Create. Reveal. Evolve.

Bios

CCA has deliberately assembled a marketing team with diverse backgrounds that include expertise in strategic marketing, new media and public relations. We are capable of developing new brands from conception, and refining and refreshing the image of better-established brands. Together, we offer a broad spectrum of experience and professional credentials to serve your organization's immediate and long-term needs.



Kimberly Charles

Kimberly Charles

Founder

The Captain of the ship, Kimberly Charles has worked her PR and marketing mojo all over the world for 30 years. As an employee and an agent, she tackled marketing issues of every size, shape and color, generating buzz & tangible results for wineries, gourmet food producers, nonprofit organizations, museums, hotels, perfume and luxury cars. Her approach is rooted in developing a true understanding of the distinct character of a product. Kimberly’s foremost passion is representing clients with a socially responsible or sustainable business platform. Kimberly has largely focused her efforts on the wine, spirits and food industries, but has also crafted cause marketing and co-branding campaigns in co-operation with luxury brands including BMW, Ritz-Carlton, American Express, the Marriott and Hyatt Hotel chains, the Tony Awards® and others.

She began her work in New York at the premium wine importing company Kobrand Corporation, where she served as Public Relations Director for a portfolio of internationally recognized brands including Taittinger Champagne, Louis Jadot Burgundies, Taylor Fladgate Ports and more. At that time, she oversaw all company media relations, co-marketing partnerships and winemaker media tours, putting her language and travel skills to great use. She was part of the team that launched and nurtured the brand Alizé de France.

She moved to Northern California to become Director of Communications for E. & J. Gallo Winery, directing corporate and internal communications, focusing on the successful re-launch of the Gallo of Sonoma brand. She then accepted a position as Senior Vice President of Magnet Communications in San Francisco, where she built an impressive roster of wine industry clients including Perrier Jouet & G.H. Mumm Champagne brands, St.Supéry Winery & Vineyards, Fetzer Vineyards, Fess Parker Winery and Robert Mondavi Imports among many others.

In the spring of 2003, Kimberly launched her own company, Charles Communications Associates in San Francisco, specializing in strategic branding, corporate social responsibility with a focus on launching, reinvigorating and repositioning of brands.

Kimberly holds a B.A. in History & Government from Georgetown University and also successfully completed the Diploma course for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in London in 1997, one the early group of American candidates to attempt this challenging exam. She is a member of Slow Food and Les Dames d'Escoffier San Francisco. She is also a Trustee of the River Network. She served as Vice President of the Society of Wine Educators (2003-2005) and as board member for five years.

When she has time to breathe, Kimberly loves to travel and live it up. Her travel bug has fueled her interest in classic food and wine, sake, arak and single malt scotch.  Her excursions to Russia, Lebanon, Iceland, Japan and Greenland continue to inspire her thirst for exotic locales but in her restored 1900 Victorian home in San Francisco’s Mission District, she has found a home, where she can share her love of cooking and entertaining with a stimulating group of friends and colleagues. She is a devotee of yoga and endeavors to stay centered in an ever-changing world.

Restaurant: Cotogna in San Francisco & Septime in Paris
City to visit: San Sebastien
Place to shop: Le Marche aux Puces, Cligancourt or any funky flea market around the globe
Musician: Killian MacGeraghty
Cuisine: Moroccan
Wine: Chateau Cheval Blanc 1982
Beer: Supporting our local brews in Northern California, Little Sumpin' by Lagunitas - an IPA with a hoppy kick!
Book: Journey of Souls
Film: The Lives of Others
Philosopher: Rumi
Alex Fondren

Alex Fondren

Account Supervisor

Alex Fondren hails from both coasts, considering herself a proud native of both New Jersey and Carlsbad, California. She’s spent much of the last decade studying and working abroad – and as a former resident of London, Florence and Sydney, proximity to a major wine region has always been a priority. A self-diagnosed news-junkie, Alex dabbled in political journalism, doing stints at both CNN and British Parliament, before graduating from the London School of Economics with a M.A. in History of International Relations.
 
On an eye-opening post-dissertation trip to Mendoza, she had an epiphany that convinced her to move back to California and immerse herself completely in the wine industry. She honed her wine writing skills as Brand & Communications Manager for JJ Buckley Fine Wines, overseeing sales and marketing strategy and putting her research skills to great use. And she fell in love with Bordeaux after traveling to the region to participate in its annual En Primeur campaign.
 
After successfully completing the Level 3 certification for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, she cut her teeth on the production end, working harvest at Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga.
 
