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Merritt Group | Management

Management

Our management team brings together a group of innovative leaders with decades of experience in strategic communications – from news reporters and industry analysts to marketing managers and graphic designers. Merritt Group fosters an environment where executives and employees work together to share information, collaborate on projects and brainstorm new ideas to drive greater awareness on behalf of our clients.

Interested in joining the team? Check out Merritt’s careers page. To learn more about members of our executive and leadership teams, explore the profiles below.

Get in Touch

Merritt Group D.C.
8251 Greensboro Drive Suite 600
McLean, VA 22102
703.390.1500

Merritt Group CA
220 Montgomery Street Suite 640
San Francisco, CA 94104
415.247.1660

Executive Team

Alisa Valudes Whyte

Alisa Valudes Whyte

Senior Partner, CEO

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Alisa Valudes Whyte

Senior Partner, CEO

Alisa Valudes Whyte Alisa Valudes Whyte 's LinkedIn Profile

Alisa joined Merritt Group in 1997 and helped to shape the agency since its founding. Alisa creates marketing, PR and branding/messaging campaigns for clients in technology, healthcare and government – including Booz Allen Hamilton, Microsoft, LexisNexis, Battelle, Metastorm, Yodlee, Corvis, Check Point Software and U.S. Pharmacopeia.

Previously, Alisa worked at Ruder Finn PR and at the architectural firm of Leo A Daly in marketing. Alisa graduated from Dickinson College with a BA in Policy and Management Studies and spent a semester studying Economic Policy at American University.

Alisa finds relaxation in the performing arts – attending the symphony, theater or broadway shows. Otherwise, she enjoys family, running, pilates, reading, cooking, traveling or learning something new.

Tom Rice

Tom Rice

Executive Vice President and Partner

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Tom Rice

Executive Vice President and Partner

Tom Rice Tom Rice's LinkedIn Profile

Tom has 20 years of experience driving strategic communications campaigns for technology and government-focused organizations that have garnered widespread attention and achieved results. Tom oversees Merritt Group’s Security Practice and also leads the company’s business development efforts.

Tom has a proven track record of building and managing high-performing communications teams. He has experience in public relations, analyst relations, internal communications, executive communications, crisis communications, marketing communications and social media. Before joining Merritt, Tom was a vice president at Ein Communications and received a BS in Finance from George Mason University (GMU).

Tom’s interests outside of work are European travel and passionately following his sports teams, including GMU Basketball. Tom and his wife have three kids.

John Conrad

John Conrad

Executive Vice President and Partner

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John Conrad

Executive Vice President and Partner

John Conrad John Conrad's LinkedIn Profile

John joined Merritt Group in 2001, bringing his writing and storytelling experience to the team. Today he oversees the Communications & Networking and Enterprise Technology practices. Over the past 12 years, John has supported the strategic communications efforts on numerous client accounts, including Battelle, Booz Allen Hamilton and Verizon to name a few, applying his skills in media relations, analyst relations, social media, writing, messaging and digital.

Prior to joining Merritt, John wrote for technology publications covering everything from regulatory issues at the FCC to 3G wireless technology (long before it was a reality) and personal and business computing. John graduated with a BA in English from The College of William & Mary.

John lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife, Amy, and twin boys. In his free time you will find him grilling some sort of meat on his trusty charcoal Weber year round.

Jayson Schkloven

Jayson Schkloven

Executive Vice President and Partner

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Jayson Schkloven

Executive Vice President and Partner

Jayson Schkloven Jayson Schkloven's LinkedIn Profile

Part of Merritt Group for more than a decade, Jayson started the agency’s marketing and digital divisions with one unflinching goal in mind – to help our clients communicate their messages effectively through the right mix of earned, owned and paid media channels. Today, Jayson oversees digital and creative services at Merritt, bringing an uncommon mix of industry knowledge, strategic marketing savvy and deep technical expertise to clients, including Microsoft, Teradata, Unisys, General Dynamics and Booz Allen Hamilton.

For the last 15 years, Jayson has provided a unique blend of marketing strategy, digital and social media and public relations services to companies ranging from venture-funded startups to global organizations. He graduated from Salisbury University with a BA in Marketing and Public Relations.

When he’s not working closely with his clients, Jayson keeps work and life in balance by cycling on the WO&D Trail.

