The AI 50
VP Operations and Business Development
As VP of Operations and Business Development at Mercury Global Partners, Frances works to execute the CEO’s vision. This includes overseeing day-to-day operations; managing marketing and branding projects for MGP clients; conducting market research and competitive analysis; planning agendas and logistics for client meetings and events; and serving as a right-hand resource to provide direct support to the CEO.
Frances has demonstrated consistent success as a brand and marketing manager. She has extensive previous global brand experience working to build brand loyalty, develop targeted consumer products, increase market penetration and accelerate growth in the automobile, cosmetic, retail, hospitality, technology and financial industries. She has a deep understanding of how the emotional power of media, marketing, and technology enhances the customer
experience, builds brand loyalty and increases sales. Her ability to analyze and leverage consumer data has informed the curation of multiple products that attracted and retained key target audiences.
A Bay-Area native, Frances is Korean-American born and based in San Francisco. On the weekends Frances can be found playing a round of golf and enjoying the sunshine anywhere. She enjoys traveling (especially internationally), learning about different cultures and enjoying great cuisines.
Based in Amsterdam, Robbin is responsible for supporting the MGP team across the entire client base. Her responsibilities include research, building press lists for various clients and coordinating social media for MGP. She is fluent in Dutch and English and recently finished her master’s degree in Management, Policy-analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health & Life Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in Health Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Next to her studies, Robbin enjoys learning new skills. Last year, she finished a programming course at TechLabs and previously taught herself how to make jewelry. In her free time, she loves to enjoy the sun, cycle, play tennis, cook and travel. Highly fascinated by airplanes, you will always see her looking to the sky to spot planes when she is in the proximity of an airport.
Master Planner and Super Chameleon
Account Executive & Social Media Manager
Based in Amsterdam, Kenza is responsible for supporting the MGP team across the entire client base. Her responsibilities include competitive market research, press list building, award and conference calendar building for various clients, and managing social media for MGP.
Kenza obtained a degree in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Utrecht and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Brain and Cognition at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She completed a Spanish minor and studied abroad in Lisbon, where she broadened her perspective and received a Marketing and Communication minor. She is also fluent in Dutch and English.
An avid globetrotter and thrill seeker, Kenza completed a solo three-month trip around the world after finishing high school and recently did a skydiving course, which is now her obsession. One of the biggest lessons she learned from her adventures boils down to two quotes: “It always seems impossible until it’s done” and “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Carla’s experience spans both B2C and B2B PR work in telco/mobile, consumer tech, AI, adtech, apps, analytics, sleeptech, NLP/NLG, AR/VR and more. She’s a specialist when it comes to media relations, managing events and awards, developing content (bylines, blog posts, press releases) and supporting the MGP team on executing clients’ PR strategies. Carla also excels at producing beautiful design work and she’s aces at social media.
Prior to consulting for MGP, Carla worked for a broadcast PR agency based in London, where she focused on generating creative ideas for broadcast strategies to raise awareness for brands across TV, radio and online media. She also spent three years working in the wine industry for a wine supplier specialized in organic and biodynamic wines, where she earned a qualification in winemaking.
Based in London, Carla enjoys food, wine and travel, will say hello to every dog she encounters and has a particular fondness for the autumn season.
Senior PR Consultant
Hanna Manninen is an internationally driven PR and marketing expert with a deep understanding of how global media works. Her PR and marketing career spans 22 years of work for global companies and organizations, including IBM, Qualcomm, Microsoft and BBC, events like MWC and Slush, and a history of working with a variety of innovative US, European and Nordic startups. Hanna brings deep B2B telco, mobile and VC/financial services PR experience to the MGP team, along with additional e-Commerce, apps and analytics expertise. A global player and strategic thinker with an ability to see the big picture, Hanna is fluent in English and Finnish and also has a passion for art and design.
Kayla has extensive B2B and B2C PR experience in enterprise/SaaS, cybersecurity, cloud, fintech, mobile, IoT, robotics and consumer tech. She’s worked as a PR consultant for MGP since early 2014, with the exception of an 18-month stint at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, helping scientists and engineers translate their research into public-ready stories.
Highly skilled at moving PR strategies forward through media and analyst outreach, Kayla excels at simplifying concepts, elevating basic content, and writing for both consumer and business audiences. Her carefully crafted pitches consistently result in tier-one media coverage as well as press meetings at key tech conferences including CES and MWC.