Alex also holds a B.A. in History & Communication Studies (with minors in Political Science & Archaeology) from Loyola Marymount University. An avid runner, yoga addict and rookie surfer, Alex likes to spend her spare time working up a sweat so she can better justify her other hobby - exploring all of the Bay Area’s world-class culinary delights!
 
Restaurant: La Ciccia in San Francisco, Great Queen St & Haandi in London 
City to visit: Marrakesh 
Place to shop: London’s Borough Market 
Musician: Led Zeppelin 
Cuisine: Indian and Northern Italian 
Wine: Pontet-Canet, grower Champagne, most Jura and lately anything from Sicily and Sardinia 
Beer: Woodfour Brewing Company's "Sour Farmhouse Ale" 
Book: Anna Karenina 
Film: Life is Beautiful, The Royal Tenenbaums 
Philosopher: Yann Martel, Oscar Wilde 
Amelia Weir

Amelia Weir

Senior Strategic Consultant

For over fifteen years, Amelia has engaged in marketing and communications with a diverse spectrum of industries ranging from beverages (including beer and wine) to financial services.
 
Amelia’s career in communications and marketing began in 1994 at Ogilvy & Mather’s London office where she managed the Guinness UK account. After three years as an ex-pat and plenty of dark beer, she felt the pull of her hometown, and returned to San Francisco to work with Visa International managing their global brand communications for the next three years.
 
As a Bay Area native, it was hard not to cultivate an interest in the wine industry. She had grown up around wine and fell in love with the living nature and stories surrounding the evolution of a vineyard. Armed and ready to move into a new industry, in 2000, she took a leap of faith and started her first “gig” in the wine industry working for Kimberly Charles who at the time was VP at Magnet Communications owned by Havas overseeing major winery accounts.  Kimberly came highly recommended by mutual friend and wine writer, Andy Blue, who promised she would be the perfect mentor.  
 
After cutting her proverbial teeth at Magnet, in early 2002, Amelia took a position with Maisons Marques & Domaines, the US subsidiary for Champagne Louis Roederer where she managed public relations for their global wine portfolio (Champagne Cristal, Ramos Pinto, Ladoucette, Ets Moueix) until 2006.  She was responsible for public relations for over twenty-esteemed wine brands and quickly became adept within the imported wine arena.
 
Ready for a change of pace (and with a two year old daughter now in tow), Amelia resumed freelance employment with Charles Communications Associates in addition to managing a number of her own accounts.   The change was perfect…great brands with less travel.
 
As the wine industry grew, so did her portfolio of clients.  After ten years of working solo she decided that she wanted to be part of a team again and once again joined forces with her friend and mentor, Kimberly Charles whose agency was burgeoning with both domestic and international business.  Amelia complements the strong team at CCA with her deep knowledge of the wine business, long lasting media relationships as well as her stellar work with wine associations such as Mendocino Winegrowers Inc and West Sonoma Coast Vintners.
 
When Amelia is not working with clients, she spends time with her family in the Yorkville Highlands at the family vineyard where they grow 15 acres of Pinot Noir or visiting her parents in the beautiful Napa Valley.   In winter months, she enjoys teaching her young kids to ski and more recently, has started a USTA tennis team at Boyle Park in Mill Valley.
 
Amelia graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in the History of Art. In the fall of 2003 she received her advanced certificate from WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) and continues her wine knowledge by serving on various wine committees.  She lives with her husband, twelve year-old daughter, 7year old son, a fluffy white dog named Lola and a cellar in constant need of replenishment.
 
Restaurant: Stone & Embers, Anderson Valley
City to visit: Cairo
Place to shop: Kathmandu
Musician: Carole King 
Cuisine: Thai and Indian
Wine: Talisman, Adastra Vineyards and a 1970 Marc Brédif Vouvray
Cocktail: Slightly dirty martini up with one Mezzetta olive
Book: Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Strange but Intriguing Film: The Lobster
Philosopher: Any philosopher that has a quote in a fortune cookie (among others).
Kelly Lawrence

Kelly Lawrence

Creative Marketer

Kelly is a socially conscious creative,  backyard chili farmer and world traveller. She has a behavioural sense for digital strategy, a love for gardening and an obsession with minimalist design.
 
With 7 years of global digital advertising experience across the Automotive, FMCG, and Lifestyle industries, Kelly brings to the table extensive knowledge and expertise of the digital and social media landscape. Her experience encompasses the trifecta of the digital world spanning Advertising, Publishing and PR. Her bread and butter: telling honest stories with a relatable voice to both a captivated and prospective audience.
 
