Gainesville, Fla. – The Institute for Public Relations is thrilled to announce four new Trustees to the Board:

  • Laura Burke, Chief Communications Officer, Santander US
  • Manuel Goncalves, Partner, Chief Strategy and Communications Officer, Crowe LLP
  • Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, Dean of the College of Communications, California State University, Fullerton
  • Cortney Stapleton, CEO, The Bliss Group


Cortney Stapleton
CEO, The Bliss Group
Chair, Next Tech Communications

Cortney is CEO and owner of The Bliss Group, a mid-sized marketing communications firm. She works with companies in technology, healthcare, financial and professional services; using data and analytics to understand what is moving clients’ prospects to action. Cortney’s passion is supporting brands in their journey towards identifying and fulfilling a core purpose that drives change in the world.

Her background in issues management has rendered her adept at marketing people, ideas and expertise. Cortney has provided senior counsel to Fortune 50 companies looking for full funnel marketing programs as well as start-ups transforming their industries and middle market companies who want to use AI and analytics to tell meaningful stories.

Cortney also helped launch Bliss Impact, representing one of the founding members of purposewerx, the first collective of marketing and consulting firms focused solely on purpose-driven solutions for clients. Bliss Impact helps companies understand their purpose and how to have a more positive impact on the world.

Cortney, with several of her trusted industry colleagues and former clients, started Exponent Women over five years ago, an overt networking organization for senior women in the merger and acquisition community.

Prior to her career in marketing and PR, Cortney worked in the non-profit sector and for the state government of Vermont. She held board positions for the Council on Accreditation, which accredits thousands of health and human services organizations in the US, Social Current, focused on setting DEI standards for the social sector nationally, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Red Light Children, an anti-child trafficking organization. She has done pro-bono work with universities and the United Nations.

Cortney has been named to PR News’ Top Women in PR list. She graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a MS in international relations and earned a BA in political science and environmental studies from St. Michael’s College. Her studies brought her to three continents.

She resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two sons.

Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR
Dean, College of Communications
California State University, Fullerton

Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, is a higher education leader whose work has influenced scholarship, education and practice in public relations and communications.

Research. Dr. Sha’s primary research program examines the intersection of identity and public relations; her theory of intercultural public relations is the subject of two scholarly books. She was the 2018 winner of the Institute for Public Relations’ Pathfinder Award, a lifetime achievement award recognizing an original program of scholarly research. Her other research areas include international public relations, activism, diversity, and gender. Dr. Sha’s scholarly work has been published in Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Public Relations Journal, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, and Journal of Promotion Management, as well as various book chapters. She was the 2016-2021 editor-in-chief of the Journal of Public Relations Research, the pre-eminent scholarly journal in the discipline.

Teaching. For her teaching, Dr. Sha was honored by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) as its 2012 Outstanding Educator of the Year. She also won the 2007 Outstanding Faculty Award from San Diego State University and the 2004 Outstanding Faculty Award from the University of Maryland, College Park. With Dr. Glen Broom, Dr. Sha co-authored the 11th edition of Cutlip and Center’s Effective Public Relations, one of the world’s leading textbooks in the field since its first edition was published in 1952 by original co-authors Scott Cutlip and Allen Center.

Practice. Prior to becoming a full-time educator, Dr. Sha worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Census Bureau, where she helped oversee the execution and evaluation of the promotional campaign for the 2000 census. The census campaign won a 2001 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence from PRSA. Dr. Sha has also done paid and pro bono consulting work in public relations, with such clients as Microsoft Corp., Perrier-Vittel, and Premier Aircraft Sales, Inc., among other organizations. The San Diego Chapter of PRSA named Dr. Sha its 2007 Professional of the Year. Her pro bono professional work won the 2010 Outstanding Advocacy Award from the National PTA® and the 2005 President’s Award from the International Listening Association.

Service. Dr. Sha was the 2014 chair of the Universal Accreditation Board, which oversees the world’s largest professional certification program for public relations practitioners. She was the 2010 and 2011 chair of the PRSA National Committee on Work, Life, and Gender. San Diego State University honored Dr. Sha with a 2018-2019 Distinguished Faculty Award for her “extensive contributions to [her] discipline and to the university.” In 2019, Dr. Sha was honored by the Public Relations Society of America with its D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award, which is the society’s “highest individual honor presented to a PR professional who has contributed to increased awareness of public relations within multicultural communities and has participated in promoting issues that meet the needs of these diverse communities.” She received a 2021 President’s Award for her service to the Society of Professional Journalists, and she was inducted in 2022 into the Hall of Fame of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Also in 2022, Dr. Sha received the Bruce K. Berger Educator Mentor Award from the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.

She holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is Accredited in Public Relations by the Universal Accreditation Board. She is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society and the College of Fellows of the Public Relations Society of America.

Manuel Goncalves 
Partner, Chief Strategy & Communications Officer
Crowe LLP

Manny is a public relations and communications executive with 25 years’ experience developing and leading proactive media relations, corporate reputation and internal communications programs in a variety of industries, including professional services, financial services and tech. He is currently a partner and Chief Strategy & Communications officer for Crowe LLP, a leading accounting, consulting and technology firm. He serves as a member of the executive committee and is responsible for leading the development, execution, and evolution of Crowe’s enterprise and business unit strategies. He is also responsible for establishing the firm’s communications blueprint and approach to ensure the Crowe Story (purpose, values, vision and strategy) come to life to drive tangible business outcomes and foster an inclusive, high-performance culture.

Throughout his 25-year career, he has been integral to driving the communications programs of Fortune 500 companies and large privately held firms. He believes that innovation and disruption are key to the evolution of the communications profession, and applies a startup mentality (experiment, measure and iterate quickly) to helping companies implement change and convey their value propositions. He is a builder and leader of high-performing communications teams, and is a frequent speaker on topics such as building diverse and inclusive teams, using data and insights to convey the business value of communications, the future of storytelling and audience engagement, and driving reputational narratives that bring a company’s culture to life.

Prior to joining Crowe in 2021, he served as the Global Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at BNY Mellon, where he led the bank’s 300+ person global marcomms team with responsibility for every aspect of stakeholder engagements across all of the bank’s businesses. Before BNY Mellon, Manny spent 12 years as the Executive Director of PR and Corporate Communications at KPMG LLP, where he was responsible for all of the firm’s business function communications, including media relations, reputation and internal communications programs – centered on enhancing visibility for our client services and solutions, driving executive visibility initiatives, thought leadership programs, and business capabilities. In addition, he served as the firm’s spokesman and led all crisis/issues management programs, working closely with the CEO and management committee to drive communications strategy and execution.

Manuel graduated from Roger Williams University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. He serves on the Board of the PRSA Foundation, and is a member of the Page Society’s DEI Advisory Board. He resides in Mendham, New Jersey with his wife and young son, and is an avid mountain biker and martial artist.

Laura Burke
Santander US

Laura A. Burke is a dynamic brand and communications leader with more than twenty years of experience working with leading financial services and technology companies to shape their reputation, differentiate their brand, and support their business outcomes. As Chief Communications Officer, Burke is responsible for external, social, crisis, executive communications, thought leadership, measurement and events for Santander US which spans the Automotive, Consumer & Commercial Banking, Real Estate, Investment Banking & Markets, and Wealth Management businesses.

Previously, Burke was Head of Corporate Brand and Communications at Prudential Financial (NYSE: PRU) where she was responsible for branded research and partnerships in addition to all aspects of corporate communications, including financial communications, executive visibility, policy communications and crisis/issues response. She served as the communications strategist for Prudential’s Vice Chair and her team supported all corporate function leaders. As Chief Operating Officer for the Global Communications function, Burke contributed to helping transform the department in the areas of budgeting, work prioritization and internal talent mobility. 

Prior to Prudential, Burke was an executive vice president at Edelman where she led the global Charles Schwab relationship, embedded at Schwab headquarters with a team of sixty professionals across ten offices and three regions. The Schwab work spanned CEO communications, CSR and foundation support, product launches and international, national, and local traditional and social media relations. As senior vice president, she led the strategy, execution, and measurement of communications campaigns for Allianz, Citi and GE Capital, among others. 

Burke spent eight years at FTI Consulting, rising to the position of managing director. Over her tenure, she partnered with leading Technology and Financial Services companies manage their reputation through the boom/bust and the financial crisis. She also worked at Hill & Knowlton, running the U.S. Media team for HP following the $25 billion dollar merger with Compaq, and began her career at Sawyer Miller Consulting.

Burke holds a certificate from MIT Sloan School in artificial intelligence, an MBA in finance and global business from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a B.A. in political science from Tufts University. As a former competitive figure skater, she still enjoys winter sports such as skiing and snow shoeing.


About the Institute for Public Relations
Founded in 1956, the Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. IPR creates, curates, and promotes research and initiatives that empower professionals with actionable insights and intelligence they can put to immediate use.  IPR predicts and analyzes global factors transforming the profession, and amplifies and engages the professional globally through thought leadership and programming. All research is available free at and provides the basis for IPR’s professional conferences and events.

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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