Working harder than the competition, being fearless and having a solid strategy for success are good first steps. You also need a motivated support team that’s ready to push the boundaries and help you reach that next level.
Family: Beautiful wife of 28 years, Shelly; sons Shane, Spencer and Preston; daughter Victoria; faithful hound Bauer
College(s)/Degree(s): Baylor University (BBA in Marketing & Management; president of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity); Harvard Business School (MBA)
Career Highlights: Cut my marketing teeth as Director of Worldwide Sales Promotion at American Airlines, where I negotiated deals with the World Cup, NFL, NBA, NCAA, U.S. Ski Team and America’s Cup. Served as Sr. VP of Marketing & Member Services at the National Association of Manufacturers, and president of The Manufacturing Institute, in Washington, DC. Won PRSA’s Silver Anvil Award for the NAM’s Centennial Year Celebration. Founded Champion in 2002 and am now proud to lead the best damn PR agency in the land.
I love my job, but I’d rather be … quarterbacking the Miami Dolphins. (I couldn’t be any worse, right?)
Bet you didn’t know I … was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing in 2011 for my series of op-eds on the dangers of urban gas drilling; was named Fantasy Football Writer of the Year in 2010 and 2011 for my nationally syndicated newspaper column; hosted a national fantasy football show for three years on Sporting News Radio; co-own the Grapevine Wine Tours; drove in candidate Ronald Reagan’s entourage as a high school senior; negotiated AA’s official airline partner contract for Oprah directly with Oprah herself; rewrote the in-flight scene in the original Home Alone; shared a sushi dinner with Hulk Hogan (like, he literally ate some of the sushi off my plate); went sailing with Dennis Conner; and hate name-droppers.
Eric is an expert in small business growth and retail/consumer marketing. Over the last 15 years, Eric has taken struggling companies and turned them into strong, profitable businesses using his sales, marketing and customer service expertise. Eric is also a passionate fan of LSU football.
College(s)/Degree(s): University of Oklahoma, BBA – double major in Finance and Marketing
Career Highlights: Post graduation, Rusty started his marketing communication career by working for three advertising agencies in account service. Agency experience includes The Richards Group, Ackerman & McQueen and Temerlin McClain. Later, Rusty worked for more than seven years at American Airlines, overseeing both advertising and promotions. While there, he directed American’s largest and most complex sponsorship program: World Cup ‘94. He was then recruited to America West Airlines to reposition and polish the brand post-bankruptcy. Rusty was then recruited to Reliant Energy in 1999 as its first vice president of advertising and brand equity as it was shedding a regulated mentality to start competing for customers in electricity and telecommunications. He helped position and introduce the brand to new customers. One of Rusty’s proudest accomplishments is negotiating the second largest, and most comprehensive, sports venue naming rights deal known as Reliant Park.
Rusty started Carousel Marketing in 2005, primarily to provide advertising and sports marketing counsel for corporate clients. Clients have included Chevron, State Farm and TXU Energy. Rusty first worked with Champion on a project basis in 2007 on the SkyTel account and its NHRA sponsorship, and he shifted to working onsite in 2013.
I love my job, but I’d rather be… in the mountains fly fishing, on the golf course chasing white balls or visiting new countries.
Bet you didn’t know I … I can bend my index finger and touch the back of my hand.
Family: My favorite travel buddy and Hubs Tim, Four fabulous kids – Dylan, Grant, Quinn & Avery + two fur babies – Fletcher & Maggie
College(s)/Degree(s): University of North Texas — Journalism
I’m super proud of my network of media friends from multiple national, local and trade publications. Thanks to these strong relationships, I’ve secured client coverage in publications including USA Today, Forbes, Business Insider, Travel & Leisure, Thrillist, and BuzzFeed. This network also includes a great network of morning show producers across the country and I love to pitch interesting segments that I know their viewers will LOVE!
Prior to joining Champion, I was the Director of Corporate Communication for RAVE Restaurant Group where I managed public relations, investor relations and internal communication. Besides getting to sample endless pizza prototypes, I enjoyed developing brand narratives and coaching senior leadership on delivering key messaging to consumer and franchise audiences.
I also served as Director of Public Relations for Dickey’s Barbecue and had the honor of traveling with the company founder to morning shows and appearances across the country. I became a set stylist, media trainer and spokesperson for the brand while also directing interactive and social content strategy for the growing concept.
