Melany’s career path took a few twists and turns before bringing her to the world of public relations. A Southwest Virginia native, she received a degree in Biomedical Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. Working for surgeons in the University of Chicago Department Of Plastic Surgery doing inter-operative photography led to a healthcare marketing opportunity at LaRabida Children’s Hospital. A relocation to Park City, UT spurred a career shift to film and sports, as Melany managed celebrity guests at the Sundance Film Festival and later executed events for the 2002 Winter Olympics and the CineVegas Film Festival. In 2003, the Southeast beckoned her to Charleston, SC, where she worked for the local Anheuser-Busch distributor, Pearlstine Distributing. Ultimately, the hospitality and cuisine of the Lowcountry inspired her to pursue a career in hospitality public relations, and she joined Wagstaff Worldwide in 2005. In early 2012, Melany founded Polished Pig Media and has never looked back. These days she is proud to call Birmingham, AL home. Through Polished Pig Media, she enjoys connecting likeminded people with common goals to create strategic and fruitful partnerships.
Adventurous and adaptable, Melany is just as happy on 5th Avenue in New York City as she is grilling in the backyard with her BBQ pitmaster husband. She is an active member of her community and is involved in the Birmingham Community Foundation and Les Dames d’Escoffier International. In her free time, you can find her working up a sweat doing a multitude of sports, and cheering on The Alabama Crimson Tide (Roll Tide!).
Adi was born in New York City and spent her childhood living between the city that never sleeps and Marin County, CA. Her father owned Fanelli’s, one of the oldest food and drink establishments in Manhattan, and during the summers she accompanied him to work—so began her interest in restaurants and food. Adi holds a BA in public relations from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. After graduation, she worked in social marketing and PR for government agencies before making the cross-country trek to her native New York. There, Adi found her calling in hospitality PR and considers working within industries that excite and fascinate her to be serendipitous. In 2014, Adi left NYC for another city that stole her heart… Nashville! When she’s not exploring Music City, you can find her playing with her French Bulldog, Ruby, or planning new food adventures both near and far.
A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, it was a love of writing that took Ashley to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. A series of summer magazine internships in New York City led her to fall in love with city life and, much to the chagrin of her Midwestern family, Ashley moved to the Big Apple. After a brief stint at Lucky magazine, Ashley joined the world of public relations, working first in beauty at Tractenberg & Company and DeVries Global before transitioning into food and hospitality at Bullfrog & Baum. Lured by warm weather and proximity to family, Ashley and her husband moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 2011, where she worked as the director of communications for the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. When she’s not working, Ashley can be found exploring her new hometown of Washington, DC with her husband, young son and two French Bulldogs.
A proud Virginian, Jennifer returned to her roots in Southwest Virginia several years ago after enjoying big city and small town living in Richmond, VA, Atlanta, and Rockford, IL. One of her greatest life adventures was immersing herself and her family into expat life for two+ years while living in Sønderborg, Denmark, a small town located on the German border. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in history and has dabbled in the worlds of non-profit management, university alumni relations, and recruiting before joining PPM in the fall of 2012 as the Managing Director. When not working, she can be found watching her two spirited red heads race across soccer and lacrosse fields, training for the next half marathon, relaxing at the lake, or planning her family’s next European excursion.
A Northern Virginia native, Lacey acquired an insatiable appetite for both food and writing at a young age. When she was 8, she penned her first food fiction in her composition notebook, featuring the adventures of Cupcake the Hungry Brontosaurus—and she has felt compelled to tell (true) stories ever since. She’s just as interested in the dishes and destinations as she is in the people behind them, a curiosity that’s proved invaluable for covering the restaurant industry from both sides of the desk. Prior to Polished Pig Media, this 10-year veteran of the hospitality communications industry was managing editor of Chef magazine and worked at hospitality marketing and public relations firm Wagstaff Worldwide overseeing editorial processes and products, as well as managing clients. She’s long had an interest in all things beer-related and is a Certified Beer Server from the Cicerone program. Outside of work, she devours cookbooks like romance novels and satiates her wanderlust by always having a trip in the works, meanwhile encouraging her 4-year-old son, Elliot, to appreciate food and travel. Based in Chicago and heart in Charleston, Lacey has been known to unapologetically inhale two monstrous burgers in one sitting.
