ROGER S. PONDEL
Roger Pondel’s professional expertise focuses on developing communications strategies and tactics for publicly owned and privately held companies in various industries, including professional and financial services firms. He has been the architect of programs involving sensitive corporate issues, including mergers and acquisitions, crises, litigation support and labor matters, as well as serving as day-to-day corporate public relations and investor relations counsel.
A Chicago native, Pondel was named president of the firm in 1986. His previous experience includes serving as communications and investor relations director of several large publicly traded corporations, where responsibilities included both corporate/financial communications and investor relations. Pondel also was a reporter with the San Jose Mercury News.
Pondel is currently a member of the CFA Institute, the National Investor Relations Institute and the Public Relations Society of
America. He also was a national board member of the Association for Corporate Growth.
Pondel earned a bachelor’s degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, California State University, San Jose. He is a frequent guest speaker on investor relations and strategic public relations issues.
Evan Pondel joined PondelWilkinson in 2006 after a decade-long business journalism career in New York and Los Angeles with The Wall Street Journal Online and The Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered publicly traded companies in a wide range of industries and wrote a personal finance column that appeared in newspapers throughout the United States.
He also has written for Los Angeles Magazine, The New York Times on the Web, The Huffington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.
Pondel brings to the firm and its clients a core understanding of effective storytelling, helping companies better communicate with their Wall Street constituencies. He advises clients on communications regarding highly sensitive matters, as well as day-to-day reporting and presentations to investor audiences.
Pondel earned a master‘s degree in specialized journalism with honors from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Laurie Berman has counseled executive management teams on positioning their companies to Wall Street for the past 15 years. She also has been actively involved in related corporate communications and internal communications matters.
Berman has represented an extensive array of businesses, from pre-IPO to blue-chip, on investor relations and corporate communications strategies, including financial reporting, investor perceptions and expectations, valuation, disclosure, crisis and employee communications, media strategy and mergers and acquisitions.
Having joined PondelWilkinson in 2006, Berman‘s experience includes eight years in New York and Los Angeles with Financial Relations Board and serving as investor relations director of Overture, a high-profile publicly traded technology company that was subsequently acquired by Yahoo!, where she was responsible for managing all of the company’s investor relations activities. She previously served in a variety of management positions with Institutional Investor magazine.
Berman earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She is a practicing member of the National Investor Relations Institute.
George Medici brings 20 years of strategic public relations and media relations experience to PondelWilkinson. He is responsible for leveraging strategic partnerships to support the firm’s growth initiatives. A big idea thinker with “hands-on” experience implementing national, local and trade strategic PR campaigns, Medici’s work reaches across multiple industry sectors, as well as corporate/financial, public affairs and issues management disciplines.
Medici is an expert strategist and publicist on the changing media landscape, particularly the fusion of traditional and social media. He is adept at helping organizations from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies create or reposition their profiles within the top-tier U.S. business media, specializing in message development to influence core audiences. A savvy crisis communications counselor and excellent oral and written communicator, Medici also is a seasoned media trainer of CEOs and senior executives.
Prior to joining the firm in 2010, Medici served as director and vice president of national media business strategies at Porter Novelli in New York. At this global public relations firm, he provided strategic business and financial media counsel for Amgen, British Airways, Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, QUALCOMM, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, among others.
Medici earned a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from St. John’s University, with minors in journalism and television studies.
JUDY LIN SFETCU
A member of the PondelWilkinson team since 1997, Sfetcu oversees the investor relations activities for a number of the firm’s long-time clients. She also serves in a managerial role, overseeing PondelWilkinson’s financial operations and human resources.
Sfetcu leverages her extensive skill set in the areas of research and targeting, as well as liaison with the investment community, including sell-side analysts, portfolio managers and individual investors. Sfetcu also is active with the firm’s China-based clients. She is fluent in Mandarin.
Prior to joining PondelWilkinson, Sfetcu was with Tarrant Apparel Group, a publicly traded company, where she worked closely in administrative capacities with the finance and investor relations departments. Prior to that, she held similar positions in the office of the president with Sharp Industries and Deerport, Inc., subsidiaries of Chinatrust Financial Holdings Co.
Sfetcu earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts from New York City Technical College, with an emphasis in accounting, statistics and economics.
Howard Kalt provides high-level investor relations and corporate communications counsel to clients in multiple industries, and directs the firm’s Bay area and Silicon Valley activities.
