Katie Wagner, President
Katie spent more than 15 years as a journalist. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Boston University with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism and a B.A. in International Relations, she began her career as an investigative reporter, and then spent a decade as a television and radio news anchor. Katie has worked at CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN and National Public Radio. In addition, she has appeared on dozens of commercials, educational videos and websites. She has hosted her own talk show, had columns published in major newspapers and blogs, and is a popular public speaker.
Katie has built a reputation as an engaging and credible storyteller.
In 2010, Katie realized that she could use the skills that she learned in the newsroom to help business owners connect with their clients online. She opened KWSM to help companies and organizations tell their story, building the agency with journalists, whom she knew understood how to establish a relationship with their audience and convey information in an engaging and educational way.
First introduced to the tools as a way to promote her news stories, Katie has always believed in the power of social media to engage an audience and build credibility. She is passionate about helping business owners integrate social media into their traditional media marketing plans. Over the years, Katie has helped set digital marketing strategy for hundreds of clients in a variety of industries.
Katie sits on the Advisory Board for Web Wise Kids, a non-profit focused on keeping kids safe on the internet and social media. In 2012, she was honored with the organization's 'Champion for Children Award.' She is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Chapman University's Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics, and serves as a Mentor for Chapman's MBA Program. Katie is also a certified first responder with the American Humane Association (She was one of the first rescuers allowed into New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina) and has worked and volunteered in dozens of animal shelters across the country. In her free time, you can find her at the barn with her horse, Gitan.
Stephen Wagner, Director of Operations
Stephen has a finance background and an entrepreneurial heart.
With a degree in Finance from Oregon State University, Stephen has worked in Finance & Operations Management at two Fortune 100 companies. In addition, he spent 5 years as a small business consultant, working with clients in the real estate, food & beverage, retail, and finance industries. Though involved from the beginning, he joined the KWSM Team full-time in 2011.
As an entrepreneur himself, Stephen identifies with the challenges of starting a business and trying to ‘get it all done’ with limited resources. He loves showing our clients how they can level the playing field with an engaging social media presence.
Stephen is well-trained in Search Engine Optimization, and works with our clients to make sure they are getting the most SEO benefit from the work we do. A blogger and social media enthusiast, Stephen holds Yelp Elite status. He brings business savvy to the world of social media, and is looking forward to helping your business build social media channels that further your goals.
Away from the office, Stephen plays the bass and makes his own wine. The third vintage of ‘Wagner Estates’ (a Syrah) will be released this Christmas.
Jeff Soto, Managing Content Editor
Jeff is an effective storyteller with a history of creating engaging, results-driven campaigns for his clients. He loves digital marketing because of the power social media has to connect with consumers.
Jeff graduated from the University of California Irvine with a degree in English.
He worked for 15+ years in TV news in the Los Angeles market as an Assignment Editor, Writer, Producer and Executive Producer and is the winner of numerous Emmy and Golden Mike awards for his newscasts, breaking news and special event coverage.
After transitioning to digital marketing nearly 10 years ago, Jeff gained experience in Content Marketing, Social Media, Community Management and Public Relations, both in agency and in-house roles. He has helped launch PR and marketing strategies for companies in a variety of industries, including medical, beauty, travel, hospitality, food and beverage, consumer products, transportation, shipping, supply chain and logistics.
Jeff’s experience managing a newsroom serves him well as the leader of KWSM’s Content Team, which is made up of journalists. His previous roles in digital marketing have prepared him for guiding successful campaigns for our clients. He joined the KWSM Team in 2016.
An Orange County native, Jeff is married with three children. He is a History buff and a Foodie who enjoys golf, traveling and reading. Even in his free time, you can usually find him on Twitter.
Kaley Halliburton, Content Editor
Kaley brings digital agency experience and a passion for storytelling to her role at KWSM. She is a results-driven marketer who truly cares about her clients’ success. Her favorite part of her job is that she gets to work with a variety of clients, and every day is different. She joined KWSM in 2016.
Kaley is an Orange County native who graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Marketing. She says she’s always been a social person, and loves building a career out of getting social.
In her free time, Kaley loves reading, writing and anything else involving words – especially a good pun!
Raul Ruelas, Content Editor
Raul brings a strong background in lifestyle and pop culture writing and reporting to his work at KWSM. With extensive experience in online publishing, social media and search engine optimization, he loves creating relevant, engaging content.
A graduate of Cal State Long Beach, Raul holds a degree in journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Communications Studies.
Raul’s first job (at age 16) was at Starbucks. He credits the experience with sparking not only his love for coffee, but also his ability to relate to his clients and ask the right questions to make sure their goals are met.
A fan of craft food, beer and wine, Raul spends his free time trying new restaurants and hanging out with his Pitbull/Chihuahua mix, Harlow.
Taylor Lizura, Content Editor
Taylor is an experienced digital marketer with a background in public relations and social media for small businesses and professionals. She is a passionate storyteller who gets excited about learning the language of the brands she works with.
Taylor holds a degree in Public Relations from Northern Arizona University, with a minor in Electronic Media and Film. She joined the KWSM Team in 2016.
When she’s not in the office, Taylor loves film and television and is our resident pop culture expert. She also enjoys finding new restaurants, and hanging out with her puppy, Brett Favre.
Ansley Vasconcellos, Content Editor
With a background in magazine journalism, Ansley brings an eye for design and a passion for storytelling to her work at KWSM. She has previous digital agency experience and has owned a small online apparel business, giving her a unique perspective on how business owners can build an audience on social media.
Ansley graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Magazine Journalism, a minor in Anthropology and a certificate in New Media. She pursued a career in social media because she loves bringing a brand’s story to life and capturing emotion with the content she creates.
