Howdy!

We’re GasPedal, the team behind WordofMouth.org and SocialMedia.org.

We help the good guys win. We work hard. But it’s easy getting out of bed every day when you know you’re helping the good guys at great companies be nicer to their customers.

We like to make it better. We’re constantly looking for ways to make our processes, our words, our services, and our work better. You haven’t seen an office excited until you’ve seen us figure out another hack, workaround, or new idea that makes everyone go, “Ahh! That’s so much better.”

We’re very, very serious people. We have a closet dedicated to fake moustaches, smiley-face pins, whoopee cushions, chocolate bars, and bouncy balls. The way we see it: If you’re going to spend so much of your life at work, you might as well make it worth it.

Community Team

The Community Team runs the SocialMedia.org community. They’re a team of talented and experienced community managers who love helping members have amazing conversations and connections.

The inspiration for our high-level of member care comes from the superhero support teams at Zappos, Southwest Airlines, and Rackspace – and we add our own mix of friendliness, personality, and humor.

Simply: We love thrilling our members. We geek out about this stuff.




Content Team

The Content Team is responsible for pretty pictures and clever words. This team supports SocialMedia.org’s online member center, builds and maintains our public websites, develops all marketing materials, and leads our content marketing strategy. See their work every day at SocialMedia.org’s Big List, WordofMouth.org, and Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That!.




Events Team

We host amazing word of mouth marketing and social media events — and it’s all possible thanks to our Events Team. This team is booking venues, arranging event logistics, running the show, and supporting guest speakers for more than a dozen annual events. See them live in action at the Word of Mouth Crash Course, BlogWell, and Member Meetings.




Community Team

The Community Team is responsible for the growth and health of SocialMedia.org. This team finds new members, gets the right people involved, welcomes them to the family, and makes sure they’re ready for participation on day one.

Learn more about the amazing community they’re building at SocialMedia.org.




Operations Team

The Operations Team is the foundation of the company – they’re the ones making sure the other departments can do what they do best.

They’re paying the bills, coordinating meetings, establishing processes, and recruiting more talented people to join us. They’re process-obsessed and they’re constantly improving the systems that keep us running every day.

If you’re curious, see who this team is recruiting right now.


Laura Berrones

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Laura focuses on making people happy in her role as a Community Manager – Member Experience specialist. She aims to provide each member with a stellar experience when becoming a part of the SocialMedia.org family and is available for questions, comments, and concerns — she has big ears for a reason.

Laura studied communications at Purdue University and quickly realized she loved talking to just about anyone about anything. The only other pastime she had an equal affection for was food — you know eating, cooking, trying new restaurants, and enjoying new flavors. These two strong passions led her through varied roles in the restaurant industry, with the longest focusing on customer satisfaction. It was this role that helped her realize that taking care of folks made her the happiest. She then joined our team to do just that.

Quick facts about Laura:

  • She loves lucky pennies and will pick one up at any cost.
  • She keeps fortune cookie fortunes in her wallet for tiny bursts of positivity.
  • She carried a flip phone until December 2011 and sometimes misses it — weird huh?

Suzie Carter

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As a Community Manager – Member Experience specialist, Suzie takes care of the details so our members can focus on enjoying everything the Council has to offer. She welcomes in new members and makes sure everyone knows how it all works. She’s a self-proclaimed customer service nerd with a passion for people who loves making sure our members have the best experience possible.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Suzie graduated from Louisiana State University and has focused on outstanding service in a variety of roles from barista, to yoga teacher, to fundraising. She loves rocking out with her soon-to-be rockstar 8-year-old son and enjoying everything Austin has to offer.

Quick facts about Suzie:

  • She broke a concrete paver with her hand to earn her black belt.
  • She once found herself on stage with Rob Base.
  • She strongly believes the four basic food groups are coffee, chocolate, cheese, and wine.

Patrick Higgins

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Patrick is a Community Manager and helps foster executive peer-to-peer conversations. He is recognized as an authentic, effective communicator and ensures SocialMedia.org members are building the right relationships and having the best conversations.

