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Fiona Hutton & Associates is your connection to a winning team of public affairs professionals with proven track records of success in representing high-profile clients and effectively managing complex and challenging issues.

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Fiona Hutton
President
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  Ann Newton
Vice President
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  Vanessa Rodriguez
Vice President
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  Jennifer Wonnacott
Senior Counselor
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  Anthony York
Senior Counselor
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  Alison Joob
Senior Account Executive
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  Dagny Akeyson
Senior Account Executive
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  Kendall Klingler
Senior Account Executive
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  Olivia Olsschewski
Account Coordinator
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  Sari Afriat
Accounting Manager
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  Chloe Stearns
Administrative Assistant
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Fiona Hutton
President

One of the state’s best-known public affairs professionals, Fiona Hutton knows how to connect the right team and strategy at the right time. With more than two decades of experience in the agency, corporate, political and governmental worlds, she’s an expert at communications strategy, project management and oversight and succeeding for her clients.

Since launching her own public affairs firm in 2001, Ms. Hutton has developed a first-class public affairs practice that ensures effective solutions for clients. Her approach is straightforward - a resolute and hands-on commitment to fulfilling clients' needs, solving their problems and ensuring they achieve their goals.

With a proven record of success, she is a sought-after expert for creating cohesive brand identities, forging targeted and meaningful partnerships and crafting comprehensive strategic communications programs. Her extensive experience and sage counsel make her the go-to choice for clients seeking to navigate controversial and complex issues, advocacy efforts, regulatory processes, legislative actions and crisis management situations.

As an industry leader, her clients and peers respect and depend on her for her detail-oriented approach and keen ability to assemble and manage the strongest teams for communications and outreach efforts for corporate clients, trade associations, nonprofit organizations and political interests.

With nearly two decades of experience in California’s highly competitive and constantly evolving political and regulatory landscape, Ms. Hutton has a unique insight into the people, processes and policies that dictate success in communications and outreach programs at the state and local level. Her vast expertise in the most challenging public policy areas, including business regulation, water, entitlements, land use, conservation, health care, energy and infrastructure, have made her the only choice for clients who demand the top professional in the field with the proven skills to successfully clear any communications hurdle.

She’s created the overall strategy for successful outreach, education and communications efforts for corporate clients, major environmental organizations and governmental agencies, ranging from the Los Angeles Dodgers to The Nature Conservancy. She’s crafted creative and resourceful plans for new initiatives for clients, including City National Bank and Clear Channel Outdoor – Southern California. She’s spearheaded the communications and public education efforts of numerous governmental entities, including the cities of Malibu, Santa Clarita and Hermosa Beach.

Clients from the Los Angeles Zoo to the California Association of Health Plans have relied on Ms. Hutton for her creative insight, her strategic counsel and her skills in developing and managing the most effective communications and outreach programs possible.

Ms. Hutton got her start in communications strategy working for then-Governor Pete Wilson, playing an instrumental role in coordinating all aspects of his statewide and national political agenda, including his 1994 gubernatorial re-election and statewide ballot measure campaigns. She also managed accounts for a major public relations agency and served as in-house communications professional for a Southern California company prior to founding her own firm in Los Angeles.

Ms. Hutton remains one of the state’s top political strategists. Her strong background and connections in the environmental and conservation communities led to her playing critical campaign management roles in every statewide conservation and water bond measure – including Propositions 12/13, 40, 50 and 84 – on California’s ballot since 2000. She also played a critical role in the winning campaigns for Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97 – four Indian gaming measures that sparked one of the most controversial and expensive ballot measure campaigns in California history.

Ms. Hutton serves on the board of directors for the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, one of the largest business advocacy organizations in the Los Angeles region, and is a founder and board member of the organization’s political action committee. She received her B.A. in Political Science from San Diego State University.

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Ann Newton
Vice President

Ann Newton is our firm’s specialist at connecting people and organizations to produce winning coalitions for issues, projects and campaigns. She is a respected leader who has successfully deployed and managed ally development and outreach strategies for a broad spectrum of corporate, nonprofit and political clients, as well as constituency groups ranging from health care to environmental interests.

