When Brenda Thompson founded her boutique agency in 2003, she was already a seasoned professional whose career encompassed journalism, public relations, and marketing.
Prior to launching Brenda Thompson Communications, she led several account service teams at a top Texas PR firm, for clients including Seton Healthcare Family, Four Seasons Residences, St. Edward’s University, and Capital Metro.
Earlier in her career, Brenda was vice president of marketing for United Way for Greater Austin, where her accomplishments included re-branding the organization and managing an event involving more than 200 companies and 2,000 volunteers. She served as PR and publications director for St. Edward’s University, with responsibilities including leading the institution’s external marketing and communications efforts.
She began her career in journalism, as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor after graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She later studied for a master’s in business administration degree with an emphasis on marketing at St. Edward’s University.
An enthusiastic advocate for causes as well as clients, Thompson serves on the board of directors for Ballet Austin. She previously served on the boards of Austin’s Sustainable Food Center, ZACH Theatre, Leadership Austin, and the Girl Scouts; and was a founding board member of The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. Brenda Thompson Communications sponsors and/or provides pro bono services to the Texas Book Festival, Sustainable Food Center, Emancipet, and ZACH Theatre.
She was one of the founders of the now-international Social Media Club, organized for the purpose of sharing best practices, establishing ethics and standards, and promoting social media literacy. She’s been a finalist twice for the Austin Business Journal’s Profiles in Power awards, and was included in the Austin American Statesman’s Out & About 500 List for five years. Her work for previous employers received a number of national awards, including from the Council for Advancement and Support of Higher Education.
Allison Baron has worked at Brenda Thompson Communications since 2012, when she was hired as an intern while a student at Texas State University. She came highly recommended by one of Texas State’s top professors of public relations, and quickly proved herself an invaluable asset with her strong work ethic and creative ideas. After graduating summa cum laude, she began working full-time at the firm, and after two years was promoted to account executive.
Allison works on all of Brenda Thompson Communications’ clients, and also manages the intern program. Her areas of expertise include social media strategy and management, media relations, and visual communications.
Allison is a member of the Women Communicators of Austin, Public Relations Society of America, National Association of Professional Women, Golden Key International Honor Society, and Alpha Chi, the national college honor society. She has been a volunteer for local organizations including Well Aware, Sustainable Food Center, and All Blind Children of Texas.
Mary Summerall develops marketing materials for companies ranging from promising startups to global corporations. Much of her work is in writing business-to-business communications for technology companies, particularly articles, white papers, case studies, and other documents that make technical or specialized information interesting and accessible to a more-general business audience. She also has a significant practice in online and interactive writing that includes ebooks, website content, and video scripts.
Mary began her career as an advertising copywriter, ultimately becoming a creative director before leaving that position in the early 1990s to work as a freelance writer focusing on marketing communications. She has a master of arts degree in English from The University of Texas at Austin.
Melissa Ek (that’s pronounced “eeeek!”) is the owner and creative mind of ekMEDIA. Her career began as a magazine layout designer in Virginia Beach and has grown into a successful, independent design business over the last 16 years. She has designed, coded, and launched two websites for brendathompson.com in addition to creating websites and collateral materials for a number of Brenda Thompson Communications clients.
Melissa specializes in WordPress websites, clean layout, and fast turnaround, always on time and within budget. Melissa works with a wide range of clients from locally-owned businesses to worldwide powerhouses. Her clients are scattered across the United States with the majority of them in Texas.
In addition to website design and WordPress customization, Melissa provides design services including print design (stationery, flyers, brochures), infographic design, social media design, and website maintenance.