that has helped her carry design projects from conception through to completion for the past two decades.
As the senior graphic designer for Parker Philips, Kate creates visual identities, brand communications, and marketing materials for clients. In her work, Kate first considers the best way to visually convey a message and then uses her artistic expertise to ensure the graphic aligns with the client’s brand standard. She understands how to elevate brands through logos, typography, and color theories that can be used across multiple platforms.
Much of Kate’s job involves working with cutting-edge technology in her design studio, yet she also appreciates how her products work in the real world. Watching clients discover printed versions of reports she has designed and understanding how the collateral will be put into the world gives Kate passion for her work.
Before joining the Parker Philips team, Kate worked in the design industry as the owner of a marketing firm and as a freelance designer. She also continues to work on her own art and recently showcased her paintings at a gallery in Erie.
Kate graduated from Salve Regina University with a degree in graphic design and a minor in photography.
Tori Townsend is a graphic designer with a project manager’s mind. Her creative side shines through the graphics she creates for clients while her logical, solution-based thought process ensures projects are completed on time.
As a graphic designer at Parker Philips, Tori focuses on designing social media collateral consistent with established strategies for local, state, and national brands. She is also part of the lead design team for curated economic impact reports that showcase research and infographics in a captivating way. While she thrives in the creative environment, Tori’s time management skills and ability to prioritize projects while communicating honestly about deadlines are essential to effective project management.
Since 2017, Tori has held a variety of positions in graphic design where she created magazine layouts, digital ads, company branding items, and motion designs. At GreenFox Marketing, her graphic design work focused on producing eight regional, quarterly magazines that were more than 100 pages long. Tori also worked as a graphic designer at Talroo, where the first animation she ever created was played at the Austin Bergstrom airport for several years.
Tori graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her love of design originated in a magazine production course where Tori served as the art director for her group’s magazine. Much of her extensive knowledge about design, animation, and web software has been self-taught.
As a web designer, Chris Stuart works to blend form and function by creating aesthetically pleasing sites that are easy to navigate. He has more than twenty years of industry experience designing web sites and digital graphics as well as t-shirts and the inside of the arcade he owns.
For Chris, collaborating as part of the graphic design team at Parker Philips allows for the development of creative solutions to meet client needs. He creates designs that convey specific themes, have an impact, and are visually engaging. When he sees a social media post with a graphic he designed or the governor standing next to a poster he laid out, Chris appreciates the importance of his work in both achieving client goals and improving the lives of Pennsylvania residents.
As a self-taught graphic designer, Chris learned most of his extensive technical skills by diving into the challenges presented and learning through experience. He is an expert at using Adobe design products and leveraging technical, analytical and problem-solving skills to create dynamic, high-speed websites that fuel competitive advantage and growth.
Chris credits his time spent serving in the Army with giving him the confidence to try new things, a principle that has guided his life.
Chris is also an owner/operator with friends & family of an 80s retro arcade based in Springfield, Missouri that has been in business since 2005. He plays an active role in his community and is a committee member, website manager and graphic designer for Springfield Black Tie, a charitable fund-raising gala that started in 2003 and has raised more than $1 million for local LGBTQIA+ organizations
Julia Ferritto uses her technical and communication skills to oversee all administrative functions at Parker Philips. As the project assistant, she maintains company calendars and directs incoming and outgoing correspondences.
Julia is a skilled collaborator who coordinates meetings and conference calls, assists with special events, and ensures contact and mailing lists are accurate. As the first point of contact for Parker Philips, she maintains a patient demeanor that sets the tone for positive office interactions.
Prior to joining Parker Philips, Julia engaged with guests at the local Double-A baseball team, the Erie Seawolves. There she worked closely with executives and management staff to create a fun environment for all guests.
An Erie, PA native Julia graduated from Mercyhurst Prep. In her spare time, she enjoys playing volleyball, taking her dog on adventures to Lake Erie, and writing and performing her own music.
Beth Scanio is a detail-oriented professional with more than thirty-years experience in business development, accounting, and marketing. She has an analytical mind that helps Beth understand how to grasp the big picture without losing sight of details.
As the finance director at Parker Philips, Beth manages day-to-day administrative functions including writing contracts, working with vendors, and handling human resource responsibilities. She also analyzes industry trends to help guide Parker Philips in decisions about new projects, pricing, and hiring. Beth carefully scrutinizes opportunities to ensure the business pursues the best options.
Beth is skilled at juggling multiple priorities and at re-inventing herself to meet the evolving demands of her career. She brings that same spirit of resiliency to Parker Philips, where she helps the company evaluate where it is, consider where it wants to go, and then understand the best way to achieve its goals.
For thirty years, Beth has worked in accounting, human resources, and project management positions at a variety of businesses. She worked as the marketing project manager at Hershell Environmental, LLC, a global water treatment consulting firm, and as an accountant and human resources director at Crawford Insurance Agency. Through a range of different work experiences, Beth has become an expert at both project management and the administrative side of the business.
Beth received her bachelor of science in accounting with a minor in marketing from Penn State University. She is an active community volunteer who is involved in mission work through her church.
Nicki Herdson has spent more than two decades immersed in the great art, theory, and practice of communication. From her work as a writer and editor, to her time teaching undergraduates about the writing process, Nicki understands the complexity of the written word and how best to tailor a message to fit the unique needs of an audience.
She worked as the lead researcher, writer, and editor for Election Administration Reports, a trade publication focused on issues of relevance to election administrators. In this capacity, she conducted in-depth research on a range of topics and crafted articles offering practical advice to individuals working in this niche market. Nicki’s professional communication experience also includes positions in writing, editing, and marketing in the public and private sectors. She started her career working as a speechwriter and public information officer for the Secretary of State of Maryland.
As a lecturer in rhetorical communication at York College of Pennsylvania, Nicki shared her expertise in research, writing, and editing with undergraduate students. She taught fundamentals of written, verbal, and visual communication and guided students through each part of the writing process, culminating in a substantial research project. In her classes, Nicki challenged students to think critically about a topic while considering how the author, audience, and context impact how a message is crafted. During her time in academia, Nicki also frequently participated in and presented at conferences on composition and published essays on blogs focused on successful teaching strategies.
Nicki earned a bachelor of arts in communication with minors in writing and journalism from McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College). She graduated with a master of fine arts in creative writing and publishing from the University of Baltimore.