From the California State Parks Foundation to the Southern California Water Committee, FH&A’s clients depend on Ms. Newton to manage their accounts, develop concise and effective messages and expertly communicate those messages. She is known for her extensive knowledge of the California communications environment, her prompt attention to clients’ needs and her skills at creating and managing all forms of communications tools – from websites to brochures and other printed materials.

Ms. Newton was critical to the success of the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) award-winning statewide public education program – California’s Water: A Crisis We Can’t Afford – which succeeded in producing the substantial and measurable increase in voters’ knowledge of the state’s water crisis ACWA sought. She also managed a statewide education program for several of California’s top conservation groups that included extensive and ongoing outreach and communications to elected leaders, environmental organizations, government entities throughout the state and many more decision makers.

She provided essential coordination and management of several important media efforts, including the California Association of Health Plans’ successful announcement of a new educational program to combat obesity and the statewide editorial board outreach that was crucial to the victorious outcome of four Indian gaming measures in 2008.

Her large network of contacts and her extensive knowledge of public policy give her an unparalleled ability to quickly and effectively respond to clients’ needs. As a result of her expertise, she has become a respected advisor for numerous clients dealing with complex public policy issues, including serving as a key strategist for the State Water Contractors in navigating California water policy.

Active in statewide politics, Ms. Newton has played critical roles in the management and execution of statewide ballot measure campaigns in California, from signature qualification through final Election Day activities. In 2010, she directed a successful coalition-building effort that was critical to the defeat of Proposition 27, a measure that would have eliminated an important reform in redistricting.

Ms. Newton’s organizational skills, her communications acumen and her experience in all aspects of the firm’s work ensure clients at FH&A achieve their goals.

Ms. Newton has been with the firm since 2005 and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America. She graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A. in Political Science

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Vanessa Rodriguez
Vice President

Vanessa Rodriguez is a Vice President of Fiona Hutton & Associates. In her role she is responsible for creating and implementing multi-faceted public affairs campaigns aimed at persuading public opinion to support client needs. She is adept at message development, government affairs and ally outreach while being attentive to political sensitivities. Her acute understanding of the complex political and policy environment in California and Los Angeles has allowed her to shape public policy through her work on land-use proposals and entitlements, hospitality, manufacturing and retail advocacy, regulatory issues, and health care initiatives.

Ms. Rodriguez augments the FH&A team with an in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of local, regional and state government and the messages that move decisionmakers, civic elites and community members. Over the course of her career she has managed high-profile public affairs campaigns on behalf of Fortune 20 companies and some of the state’s largest trade associations. Her effectiveness comes from staging a well-organized campaign team, discipline and a tenacious focus on achieving strategic objectives.

She is currently serving as Co-Chair of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association’s Government Affairs committee. The committee reviews pertinent legislation affecting the business community at the federal, state and local level and recommends positions to the trade association’s Board of Directors.

In 2010 State Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg appointed Ms. Rodriguez to the California Department of Insurance’s California Organized Investment Network (COIN) Advisory Board. The COIN advisory board was established through legislative action by Speaker John Pérez to advise the Department on the best methods to increase the level of insurance industry capital in sound investments while providing returns to investors and social benefits to the State’s underserved communities.

Community involvement is one of Ms. Rodriguez’s hallmark interests. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Skid Row Housing Trust, which aims to end homelessness in the Skid Row neighborhood of downtown L.A. by providing affordable housing and the health care services needed to permanently break the cycle of homelessness. She is also a member of the Los Angeles Advisory Council for Running Start, a national organization encouraging young women to run for political office and explore other policy making positions.

Prior to joining FH&A, Ms. Rodriguez was a Senior Vice President of Mercury Public Affairs, a division of Omnicom Group Inc., where she managed the lobbying practice of the Los Angeles office. Before joining Mercury Public Affairs, she led the local government advocacy team for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the largest business association in Los Angeles County serving the interests of more than 235,000 businesses across the Los Angeles region.

Vanessa is a graduate of the University of Southern California.

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Jennifer Wonnacott
Senior Counselor

Jennifer Wonnacott brings a broad scope of media relations, public affairs and political campaign communications experience at the state and local levels to FH&A. Her breadth of experience and extensive knowledge of communications strategy helps our clients craft compelling messages and deliver those messages effectively to produce the desired results.