With a career that has spanned over two decades, I’ve been a feature writer, owned my own business and have attained a specialty in crisis communication.
I love my job, but I’d rather be … a political strategist or sitting in a Paris café writing my first novel along with Hemingway and Fitzgerald – (wait, can this involve time travel?)
Bet you didn’t know I … I was on Season 3 of Design Star…I was kicked off on the preliminary episode because I couldn’t use a skill saw. I didn’t even get a full 15 minutes of fame!
Family: Boy Mom to my precious baby – Pearson Brooks, Dog mom to the cutest French Bulldog – Herman, and wife to Justin
College(s)/Degree(s): BA – University of North Texas
Career Highlights: Courtney brings more than 10 years of marketing and PR experience. She comes with a passion for getting entrenched with client brands. Courtney is the brainchild behind several “big splashes” at our agency.
She leads the agency’s proprietary Local Store Marketing efforts on behalf of several clients, helping create buzz, build awareness and generate goodwill at the local market level before, during and after grand openings. She is equally adept at media outreach, regularly scoring hits for our clients, brand management, and strategic planning.
Courtney joined the Champion team in, August 2011 as a Marketing Specialist. Over the years, she has earned several promotions and has become one of our most valuable players.
I love my job, but I’d rather be … sipping cocktails on the beach with my family!
Bet you didn’t know I … Tom Petty personally handed me his guitar pick and then I gave it to a stranger in a bar – FACE PALM!
College(s)/Degree(s): BA – Journalism (University of Oklahoma); MBA-Marketing (University of Texas at Arlington)
Career Highlights: Victoria is a story teller, marketing maven, brand strategist and content curator. She brings more than 10 years of experience creating integrated marketing strategies for companies in various sectors from nonprofit agencies to retail establishments and prides herself on being at the forefront of digital marketing and the introduction of social media. She began her career in the nonprofit sector at the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Volunteer Now where she launched the organization’s first social media campaign and marketing strategy respectively. She transitioned to the corporate side and created and executed the first digital marketing strategy for a 30-year-old staffing and recruiting firm. Victoria joined the Champion team in July 2016 after several months of consulting and has finally found a home that combines both of her passions – food and marketing.
I love my job, but I’d rather be … a chef! I’ve loved cooking and creating recipes since I was three years old and fed all of my family and friends “plastic food” from my Fisher-Price kitchen set.
Bet you didn’t know I … can squat 200 lbs; I’m one of the lead writers/bloggers for Dallas Food Nerd; I received a phone call from Robert F. Kennedy’s widow informing me that I won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2002. Other recipients included writers from the L.A. Times who won a Pulitzer Prize in the same year.
Ace Cupcake Tester, Gigi’s Cupcakes: As the Senior Director of Marketing, I ate a lot of cupcakes (all in the name of R+D for new menu rollouts and product improvements). My constant sugar high helped me implement social and digital brand strategies in preparation of the nationwide shipping rollout, and launch a local store marketing program for franchisees.
Original Member of the Circle of Crust, Pie Five Pizza: I also directed the digital content strategy, launched an app, developed digital campaigns & web content, managed all social media channels, and turned all of the data from the Circle of Crust into actionable consumer insights.
Expert speaker, all things digital: I’ve wielded a microphone at conferences like the National Restaurant Association, Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators and CONNECT: The Mobile CX Summit to speak on topics ranging from digital insights and reputation management to mobile marketing and customer loyalty strategies. I’ve also served as a consultant on rewards programs.
I love my job, but I’d rather be … independently wealthy (really, who wouldn’t?!) so that I could be a food stylist, event planner, cookie decorator, restaurant consultant and a fitness instructor…when I felt like it.
Family: Daughter to the sweetest parents and “little sister” to Courtney
College(s)/Degree(s): Communications at Texas A&M University and University of North Texas – Gig ‘em, Eagles!
Becoming a Champion – I joined Champion in 2013 after working as an Event Marketing Manager for a bar/restaurant chain. I grew professionally and worked my tail off to become a “power-player” in the industry. One of the highlights includes when Taylor Swift mentioned my PR “brainchild” at the Billboard Music Awards.
