Adrienne is an associate at Blanc & Otus, where she is responsible for tracking client coverage, conducting research, managing editorial calendars and supporting media relations. She provides account support for numerous clients in both the consumer technology sector and the enterprise technology sector, including VMware, Kony Inc., Good&Co, Nureva and Huami.
Adrienne joined Blanc & Otus with six months of PR experience, which she primarily spent as a feature writer for USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism website.
Adrienne is a huge hockey fan and is still recovering from the San Jose Sharks’ loss to the Penguins in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Kalyn Hanna Associate
Kalyn is an associate at Blanc & Otus where she is responsible for tracking client coverage, conducting industry research, supporting media relations and writing press materials for a variety of clients, including VMware, Riverbed, NetSuite, Kony Inc., and Xactly. She graduated from San Diego State University in 2016 and spent the year after graduation practicing PR with tech startups in Oslo, Norway. Kalyn left the bitter winters of Norway to join us in the more temperate climate of San Francisco.
She is an avid hiker and loves to explore the beautiful nature around the Bay Area. She balances out her active hiking lifestyle by being a Netflix addict and watching her favorite football team, the Chargers, every Sunday.
Chloe Canta Associate
A Northern California native, Chloe Canta is a seasoned communications professional with over four years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry (specializing in consumer technologies). As an associate, she supports client relations, executes ongoing public relations initiatives, and collaborates with team members to drive results. She loves working on creative content and jumps at opportunities to craft unique story angles for her clients.
Some of her past clients and projects in the space include Qualcomm (Snapdragon Processors and Toq Smartwatch), mophie, VIZIO, Yuneec, 360fly, and more. As a former college athlete, Chloe possesses a team mentality in everything she does, and knows that it takes everyone's help to cross the finish line.
She enjoys spending time with family, working out and trying out latest foodie trends with a beer in hand.
Jennifer Pierce Account Director
Jennifer is an account director at Blanc & Otus where she leads communications strategy for the agency’s consumer tech brands. That includes managing teams, developing strategic programs, messaging and positioning, content creation, media relations and social media. Basically she helps clients define their brand and get media coverage. And guess what? She’s awesome at it.
Her focus is on gadgets, US product launches, and Internet of Things which has included a range of tech brands like YI Technology, Huami, Cat Phones, Intelligent Energy, Thinfilm, Covisint, McAfee and Dropbox. She has worked with food/beverage, fashion, health/wellness, entertainment, and non-profit brands including Travelzoo, Sweet Leaf Tea, Farylrobin Footwear, American Heart Association, Moonbot Studios, and Brooklyn Public Library.
Jen loves any excuse to talk about cats, food, and Chinese medicine (separately).
Neil Torres Media Strategist
Neil is Blanc & Otus’s in-house media strategist. He really should be called our media and friendship strategist, because he somehow knows everyone. Combine that with his media savvy, and he’s unstoppable. In his current role, Neil is responsible for day-to-day account activities, creating and implementing PR plans and programs, managing strategic media relations, developing thought leadership platforms and identifying new opportunities for clients to maximize their business objectives through strategic communications.
Neil has 15 years of technology public relations expertise. During this time he has exhibited proven media placement skills within top-tier business, industry trade publications and blogs. Most recently, Neil has worked with companies such as Qualcomm, Salesforce.com, Comverge, Dolby, Ventyx, Thinfilm and Xactly.
Just call Neil The Godfather…no literally…he has more than a dozen Godchildren.
Patty Oien Director
Patty is a director at Blanc & Otus, where she helps lead strategic communications programs for Oracle and VMware.
Prior to Blanc & Otus, she was an independent consultant for emerging and established technology companies. Most recently, this included managing partner communications for Dell EMC and supporting executive thought leadership for mobile security company Lookout.
Previously, Patty was an SVP with Breakaway Communications where she managed the overall communications program for satellite company Iridium Communications and led a variety of projects and teams for clients, including Alcatel-Lucent and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, Aruba Networks, eBay, PayPal, iPass, Oodle, NDS and Vox Mobile.
Prior to Breakaway, Patty worked with TSI Communications and its parent agency Golin/Harris, where she worked with companies such as Hewlett Packard (HP Enterprise Solutions Group), Adaptec, Informatica, and WellPoint. Patty began her career in technology PR at InterActive Public Relations (a subsidiary of Porter Novelli) where she led teams for LeftHand Networks, Arcot, Tarantella and Red Herring Communications, among others.
In case you were wondering, if you have an extra ticket to live music or if you want someone to try that new restaurant with, her answer is always yes.