Paul Miller

Paul Miller

Vice President, Finance and Accounting

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Paul Miller

Vice President, Finance and Accounting

Paul Miller Paul Miller's LinkedIn Profile

As a seasoned member of Merritt Group’s leadership team, Paul is responsible for aligning the IT infrastructure and financial systems with the agency’s overall strategy and goals. He oversees all financial operations, including controller and treasury functions, planning and forecasting. He also evaluates, implements and directs IT strategies and systems.

Paul has almost 30 years of experience in corporate management in the professional services arena. Prior to joining the agency, Paul spent 11 years with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide in senior financial reporting and operations positions. He has a BS in Business Administration from Old Dominion University

When Paul is not crunching numbers, he enjoys spending time with his family as well as in the great outdoors. He enjoys participating in softball, basketball, golf, skiing, fishing and boating. He also enjoys just kicking back and going with the flow, with his “whatever” attitude.

Shahed Ahmed

Shahed Ahmed

Senior Vice President and Partner

35

Shahed Ahmed

Senior Vice President and Partner

Shahed Ahmed Shahed Ahmed's LinkedIn Profile

Shahed’s career began in the dot.com era as a reporter for CNET and evolved into more PR and marketing roles timed to the rise of mega-trends like mobile, social, cloud and big data. In roles spanning both B2C and B2B technology, in corporate and agency settings, Shahed has developed deep knowledge of the technology market over the past dozen years.

He can talk bits and bytes, but clients value his remarkable ability to turn “in the weeds” technologies into compelling storylines for business audiences and C-level executives. Shahed has experience in managing corporate and financial communications, global product launches, IPOs and acquisitions, as well as developing strategic and integrated digital and social media campaigns. Shahed has a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland.

When not wearing his marketing cap, he enjoys watching and playing basketball, reading about physics, cars and philosophy and spending as much time as possible with his wife and daughter.

Leadership Team

Matt Donovan

Matt Donovan

Vice President, Government

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Matt Donovan

Vice President, Government

Matt Donovan Matt Donovan's LinkedIn Profile

As Merritt Group’s Government Vice President, Matt is responsible for creating and executing strategic communications campaigns that drive awareness and differentiation for organizations in the public sector marketplace. He has helped leading technology players including Microsoft, Booz Allen Hamilton, Unisys, Software AG and Battelle raise their profiles among government decision-makers through a mix of media relations, analyst relations, social media strategy, blog writing and creative marketing.

Prior to joining Merritt, Matt worked for National Public Radio, supporting a variety of external marketing campaigns. He holds BAs in English and Psychology from Syracuse University and an MA in Public Communication from American University.

Outside of work, Matt enjoys playing golf and tennis and obsessively rooting for the Syracuse Orange.

Melissa Chadwick

Melissa Chadwick

Vice President, Networking & Mobility

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Melissa Chadwick

Vice President, Networking & Mobility

Melissa Chadwick Melissa Chadwick's LinkedIn Profile

For the past seven years, Melissa has been responsible for driving strategy and results for clients spanning the telecom, service provider, equipment maker and software provider markets. Her experience ranges from emerging startups to global companies, including Alvarion, Blue Coat, Infoblox, Redback Networks (now Ericsson), Strangeloop, Synchronica and Verizon.

Prior to joining the agency, Melissa worked internally as a member of the Marketing PR team at Nextel Communications. In this position, she supported campaign work across product PR, vertical industry PR, celebrity promotions, analyst relations and NASCAR. She double-majored in English and German at the University of Virginia and is working toward her MA in Communications from Johns Hopkins University.

When Melissa is not pitching, writing or tweeting, she can be found traveling around the world, spoiling her newly adopted retriever mix, posting on her music blog or sampling some sushi.

Michelle Schafer

Michelle Schafer

Senior Vice President, Security

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Michelle Schafer

Senior Vice President, Security

Michelle Schafer Michelle Schafer's LinkedIn Profile

Michelle heads up Merritt Group’s Security practice where she applies more than a decade of hands-on PR-related security experience spanning every discipline. She is known for creating and implementing strategic communications campaigns that drive results for clients such as (ISC)2, Triumfant, Vigilant, Fortinet and PhishMe.

Michelle has presented at Security B-Sides and ISSA events and was recognized as a top influencer in the security community in 2010. Prior to Merritt, Michelle led a team of wireless researchers at Current Analysis. She also held corporate communications positions at Advanced Switching Communications and 2nd Century Communications earlier in her career. She holds a BA in Communications with a specialization in PR and Advertising from George Mason University.

When not working in security, she can be found supporting Starbucks, cheering on her 11-year-old baseball star or chillaxing at the beach.