Ms. Wonnacott offers FH&A’s clients a unique perspective on developing comprehensive strategic communications plans. She has successfully created plans to align with the top issues and goals of elected officials, companies and community organizations and managed the execution of these plans including messaging, targeting and outreach. Her deep knowledge of the political and legislative landscape in California allows her to approach communications planning from a distinctive angle.

Responsible for all media relations for a wide spectrum of issues, political and public affairs campaigns, as well as in two State Assembly offices, Ms. Wonnacott has extensive experience with both traditional and social media and knows how to tactfully navigate the ever changing media industry. Her ability to cultivate and manage relationships with reporters, bloggers and editorial page editors provides a key asset to clients. Additionally, Ms. Wonnacott has acted as an on-the-record spokesperson.

From writing compelling press releases that cut through the noise and garner attention to planning press events that make it to the top of news assignment desks, she seeks out the opportunities that will give our clients and their messages the greatest possible exposure. She is also adept at moving client messages onto the opinion pages through placement of op-eds and building editorial board tours where stakeholders can deliver their messages firsthand.

Ms. Wonnacott’s knowledge of media communications helps clients craft strategic plans and accompanying collateral materials that deliver targeted, concise and consistent messages. Her approach to developing materials is grounded in thorough research, thoughtful planning and experienced insight into what works. Clients can be confident that their materials will put their best messages forward.

While Ms. Wonnacott has advised two State Assemblymembers on strategic communications, the greater part of Ms. Wonnacott’s professional experience was spent providing strategic communications for elected officials, companies and public affairs campaigns at a public affairs and political consulting firm in Sacramento. As a consultant at the firm, Ms. Wonnacott carried out the day-to-day management of media relations plans and worked to secure high media visibility for a wide range of clients, including education organizations, health care related issues and automotive companies. In addition, she assisted with the production of television ads and direct mail, as well as polling research.

Ms. Wonnacott’s extensive experience building integrated media campaigns with measurable results and wide network of relationships she has cultivated through political and public relations campaigns, helps put our clients on the path to success.

Ms. Wonnacott developed her passion for politics and communications while attending UC Berkeley where she graduated with a B.A. in Mass Communications.

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Anthony York
Senior Counselor

Anthony York has a deep understanding of how media works, how reporters think and how to frame a story. For the last two decades, he has seen California politics up close, most recently as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where he covered the Jerry Brown administration.

As a Senior Counselor at FH&A, Mr. York assists clients with communications strategy, message development, media relations, crisis management, collateral development and media coaching.

Mr. York brings a fresh perspective and distinctive approach to the communications team at Fiona Hutton & Associates.

Clients greatly benefit from Mr. York’s knowledge of the media landscape and profound understanding of the most pressing issues facing our state.

His 20 years in journalism provide clients with a unique insight and ability to navigate the complex and challenging media and communications world. Mr. York’s keen skills help clients understand how to effectively communicate their side of the story to reporters, and how to tailor messaging to a variety of media, from print to broadcast to online.

Mr. York is well-versed in both policy and politics having covered a wide breadth of issues including the state budget, energy, education, health care and the environment, and understands the political and regulatory levers of government operations.

Mr. York has also served as editor of the Capitol Weekly, a paper dedicated to California politics and government, and a Washington correspondent and associate editor for Salon.com. He has also been an editor of the California Journal, and a reporter for the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert.

In 2014, he was named one of the top statehouse reporters in the country by the Washington Post.

He is a frequent analyst on KCRW and KQED public radio, and is co-host of a weekly podcast on California politics with KQED’s John Myers. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and numerous other newspapers around the state.

Mr. York graduated with a degree in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and lives in Sacramento with his wife, Andrea and two children. He is an aspiring tee-ball coach.

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Alison Joob
Senior Account Executive

Alison Joob, a skilled communications and outreach coordinator, serves as a vital connection between our clients and their communications and outreach goals.

Ms. Joob plays a key role in the day-to-day management of client accounts, bringing strong organizational skills, great enthusiasm and energy, and a solid understanding of California’s government and political arenas. Her diverse background in the public, private and political arenas allows her to adeptly transition between coalition building and media relations services for our clients.