Prior to consulting for MGP, Kayla worked for SpilledINK, a boutique agency where she helped manage accounts including PrimeSense (acquired by Apple in November 2013), OpenNI, Democrats Abroad 2012, and Catchoom.
Based in South Florida, Kayla enjoys taking walks outside between November and March and being inside the rest of the year. She insists that it is “not too hot in Florida”. Her idea of a good vacation is one planned around tasty eats.
Senior PR Consultant, Content
Justin is a content expert and focuses heavily on op-ed that puts MGP clients in the limelight as thought and opinion leaders. He has extensive B2B and B2C experience across a wide berth of verticals — from mobile to energy, cybersecurity to AI, healthtech and SaaS technologies — name a sector and he’s likely done PR or covered it. Justin began his career as a journalist at weekly and daily newspapers and then spent four years at The Associated Press (AP). He left AP to cover business during the first dot.com wave in San Francisco and then returned to AP for several years. In 2007, he transitioned to a new career and spent more than seven years at Edelman in Silicon Valley, where he worked on accounts including Adobe, Citrix, PG&E and the Wi-Fi Alliance, among others, and also headed Edelman’s Silicon Valley internship program. Justin left Edelman in 2014 to start his own consultancy. He also worked in-house for Avaamo, an artificial intelligence startup and helped to build the company’s PR program from the ground up.
Justin grew up outside of Washington, D.C. and now lives in the Bay Area with his family and dog, Mochi.
Allie is an accomplished, results-driven PR professional with substantial B2B, B2C and lifestyle PR experience in cybersecurity, privacy, HR tech, fintech, consumer tech, healthtech, IoT, sleeptech, pet tech, travel, food, wine, and more. Her unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional client service is complemented by her expertise in media relations, message development, integrated brand strategy, creative campaigns and producing high-profile launch events. As a result, Allie continuously raises the visibility of clients on a national scale, garnering media placements in top-tier outlets and recognition through top industry awards.
A media relations specialist and expert communicator, Allie has a knack for identifying and securing unique press opportunities for both emerging and established brands. The depth of tier-one media coverage she’s recently secured for clients includes The TODAY Show, The Washington Post, Digital Trends, CNET, WIRED, The New York Times, Forbes, CNBC, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Men’s Journal, O – The Oprah Magazine and Condé Nast Traveler.
Allie has consulted for numerous tech companies and multiple wine and spirits brands and organizations, including Kobrand Wine & Spirits, Lucas Bols, and the Court of Master Sommeliers. Prior to consulting, Allie directed the consumer group at Cinch PR in San Francisco, where she led accounts including Kenu (from the founders of Joby), Jackson Family Wines, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Viceroy Hotels, Proper Hotels, and Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, amongst others. Earlier in her career, Allie worked for Know Public Relations in Washington, D.C., where she delivered strategic communication services for leading culinary brands and personalities, including Bravo’s “Top Chef All-Stars” runner-up, Chef Mike Isabella, celebrity Chef Art Smith’s Art and Soul in The Liaison Capitol Hill, famed Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J&G Steakhouse in the W Hotel – Washington, and Chef Todd Gray’s Equinox and Muse at The Corcoran Gallery of Art. Allie earned her bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication from the School of Media Arts and Design at James Madison University.
Based in Orange County, Allie is a fitness enthusiast and cardio dance instructor, who loves skiing, wine tasting and exploring SoCal with her husband and two young daughters.
Jennifer is a creative, self-driven senior account manager with B2B and B2C public relations and marketing experience. She excels at creating both written and visual design content that consistently delivers coverage for clients with top-tier press. Her client work has appeared in top marketing publications, such as M&M Global, Mobile Marketing Magazine and more. Jennifer’s
experience encompasses a wide variety of verticals including adtech, martech, big data and analytics, mobile, gaming, cybersecurity, e-commerce and more.
Jennifer understands the complexities of supporting client relations and the importance of communication in creating strong relationships with both journalists and clients. She assists in all aspects of day-to-day account management at MGP, including technical writing and content creation, digital graphics, analyst relations, client communications, speaker and award
submissions, social media management and more. Adept at growing and increasing client’ brand visibility, she is passionate about helping clients grow their market share of voice.
In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys the outdoors, art and spending time with her husband and
two boys. She has a strong penchant for animals – especially her Huskita dog, Bailey.
Can do Attitude & Positivity
Based in San Francisco, Olivia is responsible for supporting the MGP team across the entire
client base and is self-motivated and passionate about public relations. Her responsibilities
include media list building, researching events and awards, executing competitive media audits
and supporting content creation for MGP’s blog and social media channels.