Prior to his role at SocialMedia.org, Patrick managed a business roundtable in the oil & gas industry, helping supply chain executives share best practices and insights. A graduate of the University of Texas, Patrick has helped turn several start-ups into local success stories. When he isn’t hard at work, you’ll find him in South Austin, hosting friends at his home and creating new and unique food and drink specialties for everyone to enjoy.

Quick facts about Patrick:

  • Patrick saved a small town from extinction by leading a fire fighting bucket brigade while on spring break. He may or may not have a tattoo to prove it.
  • He once wrangled a herd of Llamas for delivery to Raz’s Exotic Auction, losing only three along the way.
  • He has a lovely wife and two beautiful girls under the age of three that keep things loud around the house.

Erin McDaniel

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As a Community Manager – Moderator, Erin strives to ensure members are talking about the most important topics in social media, feeling connected to one another, and having great conversations every day. She’s an instigator, moderator, connector, and concierge.

Erin graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and has a background in social media, marketing, and PR. Most recently, she was the Community Engagement Manager at Sears Holdings Corporation where she helped develop corporate social media guidelines and directed growth and engagement strategies for their primary social media platforms. She lives in Chicago with her husband and enjoys the ever-changing restaurant scene, running along the lake path, and all the awesomeness that is Chicago in the summer.

Quick facts about Erin:

  • She started using social media for marketing when it was called “blogger outreach” and “talking with users.”
  • Some of her favorite dinner conversations consist of talking about food: the food being eaten, the dish coming up next, and restaurants to try. This is also why she runs several miles every week.

Lauren Clevenger

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As a Community Manager – Moderator, Lauren strives to deliver the best customer experience possible for our members. She’s passionate about social media and loves connecting big brands’ social leaders in new and meaningful ways.

Lauren graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and has a background in customer service, social media, and community management. Most recently, she was the Community Manager with GameSalad, a software development company that allows anyone to be a game developer. She lives in Austin along with her husband, their Boston Terrier, and two cats.

Quick facts about Lauren:

  • She was born and raised in New Orleans and can make great jambalaya.
  • She had a Top-Chef-owned restaurant cater her wedding.
  • She had a very minor brush with fame when she was an extra in the 1993 film, Undercover Blues.

Courtney Graham

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As a Community Manager – Member Experience specialist, Courtney is a customer service enthusiast who loves to take care of people. She geeks out over the processes that make a healthy community and strives each day to empower our members to make the most of the Council.

A Texas native, Courtney studied Government at the University of Texas at Austin. She’s always had a role focused on helping people — from working a summer snow cone stand to managing publics affairs and member care at the Texas Travel Industry Association. She loves traveling, live music, old movies, classic cocktails with friends, and wandering through historic cemeteries.

Quick facts about Courtney:

  • Growing up in the country, her favorite activity was playing in the “crik” and hunting for “crawdads.”
  • She’s not a natural redhead, but she burns and freckles like one.
  • The Little Prince is her favorite book, and she’s read it at least once a year since she was eight.

Megan Uithoven

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As a Community Manager – Member Experience specialist, Megan welcomes new members to our community and ensures they know how to use the amazing resources that are available within the Council. She’s passionate about great service — she started training for this role at age 14 waiting tables at the local cafe. After college she interned at Walt Disney World and spent seven years as a project manager in the restoration industry helping people restore their lives after floods and fires.

When not providing world-class care, she loves embarking on urban adventures with her family, attending music festivals, and sipping IPAs.

Quick facts about Megan:

  • She was a Girl Scout until she graduated high school. She’s serious about cookies.
  • She went to college in Winona, Minnesota and thinks the bluffs in the fall are a must-see. Have a Walnut Burger at the Trempealeau Hotel while you’re there.

Kurt Vanderah

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Kurt is the VP of Community of SocialMedia.org and the general manager of our Chicago office. He works closely with the Councils of SocialMedia.org, advancing the conversation about social media and connecting executives across the Fortune 1000. He takes great pride in the honor of working with leaders of social media efforts at big brands and helping them talk with one another to make social media a more integral and reliable part of doing daily business.