In her role, Ms. Joob skillfully develops and manages highly targeted outreach databases and is a highly organized and efficient contact for the vast array of individuals and organizations involved in our extensive outreach and coalition-building campaigns. She also assists with the management of communications programs and media relations, including the drafting and distribution of press releases,  coordinating editorial board tours, integrating social media campaigns, and the planning of press events.

Her attention to detail and her ability to coordinate and organize a fast-moving team is essential to our firm’s winning communications and outreach strategies for our wide spectrum of clients. Clients can depend on Ms. Joob to ensure their needs and goals are met in an efficient, reliable and professional manner.

Prior to joining Fiona Hutton & Associates, Ms. Joob served as an aide in the Southern California district office of a California State Assemblymember, where she oversaw and managed the office operations.  In addition, she managed the Assemblymember’s social media outlets, developed constituent outreach materials, managed outreach databases and organized community events.

Ms. Joob also served as a public affairs associate at the Dewey Square Group, a national public affairs agency, where she assisted with the coordination and management of grassroots and public affairs efforts for numerous corporations and non-profit organizations. Ms. Joob previously worked as a presidential campaign field organizer in 2008.

Ms. Joob graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Political Science.

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Dagny Akeyson
Senior Account Executive

Dagny Akeyson is a savvy media relations and social media specialist with an insider’s view of how news media, government and business interact. She connects our clients to winning strategies that maximize the value of traditional media relations, while harnessing the power of new media technology.

Utilizing her media relations expertise, Ms. Akeyson implements the pro-active, client-specific communications and media relations campaigns for which Fiona Hutton & Associates is known. She excels at staying abreast of shifts in the media landscape and utilizes that information to capitalize on today’s 24/7 news cycle. She communicates constantly with regional, statewide and national reporters, develops effective messaging, organizes editorial board tours, places opinion editorials and commentary pieces, and executes on successful press conferences and media events.

Her media relations savvy translates into well executed and target social media efforts as well. Utilizing the power of the wide variety of social media platforms, she is able to recommend, design and implement online media strategies that engage wide ranging audiences and help clients spread their messages far and wide.

At Fiona Hutton & Associates, she’s helped manage some of our most important accounts, including Clear Channel Outdoor and the California Association of Health Plans. She has worked on a wide variety of public policy issues, including health care, manufacturing, beverages, wastewater, local government and clean energy. Ms. Akeyson has been instrumental in implementing public affairs and communications strategies to influence regulatory matters, litigation, acquisitions, legislation and local ordinances, and ballot measure campaigns. She also coordinates the firm’s media training sessions.

Before joining Fiona Hutton & Associates, Ms. Akeyson worked in Los Angeles City Hall for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Controller Wendy Greuel. In the mayor’s office, she developed an understanding of the intricacies of political communications and social media. In the controller’s office, she assisted in developing speeches, constituent communications and policy analyses.

A lifelong Californian, Ms. Akeyson graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. During her college career, she also studied French and is fluent in the language. She is an active member of the community, volunteering as a tutor for elementary school students through the nonprofit organization, Reading Partners LA.

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Kendall Klingler
Senior Account Executive

Kendall Klingler develops and implements strategic communications, public affairs, and advocacy campaigns and spearheads branding and public education programs for Fiona Hutton & Associates’ clients.

To support effective communications programs, Ms. Klinger is responsible for developing compelling collateral materials for our clients, including new brand identities/logos, brochures, websites, infographics, direct mail, presentations, fact sheets, billboards and banners, producing both the written content and guiding creative graphic design. Ms. Klinger has demonstrated a strong ability to distill down high level policy and technical subjects to manageable messages and images that highlight our clients’ positions and drive their interests before various audiences.

Ms. Klingler is also skilled at gaining support for issues and projects through coalition-building and outreach efforts that successfully engage, influence and mobilize targeted audiences and decision-makers to ultimately help meet clients’ objectives. With her enthusiasm and strong interpersonal skills, she has developed a wide network among statewide and regional opinion leaders, industry stakeholders and elected officials in California.

