The Team

Vanguardians care about our work, our craft and making a difference. Meet our leadership teams.

maria rodriguez

Maria Rodriguez
President and CEO
Maria Rodriguez leads a talented staff of diverse individuals at Vanguard Communications — the PR agency she co-founded with a business partner at age 27— to advance social change and champion causes to help protect the health and well-being of our planet and its people.
Get to know Maria


brenda foster

Brenda K. Foster, MPA
Senior Vice President
Brenda has devoted her career to supporting nonprofit organizations as they work to call our attention to society’s needs, social injustices and opportunities for inclusive communities. This multifaceted strategist thrives at the intersection of awareness, advocacy and action, and has applied her expertise to change how people think and feel about issues that affect us.
Get to know Brenda

Carolyn Fearing
Vice President
Carolyn has more than 24 years of experience in strategic communications. She has worked on large-scale federal campaigns throughout her career, as well as projects for non-profits and associations. Her area of expertise is communicating to change attitudes, beliefs and behaviors to create a healthier and more equitable society.
Get to know Carolyn

crystal borde

Crystal Borde
Vice President
When she is not taking too many photos or feeding her brain’s pop culture encyclopedia, Crystal brings more than 12 years of strategic communications expertise to organizations engaging diverse communities.
Get to know Crystal

Karen Linscott
Chief Operating Officer
Karen has dedicated her career to improving health care in the U.S. She was a physical therapist before transitioning to work on health policy and bioethics at the local and national level. As the Chief Operating Officer, Karen is continuing this work by helping Vanguard support its clients’ missions to improve community health and advocate for system change.
Get to know Karen

LeAnne DeFrancesco headshot

LeAnne DeFrancesco
Vice President
LeAnne has more than 20 years of experience in editorial production, and brings particular expertise in developing customized content for diverse audiences, scriptwriting, advertising and messaging. She leads Vanguard’s Design+Editorial staff, comprised of designers, writers and editors.
Get to know LeAnne

Lisa Swanberg

Lisa Swanberg
Senior Vice President
Lisa has more than 30 years of experience managing health communications contracts for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Creating and improving channels for information dissemination to the public has been the core of her health communications work for nearly 30 years.
Get to know Lisa

Vanguard Communications Staff

Allison Gross, Associate Director

Allyson Singh, Creative Account Manager

Brittany Vanderpool, Senior Account Supervisor

brittany vanderpool

Camille Jewell, Senior Account Executive

Camille Jewell

Catalina Avellaneda, Communications Associate

Catie Carreras, Editorial Manager

Chantelle Polite, Assistant Account Executive

Chantelle Polite

Erika Gaitan, Assistant Account Executive

erika gaitan

Faith James, Account Supervisor

Faith James

Jo Ann Antoine, Art Director

Jo Ann Antoine

Kisha Dean, Staff Accountant

Lelani Clark, Associate Director

Linda Sabelhaus, Account Supervisor


Maria Enie, Associate Director

Maria Enie

Melissa O’Brien, Operations and HR Manager

Riley Smith, Assistant Account Executive

Riley Smith

Savannah Young, Account Manager

Shannon Walsh, Senior Account Supervisor

Shannon Walsh

Sharon Cummins, Senior Resource Specialist

Sharon Cummins