Put our skills, experience and
bright ideas to work for you.
Cheray Keyes-Shima, APR, CPRC
In 1998, Cheray joined forces with Chris Carroll, APR, CPRC, to create KSC. Today, she specializes in the development and execution of marketing and public relations strategies for a wide variety of local and regional clients. She also serves as Executive Director of the Florida Public Relations Association, the field’s premier professional organization in the state of Florida. Over the course of her career, Cheray has experienced nearly all aspects of the marketing, public relations and advertising industries. She earned her undergraduate degree in public relations from Florida State University and is Accredited and Certified in Public Relations. She began her career assisting the United Way of Sarasota County during their annual campaign period. She then spent seven years as Community Development Director for First Step, Inc., a local provider of substance abuse treatment, where she was tasked with building the organization’s first public relations department. By the time she left, Cheray managed a staff of seven and a sizeable budget. Over the years, Cheray has received a number of honors for her work in the public relations industry, including several ADDYs and FPRA Golden Image Awards. In 2017, she received the Dillin Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Florida Public Relations Association. In addition to being honored for her professional achievements, Cheray has been recognized for her local volunteer work, which dates back over a decade. She has been a particularly active advocate for The Florida Center for Early Childhood Development. She served as the organization’s Board Chair in 2014 and 2015, and received an award for outstanding board service in 2016. Cheray and her husband Mike have two sons. Ryan, a student at the University of Central Florida, is a talented techie with an interest in video production. Colton, meanwhile, is a middle schooler who loves camping with his dad and Y-Guide friends. Between her family, her business and her volunteer commitments, Cheray isn’t left with much free time. When she does find a few minutes to herself, however, she enjoys watching documentaries, reading and exercising.
Melanie C. Reda, APR, CPRC
Having worked in agencies and corporate marketing departments for more than 25 years, Melanie has experience in all aspects of marketing, communication and public relations. She specializes in crafting strategies that reach target audiences and drive results. Melanie began her career in marketing and public relations by interning at Walt Disney World and at a PR agency that specialized in the comic book industry. Since then, her career has taken a decidedly more practical slant with employers and clients in retail, publishing, software development, medical management, and commercial insurance, among other fields. Before joining KSC in 2020, Melanie led corporate communications and digital strategy at FCCI Insurance Group in Sarasota for more than eight years. Regardless of the industry or subject matter, Melanie thrives on developing communication strategies that make human connections through emotional touch points. Melanie graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a concentration in Public Relations. She has been a member of the Florida Public Relations Association since 2011 and has held multiple positions on the board of the Central West Coast chapter, including chapter president in 2021-2022. In 2019, she earned her Accreditation in Public Relations and was also recognized with the Thomas Nunan Rising Star award. In 2020, she became a Certified Public Relations Counselor. She has two sons that are her pride and joy. She loves spending time at the beach, traveling and learning new things.
Erin Hoffer, MA, APR, CPRC
Erin has worked at KSC since November 2018. Prior to this, she spent more than 11 years with Sarasota County’s largest city, the City of North Port, as a professional government communicator in which she led many marketing, public relations, and advertising initiatives. She graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications in 2002, and then later graduated with a master’s in communications with a specialization in social media in 2016. She is a 2008 graduate of the Gulf Coast Leadership Institute. Erin worked as a journalist for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune from 2003 to 2007. Erin earned her Accreditation in Public Relations in 2019 and became a Certified Public Relations Counselor in 2020. Erin has received several honors during her career in public relations, including Savvy Awards, a Golden Image Award and national speaking engagements. In her spare time, she sings and plays the acoustic guitar.
In addition to working as KSC’s office manager, Jill also serves as the member relations coordinator of the Florida Public Relations Association. She has worked in sales and marketing for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Bradenton Herald. More recently, she served as member operations coordinator for the Plastics Industry Trade Association. Jill is a strong proponent of developing long-standing, positive relationships, and she enjoys interacting with clients on a regular basis. She is a graduate of Central Michigan University where she majored in Fine Art. She and her husband have lived in this area for several years, and have devoted much time and energy to raising their two children. Jack is a Lieutenant with the U.S. Navy as an Aviator and Deana is employed with LECOM in Lakewood Ranch. With her children now grown, Jill enjoys spending her free time creating screen printed artistic apparel, and she still enjoys spending time with her family.
Rachel joined the KSC team in September 2019 as a programmer. She graduated with honors from St. Petersburg College, where she studied web development. As a student, she interned with the Red Tent Women’s Initiative, an organization that aims to improve the lives of women through community building. As an intern, she managed the Initiative’s website, moving it to a new domain, optimizing page load speed and creating content. Originally from New Hampshire, Rachel moved to Florida to pursue a degree in nursing at the University of South Florida, before making a career change. In her free time, Rachel keeps in touch with her friends up north, in addition to working on her personal website. She also enjoys drawing, reading and playing video games, as well as hanging out with her hamster, Hannibal.
Leslie has worked in graphic design and electronic publishing since 1988, and she began working in web development in 2005. She has been building websites (like this one!) for KSC since 2014. Leslie has been married to a government policy attorney since 2002, and they have two adorable beagles. Leslie graduated from Penn State University, where she studied liberal arts and communications. She lives up North, and prefers traveling to cooler climates, including Alaska. For Leslie, her vocation is also her avocation, so her free time is often spent learning about new technology, gadgets and software. She also enjoys reading a good thriller every now and then.
Megan has worked at KSC since November 2015. In that time, she has assisted in the creation of several websites (including this one), written and distributed countless press releases, and collaborated with our graphic designer on the development of numerous print pieces. Megan has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and has contributed stories to major publications including Sports Illustrated and Vice. She grew up in Sarasota and attended Pine View School, before graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in art history from Florida State University. She enjoys international travel, having worked as a researcher for NBC at the Rio and PyeongChang Olympics, and as a staff writer for a Cape Town-based magazine publisher. She’s also an avid sports fan and a voracious reader. Her favorite team is the Tampa Bay Rays and her favorite author is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Jake Hartvigsen, MBA, MS
Senior Marketing Consultant
CEO, Brand Underground Marketing & Communications
From the international travel industry to education, social awareness, manufacturing and sports, Jake has more than 30 years’ experience helping businesses develop marketing and communication strategies to meet their corporate and customer needs. He is the former director of marketing for a leading international adventure travel company and spent nearly ten years as the director of public affairs for one of the country’s top liberal arts colleges, before launching his own consulting business in 2013. He holds both a MBA and a master’s degree in English, as well as being an accomplished writer and photographer. All give him a unique understanding of business management and growth with an emphasis on brand building, corporate marketing strategy, media and public relations, promotions, advertising, publishing, website and social media development, and multimedia communications. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Jake has completed both the New York City and Marine Corps Marathons, competed in numerous triathlons, and hiked and bicycled in 10 different countries. He is also a devoted husband, dad and craft beer enthusiast.