His more than four decades advising CEOs, CFOs, marketing executives and board members encompasses hands-on counseling on day-to-day IR, public relations and media relations matters, as well as developing and implementing strategies for complex transactions, M&A communications, crises and sensitive issues.
Kalt’s experience includes 10 years with a major Chicago-based public relations firm; an executive position with publicly traded Fred. S. James & Co.; and directing communications for the Pritzker family’s private equity firm, Marmon Group, and its $6 billion portfolio of companies. He subsequently established and operated a nationally renowned investor relations and corporate communications consultancy, based in San Francisco.
A native New Yorker, Kalt is a journalism graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has taught financial communications in Golden Gate University’s Graduate School and public relations at the University of California-Berkeley.
Dave Barthmuss most recently served as communications group leader for General Motors, where he created creating award-winning programs that helped improve brand reputation and increase sales and market share in the West Coast markets.
He also served as a key storyteller for GM, conducting numerous interviews and public speaking events related to consumer engagement, alternative fuels, and other business topics related to the automotive sector.
Barthmuss possesses a keen ability to build relationships and bridges that result in establishing proactive third-party advocates – a subtle art he calls “Advotocracy,” the act of leading through advocacy.
He previously managed global energy, environment, and sustainability communications at GM’s headquarters. He also spent several years in large and small PR agencies, and provided strategic guidance and constituent relations for 20 state senators, public policy analysts and state bureaucrats in Michigan.
Barthmuss earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from Michigan State University.
JOANNA E. RICE
Joanna Rice brings over 20 years of public relations experience to PondelWilkinson. With multi-industry experience, she has deep experience in the healthcare sector, where she has developed and executed award-winning strategic programs, translating client agendas into media coverage.
Joanna most recently worked in the healthcare group at New York-based global public relations firm Porter Novelli, developing strategic programming for such clients as Amgen, Wyeth, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Merck, as well as working with the American Cancer Society to promote the Great American Smokeout that earned her account team a CIPRA award. She has coordinated FDA Advisory Committee meetings, National Press Club events, KOL development, local market media tours, crisis communications and online newsroom development.
Joanna also worked in the automotive and publishing sectors, overseeing public relations efforts for the New York International Auto Show, coordinating media activities with manufacturers and more 3,000 members of the national and international press. She also successfully managed public relations efforts for magazine and publishing clients, including Inc., Cooking Light, Hemming’s Motor News and Windows magazines.
Joanna has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of California, San Diego.
Caroline Dillingham specializes in social media and digital strategy development. Dillingham’s specialized expertise is applied to reputation control and enhancement, corporate positioning and branding.
As well, she actively engages in customized content creation and dialog on behalf of a number of the firm’s clients.
Before joining the PondelWilkinson team in 2013, she represented companies in a wide range of sectors, helping to create and develop business relationships, improve online visibility, engage with their audiences and attract online followers.
Dillingham earned a bachelor’s degree from The University of Colorado at Boulder in English literature. She has completed postgraduate courses in digital media and public relations at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dennis I. Forst, CFA, senior advisor with PondelWilkinson, brings to the firm and its clients a tenured career as an equity research analyst, specializing in gaming, lodging and hospitality industries.
Most recently, Forst was an analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets, where he had been for 15 years.
Prior to KeyBanc, Forst held senior positions with Security Pacific Merchant’s Bank, Caesars World, Merrill Lynch and Sutro & Co.
He holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles. A Chartered Financial Analyst, Forst is a member of the International Federation of Chartered Financial Analysts and Los Angeles Society of Financial Analysts.
He has been ranked by The Wall Street Journal as a top gaming analyst in the United States in 12 of the last 20 years, earning him a position in the newspaper’s Analyst Hall of Fame. He was also named by Institutional Investor magazine as a top boutique/regional analyst in the United States and by Forbes magazine as the No. 1 restaurant analyst.
Mark Bilfield has more than 30 years of corporate marketing and ad agency executive experience at TBWA\Chiat\Day and Saatchi & Saatchi. He is well respected for his innate business savvy, strategic acumen, integrated marketing programs, creative ability and most important, helping companies grow their revenue in a disciplined and measurable manner.
He is a strategic advisor to Kure it Cancer Research. Bilfield has served as the president and chairman of the LA Ad Agency Association and chair of the 4A’s West Coast Interactive Committee.
Bilfield earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the New York Institute of Technology-Old Westbury.