Olivia is currently in her final year as a student at the University of San Francisco (USF), where
she is pursuing a dual degree in Communications Studies and Public Relations. While at USF, she
has developed skills in qualitative and quantitative research and worked on several PR projects,
including marketing for the Communication Studies and Advertising Department.
Olivia spent her prior semester studying abroad in Madrid, and also traveled throughout Europe
learning about different cultures and people. In her spare time, she enjoys going to concerts,
spending time with family and going to the beach. Growing up in Southern California, she has a
love for the beach and the summertime, however, living in San Francisco for the past three
years, she has learned to appreciate microclimates and has become a Ramen connoisseur. She’s
also a twin!
PR Swiss Army Knife
Erin is a PR and social media professional with more than 20 years of B2B and B2C experience, spanning a variety of sectors including mobile, telecom, transportation, AR/VR, fintech, education, cloud, connected home, IoT, travel and enterprise. Her expertise runs wide and deep: developing and executing PR strategies for clients, competitive analysis, messaging, media relations, analyst relations, content and blog creation, social media campaign development and media training.
Erin has worked with companies at every stage of their lifecycle – startups, mid-market and globally traded companies – including AltspaceVR, Autodesk, Automatic, Glu Mobile, Salesforce, Sidecar, Slacker Radio, StudyMode, WorldMate and Xirrus. Earlier in her career, she spent time in Sydney, Australia gaining valuable overseas experience and working with numerous global telecom companies. She’s since gone on to work with companies all over the world including Israel, Japan, Mexico, France, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S.
An expert at securing media coverage, Erin has landed clients in numerous broadcast, consumer, technology and business publications, i.e. CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, The Verge and USA Today. She’s also placed a wealth of contributed content over the years in VentureBeat, Forbes, WIRED and the podcast, USA Today’s Deep Dive.
Erin hold a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Chico State, and was certified in social media by the University of San Francisco.
A lifelong Bay Area native, Erin is a self-proclaimed news junkie, world traveler and enjoys reading, wine tasting and visiting farmers markets. She loves taking her puppy to Crissy Field and watching her eat sand.
Firestarter & Rainmaker
CEO & FOUNDER
As CEO, Mindy is responsible for the overall strategy, vision and direction of MGP, including operations, business development, marketing and PR. With more than 25 years of B2B and B2C experience, Mindy has defined the strategy and run successful programs for numerous seed-stage startups, challenger brands and publicly traded market leaders, catapulting them onto the global stage and playing a significant role in helping many of them to exit.
Mindy’s sector experience runs wide and deep – AI, VR/AR, gaming, mobile (devices, apps, messaging, security, analytics), IoT/smart home, consumer tech, cryptocurrency/blockchain, sleeptech, adtech/martech, fintech, cybersecurity, 3D sensors, edtech, enterprise/SaaS/big data, ecommerce and more. She specializes in new product launches, playing an active role in propelling startups and challenger brands onto the global stage. Throughout her career, Mindy has built strong relationships with journalists, analysts and conference organizers, alike – consistently winning media coverage in some of the most respected tier-one global media and annually placing clients as speakers at highly regarded conferences such as Mobile World Congress, CES and SXSW.
Prior to founding MGP, Mindy spent time in senior-level roles in the media/publishing sector at the Financial Times, E.W. Scripps Co. and Inman News Group.
A California native, Mindy can usually be found with a can of La Croix sparkling water or cup of green tea in hand. She has a proclivity for travel, gourmet cooking, wine, music, weekend excursions with her husband, and a warm spot in her heart for The Netherlands.
Ginny has more than 25 years of diversified experience in all aspects of online and offline marketing, with the last 10 years in financial services-related industries including real estate technology, residential real estate services, new home building, mortgage lending, retail operations and technology, ABA and joint venture mortgage relationships.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ginny cut her teeth in public relations in the Silicon Valley handling high tech clients in the 90s. Prior to MGP, Ginny founded and ran her own marketing consultancy firm, Cain Communications, where she worked with a variety of clients in the tech, real estate and mortgage industries. She also previously served as VP of marketing for several top 10 nationally ranked real estate brokerages, including Alain Pinel Realtors and Prudential California, Texas and Nevada realty.
A 360-degree marketer, Ginny understands that a client’s needs often include everything from public and community relations and advertising to web content and online marketing. She has a vision around the 360-degree concept and the experience to back up the vision.
