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About

Arizona Papago Park peaking through to Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ

About IABC Phoenix

The Phoenix chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators is the Valley of the Sun’s most comprehensive resource for communications professionals. Named the world’s best chapter five times, IABC Phoenix is part of a global not-for-profit network designed to provide industry practitioners with a full menu of resources – from networking and professional development to sharing best practices and recognizing award-winning work.

With more than 100 chapters in 60 countries and more than 13,500 members, IABC is the leading resource for public relations and communications professionals who are dedicated to improving personal and organizational effectiveness through strategic communications management.

Executive Board

Jennifer Henrich

President

Jenn currently works at VirTra, as a Marketing and Sales Administrator. Along with over 5 years of experience in the meetings and tradeshow industry, she loves reading and editing new research articles in the communication field. She has published one scholarly article on her own, but is always looking for a new topic to explore! She currently has her MA in Communication from Johns Hopkins University. In her free time Jenn can be found: discovering new restaurants, hiking, reading, or trying to get her new puppy used to the outdoors!

Heather Thornton

VP of Finance & Secretary

Heather Thornton brings fifteen years of dynamic professional experience in developing and implementing internal and external strategic communications that support brand-building and business objectives for complex organizations across corporate and social sectors, including Fortune 100 companies, and in-house and agency capacities. She balances creative and critical thinking to help clients and teams harness the power of communications, PR, and marketing to support organizational goals and reputation.

After earning her bachelor’s degree from Wagner College and working for global firms and brands in New York City, Heather relocated to her hometown of Phoenix in 2013. Since then, she gained nonprofit experience and homed in on purposeful work with missions that align with her values of community development and environmental sustainability–she feels strongly about and is deeply engaged in the advancement of Arizona. Notably, Heather was the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for the local Arizona Cactus-Pine Girl Scouts Council for nearly seven years. In November 2021, she assumed the Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications position for the Center for the Future of Arizona with great excitement to develop its brand and marketing/communications functions. She also serves on the board of Phoenix Music Conservatory, a 501 ©(3) providing free and low-cost music lessons and programs for K-12 kids.

Heather is adventurous and will try almost anything at least once. She is an avid foodie and home chef and has been developing some technical skills through a classic French culinary course in her free time. She has a background in musical theatre and the arts and replenishes energy by seeing shows and visiting galleries and museums. Heather resides in Moon Valley with her husband and loves being outdoors, whether relaxing, hiking, swimming, playing tennis or badminton.

Alanna Vitucci

Vice President of Communications

Dr. Alanna Vitucci serves as the Director of Public Relations for Universal Technical Institute. Alanna graduated from William Woods University with a BA in business administration, as well from the University of Phoenix with an MBA in Global Management and a DBA from Northcentral University. She has more than 25 years of communications experience, including crisis management, public relations, internal communications, social media, corporate culture and organizational leadership. She has led communications teams at Zovio, Vertex Education, Early Warning Services, Northcentral University, University of Phoenix, Countrywide, American Express and Phillips Petroleum. She currently teaches public relations and media writing for the University of Arizona Global Campus as an adjunct faculty member.

Leslie Beckhoff

VP of Professional Development

Leslie Beckhoff has spent most of her 30 years in Public Relations navigating the world of communications in Corporate America. She spent 20 of those years with the DuPont Company in numerous roles including two years in the corporate media relations office and leading critical communications planning and execution in the worldwide Specialty Chemicals business. Working with manufacturing operations in the Northeast, she delivered internal communications and community outreach support with an emphasis in environmental and labor issues.

In addition, she did a short stint with The Dallas Morning News, and an agency in Dallas before becoming the Director of Media, Marketing and Promotions for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s local organizing committee for the U.S. Olympic Festival-’89 in Oklahoma City.

Leslie has a B.A. in Government and Economics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Julia Wallace Smith, ABC

Past President

Julia Wallace Smith is a writer and editor who enjoys turning complex, technical information into understandable and compelling information. Currently employed with Gainwell Technologies, Julia works closely with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration to plan and develop communications and reference materials for Indiana Medicaid providers. Julia has worked in many industries, including healthcare, finance, commercial, and manufacturing. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi and is certified as an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) through the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Julia enjoys traveling to new places and spending time with family, friends, and her two adopted dogs.

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