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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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  Laura Mecoy
Senior Counselor
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  Jennifer Wonnacott
Senior Counselor
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  Alison Joob
Account Executive
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  Dagny Akeyson
Account Executive
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  Kymberly Belzer
Account Executive
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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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Laura Mecoy
Senior Counselor

Laura Mecoy is our message maven, strategic communications advisor and media coach. With more than two decades of experience in writing and research, she’s an expert at working with our clients to craft and perfect the right messages at the right time for the right audiences.

A former award-winning journalist, she brings a unique insight into communications. From leading our hands-on media “coaching” that prepares our clients for their most challenging encounters to providing invaluable strategic counsel for external and internal communications, Ms. Mecoy is a proven strategist who skillfully develops concise and compelling messages to cut through the clutter and create clear and effective communications.

She has worked with clients engaged in business, education, scientific research, energy, transportation, healthcare, land use, conservation, legislative advocacy and more. She has led our municipal government team representing the cities of Malibu and Hermosa Beach and developed the messaging for initiative campaigns and other clients. Her writing and research skills have been the basis for the development of videos, brochures, newsletters and many other collateral materials for clients seeking to inform and influence internal and external audiences.

In every engagement, Ms. Mecoy brings the same finely honed instincts for understanding and communicating complex topics that she developed during more than two decades as a journalist in Washington, D.C., Sacramento and Los Angeles for The Sacramento Bee and McClatchy Newspapers, the nation’s second largest newspaper chain.

She offers clients a wealth of experience and knowledge of public policy based on the firsthand experience she gained while reporting on presidential, gubernatorial and other political campaigns; the U.S. Congress, U.S. Supreme Court, state legislatures and several major trials. She’s also developed a broad knowledge of public policy issues, including education, healthcare, transportation, development, land use, energy, scientific research and the environment.

Ms. Mecoy’s reputation as a leader on these issues and others has made her a sought-after expert commentator for numerous national news outlets, including the Today show on NBC, CNN, Court TV and NPR. The Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs and the Center for Campaign Leadership also sought her expert commentary, while several publications, including the AARP Bulletin, Los Angeles Magazine and Money Magazine, have hired her to write on these topics.

Ms. Mecoy is active in the community, serving as a member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Los Angeles Board of Directors and the chair of its Communications Committee and its Walk to Cure Diabetes Committee. She is also a member of the Public Relations Society of America, the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, the Online News Association and Step Up Women’s Network. Ms. Mecoy graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in Journalism-News Communication.

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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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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

With experience in Silicon Valley startups and Los Angeles City Hall, Dagny Akeyson is a tech-savvy media relations and social media specialist with an insider’s view of local government and politics. She connects our clients to winning strategies that maximize the value of traditional media relations, while harnessing the power of new media technology.

She is skillful in implementing the pro-active, client-specific communications and media relations campaigns for which Fiona Hutton & Associates is known. She adroitly capitalizes on today’s 24/7 news cycle and delivers our clients’ messages to the right audience at the right time on the most effective communications platform.

At Fiona Hutton & Associates, she’s helped manage some of our most important accounts, including Clear Channel, Health Net and Santa Margarita Water District. With a meticulous attention to detail, she has ensured we have adhered to our rigorous implementation schedules and maximized our outreach to the media, as needed.

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.

Prior to working in City Hall, Ms. Akeyson served as a social media manager for several Silicon Valley start-up firms, developing her understanding of how to leverage social media for business. She also gained her first hands-on experience in using media to promote business while serving as co-owner and operator of a small baking business, Haute Cakes, in Napa Valley.

Building on her past experience, Ms. Akeyson is ensuring Fiona Hutton & Associates is staying at the forefront of the social media revolution, as well keeping on track with ongoing communications and media outreach programs.

A lifelong Californian, Ms. Akeyson graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. 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. She also is a volunteer for Slow Food USA, a nonprofit dedicated to improved nutrition and sustainable food sources.

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Kymberly Belzer
Account Executive

A talented communicator and outreach specialist, Kymberly Belzer knows how to deliver results for our clients. At Fiona Hutton & Associates, Ms. Belzer’s keen ability to activate the right coalition members, deliver messages effectively and implement strategy makes her a valued tactician for our clients.

From leading client outreach and coalition-building efforts to developing and managing highly targeted outreach databases, Ms. Belzer understands that our clients’ success depends upon being able to implement the appropriate response and outreach in a timely and professionally executed manner.

As a member of Fiona Hutton & Associates, Ms. Belzer serves in a key role in the membership development and management of the Southern California Water Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public education partnership dedicated to informing Southern Californians about our water needs and our state’s water resources. In this role, she is responsible for coordinating the organization’s Annual Dinner that attracts 400-500 stakeholders and opinion leaders every year and managing external communications, including the weekly e-newsletter, web site, social media outlets, press releases and more.

Ms. Belzer rejoins the team after previously working in the office from 2007 to 2010 as an outreach coordinator for the Association of California Water Agencies’ multimillion-dollar statewide public education program, which was launched to educate Californians about critical challenges confronting the state’s water supply and delivery system. She played a critical role in implementing the program’s aggressive outreach plan, working with organizations throughout the state to raise awareness of the state’s water crisis. After just two months, the program had raised public awareness by 34 percent, according to a public opinion poll.

She also was a key player on the earned media team in the winning campaigns for Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97, the Indian gaming measures California voters approved in February 2008. Ms. Belzer was the point person for coordinating all statewide media interviews and for implementing an aggressive and successful letters to the editor program.

Ms. Belzer previously served as a public relations specialist and a recruitment, marketing and communications director in the non-profit sector. She also worked in a law office conducting research and managing the office website.

Ms. Belzer is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the Southern California Mediation Association. She graduated from California State University, Stanislaus with a B.A. in Organizational Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. She is in the process of completing her M.A. in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peace Building at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

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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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