Ruby Engle Chief Therapy Officer
Ruby serves as a stress reliever. She enjoys lots of belly rubs, treats and anything squeaky.
Shasta Smith Principal
Shasta is a principal at Blanc & Otus where she provides account support for ongoing public relations programs, including media strategy, content development, thought leadership programs, and account management.
Shasta brings more than four years of experience executing strategic public relations campaigns for a range of brands, including established technology companies such as Oracle (Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle Customer Experience and Oracle PartnerNetwork) and Dolby Laboratories, and emerging B2B and B2C companies such as Jobvite, Rocket Fuel, Bunchball, and YI Technology.
Shasta, not to be confused with Mt. Shasta or Lake Shasta, is actually named after Shasta Delaney, a character in John Wayne’s Rio Lobo (1970).
Sam Diaz Head of Content
Sam Diaz is the head of content for Blanc & Otus, a role that taps into his background as both a longtime technology journalist and a corporate communications professional. He’s a self-described news junkie with a folder full of news apps on his phone and subscriptions to his hometown newspapers and a few magazines, too. As a storyteller, Sam recognizes that different audiences respond to different forms of messaging, whether long-form writing, short videos or thought-provoking tweets. He works across the full B&O client portfolio, developing content strategies around product announcements, events, technology campaigns and business and social issues.
As a journalist, he has been a reporter, editor, blogger, podcaster and video and radio personality for CBS Interactive, The Washington Post, San Jose Mercury News and The Fresno Bee. In those roles, he has covered emerging consumer and enterprise technologies, as well as Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter. As a corporate communications specialist, he led teams that developed digital newsrooms, blog networks and social media channels for Broadcom Corp. and HP Inc. He is a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion initiatives and is a lifetime member and past financial officer of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Sam is a Bay Area native, married with two adult children. He is an Oakland Raiders season ticket holder, plays in a weekly garage poker game and is a former DJ, both radio and mobile, with an extensive and diverse library of CDs, cassettes and albums, along with some old 45s that are housed in a real retro jukebox.
Stefanie Engle Vice President of Media
With 17+ years of high-tech communications expertise, Stefanie has devised, led and driven global and national campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and start-ups. She has had the privilege of working in the boardroom with Silicon Valley’s top CEOs including Jonathan Schwartz (Sun), Carol Bartz (Autodesk), John Chambers (Cisco), John Schroeder (MapR) and Scott Kriens (Juniper Networks).
It is Stefanie’s ability to quickly to break through the clutter and media hype to drive business results while leveraging her clients’ technology solutions. Stefanie’s passion is to deconstruct her clients’ technology to make it intriguing and tangible – enabling her to continually secure top -tier business coverage and feature stories. She has landed stories in CNBC, Oprah Magazine, USA Today, New York Times, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Recode, Bloomberg and many more.
Stefanie thrives on a good brainstorm where she gets her holy sh** moment. You’ll find her constantly scribbling in her notebook with random thoughts that most people won’t find interesting. However, it’s those nuggets that turn out to be the holy grail of a story.
Stefanie is a native of San Francisco, grew up in Chinatown and has no desire to learn to ride a bike or eat any type of pepper.
Suraya Akbarzad Director
Suraya brings professionalism, creativity and 15 years of technology PR expertise to Blanc & Otus. Her drive and motivation have been great assets to clients including Oracle, Ask.com, ASKfm, The Daily Beast, Dictionary.com, About.com and Investopedia.
Prior to joining Blanc & Otus, Suraya was Senior PR Manager for IAC Publishing, IAC’s collection of premium publishers, where she helped manage and execute PR strategies for brands including Investopedia, Dictionary.com, The Daily Beast and About.com. Before this, she worked on strategic communications for Ask.com where she helped promote the search brand’s evolution to a Q&A platform and its entrance into the content publishing market. In addition, she managed social channels for Ask.com and ASKfm, a Q&A social media platform for teens with 150 million unique monthly users, developing a strategic pipeline of content for ASKfm that included Internet celebrity campaigns, positive and unique user examples, and editorial content, in an effort to retain and engage users both on external social channels and on the app itself.
Suraya has previously worked as Group Manager at Weber Shandwick, Account Supervisor at Outcast Communications and at Edelman Public Relations gaining in-depth expertise for B2B, consumer, SMB and start-ups in categories like SaaS, enterprise security, data storage, semiconductor and cleantech with companies such as Apple, Salesforce, EMC, Zazzle.com, Ubisoft, Symantec, NVidia and Synopsys. Her extensive experience also includes PR initiatives around national and global events such as SXSW, Techcrunch Disrupt, Dreamforce, RSA, Macworld and WWDC as well as playing integral roles in the introduction of Apple’s Mac OS X platform and launches for Apple’s consumer applications (iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD, Keynote, iCal and iSync).