Ginny holds a bachelor’s degree in business marketing form Cameron University in Oklahoma. She’s also an incessant Francophile and a weekend gourmet.
Colleen is a communications professional with more than 13 years’ experience – including broadcast TV, in-house and agency PR – working with an extensive range of enterprise, consumer tech and lifestyle brands. She is responsible for developing and executing marketing and communications strategies for clients. Her specialties include campaign and product launch planning, messaging and content creation, integrating traditional and social media strategies, and providing executive-level counsel and event planning.
Colleen is highly accomplished at building productive relationships with both traditional media and key vertical influencers via an integrated approach to PR and social media. She has worked with an extensive range of B2B and B2C companies throughout her career including Meebo, Mobclix (acquired by Velti), Yodlee, Google, Inbenta, Sony Online Entertainment, Favado App (Savings.com), FabKids (acquired by JustFab), Tindog, Social Gaming Network (SGN), Bunchball, JustAnswer, Coupon Craze and SmartyPig.
Based in San Francisco, Colleen has an insatiable appetite for discovering new music and local restaurants and recently completed a month-long excursion in Patagonia. On sunny days, you can almost certainly find her at the beach with her dog, Bruce.
As Managing Director, Natalee is responsible for creating overall client strategy and ensuring that all PR campaigns map to both the short and long term goals of each MGP client. She brings a wide breadth of global PR experience to her role, representing companies at every stage of the business lifecycle – from startups to the Fortune 100. With more than 17 years of PR experience, Natalee has cultivated strong relationships with members of the media, important industry conferences and influential market analysts. Her B2B and B2C sector expertise spans AI, mobile, VR/AR, automotive, adtech and marketing tech, fintech, hardware (including test & measure), big data, enterprise/SaaS and more.
Natalee began her career in journalism and brings a unique reporter perspective to her PR approach. Prior to joining MGP, she served as vice president of SF-based PR firm, Incendio International, where she represented large companies such as Flextronics International, Sun Microsystems, Sanmina-SCI, as well as young startups including Soft Kinetic, Taulia and FollowAnalytics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and political science from Brigham Young University.
Based in Denver, Natalee is a prolific writer, avid cyclist and sometimes triathlete who loves to travel the world with her husband and two kids.
Antonio Hicks possesses over a decade of communications and branding success. Having worked across diverse industries including B2B and B2C technology, gaming, sports, entertainment and consumer lifestyle, Antonio’s experience is a consummate public relations, communications and brand expert.
Prior to joining MGP, Antonio led marketing and communications for StreamLabs, the number one streaming software and platform used by today’s top streamers on Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, Mixer and more. During his tenure at StreamLabs, Antonio built the company’s brand and messaging, consistently raised the company profile via coverage in top-tier outlets such as The New York Times, TechCrunch and VentureBeat, and also produced and curated StreamLabs’ highly successful presenting conference, Expanding the Stream, an invite-only day summit featuring the best and brightest from the video gaming, eSports, social media, and streaming companies.
Antonio previously worked for Spark PR, where he launched numerous Silicon Valley start-ups and product introductions into the market, including: the world’s first 3D body scanner, the Naked Fit; the newest intro to supersonic travel from Boom Technology, Boom Supersonic, along with some of the most innovative technology startups across multiple verticals such as health and fitness, e-commerce, mobile gaming, VR and smart home.
Prior to Spark PR, Antonio served as PR Manager for Seattle Theatre Group, the largest performing arts organization in the Pacific Northwest region, where he managed PR for hundreds of performances annually, and also created and launched STGtv, a premiere video platform on YouTube and Amazon Fire.
Earlier in his career, Antonio worked for New York-based boutique firm, Estabrook Group, where he worked closely with high-profile professional athletes, celebrities and media companies to develop and build their brand, including the number one athlete in the world, LeBron James and NFL superstar, Terrell Owens. His work with Fortune 500 companies includes Microsoft Branded Entertainment, Bing Search, and Reveille (producer of the Emmy-Award Winning shows Ugly Betty, The Tudors, and The Biggest Loser.)
Based in San Francisco and with a passion for storytelling, technology and the arts, Antonio enjoys digging deep to find the best story angles to pitch reporters that will resonate with their audiences. In his spare time, Antonio likes to travel the world, explore his passion for cooking and kitchen gadgets, enjoy fine dining in San Francisco, and catch what’s playing at the Yerba Buena Arts Center.