A University of Illinois graduate, Kurt’s first life was in radio, including more than a dozen years at WGN-AM in Chicago. Kurt came to SocialMedia.org in 2008, encouraged by the company’s firm belief that doing good business can be fun. And so far, so good.

Quick facts about Kurt:

  • He has seen major league baseball games in 45 stadiums, past and present.
  • He loves his job so much, he happily makes the daily 90-minute commute. Each way.
  • His favorite travel destination is home, where he can see his wife and two beautiful kids.

Bridgette Cude

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As a writer for our SocialMedia.org and WordofMouth.org content team, Bridgette compiles great ideas and case studies into interesting, actionable content. She loves supporting the good guys and encouraging others to join them by teaching them how to earn fans and get them talking.

Bridgette graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in English, some experience teaching high school, and a cool husband. After college, she began writing for a dental marketing company near Fort Worth. But after learning too much about root canals and moving to the Hill Country, she joined our crew of writers.

Quick facts about Bridgette:

  • She’s from a tiny town in North Texas that’s still not as small as Cale’s.
  • She loves Argentine tango and cafe racers.
  • It’s “Cude” like “dude,” but with a “C.”

Cale Johnson

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As Editor and VP of Content, Cale leads the content team in their mission to create great content, earn loyal fans, and have reasonably non-broken websites. He’s part copywriter, part editor, and part project manager.

Cale has a degree in journalism from Drake University and got his start covering sports for The Des Moines Register. After two years in Chicago, Cale’s now part of the Austin SocialMedia.org crew. He lives with his wife and their three cats (yes, three — it’s a Brady Bunch scenario), and he’s a big fan of the town’s BBQ, outdoor adventures, and days under 110 degrees.

Quick facts about Cale:

  • He rides a Harley (but doesn’t own leather chaps).
  • His hometown is smaller than yours.
  • He once ate fried butter and lived to tell about it.

Kristen Platt

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As Content Producer for SocialMedia.org, Kristen supports the team by writing, editing, and coordinating content for our blogs, newsletters, and public websites. She also manages the editorial calendar, helps with event marketing, and is even known to break out her graphic design skills now and then.

Kristen is one of the few Chicago natives on the team and will openly brag about her city to anyone who will listen. She received a bachelor’s degree in advertising and design from DePaul University while interning for SocialMedia.org and, because we all got along so well, decided to stick around as a full-time part of our crew.

Quick facts about Kristen:

  • She attends, on average, at least one live concert a week.
  • She owns over 15 different kinds of wigs (and wears them often).
  • She once got fourth place in a Ms. Pac Man arcade tournament.

Peter Wiley

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As the Designer for SocialMedia.org, Peter supports the team by tackling all of the design challenges and odd jobs related to web and print design. His days consist of fixing broken websites, updating page layouts, designing web graphics, and keeping everything looking nice and tidy.

Peter has a degree in sociology from the University of Michigan. He got his first job in graphic design when he started designing and illustrating for the university’s engineering textbooks. Since switching up the scenery with his move to the Austin office, he has found that designing for SocialMedia.org is a lot more interesting than drawing pictures of circuit diagrams.

Quick facts about Peter:

  • He owns a handful of vintage synthesizers and makes electronic music in his spare time.
  • His favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is Total Recall.
  • He loves cats but is incredibly allergic to them.

Erica Alatorre

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As Event Producer for SocialMedia.org, Erica sweats the details. There’s nothing she likes more than having an event go off without a hitch.

Erica has a marketing degree from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Right after college she moved to Austin, TX and started working for the Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association (TACA). After almost five years at TACA, she was ready for a change and decided SocialMedia.org was the answer. As the only native Texan in the office, she’s likely the only person using the term “y’all.”

Quick facts about Erica:

  • She has a spoiled dachshund named Holly.
  • She always has a nicely stocked inventory of markers and crayons.
  • She was born in Corpus Christi, TX. No, she didn’t know Selena.