A recent re-patriate, Kelly has spent the past four years living and working in Australia. Drawn to the art of advertising and social entrepreneurship, she’s led a range of digital campaigns across a diverse portfolio of clients including, but not limited to: Toyota Australia and Volkswagen Australia, Johnson & Johnson and Nestle Australia, and Tourism Queenstown and Weight Watchers.
 
A born and raised Southern California girl, the proximity to ocean is a must. A fusion of Kelly’s treasured passions of cooking, hiking and gardening forged a general impression of wine, but it was a powerful one. For Kelly, it’s rather arduous to ignore wine’s siren call when endless stories of humanity are to be tasted, magnified histories are to be discovered and meaningful passions are to be experienced. Forever yearning for the cinema paradiso, Kelly is chasing one of those effortlessly tasteful lifestyles - the likes of her heroes: Ina and Nigella - preferably with an elegant Pinot in hand.
 
Kelly holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Southern California with a minor in Entrepreneurship. With strong passions for environmental sustainability and alleviating food waste in today’s society, Kelly is also a current volunteer at LA Kitchen. What’s good for people should be good for the world.
 
Restaurant: Toko in Sydney
Favorite City to visit: Port Douglas, Queensland; Australia
City to visit (bucket list): Deception Bay, Antarctica
Place to shop: Dean & Delucca NYC
Musician: Taylor Swift
Cuisine: Japanese
Wine: Moorebank Private Shiraz Viognier 2012
Beer: A Pacifico in Mexico
Cocktail: Aperol Spritz
Book: The Secret History, by: Donna Tartt
Film: Sunset Boulevard
Philosopher: Thich Naht Hanh
 
Hillary Lyons

Hillary Lyons

Content Guru

Hillary Lyons is a native San Franciscan, though her mother instilled wanderlust in her at a young age. Globetrotting matured her innate love of food, and kindled a fascination for exploring cultures through the lens of cuisine. For her BA, Hillary decided to venture to yet unexplored territory: the East Coast. She enrolled at Vassar College where she majored in sociology and geography, with a particular focus on food systems. It was at Vassar that she gained a deep appreciation for sustainability and a passion for food justice.
 
Post-graduation, Hillary dove into the Sacramento restaurant world to wed theory to hands-on experience. In the kitchen, she received a whirlwind culinary education from chefs such as Kevin O’Connor, Edward Martinez, and William Ngo, and outside she developed close ties to local farmers, food historians, and journalists. While she loved cooking, Hillary left the kitchen after two years to pursue writing and launch her own pop-up restaurant. While she maintained a role in the kitchen as sous chef, she also took over social media marketing, and began freelance writing for publications and food-driven nonprofits.
 
Ever eager to continue learning, Hillary moved to Piedmont, Italy in 2014 to earn a Master in gastronomy at the University of Gastronomic Sciences. She extended her sojourn to work with Slow Food in coordinating their international conference of small-scale producers at Milan’s World EXPO.
 
While she still loves Italy, she is thrilled to be back in her hometown. In her free time, Hillary loves cycling, paddle boarding, wandering SF’s neighborhoods, reading, and fermenting anything she can get her hands on to slake her thirst for gastronomic knowledge, and to tell the stories of the producers and artisans that inspire her.
 
Restaurant:  Akaoni in Carmel, or Gli Attortellati in Grosseto
City to visit: Rome
Place to shop:  Barrio Gotico, Barcelona
Musician: Animal Collective
Cuisine:  Japanese
Wine: Grappoli del Grillo by di Bartoli
Beer: Schnoodlepip by Wild Beer Co or anything by TOOL
Book: Infinite Jest, House of Sleep, and too many more to count
Film:  Wild at Heart, Spirited Away
Philosopher: Hannah Arendt
 
 

Greer Shull

Greer Shull

Account Coordinator

Greer was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California where her family founded a Central Coast winery in 1989.  The youngest granddaughter of the late Fess Parker, the allure of the wine business was inevitable.  From an early age Greer assisted with winery special events, she has worked summers as a Tasting Room Consultant at Fess Parker Winery and the family’s sparkling wine outlet, The Bubble Shack and she currently coordinates the social media efforts for the same. Greer also has a retail background having worked throughout college at the boutique Angel, part of the highly regarded Wendy Foster/Pierre Lafond family of businesses. Her various experiences with planning events, engaging people whether in person or online as well as her sense of teamwork and humor are a perfect combination for the marketing world at Charles Communications Associates.
 
