Upcoming Meetings

Board of Directors

Melanie Rice

Melanie is an employee engagement geek, marketing communication maven, founder of Crux Strategic Communications and obsessed Oregon Duck football fan. In addition to serving as president-elect during the past year, she also helped lead chapter membership for several years and the marketing team for the 2015 IABC Southern Region Conference held in Denver. Melanie has directed communications teams for over 25 years at industry-leading Fortune 500 companies, including Molson Coors Brewing Company, Newmont Mining Corporation, H-P, Compaq and Tandem Computers. This breadth of experience enables her to excel strategically, creatively and tactically in a broad range of communication disciplines. With the perfect balance of right-brain/left-brain thinking, Melanie Rice earned a B.S. in Quantitative Analysis from University of Oregon and a MBA in Marketing from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California.


President Elect
Deanna Geldens

Deanna Geldens is a senior marketing communications consultant with more than 30 years' experience in higher education, health care and nonprofit communications. She manages marketing and social campaigns for the Association of Surgical Technologists and other external communications projects for clients such as the Boettcher Foundation, Art Gym Denver, Ruffalo Noel Levitz and the University of Colorado Denver. Geldens previously served on the IABC Colorado board in the positions of vice president of finance and vice president of professional development. She holds a master's in communications from the University of Denver and a bachelor's in business from William Jewell College.


Vice President Finance
Linh Truong

Linh is a strategic communicator and project manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). A believer that variety and new opportunities add spice to life, she has spent the last 20 years dabbling in writing, editing, media relations, project management, strategic communications, and client relations. Although hard to pick her favorite aspect of communications, she has led dozens of cross-functional teams for more than 10 years to create websites, marketing materials, strategic research publications, and events that demonstrate impact within specific timeframes and budgets. These budgets have ranged from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands, so managing the financial elements of a project comes intuitively. At NREL, Linh leads a core communications team that supports pioneers who are leading research for more energy efficient buildings and for cost-effective methods to harness geothermal energy and concentrating solar power.


Vice President Administration
Jo Solonika

Jo is a corporate communications and marketing professional with success in developing and implementing game-changing strategies and programs that drive bottom-line results. She is a proactive, strategic business partner known for improving business results and driving brand awareness through effective corporate communications and marketing. Jo currently serves as vice president-corporate communications at CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. Previously she led corporate communications and content marketing at IHS Markit, the leading source of information and insight in critical areas that shape today's business landscape. Prior to that, she served in similar roles for other large organizations. Jo previously served on the IABC Colorado board in various roles, including chapter president. She is a passionate proponent of her profession and also greatly enjoys her work. Jo presents seminars on topics including corporate communication, the benefits of an inclusive workforce, leadership and personal career development. She also serves on the board of the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (www.lcht.com). Jo holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Minot State University, Minot, North Dakota, and attended postgraduate studies in history at George Washington University, Washington, D.C. She invites you to be involved within the communications profession and to connect with her on Twitter (@josolonika) and LinkedIn (in/josolonika).


Senior Delegate and Past President
Jay Thomas

Jay has been a member of IABC for 17 years. Since relocating to Colorado in 2013, he has served in multiple leadership roles in the chapter including Vice President, Communication, Administration and President-Elect. Professionally, Jay leads the advertising function on behalf of a nationwide network of nonprofit agencies that provide service and product solutions to federal and commercial customers. During his tenure, he has launched and managed a yearlong campaign on behalf of a federal program for people with disabilities and branded and launched a national electronics recycling network. Jay’s work has won awards from the IABC and PRSA Washington, DC chapters and from printing, school public relations and municipal government industry associations. He has experience in media relations, marketing and brand communications, advertising, internal and external change management, speechwriting, and graphic and multimedia design. Jay also spent nearly 10 years with Maryland-based Melwood, where he oversaw communication, marketing and fund development for one of the nation’s largest non-profits employing people with disabilities. Jay earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and minor in human services from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.


Vice President Communications
Alannah Smith

Alannah is an experienced marketing and communications professional specializing in healthcare. With a passion for sustainability, creativity and a dedication to data driven solutions, Alannah provides innovative and forward-thinking strategies to address the unique communication needs for internal and external challenges in a health care environment. Prior to relocating to Colorado and joining Craig Hospital where she is currently the Manager of Marketing and Communications, Alannah worked in corporate communications at a large community hospital in the high-tech capital of Canada. Alannah has been involved with IABC since 2010 and has served on various committees at the Toronto and Colorado chapters including serving as a director on the Professional Development committee (Toronto, Canada) and Membership Committee (Colorado) and various Board positions including Co-VP of Professional Development on IABC Colorado’s 2016-2017 Board of Directors, President Elect on the 2017-2018 Board, President on the 2018-2019 Board and most recently, Past President and Senior Delegate on the 2019-2020 Board. Alannah earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Western Ontario and completed graduate studies in Corporate Communications at Seneca College of Art and Design at York University in Toronto, Ontario. Alannah looks forward to continuing to help IABC Colorado fulfill its mission as Communication Chair on the 2020-2021 Board of Directors.


Vice President Professional Development
Benjamin Kmetz

Ben is an experienced communications professional with a focus on internal and executive communications, employee engagement, and change management. He currently serves as a Communications Consultant for Kaiser Permanente and is based in Greenwood Village, CO. Ben has been a member of IABC for more than eight years in various locations, including San Francisco and Silicon Valley in California. He moved to Denver in the summer of 2017 and immediately became a member of the IABC Colorado chapter. Prior to employment with Kaiser Permanente, Ben worked for eBay, Bank of the West, and Pacific Gas and Electric. He also has communications experience in the credit union and legal industries. Ben received his BA in Psychology and Communications from Saint John's University (MN) and is also a member of PRSA, ACMP, Toastmasters, and more than one book club.