Victor Balta joined the University of Washington in 2014 and now serves as the UW’s senior director for media relations and spokesperson. He is the lead media advisor to the President, Provost and UW administration, and chair of the UW’s Crisis Communications Team. Victor also manages the UW News team, which connects UW researchers, faculty and staff with regional to international media through pitches, prepared news releases, op-eds, and when called on for expertise on topics in the news.
He was previously the online news planning editor at Al Jazeera America in New York, where he assigned and edited news and feature stories from staff writers and a network of nearly 100 freelance writers around the country. He has also held editing and writing positions at Current TV in San Francisco, Comcast.net in Philadelphia, The Herald in Everett, Wash., and other newspapers in Northern California.
Across more than 25 years of communications leadership in higher education, Pete Mackey has become a specialist in institutional branding, communications strategies, media management, team-building and perceptions research that leads to meaningful return on investment.
Before establishing his consulting practice, Mackey served as the founding chief communications officer at four different institutions—Amherst College, Bucknell University, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and Science Foundation Ireland—and led communications for the University of South Carolina. Today his clients include large research universities, liberal arts colleges, research foundations and small businesses. In addition to his consulting practice, he runs the Future Sessions Strategy Bootcamp for non-profit communications staff.
Teresa Valerio Parrot
Teresa describes her job as truthfully sharing excellence and genuinely owning mistakes, because she knows that honesty is present in all sound proactive and crisis outreach. She serves as TVP Communications’ resident “president whisperer” for her ability to get senior administrators to share their thought leadership expertise.
With over two decades of work in higher education, Teresa has only known a career focused on making higher education relatable, presidents’ and boards’ decisions understandable, and student and faculty successes known. She served as senior vice president for Widmeyer Communications’ higher education practice and vice president of media relations and crisis communications for SimpsonScarborough.
Teresa has spoken on behalf of nearly every acronym in higher education’s alphabet soup, including the American Council on Education, the Association of Governing Boards, the American Marketing Association, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, NASPA, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, United Educators, and a range of other organizations nationally and internationally. In 2014, she was awarded the Crystal Apple Award for Teaching Excellence by CASE for earning an average combined score of 4.5 (out of five) or above on their session evaluations at 10 different CASE educational programs.
She serves as founding co-editor and contributor to the Inside Higher Ed blog, Call to Action, which is focused on marketing and communications topics in higher education. She has by-lined pieces for Trusteeship, The Presidency, College & University Journal, University Business, Inside Higher Ed, and PR Week; and contributed a chapter to the book, Managing the Unthinkable: Crisis Preparation and Response for Campus Leaders. Her expertise has been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, U.S. News & World Report, The Chicago Tribune, The Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, CURRENTS, The Missoulian, The News Telegram and Montana Public Radio.
Teresa earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in environmental biology, and a master’s degree in public administration with emphases in state and local government and non-profit management, both from the University of Colorado. She lives just outside of Boulder with her husband, daughter, dog and cat.
Robert Perkins is a Content and Media Strategist/Emergency Communications Coordinator at Caltech. A former news reporter, he took a job as a public information officer at the LA County Department of Public Health at the beginning of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. He later managed research communications at USC. Perkins is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at KU and the Master of Professional Writing Program at USC. He lives in Altadena, California.