Greer loves to travel and just returned from a trip to Italy where she visited Marchese Antinori and Badia a Coltibuono among others. England, Spain, and Mexico are some of her other favorite travel destinations.
 
Greer has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Westmont College in Montecito, California. She is rediscovering what it means to read strictly for pleasure having just graduated in May 2017. She is currently studying for the Intermediate WSET and plans to take the Guild Somm Level One exam sometime in 2018. Greer loves to workout but she refuses to be tied down to one discipline attending Jenny Schatzel classes while in Santa Barbara as well as the Bar Method and Orange Theory.  However, truth be told, her favorite hobby is napping.
 
Family is extremely important to Greer which kept her close to home for college but she has always loved San Francisco and is excited to live in the city and work in an industry that is close to her heart.
 
Restaurant:  Arigato Sushi in Santa Barbara, CA
City to visit:  Positano
Place to Shop:  Coast Village Road in Montecito, CA
Musician:  Eric Church
Cuisine: Japanese and Italian
Wine:  Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé and Spottswoode Cabernet 1994
Beer:  Third Window Brewing
Book:  Pride and Prejudice
Film:  Step Brothers
Philosopher: John Rawls 
 
Richelle Corbo

Richelle Corbo

Organizational Development & Operations Consultant

Richelle is a Mother, Partner, Daughter, Friend, Mental Health Therapist, LGBTQI Counselor, Social Justice Advocate, Organizational Development & Operations Consultant, Excel Guru, Certified Sommelier, Wine Sales Specialist, Wonder Woman on good days, and Nurse Ratched on bad days.  She is Charles Communications secret weapon operationally and motivationally speaking.
 
Richelle was born into an Italian American family and grew up on the Jersey Shore. She moved to California in 2003 to pursue a career in the wine business. Richelle’s passion for wine sparked when she was a bartender at an Italian restaurant in Philadelphia while going to school to earn her B.A. in Business Marketing from St. Joseph’s University. After graduation, Richelle traveled to Italy in search of inspiration and found it while drinking copious amounts of Italian wine and limocello on a patio overlooking the Tuscan Hills with her brother.
 
When she returned to the U.S., Richelle moved to the Napa Valley to further her wine education and career. Richelle attended the Greystone Wine Program at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena and earned her Sommelier Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. While living in Napa, Richelle was the Wine Director at The Carneros Inn. Her career eventually led her to move to San Francisco where she began working in marketing and sales for Broadbent Imports. Richelle also spent time working for Indy Wines and American Wine & Spirits where she was a top performer.
 
After spending 10 years in the wine business, she was ready to pursue another passion, psychology. Richelle went back to school and earned a M.A. degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology from Alliant International University in San Francisco. Today, Richelle works as a Mental Health Clinician with foster children and their families at Alternative Family Services in Oakland. She also has a private therapy practice in Berkeley where she provides mental health counseling to children, teens and adults in the LGBTQI community.
 
Richelle keeps her toes dipped in the wine business by working with Kimberly and her team at Charles Communications Associates. She has been working as their Organizational Development & Operations Consultant since 2012.
 
Richelle is also trained in Psychological First Aid by the Red Cross and provides counseling and support to victims following disasters. In her spare time Richelle advocates for social justice issues at city council meetings and serves on various boards in the mental health field.
 
And last, but certainly not least, Richelle has an imaginative and fun-loving young son named Max who lights up her life and reminds her each day that playing is just as important as work.
 
Restaurant: Acquerello in San Francisco
City to visit: Florence, Italy
Places to shop: Online
Musician: Mariah Carey (You can judge a little…)
Cuisine: Italian
Wine: Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, Chateau Musar
Beer: The Rare Barrel (Berkeley, CA)
Cocktail: Tommy’s Margarita (handmade in San Francisco)
Book: Goodnight Moon (with my son)
Film: The Wizard of Oz
Philosopher: Sarah Margaret Fuller
 
Hannah Kearney

Hannah Kearney

Marketing Assistant

Hannah was born and raised in Northern California and graduated from University of the Pacific with a B.A in Communication in May 2017. Growing up in a family full of fabulous wine-drinking women, her love of wine was inevitable. However, she became especially interested in the industry after watching close friends become so infatuated after working a harvest, that they immediately devoted their life’s profession to the industry. Charles Communications seemed like the perfect fit for Hannah because it allows her to dip her toes into the industry and utilize her passion for writing and digital media. She feels excited and honored to work with and learn from the intelligent and ambitious women at CCA, who are making her transition from “college-sorority girl” to “big-city-working girl” a dream.
 