Jill McClure

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Jill first fell in love with Austin as a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a Master’s degree in Advertising. She spent five years in corporate communications in the high tech industry, and as a professor of event design and conference management at Austin Community College. After a 7 year hiatus to Denver as the Chief Operating Officer of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, she’s happy to be back in Austin and heading up the Events Team at GasPedal.

She and her husband are the parents of two kids, and a Welsh Corgi. They enjoy real estate investing, live music and camping in their spare time.

Quick facts about Jill:

  • She’s a former radio dj and talk show host.
  • She’s worked with some interesting keynote speakers over the years. A few of her favorites were Robert Kennedy, Jr., T. Boone Pickens, and Ellen’s mom Betty DeGeneres.
  • She found her love for events early! Her first job was as a birthday party coordinator at age 14.
  • She once owned and lived in a house modeled after a Japanese monastery.

Lauren Alexander

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As a Community Evangelist, Lauren plays the role of matchmaker. She enjoys connecting with senior social media strategists and helping them determine if they should be a part of the SocialMedia.org family.

Lauren is passionate about helping visionaries realize their dreams. In a past life, she worked in the nonprofit development world, where she supported donors in aligning their investments with programs and projects that make the world a better place. Today, she’s proud to be part of a community that empowers smart and genuine social media leaders to be even better at doing the work that makes big companies more generous, ethical, and kind.

Lauren attended The University of Texas at Austin where she earned undergraduate degrees in Radio-TV-Film and Psychology as well as a graduate degree in Public Affairs.

Quick facts about Lauren:

  • Lauren is known for keeping her glass half full – full of iced tea.
  • She craves sand between her toes and hikes in the mountains.
  • Her guilty pleasure is catching two movies on a weekend afternoon.

Francie Gremillion

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As a member of SocialMedia.org’s Community Team, Francie helps keep the community healthy for our members by finding other great brands to join their ranks. She’s a liaison for potential members to the SocialMedia.org community.

Francie graduated with a degree in communications from St. Edward’s University. In her free time, Francie enjoys volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & South Texas, where she interned while in school. She also enjoys hanging out with her cat and absorbing the Austin culture.

Quick facts about Francie:

  • She was the college mascot while at St. Edward’s and swears she could beat Ryan in the Taco Bell Saucy Sprint.
  • Ironically, she studied abroad in France.
  • She aspires to own a zoo.

Travis Kenney

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As a Community Evangelist, Travis is on a mission to find generous, ethical, and kind social media leaders at the world’s greatest brands and invite them to join the SocialMedia.org community.

Travis is a native Austinite and loves all the city has to offer. He married his high school sweetheart and spends time away from work hiking, biking, going to his kids’ soccer and flag football games, and spending time with family and friends — preferably outdoors. (Except when it’s hot.)

Quick facts about Travis:

  • He is a fifth-generation Texan, and his family was one of the first 300 families to settle in Texas.
  • His favorite quote is from Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
  • He’s been to a taping of The Johnny Carson Show and once danced with Conan O’Brien and an elderly woman before a taping of Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

Evette Tan

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As our Director of Community Relations, Evette manages and optimizes all of the tech, tools, and toys we get to work with every day.

Evette got her bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of the Philippines before packing her bags and moving halfway across the world for a master’s degree in marketing communications from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She joined SocialMedia.org as an intern and loved it so much, she never left.

Quick facts about Evette:

  • One of her favorite things about living in Chicago is actually the weather.
  • She enjoys going on road trips to watch hockey in all sorts of awesome cities.
  • She once had a speaking part on a Broadway musical.

Don Vanderslice

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As a Community Evangelist for SocialMedia.org, Don is a connector and a storyteller. He’s passionate about sharing the SocialMedia.org experience with others. He helps social media leaders at the world’s biggest brands understand what our community is all about and invites them to be a part of it.

After spending the first years of his professional life working with high school students, Don started a church in downtown Austin. It wasn’t a very normal one (in a good way), and with a number of artists and musicians as members, the church became home to an alternative art gallery, a volunteer-run bike space, a music venue, and art studios. Somewhere along the way, Don caught the digital bug, began work at a web start-up, had a blast, played some ping-pong, and then joined forces with SocialMedia.org.