Becoming a Leader – I was given a great opportunity to lead the marketing and PR efforts for The Rogers Healy Companies in 2016. While there, I secured a recurring segment with Fox Business News for the company and planned, created and executed a breakthrough brand relaunch.
Coming Home – I missed the thrill of the restaurant and hospitality industry and returned “home” to Champion in January 2018, my leading career highlight!
I love my job, but I’d rather be … sipping a glass of Veuve on a yacht off the Amalfi Coast.
Bet you didn’t know I … have an irrational fear of flying bags on the highway.
Family: The youngest (and coolest) of four. Also, a proud dog mom of two adorable rescues – Gandalf (9) and Winston (puppy).
College(s)/Degree(s): Played soccer at the University of Central Arkansas, where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.
Career Highlights: In 2018, I wrote 1,002 press releases for Champion’s clients. In 2017, I helped light the Dallas skyline blue for the Bud Light Party Convention. I also helped moderate content for FIFA during the 2014 World Cup.
I love my job, but I’d rather be … traveling the world as a photojournalist for National Geographic.
Bet you didn’t know I … was on the U.S. national soccer team pool in 2010; I’ve had six concussions – one of which knocked me out for six months; my appendix was ruptured for an entire day before I went to the hospital, and I’ve had three near-death experiences.
Paul has more than 30 years in Media Planning and Buying; working with Tracy Locke, DDB Needham, Integer and now a Principal of straTact Media Group, LLC. Paul has extensive experience in national, regional and local media planning, research and negotiating across broadcast, print, out-of-home and digital, as well as knowledge across many business categories such as retail, manufacturing, financial, packaging goods, casual dining/QSR and gaming.
Clients have included Frito-Lay, Coors, Mrs Baird’s, Borden Dairies, Phillips Petroleum, Mcllhenny, Ben Hogan, Haggar, La Quinta, The Dallas Morning News, Brink’s Home Security, 7-Eleven and Harrah’s Casinos.
Career highlights include winning an Effy Award for Texas Commerce Bank (Chase), sports negotiations for Haggar, Coors, Ben Hogan and The Dallas Morning News; and the development and leadership of a dedicated Merchandising team for Harrah’s Casinos.
Paul grew up in Dallas and received his BA degree from the University of Houston and MFA from Southern Methodist University. He and his wife Melissa, have one daughter, Sarah. He enjoys golf, live music and attending sports events.
College(s)/Degree(s): University of North Texas – Strategic Communications (graduated with honors ☺)
First job out of college, I worked for the agency of record for SXSW Interactive and got a free badge to go to the whole conference (which was the same year the Obamas went – was hella cool and hella stressful all at once).
Before joining team Champion, I assisted with an event that Adrian Grenier was hosting in a client’s venue. Afterward, he introduced himself, said he had “a ballin’ time” and then let me pet his dog.
Putting on a massive pop-up party in downtown Dallas on National Orange Day as Pei Wei celebrated the launch of Wei Better Orange Chicken.
I love my job, but I’d rather be … a racecar driver. I was dead set on becoming the next Danika Patrick until I actually got my license and realized driving super fast is super scary.
Bet you didn’t know I … swam in a tank of Tiger Sharks when I was 9 and almost fell into the Grand Canyon when I was 12 because I thought the rope was “just a suggestion.”
Family: A loving mom, dad & step-mom. Older sis who I look up to, younger brother who is a massive gamer, and two step-brothers!
College(s)/Degree(s): Texas Christian University – BS in Strategic Communications. Go Frogs!
Career Highlights: I interned for a start-up tech company in Dublin, Ireland for a summer, where I learned about international business, sales and Guinness! After that, I interned with Firebird Restaurant Group for a year, which led me to my first full-time job after college at Champion!
I love my job, but I’d rather be … sitting seaside writing a book (about anything and everything).
Bet you didn’t know I … am obsessed with traveling and giving people travel tips wherever they go. Check out my website www.she-gone-abroad.com!!
Family: Mom of weenie dog, Norman, my chunky cat Marty, and lots of plants.
College(s)/Degree(s): I graduated from the University of North Texas (#gmg) in 2018 with a degree in communication studies and marketing.
Career Highlights: Landing an awesome internship in college with Free Range Concepts, working the Red Bull entrepreneurship panel at SXSW, taking fashion legends Zandra Rhodes and Johnson Hartig of Libertine to their TV segment, and now coming to Champion!!