In her free time, Hannah is usually curled up on the couch with a glass of wine and her corgi, Willie, who has a well-established social media presence that is bigger than her own. She also enjoys going to any sort of concert or music festival, traveling, hiking, Barre Method classes, and continuing her journey to find the best burrito in California. Her #1 so far: La Taqueria of Mission District, San Francisco.

Restaurant: Din Tai Fung, Glendale, CA
City to Visit: Vienna
Place to Shop: Free People, Aritzia
Musician: Drake, Billy Joel
Cuisine: Japanese, or anything that involves the word “dumpling”
Cocktail: Mojito
Book: Schramsberg Brut Rosé
Book: The Great Gatsby
Film: When Harry Met Sally
Philosopher: Albert Camus
 
Annalee Lanier

Annalee Lanier

Graphic Designer

Born in San Francisco and educated in and around New York City, Annalee Lanier has been working as an artist and a designer in various capacities for 15 years. Trained in fine art at New York’s Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Annalee’s experience includes mural painting, billboard design, illustration, portraiture, custom wallpaper design, print design and fine art photography. Annalee is currently working as a graphic designer at Paper City magazine in Houston, Texas, though she plans to return to the Bay Area before too long. In her free time, you will find her singing, dancing and misbehaving. A lifelong lover of language and culture, Annalee travels as far and wide as time permits.

Working with CCA,  whether it's for collateral, web, logos, you name it, she has an uncanny way of imagining a look and design even better than could be imagined. We like to call her the Wizard of Ahhhs.  
 

Restaurant:  Fang, SF and Coco's Cantina, Auckland
City to Visit:  Havana! 
Place to Shop:  Pilpeled.com 
Musician:  Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou 
Cuisine:  Gourmet Ramen 
Wine: Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 
Beer: Saison 
Book: Grendel (John Gardner) 
Film: Deerhunter
Philosopher: Louis C.K.

Kim

Kim "Kimbo" Stier

Marketing Assistant

“Kimbo” is our resident Georgia peach, hailing from a small suburb outside of Atlanta. She is currently attending the University of Georgia and will graduate in May 2018 with degrees in Public Relations and Communication Studies and a minor in Classical Culture. She became interested in the wine industry after studying abroad in Rome and is excited to learn more about the industry through interning with Charles Communications.
 
Her hobbies include singing, reading, traveling and trying to win tickets to see Hamilton. She recently visited Cuba and fell in love with the country and the amazing people (not to mention the mojitos!) She is enjoying exploring all the West Coast has to offer during her time here this summer.
 
Restaurant: Per Diem, San Francisco
City to Visit: Havana
Place to Shop: Mercato Centrale, Florence
Musician: The entire Hamilton Cast
Cuisine: Italian
Wine: Lately anything from Spain, especially Alicante’s Tempranillo
Beer: Creature Comforts “Athena” (shameless plug for Georgia craft beer)
Book: The Bungalow
Film: Titanic
Philosopher: Ralph Waldo Emerson
Marsha Palanci

Marsha Palanci

NY Office

In her 20 years at the helm of Cornerstone, Marsha has built the agency’s reputation on its proven ability to create awareness for lifestyle brands from around the world. Previously, Marsha was Vice President, Public Relations for Schieffelin & Company (now Moët Hennessy USA) where she managed media relations and special events campaigns for Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon, Hennessy Cognac, Marqués de Riscal, Simi and Domaine Chandon. Her career began as Assistant Director of Public Relations at Sopexa/Food & Wines from France, implementing US campaigns for French luxury foods, wines and spirits.

Marsha is a board member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, New York City Chapter, an international association of leading women in the hospitality field and serves as a trustee to CancerCare©. She holds a Masters degree in Medieval French literature from Kent State University.
A woman of diverse interests, Marsha collects artwork by female artists, enjoys exotic travel – frequently on a bike – and delights in gardening on her Manhattan terrace. A seven-time marathon runner, she believes fitness is really only a means to enjoying a good meal. An avid cook, she studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris as well as with Mario Batali at the Capezzana Cooking School in Tuscany. 

CCA Extended Family

CCA works with an extended network of writers, publicists, graphic designers, award-winning videographers and photographers who represent the best in their field. For special focus or for additional team support, we call upon a veteran team of professionals to help us at any stage of a client project to supplement our work with additional brainpower and energy. Our flexibility as a firm allows contractor talent to pursue several projects and lend to CCA a level of experience and wisdom that is priceless.