The WINner’s Circle
Meet our Board of Directors
ALEXIA JOBSON, BOARD CHAIR
As WIN’s Chair, Alexia is responsible for working with the board and executive director to ensure the organization operates smoothly for WIN members and guests.
As the Public Affairs Manager for the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA), she tells the REMSA story to interested parties across all platforms. She loves being involved in protecting and promoting the brand and reputation of the organization by creating meaningful dialogue with the public.
Alexia has earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and is a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT). She has served on the board of directors for several community non-profits including the Good Shepherd’s Clothes Closet, the Nevada Women’s Fund and the Children’s Miracle Network Business Council. Currently, she is the chair of the Public Relations Committee of the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration.
When she’s not connecting people, she enjoys cooking, entertaining, taking walks and reading. A surprising fact about Alexia: She got her start in public relations in high school, where she earned a varsity letter as the school’s mascot — the Reed Raider.
JOY HEUER, VP OF MEMBERSHIP
Joy loves lifting people up. When she heard the Girls on the Run (GOTR) mission was to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confidant while creatively integrating running, she knew that was where she wanted to be, so she joined the organization as its Executive Director. Prior to Girls on the Run, Joy was the COO of the Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to WIN, she is a board member for the Shakespeare Animal Fund and a member of the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Executive Leadership Team. She is a graduate and former cochair of Leadership Reno Sparks, was named a Northern Nevada Top 20 Women 2019 finalist and is a graduate of the Reno FBI Citizens Academy.
When not working to further the GOTR mission, you’ll find her at Greater Nevada Field cheering for the Reno Aces/Reno 1868 FC and spending time with her guy, Eric. She is mom to Winnie the Pug and cats Zeus and Jet. Joy enjoys live music, traveling and pizza!.
RICK THOMAS, TREASURER
As WIN’s Treasurer, Rick oversees the financial aspects of the organization.
As Executive Vice President and Northern Nevada Executive for Nevada State Bank, he leads a team that specializes in meeting the needs of businesses in the unique Northern Nevada market. A UNR graduate, Rick has more than 30 years experience, including commercial finance, corporate banking and treasury management for businesses, and wealth management for individuals.
When he’s not helping businesses with their financial needs, you’ll find Rick on his motorcycle, scooting around this beautiful place he has called home for the past 33 years. He also enjoys traveling around the globe, as well as taking advantage of Nevada’s world-famous outdoor recreational opportunities to camp, hike and fish.
PAT CANTWELL, VP OF SPONSORSHIPS
As Vice President of Sponsorships, Pat helps businesses and organizations build on their success through their affiliation with WIN.
His experience with mutually beneficial partnerships runs deep as he has spent decades in the field of media, helping his clients succeed through the power of advertising. Since 2013, he has been a Senior Account Executive with KTVN-TV, where he works with local businesses and nonprofits to develop advertising and marketing campaigns that are affordable and effective. Before joining KTVN, Pat enjoyed a 22-year-career as a marketing executive in the radio industry, serving as general sales manager and general manager of several radio groups.
Pat has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Emerson College in Boston, and he is also a graduate of the Radio Advertising Bureau Wharton School of Management and the National Association of Broadcasters Management Training Program. He was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2016.
Pat serves as an ambassador for the Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce and is a volunteer with the Reno Philharmonic. He and his wife Darcy live in Spanish Springs. For fun, he enjoys skiing and enjoying all of the other natural beauty and recreation that Lake Tahoe offers.
JACKIE SHELTON, VP OF MARKETING
As WIN’s VP of Marketing, Jackie is responsible for getting the word out about the inspiring speakers, events and career resources offered by WIN.
As VP of PR for the Estipona Group, she is responsible for strategic communications and event planning for clients ranging from healthcare and governmental agencies to nonprofit organizations and higher education providers.
A UNR graduate, Jackie has worked in all facets of communications from running two advertising agencies to publishing two of the Northern Nevada region’s premiere publications, RLife and Family Pulse. In addition to her magazine work, she has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul (twice!) and 365 Scary Stories, a Barnes & Noble anthology.
An amateur screenwriter, she also serves on the board of the Cordillera International Film Festival. She earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2016 and served on the board of directors for the local PRSA chapter. She has also served on the local, regional and national board of the American Advertising Federation and numerous non-profit and professional organizations, including the Unnamed Writers’ Group and the Nevada Recycling Coalition.
In her other time, she loves to travel and plan parties, down to the tiniest detail.
KIRK ALLAIRE, VP OF PROGRAMMING
Kirk provides valuable insight into the organization’s history and how we can continue to improve into the future.
He is the creator and president of Nevada-based company GratisGives, an organization that builds bridges between local nonprofits and business owners. Businesses that use Gratis Payment Processing can designate a portion of savings from their merchant accounts into small contributions for local non-profits. Together with other local merchants, they can have a giant impact on local charities, while saving their businesses money.
Kirk has been an entrepreneur since the age of 17 when he opened his first company, a tanning salon. Over the last few decades, relationships have proven to be the most valuable things to him both personally and professionally.