Ms. Klinger has been deployed to serve a wide-variety of clients and issues at FH&A, including statewide and regional water policy, air quality, energy infrastructure, legislative, permitting and regulatory, environmental, and drought/sustainability programs and projects. Her client portfolio includes the State Water Contractors, regional water districts and Governor Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a high profile $25 billion infrastructure project.

Before joining FH&A, Ms. Klingler gained experience working at regional and international public affairs agencies, focusing on strategic communications plan development, media relations, social media outreach, event planning and coalition-building.

Ms. Klingler is from St. Louis, Missouri. She earned her Bachelor of Journalism in Strategic Communication from the University of Missouri and earned her Master of Arts in Strategic Public Relations from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

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Olivia Olschewski
Account Coordinator

Olivia Olschewski is an integral member of the Fiona Hutton & Associates team. She provides key support and a dedicated work ethic that ensures our clients are provided the top-notch service that FH&A is known for delivering.

Ms. Olschewski assists with the management of client communications programs and media relations, including the drafting and distribution of press releases and numerous outreach materials, managing outreach and media databases, interfacing with reporters, and overseeing daily media monitoring. She has a keen eye for client opportunities and utilizes these skills to develop and maintain in-depth and forward-looking editorial and outreach calendars that help our clients continually move the ball forward. She also drives the design process for a wide variety of collateral materials that our clients depend on to tell their stories in captivating and compelling ways.

An important skill set she brings to the FH&A team is the ability to creatively utilize social media. She hones in on clear, persuasive content and opportunities that help messages stand out in the crowded online world.

Ms. Olschewski serves a wide-variety of clients at the firm, allowing her skills to be utilized on numerous high profile issues, including state and local water policy, environmental, sustainability, groundwater contaminants, litigation support, and health care. Her clients have included the California Association of Health Plans, California Hospital Association, and numerous regional water districts.

Prior to joining FH&A, Ms. Olschewski worked as an account manager at a marketing firm based in Long Beach, California, helping clients achieve their communications goals through in depth and strategic media relations efforts.

Ms. Olschewski earned her Bachelor degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from California State University Long Beach.

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Sari Afriat
Manager of Accounting and Administration

Sari Afriat ensures that business operations run efficiently and effectively at Fiona Hutton & Associates. In addition to managing accounting and financial affairs, she oversees human resources, contracts and leases, legal compliance, information technology, and much more for the agency.

With her hands on approach, she has a deep understanding of the firm’s diverse client base, including corporations, non-profit organizations, trade associations, public agencies, ballot measure campaigns and municipalities, and supports the careful management of each account.

Ms. Afriat has more than 15 years of accounting and administrative experience, including serving as the chief financial officer of a multi-million dollar private entertainment company for eight years. She has managed the finances of a variety of firms - everything from retail operations to large scale post-production facilities. This impressive breadth of knowledge provides her the skills necessary to manage the day-to-day needs of FH&A.

She brings with her a structured approach, meticulous attention to detail, and a work ethic that matches the reputation FH&A has firmly established in the California market.

Understanding the importance of giving back to her community, Ms. Afriat volunteered to serve as treasurer on the board of a non-profit private elementary school for three years. She is also active in the political realm and each campaign season lends her time and skills to various political campaigns.

Ms. Afriat is a native Californian. She earned her business degree with an emphasis in accounting and marketing from California State University, Northridge.

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Chloe Stearns
Administrative Assistant

Ms. Stearns is an integral member of the Fiona Hutton & Associates team adeptly managing the operations of our fast-paced office and providing clients with the upmost professional assistance with any administrative matters.

In addition, Ms. Stearns plays a vital role in the day-to-day implementation of strategies by providing essential support to clients through research, media monitoring and coalition coordination. She also assists in the maintenance of websites making certain the most accurate, up-to-date information is posted.

Since joining Fiona Hutton & Associates, Ms. Stearns has quickly developed a keen understanding of communicating effectively with targeted audiences and ensuring clients have the necessary information in order to be successful. Clients can be confident that their messages are reaching the right audiences through the contact databases Ms. Stearns develops and manages.
Clients can depend on Ms. Stearns to deliver needed services in a timely, organized and professional manner.

Ms. Stearns is committed to enriching the lives of young children, serving as the Head Mentor for The Young Storytellers Foundation for the past three years. She graduated from Chapman University.

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