When not at the office, you can usually find Ansley at the beach. She loves surfing, beach volleyball, kayaking, paddle boarding and longboard skateboarding. She also enjoys collecting records and Marvel movies.
Ilia Jones, Content Editor
Ilia graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Journalism. She has extensive print journalism experience, writing for publications on pop culture and health and wellness. Ilia is bilingual and can create content in Spanish as well as English.
When not at the office, Ilia loves to practice yoga. She is an animal enthusiast and an avid reader of The New Yorker.
Shanice Gravesandy, Junior Content Editor
Shanice is an experienced journalist and marketer who has worked in the fashion, food & beverage and insurance industries. She brings past agency experience to her role at KWSM, as well as extensive experience in email marketing, copywriting and online publishing, including a stint at Good Housekeeping Magazine.
Shanice holds a BA in English from the University of Vermont, and an MA in Magazine Journalism from Kingston University in England. In addition to a love for writing, she has a passion for visual storytelling and says Instagram is her favorite social media channel.
When not working, Shanice enjoys reading (mystery & romance), TV (rom-coms are a guilty pleasure) and baking.
Bethany Gustavsen, Copywriter
Bethany has been a professional writer for more than a decade, but her love of words started long before that. As a child, when she was given a blank canvas and paintbrush, she would paint words - telling stories instead of drawing pictures.
Bethany began her career as a senior staff writer and editor in the Governor of Hawaii’s Office of Information. Since then, she has worked as a copywriter and marketer for clients in the auto, travel, sports, video game and food & beverage industries.
In addition to writing and editing, Bethany has experience in event marketing, and spent time launching event marketing campaigns with an agency in LA.
Bethany graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hawaii Pacific University. She has a degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations.
John Holman, Project Manager
John is a versatile Project Manager with more than 10 years of experience managing teams in a variety of industries. He is bilingual in English and Portuguese and lived in Brazil for 2 years.
John has 5 years of television production experience, and is passionate about video and the power of storytelling. In his free time, he can often be found with a camera in his hand. He also has 7 years of experience managing the production of apps, websites and other digital experiences.
John graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Sociology. He is also certified as a ScrumMaster with the Scrum Alliance, and has completed the coursework for his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.
When not at the office, John doubles as a hand model for his wife’s food blog. His dream is to set foot on the moon.
Angie Smith, Web Designer
Angie has always enjoyed drawing and painting, and has won awards for her work. In college she discovered her love for graphic design, and translated that passion into website design.
Angie grew up in rural Wisconsin and has a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, with a minor in Web Design and specialized training in photography and printmaking. She recently moved to Southern California and joined the KWSM Team in 2016.
An accomplished designer, Angie has held both agency and in-house roles, working on projects that included website and mobile app design, brand development, packaging design, online marketing and creation of printed materials.
In her free time, Angie enjoys exploring California, spending time at the beach and finding new places to hike with her husband, Dan, and her dog, Ellie.
Steve Dillon, Web Developer
Steve grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts and moved to California in 2002. Beginning his career in graphic design, he worked in the marketing departments of several companies.
Anxious to explore web development, he initially taught himself coding by taking online classes. Now an experienced designer and developer, Steve’s web skills include coding in several languages, mobile app development and responsive web design.
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Studio Art, he earned his Masters in Web Design and New Media from the Academy of Art University.
In addition to his web and graphic design skills, Steve is an accomplished photographer and artist.
Steve’s other passion is surfing. He began surfing at age 8, and grew up competing in the sport. In 1997, he was in the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach. Outside of work, you can find Steve surfing, hiking, reading and spending time with his wife.
Andrew Worley, Videographer
Andrew is a versatile creative with more than 7 years of experience in filmmaking, wedding and fashion photography, print and graphic design. He has created videos and photos for hundreds of businesses and organizations and loves producing creative corporate content.
Andrew attended the Art Institute of Orange County and studied Opera at a Music Conservatory. He is passionate about all types of music, art and design.
Andrew is married to his high school sweetheart. Outside of work, you can frequently find him in a coffee bar. He loves traveling and is 100% obsessed with HGTV.
Janae Raphael, Public Relations
Janae is a dedicated Public Relations professional specializing in the health and beauty industry. For more than a decade she has worked closely with distributors, manufacturers, salons, retail stores and beauty professionals, helping to build brands and garner media attention. Janae excels at helping clients reach consumers and inspire them to act.
Janae holds a degree in Chemistry with a minor in Public Relations from Chapman University. She earned her M.A. in Strategic Public Relations from USC.
Skilled at producing and executing innovative PR plans that generate results, Janae has worked with many established beauty brands, but is equally excited about helping to launch new brands and set them up for success.
In her free time, Janae makes jewelry, and enjoys cooking, traveling and spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Natalie Bozzo, Executive Assistant
Natalie brings extensive experience in management and customer service to her role at KWSM, having worked in the banking and food & beverage industries before joining the team.
Natalie graduated Cum Laude from San Diego State University with a degree in Multimedia and a minor in Television & Film. She has studied illustration, graphic design, video editing and script writing.
In her free time, Natalie likes drawing, reading, watching movies and keeping up with her favorite TV shows. She doesn’t claim to be a great chef, but enjoys eating the work of others.
Jules Wagner, Support Staff
Ella Jules Wagner is an 11 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier who has been part of the KWSM Team since the company was founded in 2010.
Jules was adopted in 2007 from the Greenhill Humane Society, where Katie served as the Marketing & Development Director. They met during the shooting of a ‘News Anchors with Adoptable Pets’ fundraising calendar.
Jules brings extensive experience in cuddling, humorous antics, and providing stress relief. When not on the job, you can find her curled up on the couch, or wrestling with her brother, Louie. (Who is not allowed at the office due to being a good dog who makes very bad choices.)
You can connect with Jules on her Instagram account: @SocialBullJules