Quick facts about Don:

  • Don loves hip-hop, running, Flannery O’Connor, the NBA, and bicycles.
  • He once hung out with Mother Theresa, and he’s also hung out with Rakim of Eric B. & Rakim.
  • He’s got a super cool wife and two kids who, like their mom, are super cool.

Peter Waldheim

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Peter Waldheim serves as Senior Strategist for SocialMedia.org, focusing on the social media needs of top global brands operating within large-scale corporate environments. An expert in framing messages, communicating content, and engaging the public, Peter previously served as Interim CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, Senior Strategist for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Online Operations, and CEO for the Association of Interactive Media.

Peter first became interested in how you can influence public opinion during his involvement in the American civil rights movement during the late 60′s. Since then he has served as a consultant to more than 80 nonprofit organizations, more than two dozen Democratic senators, congressmen, and national political organizations, as well as working with senior marketing executives from many of the world’s most distinguished brands and marketing agencies.

Ryan Ronayne

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As a member of SocialMedia.org’s Community Team, Ryan helps keep the community healthy for our members by finding other great brands to join their ranks. He’s a liaison for potential members to the SocialMedia.org community.

Ryan has a degree in marketing communications from Columbia College Chicago. He completed eight internships during his collegiate career, including his favorite at SocialMedia.org. After getting over his sports interest (five internships), he started his career at SocialMedia.org using his communication skills to find other talented social media leaders to join SocialMedia.org. He loves living in Austin and enjoys the local food trucks and sporting events.

Quick facts about Ryan:

  • He went 3-0 in the Taco Bell Saucy Sprint mascot races at Minute Maid Park.
  • Even though he’s now two inches taller than Ryan, he’ll always call his younger brother “smalls.”
  • He volunteers weekly to jog dogs around Town Lake.

Amanda Canada

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As the Director of VIP Relations, Amanda maintains extraordinary relationships with the friends of GasPedal. From initial request to resolution, she enjoys talking with everyone and making sure their expectations are met.

Amanda was born and raised in San Angelo, Texas. She graduated from Angelo State University with a bachelor’s degree in communications specializing in Advertising and Public Relations. She has worked at a variety of places that include everything from an advertising agency to a small town newspaper to politics. She recently moved from Washington, D.C. to Austin where she lives with her husband and two dogs.

Quick facts about Amanda:

  • She once worked for a Congressman in the United States House of Representatives.
  • She adores Snickers and Skittles, her two Chihuahuas.
  • She sounds more Texan than George Strait.

Andy Sernovitz

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Andy Sernovitz teaches word of mouth marketing.

He’s the New York Times bestselling author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking and the fantastic blog “Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That!”

Andy runs SocialMedia.org, the community for social media leaders at the world’s greatest brands, and WordofMouth.org, where marketers and entrepreneurs learn to be great at word of mouth marketing.

He’s the leader of the word of mouth movement, which teaches companies to earn the respect and recommendation oftheir customers. He’s passionate about marketing ethics and travels the country teaching companies how to be nicer to people.

Andy taught word of mouth marketing at Northwestern University and internet entrepreneurship at the Wharton School of Business, ran a business incubator, and started half a dozen companies. He created the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and the Association for Interactive Marketing.

Quick facts about Andy:

  • He has testified before Congress three times.
  • He was on the Ali G Show.
  • He once sauntered 32 miles around the coast of Manhattan.

Kevin Neuse

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Kevin is the VP of Operations for GasPedal, and brings with him more that than 15 years experience at similar high-growth companies. His main responsibilities here are running accounting, human resources, and technology functions — but he takes great pride in just making sure the trains run on time. He has owned his own businesses, including a consulting practice that helped entrepreneurs and startups succeed in business. He continues to help entrepreneurs by mentoring in his spare time.