Senior Account Manager
Charlotte grew up on a horse farm right outside Louisville, KY, and spent the summers at her sister’s café mastering Southern comfort staples like pimento cheese, benedictine spread, and bourbon balls. She migrated north to Boston University, and after graduating was drawn to the creative fields of interior design, advertising, and photography, all while developing her interest in food and cooking. Eventually making her way to NYC, Charlotte got a job in communications/PR for the hunger-nonprofit, City Harvest, where she worked with prominent NYC chefs to promote the mission through partnerships and tasting events. Charlotte discovered Polished Pig Media when she noticed that they represented so many of her favorite Southerners, and in 2014 she landed a job as an Account Manager. When not working, you’ll find Charlotte taking pictures (www.charlottestrode.com), bargain hunting for Turkish rugs and English furniture to decorate her Brooklyn apartment, and attempting to garden indoors.
Senior Account Manager
A Chicago Midwesterner by birth, Skelly considers herself an adventurous nomad, having grown up in Boston, San Francisco, Chapel Hill, and Seattle, with a pit-stop along the way in Oxford, Ohio where she attended Miami University. After graduating with degrees in Communication and Marketing, Skelly set her sights on the Big Apple to pursue a career in Advertising Sales at Sony Pictures Television. Before long, the beaches and a slower pace of life were beckoning Skelly to Charleston, where she accepted a position at a digital marketing firm. However, having wined and dined at premier restaurants in both New York City and the burgeoning culinary scene in Charleston, Skelly’s strong passion for restaurant hospitality led her to pursue a career in public relations. Skelly sharpened her skills working with restaurants and hotels at a locally-based national PR company, but soon found her place in the pig pen with the Polished Pig Media team. When she is not working, Skelly can be found indulging in delicious meals throughout Charleston with her husband Brad in tow and a baby on the way. Charleston is their oyster!
Born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, fall football and the pursuit of a degree in public relations drew Sarah further south to attend the University of Georgia. After spending a summer traveling through Australia and New Zealand, Sarah discovered her passion for writing about the people, places, and, most importantly, the food that she encountered. After dabbling in several facets of PR through various internships, Sarah began working with the organizers of Athens Wine Weekend and became enthralled with the world of hospitality PR. Immediately following graduation, Sarah relocated to the Lowcountry to join Polished Pig Media’s Charleston office. When she’s not working, Sarah is likely binge-watching cooking shows, satisfying seafood cravings at her favorite Charleston restaurants, or enjoying the South Carolina coast.
Teresa was born in the Rocky Mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. She attended college near her roots at Virginia Tech, where her knack for business and event management combined with a passion for food, wine, and craft beer led her to major in Hospitality and Tourism Management. After graduation, she began her career with her alma mater, where she coordinated logistics for state, national, and international academic conferences. After a three year tenure at the university, Teresa followed her heart (and her stomach) to Polished Pig Media. She has recently relocated to Arkansas, and finds herself settled just south of the Ozark National Forest. By day, Teresa keeps the Polished Pig ‘pen’ in tip-top shape. When she’s off the clock, you can find her exploring the Ozark Mountains, at a local brewery, or browsing through thrift shops and yard sales for vintage Pyrex kitchenware.
Born and raised in Birmingham, AL, Lauren graduated from The University of Alabama with a double major in journalism and French. She spent her summers in college interning at local lifestyle magazines and studying abroad in Tours, France. Following graduation, she accepted a Time Inc. fellowship at Southern Living, where she discovered her passion for Southern food and culture. In the summer of 2015, she accepted a position with Polished Pig Media, and now calls The Holy City home. When she’s not at the office or glued to her phone, you can find Lauren exploring the outdoors, dabbling in French cuisine, or enjoying a glass of wine.
Zoey was born in London, England and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. The beautiful weather and her affinity to Southern cuisine brought Zoey to Clemson, South Carolina where she studied Communication and Sociology. Exploring her international roots, Zoey spent most of her summers traveling to various countries in Europe, and so, inspired her love of food, people and culture. Upon graduation from Clemson University, Zoey spent the summer in Greenville, South Carolina where she interned for the euphoria Food and Wine Festival, further cementing her passion for working with the talented people of the culinary and hospitality industries. A big city girl at heart, Zoey moved back to Washington, D.C. and has now found her home at Polished Pig Media.
Polished Pig Media’s token boar. Jason grew up on a tomato farm in Ohio and followed his deep interest in hospitality to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. There, he earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management with highlights along the way that included apprenticing under a certified master chef and spending a summer in Italy studying food cultures. From here, it was an exciting road that included stops as a vegan pastry chef, wine educator and chocolatier. While living in New York City for the past seven years, Jason built those experiences into marketing and public relation roles, always focusing on the industry he loves most, hospitality. He’s worked with a wide variety of national and international teams including hotels, restaurants, wines, spirits, chefs, products, events, lifestyle and luxury brands and more. When he’s not working, Jason’s often found at the theater, entertaining, or feeding his hunger for travel.