GratisGives came out of his lifelong commitment to giving back to the community. As a child, he volunteered at local homeless shelters with his family while also serving at church, and he’s been coaching youth sports in Nevada for more than 15 years as an adult.
His favorite “title” is still Dad. He has three boys – Ian, Zackary, and Joseph – as well as a beautiful granddaughter, Atwood. He is a 20+ year Nevadan who started out as a transplant from Boston, and he loves living and serving in Northern Nevada.
KARYN JENSEN, SECRETARY
As WIN’s board secretary, Karyn is in charge of record-keeping to ensure the organization runs smoothly.
She has some experience with smooth-running organizations, as she founded HRC, Ltd. (The Human Resource Connection) more than 15 years ago to tackle the complex people issues facing her industry. To date, she’s worked with more than 175 companies implementing visionary projects to recruit, retain and develop talent.
Karyn is also a member of the Northern Nevada Human Resource Association (NNHRA) for more than 20 years and she served as President of the organization in 2017. She currently serves as their College Relations Director and has been integrally involved in the region’s Best Places to Work for the last 13 years. She also serves on the Executive Board for Crisis Support Services of Nevada as Treasurer/Secretary and is a volunteer for ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve).
Thanks to raising two teenage daughters, Karyn has mastered the art of crucial conversations, the importance of win/win negotiations, and the benefits of gratitude and teamwork.
BRENDA GRACE-SMITH, DIRECTOR
Brenda Grace-Smith is the Manager of Sales & Retention for Hometown Health, a Reno, Nevada based not-for-profit health insurance organization. In this role, she manages a team responsible for new business development as well as current client retention. She first joined Hometown Health in 2013 as Supervisor of Sales & Marketing, taking on her current responsibilities in 2017. Prior to joining Hometown Health, Brenda was the General Manager for Visionworks in Pennsylvania. As the General Manager, Brenda was responsible for the successful operations of a chain of retail optical locations. As a leader of individuals and teams for nearly three decades, Brenda works hard to inspire and encourage her individual team members to set and strive for both professional and personal developmental goals.
Brenda is an active member of several networking groups, including WIN, NCET, and EDAWN, as well as a licensed health and life member of the Northern Nevada United Health Underwriters association.
Brenda resides in the Sparks area with her adopted dogs Molly & Murphy, and her cat, Max. Animal welfare is a priority in her life, as well as physical fitness and enjoying all of the events and activities that the Reno-Tahoe area has to offer.
TONI QUIRUZ, DIRECTOR
Toni Quiruz has been a member of WIN for more than 10 years and considers it one of her favorites. Along with WIN, she is on the board of NCET and BNI International. Most recently, she became part of the “Business Team” assisting the Western Nevada Development District with creating an Economic & Resiliency Plan for Washoe, Lyon, Carson City, and other counties identifying major issues and suggesting strategic problem solving during this extremely difficult past year.
She has been with Digiprint Corporation for 15 years focusing on marketing and sales. Digiprint is a locally owned and operated Print shop in Reno, Nevada and voted #1 overall for 9 of 11 consecutive years by the Reno News & Review.
She brings 25 years of expertise in the print and design industry, along with 15 years of community activism and participation in many organizations here in northern Nevada. In those 15 years, she has received many awards, most notably, Professional Saleswoman of the Year, awarded by PSN and Company of the year/Ambassador of the Year from the Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce, along with “One of 100 Most Influential People You Should know” awarded by Plum 100 Magazine.
Toni is extremely excited and honored to become a Board Member for WIN and even more excited to start attending the WIN breakfast once they meet in person again. Toni considers the speakers and networking opportunities through WIN one of the most effective ways to meet and build relationships and it is HER solution to that dreaded cold calling!
PATRICIA RICHARD, IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR
In her work life, Patricia serves as Chief of Staff to the University of Nevada, Reno’s President Marc Johnson. In this role, she serves as an advisor to the president, manages his activities and priorities, and connects the president and university to major constituents inside and outside the university. She also prepares the president for speeches and other public functions and messaging opportunities, directs special projects, and ensures that the president’s office functions effectively.
In addition to volunteering for WIN, Patricia has been active with the McQueen High School Band program, and she was a member of the Renown Community Advisory Board.
Richard family activities are generally music-infused and include jazz combo rehearsals in her home, musicals at the Pioneer Center and Drum Corps International World Finals in Indianapolis.
A transplant to Northern Nevada, Phil wasted no time in getting to know the local business scene, and you’ll often find him at area networking events or having coffee with one of Northern Nevada’s movers and shakers.
Phil has extensive experience in all of these areas, having worked in similar roles for NBA’s Sacramento Kings and Arco Arena Entertainment Facility, Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, California Asian Chamber of Commerce, California Museum of History, Quarry Park Adventures and Ebara Technologies.
Phil has been active in the community for most of his career and has donated time and resources to a variety of organizations, including the National Director of Conferences, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, Children’s Miracle Network board, California Capital Airshow board, and the Legends and El Dorado Hills Summer Concert Series (which he created).
When he’s not coming up with new ideas for WIN members, you’ll find Phil at the movies or cheering on his New England Patriots.