Kevin is a fifth-generation Texan who met his wife while they were students at Texas A&M. Of their four kids, three are, or will be, Aggies. In keeping with A&M’s spirit of service, Kevin has participated at a leadership level in community-based organizations such as parent-teacher organizations, booster clubs, youth sports associations, the City of Lakeway Parks and Recreation Commission, and others. None were as much fun as coaching his kids’ teams in soccer and basketball. None were more rewarding than serving foster children through board service at Caring Family Network, and now DePelchin Children’s Center.

Quick facts about Kevin:

  • He briefly owned the first home run ball hit by a Texas Ranger at Arlington Stadium (Frank Howard, April 21, 1972).
  • He plays fantasy football, basketball, and baseball because he loves sports statistics.
  • He once managed a steak house and BBQ restaurant, but can’t steam broccoli.

Brian Parks

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Brian Parks has almost two decades of leadership experience. As VP of Community for SocialMedia.org, Brian is responsible for the recruitment of new members and partners.

Brian came to SocialMedia.org from a successful background helping technology startups grow revenues and build maturity through sales and business development.

Brian’s experience leading teams of people that talk to people started 20 years ago when he ran a Marble Slab Creamery in high school (His favorite flavor? Coffee and vanilla mixed with heath bar). Focused on the fundamentals of teaching and coaching, Brian emphasizes asking questions and telling stories to help people solve their problems.

Brian Parks has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion from Baylor University.

Evan Perkins

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As a Community Evangelist for SocialMedia.org, Evan loves connecting with social media leaders at the world’s greatest brands. He is passionate about great conversations and spends his time sharing the story of SocialMedia.org with potential members of our community.

Before coming to SocialMedia.org, Evan was involved in enterprise tech sales. He also spent a season of his life as a pastor at an inner-city church called Scum of the Earth. When he’s not making friends with potential new members, Evan loves riding his bike, touring breweries and whiskey distilleries, and spending time with his much better half, Lauren.

Evan has an undergraduate degree in business administration from Baylor University and a Masters of Divinity from Denver Seminary.

Quick facts about Evan:

  • He once built a boat for his girlfriend (it didn’t sink; they’re now married).
  • He is a huge coffee snob.
  • One time, while swimming about 50 miles off the coast, he witnessed a fin emerge from the water and absolutely panicked as he awaited his imminent death by shark. It turned out to be a dolphin, but he hasn’t tried swimming in the ocean since.

Preston Firestone

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Preston has led human resources and recruiting operations for GasPedal and its clients since 1999. He has served in similar positions with a variety of new media companies as well as traditional consulting enterprises. Preston spent five years on the road with The Vanilla Fudge and raises pet mudsharks. Preston isn’t real, but most job applicants don’t read this far.

Anita Niedermeier

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Anita’s job is to provide high-quality interaction with members of the telemarketing, spam, and salesperson community. She receives their requests, responds politely, and deletes them. She has led this operation for GasPedal and its clients since 2000. Prior to GasPedal, she sold used doormats and empty toilet paper rolls on eBay. Anita may be a fictional character.

JoAnn Mytyk

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As an Operations Specialist, JoAnn has her hands in a bit of everything: Events, travel, relationships, and general office functions. She loves to please and strives to make sure everyone’s completely satisfied.

JoAnn hails from the tiny town of Dubina, Texas, population 45. She attended Texas A&M where she studied Environmental Design. After completing her degree, she ran away and joined the circus, working with Cirque du Soleil. But it was time to come back home to Texas and settle in after ten years on the road. She brings her experience and passion for travel, event, and production coordinating with her to GasPedal.

Quick facts about JoAnn:

  • She’s traveled to over 30 countries and lived in six of them (seven, if you count Texas).
  • She has an unnatural addiction to her favorite podcasts: Stuff You Should Know, This American Life, and Radiolab, to name a few.
  • She’s working with her husband to build their new family home — a tree house.

Michelle Rich

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As an Operations Specialist, Michelle does whatever is needed to help make our Austin office run smoothly. This involves helping with various accounting, purchasing, and customer service functions. She loves to make people happy, so if she can help you, she will!