Suraya is a rare Bay Area native and takes full advantage of the budding Oakland restaurant scene with her family and friends. Though she notes that staying in and binging on the hottest new TV series has its advantages as well.
Taylor Phillips Associate
Taylor Phillips is an associate at Blanc & Otus, and is responsible for proactive and reactive media outreach, developing media relations, creating and executing social media campaigns, conducting client research, and continually tracking speaking and award opportunities for various clients in the enterprise and consumer tech space.
Taylor joined B&O after a year of working with consumer tech clients such as Fitbit, GoPro, and Electronic Arts. She is currently working on similar clients including Amazfit, YI Technology, OCF and VMware.
Taylor graduated from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, where she majored in Journalism and minored in Media, Arts and Technology. She enjoys hiking, boating, or anything outdoors and plans to one day own many dogs.
Tony Hynes CEO
Tony is what you might call an “OG of Tech PR.” He has spent more than 20 years delivering high impact communications for a wide range of technology companies – from the world’s largest to early stage start-ups. His experience ranges from managing corporate reputation; messaging and positioning programs for company launches to global product roll-outs; and creating high impact, integrated communications campaigns.
Before joining Blanc & Otus, Tony was a partner at WPP boutique agency North of Nine Communications working with companies including Ericsson, Intel, Informatica, Operator and Oracle. Previously he was general manager and executive vice president at Weber Shandwick, where he managed its Northern Californian operation and supported major client engagements.
Prior to Weber Shandwick, Tony was the West Coast general manager of Bite Communications where he managed global technology accounts, including HP and Sun Microsystems, and established Bite’s Clean Technology Practice. Prior to that, he was director of global public relations and corporate communications for Hitachi Data Systems, where he managed the company’s global reputation and public profile.
Tony started his career at Ogilvy Public Relations working on international campaigns for IBM. He has lived and worked in Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Paris and San Francisco and has worked with brands such as ask.fm, Bank of America, Cathay Pacific, Citrix Online Services, deCarta, General Motors, Juniper Networks, NETGEAR, Recurrent Energy, SAP and SunPower.
When he’s not hanging out with his family in the Oakland Hills you might find him at bottom of the ocean or the top of the mountain—pursuing his passions for SCUBA diving and snow boarding.
Lauren Williams Associate
In her role as an associate, Lauren is responsible for supporting media and analyst relations, managing editorial calendars, tracking client coverage and assisting in the creation and implementation of client plans and initiatives.
Lauren has experience working on a variety of B2B and B2C client initiatives, spanning the messaging and developmental stages to the launch of companies previously in stealth. Currently, she provides support across a wide range of client accounts, including Oracle’s product and analyst relations programs, VMware and Vive Concierge. Prior to joining Blanc & Otus, she worked with a variety of consumer technology companies, including realtor.com, Boosted Boards, Lighthouse and Stitch Fix.
When she’s not living and breathing tech and press releases, Lauren spends her free time hiking and satiating her coffee addiction.
Sierra Dowling Principal
Sierra Dowling is a PR powerhouse with experience managing communications programs for enterprise and consumer technology companies including AppDirect, Capital One, Flexera Software, Toshiba, Cheetah Mobile, Nuage Networks and Virtual Instruments. As a Principal, Sierra leads proactive and news-driven media relations campaigns and execution, having secured coverage in top tier and vertical trade publications such as Fortune, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, IDG, eWeek, and more. With a strong interest in technology and passion for narrative development, Sierra enables clients to deposition competition and rise above the noise in the press.
When not immersing herself in client work or formulating genuine relationships with reporters, you’ll find Sierra scoping out the restaurant scene in San Francisco, practicing her (beginner) Nepali language skills, or browsing Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime for the latest horror films and crime series.
Jake is a Fellow at Blanc & Otus, where he specializes in content strategy and creation. He supports media relations, social media campaigns, and other client initiatives across the full B&O portfolio.
Prior to joining Blanc & Otus, Jake worked at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, helping small and medium-sized businesses build strategic plans, access public resources, and engage key stakeholders.
Jake graduated with a degree in Political Science and loves to explore the latest trends in politics and international relations. When he’s not getting exercise in at the gym or on the hiking trail, you can find him drinking dark beer, listening to live music and brushing up on his skee-ball skills, sometimes at the same time.