Hunter is a native South Carolinian who was born with an innate sense of wonder and wander. Upon graduating from the College of Charleston, where she studied communication and political science, she joined the Peace Corps and set off for the Philippines for nearly two and a half transformative years. Back stateside, she has gained many valuable experiences and most recently spent a year in Los Angeles working with world-renowned chefs and on large-scale international events. Now, through a bit of serendipity and a desire to be back down South, she has returned to Charleston to join the Polished Pig team. She is happy to be back in the “friendliest” city, and looks forward to spending her free time out on the water, planning her next adventure, and making up for lost time in her beloved Charleston food scene.
Raised in Southern Vermont, Sarah, an August baby through and through, was always drawn to the warmer southern climate. That, and a track to Fashion Merchandising, brought her to Savannah, GA where she studied for a year at Savannah College of Art and Design. Though the school wasn’t the right fit, she fell head over heels for the culture and cuisine of the South. Landing at the University of Vermont and wanting to continue into the style or lifestyle industry, she finished her student career with a degree in Public Communication. With plenty of time spent abroad in food capitals of the world and an affinity for finding the next perfect bite, she knew New York City would be the next move after graduating. After interning in the fashion and event PR space, she knew the culinary world was her other passion she wanted to explore. Coming across Polished Pig Media, she soon happily joined the New York team. When not in the office, you can find her adventuring around the good eats of NYC, reading cookbooks on her couch, or planning her next trip across the sea.
Katelyn was born and raised in South Carolina. She spent her childhood in Columbia, but made her way to the heart of the Lowcountry to study marketing communications at The College of Charleston. She quickly took to exploring all the flavors the city has to offer, and it didn’t take long to ignite her passion for food and hospitality. After graduation, she joined a local PR agency to work with many of the city’s best bars and restaurants, but shortly thereafter was offered a job in the growing tech sector of The Silicon Harbor. There, she led the marketing and PR for one of the fastest growing startups in the South. However, she realized her heart remained in the lifestyle and food industries. Katelyn joined the Polished Pig team and is now happier than a pig in mud! When she isn’t thinking about how to achieve the best results for her clients, Katelyn is watching movies, traveling, or spending a relaxing day at the beach.
Born and raised outside Boston, MA, Rachel has called numerous East coast states home. Beginning with her first move to New Hampshire; Rachel attended Plymouth State University in the White Mountains. There, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, learned to snowboard and how to dress in layers! After college, Rachel and her boyfriend moved to Upstate New York where she worked for a large media company before bringing her to Polished Pig Media here in Roanoke, Virginia. When she isn’t in the office, Rachel enjoys hiking with her dog, Floyd, working on the latest DIY project and bleeding blue for her New England Patriots.
Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Anna graduated from the University of Virginia with a double major in Psychology and Spanish – and a major love of food! While in college, she studied abroad in Valencia, Spain, and spent the following summer interning at a PR firm in New York City, where she honed her skills working with a Spanish wine client. She fell in love with the fast pace (and amazing restaurant scene) of NYC and after graduation accepted a job in the publicity department at Clarkson Potter, the largest cookbook and lifestyle publisher within Penguin Random House. There, Anna spent nine years managing publicity campaigns and book tours for bestselling cookbooks from the country’s biggest culinary stars. After nearly a decade in New York City, Anna is delighted to be back in Atlanta enjoying all the exciting ways her hometown has changed. When she’s not working, you can find her on the trails of Atlanta’s Beltline, hosting dinner parties, cheering on the Braves, and exploring the many new restaurants the city has to offer.
Senior Account Manager
A native of the suburbs of Washington, DC, Jasmine hails from a family of talented cooks and restaurant owners, which inspired her love for food and entertaining at a young age. She studied journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, later graduating from The New School University in New York City with a degree in culture and media. While interning in both print and radio journalism, she further cultivated her passion for the restaurant industry, moonlighting at some of the top restaurants in New York. She soon realized that she could combine her obsession with food and hospitality with her experience in journalism by pursuing a career in public relations. Jasmine returns to her hometown of DC after eight years in New York City working for lifestyle PR firms representing luxury hotels, restaurants, celebrity chefs, wines, products, and brands. When she’s not searching for the city’s best blue crabs or bone marrow, she can be found in the kitchen testing out a new recipe or delving into a fiction novel with her dog, Bambi, nearby.