Michelle grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied marketing at Penn State. She moved to Austin three years ago with her fiancé to escape the cold, and she couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out. She is also mildly obsessed with her little dog, Darcy, and will show you pictures any chance she gets.

Quick facts about Michelle:

  • Michelle can sing you “Happy Birthday” in Polish. (Sto Lat!)
  • She loves baking, although, she can never find enough time to make everything she wants.
  • She grew up in the Northeast but has a Southern accent.

Keesha Galindo

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Keesha is the VP of Talent for GasPedal and has been focused on talent acquisition and training for most of career. She began her start-up career with GoDaddy.com in Scottsdale, Arizona, worked for the founders of Art.com, then RetailMeNot.com before landing at GasPedal. The core mission of the company, “we spend our days helping the good guys win,” is what attracted her this company and ultimately these people.

Keesha and her husband, David, are major DIY’ers and spend most of their weekends outside trying to create the perfect backyard for their active three-year-old son. They enjoy hosting backyard BBQs, seafood boils and play dates.

Quick facts about Keesha:

  • She wears a New Kids on the Block jacket aroundthe office.
  • She has the same Meyers-Briggs profile as QueenElizabeth and Warren Buffett.
  • Her DiSC profile says she’s a mix between Cher and Charlie Brown.

Dick Werner

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Born and raised in Cincinnati, Dick earned a BSBA in Accounting from Xavier University. After graduation, he joined the Marine Corps and stayed for 23 years, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with specialties in Armor and Intelligence (he’s heard every bad joke about “Military Intelligence” being an oxymoron) and serving in 16 countries and seven states.

In 2000, Dick retired from the military and joined Fidelity Investments as an Operations Manager and Risk Analyst, and briefly worked for a non-profit in Cincinnati. Then, it was a busy year for Dick in 2013 — selling two houses, moving across the country, marrying his incredible wife, and starting his new job as our Operations Director in Austin. Dick also has two daughters — one studying at the University of Cincinnati and one with a successful dog walking business in Washington D.C.

Quick facts about Dick:

  • He once had lunch with a Saudi prince in a tent in the middle of the Sahara Desert and had tea and cookies with the Ambassador to Belize on his front porch.
  • His nickname in the Marine Corps was Flip because he rolled a tank down an embankment. Luckily, the Marine Corps forgave him.
  • Dick’s only remaining at-home child is a Wheaten Terrier mix named Riley.

Dana Ryall

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As an Executive Assistant and Chicago Office Manger, Dana is a master at juggling hats. She spends her days managing multiple schedules and making sure the Chicago office runs smoothly. Dana loves the element of surprise and enjoys being able to anticipate the needs of her teammates before they even ask.

Dana grew up in the small town of Winnebago, IL. After high school, she enlisted in the United States Army. After eight years and a tour in Afghanistan, she hung up her hat as a Sergeant. Her civilian career includes managing the business end of a music festival and being appointed a municipal clerk. Dana is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Western Governor’s University.

Quick facts about Dana:

  • She collects old cook books, but can’t properly fry an egg.
  • She volunteer’s with the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary, the Special Olympics, and is a member of IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association).
  • In the summertime, she can be found with her daughter either on the beach or roaming the streets of Chicago in search of the perfect cheeseburger.

Sharon Gilmartin

Email Sharon

As a Community Manager – Member Experience specialist, Sharon is the welcome party to help members kick-start their experience and continue to reap all of the benefits the Council has to offer. She’s happy when our members are happy, and she’ll do whatever she can to make sure every member has the best experience possible.

Sharon graduated from University of North Carolina for her undergraduate degree and the University of Washington for her master’s degree. With seven years under her belt working in Public Health, Sharon has a long tradition of working to make the world and our experiences in it a little bit better. She shares equal passion for UNC basketball, baking cakes, and taking on any outdoor activity she can find. She recently moved to Chicago with her husband from Washington, DC.

Quick facts about Sharon:

  • She has a deep love for crossword puzzles and does them daily.
  • She climbed Mt. St. Helen’s and has the pictures to prove it.
  • She can wiggle her ears one at a time.