I love my job, but I’d rather be … hosting my own true crime podcast.
Bet you didn’t know I … make the world’s best brussel sprouts.
College(s)/Degree(s):Southern Methodist University where I graduated with a degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications and a double minor in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship.
Career Highlights:My career has taken me to the streets of Chicago to attend NeoCon, provided me a platform to build partnerships with the design community of Dallas, allowed me to collaborate closely with amazing teams and lastly landed me my job at Champion Management.
I love my job, but I’d rather be… drinking mulled wine at the Viking Yurt in Park City.
Bet you didn’t know I … am licensed to drive a boat.
Family: I’m the offspring of Paul and Dana, annoying little sister to Cole and crazy Dachshund mom to the cutest puppy in the world, Teddy.
College(s)/Degree(s): I graduated from The University of Alabama in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Roll Tide! I minored in Communication Studies and Criminal Justice (due to my obsession with crime TV/books).
Career Highlights: After working different internships in Dallas, Tuscaloosa and New York City, I returned to Dallas to start my first full-time job here at Champion. During my second week working here, I secured four out of five TV stations’ attendance in San Diego for a last minute Outback Steakhouse partnership event with Operation Homefront. I’m on a mission to continue increasing our clients’ media presence nationwide!
I love my job, but I’d rather be … reading a book (or two or three) at the pool or beach.
Bet you didn’t know I … have a plot ready to write a thriller novel in the future. My ultimate dream in life is to become a New York Times Bestselling author!
Hometown: Broken Arrow, OK Family: I have a younger sister and a dog named Mia College(s)/Degree(s): Bachelors in Entrepreneurship and Venture Management (Minor in Marketing) Career Highlights: I have a strong background in e-commerce, digital marketing, and web design through my own personal experience. But I would have to say that my biggest career highlight is now becoming a Champion! I love my job, but I’d rather be… a college football coach. I live and breathe for college football and would love to immerse myself in the lifestyle of being a coach. Bet you didn’t know I … am addicted to the show Survivor and plan on applying to be on the show next season.
Family: Loving mom and dad and two amazing younger sisters
College(s)/Degree(s): University of Oklahoma, BA in Public Relations and minor in Health and Exercise Science
Career Highlights: During college, I completed three agency internships, one of which was a summer internship with Hawkins International Public Relations in Los Angeles, CA. This particular internship sparked my interest in the hospitality industry and led me to Champion after I graduated.
I love my job, but I’d rather be … traveling the world as a freelance travel writer or working as a professional organizer.
Bet you didn’t know I … have been scuba diving through an old US navy ship that was sunk off the coast of Grand Cayman, the USS Kittiwake. The coolest part of the dive was swimming through the 251-foot wreck and seeing myself in the bathroom mirrors.
Family: I have a little sister that I’m super close with and two great parents! A family dog named Princess and a dog mom to my golden retriever, Bruce!
College(s)/Degree(s): Washburn University in Topeka, KS with a degree in Mass Media with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Leadership Studies.
Career Highlights: Landed three awesome internships in college: Social Media, Events, and Events Marketing. I got to see every side of the Public Relations Industry. After gradutaing early, I landed my first career full time job with Champion! Happy to be a champ!
I love my job, but I’d rather be…at a dog park, traveling to somewhere tropical, at a music festival, exploring Dallas, brunchin’, blogging, at TJ MAXX finding deals, or on a walk to watch the sunset.
Bet you didn’t know I … have held Justin Bieber’s hand, Katy Perry threw my dad her guitar pick, and I met Travis Kelce (Go Chiefs!) in a bar once.
Hometown: Plano, TX Family: A very supportive mom and dad and the best older sister! College(s)/Degree(s): University of Oklahoma, BA in Public Relations and minor in Health and Exercise Science Career Highlights: I previously held marketing and communications positions for corporate, nonprofit and agencies in DFW and interned for the Public Relations department at the State Fair of Texas. My love for PR led me to my current role at Champion! I love my job, but I’d rather be …on the beach with my friends drinking a margarita Bet you didn’t know I …learned how to surf in Maui
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ Family: Oldest of 3 College(s)/Degree(s): Business Marketing, TCU I love my job, but I’d rather be… on a beach, cooking or doing yoga/pilates! Bet you didn’t know I … drink an iced green tea every day