Our Strength is Our People
Doing More Together
We think of ourselves as an extension of your team, providing ongoing support and sharing valuable resources gleaned from our individual experiences and work with other two-year colleges across the nation. We’re data-geeks, artists, rock stars and musicians, world-travelers, lifelong learners, thespians, parents, community activists, and more. We are proud of our diverse team and the unique skills and knowledge each of them brings to our organization.
Pam Cox-Otto, Ph.D.
Pamela Cox-Otto, Ph.D., is the Founder and Chief Strategist at Interact. With more than 30 years of experience working exclusively with technical and community colleges, she is an expert in two-year college marketing and continues to connect clients with bold strategies in service of enrollment, equity, and social mobility goals. Her résumé can be viewed on LinkedIn.
Diane Walleser, Ed.D.
Diane Walleser, Ed.D., is Interact’s vice president of client strategy and outcomes. In her role, she is responsible for identifying optimal solutions for clients and ensures clients receive the custom research, marketing tool or enrollment initiative necessary to drive the desired results. Previously, she served as Vice President for Enrollment Management at Borough of Manhattan Community College which served over 20,000 students within the City University of New York system. She also served as Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Services at Columbus State Community College (Ohio) and as Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing at Madison Area Technical College (Wisconsin). In 2013, Diane was awarded AACRAO’s SEM Award of Excellence for her leadership in strategic enrollment management at two-year institutions. Prior to beginning her work in higher education, Diane spent fifteen years in private industry in finance and brand management leadership roles. Diane has an Ed.D. in higher education leadership from Edgewood College (Wisconsin); an M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, a bachelor of science in business administration from Viterbo University (Wisconsin), and an associate of applied science in finance from Western Technical College (Wisconsin).
Web technology is crucial to Interact’s innovative research and strategy, and Anthony Jones brings 20 years experience in web-based communications. As a Marketer, Web Developer, and Technologist, Anthony helps keep Interact on the vanguard of communications technology. Having developed and managed high-visibility products and services in Europe, Japan, and the United States, Anthony provides a wide range of experience to his position. His projects for Interact include web development, digital marketing, social media, and more. Anthony was educated in England, at Harrow Technical College, later receiving an M.B.A. equivalence from Columbia University, in New York.
Alana Villemez, Interact’s Vice President of Business Development, is a communications and media professional with experience working with community colleges across Southern California to promote career education. Alana brings a creative and contagious spirit to her position, with an enthusiastic, big-picture approach to make clients’ goals a reality. Alana graduated from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in communications and media studies. Previously, she received her associate degree from MiraCosta College, where she worked as a student ambassador with the Diversity and Outreach Office.
Mary De Luca, M.A.
Mary De Luca, Vice President, Account Services, guides Interact clients with research, strategy, and creative solutions to build their college brands, drive enrollment, and advance community support.
She’s a frequent contributor to Interact’s blogs and webinars to provide 2-year college marketers with the tips and tools they need to work smarter, not harder.
With more than three decades of community college experience, Mary developed a nationally respected communications division and successful college brand from the ground up during her leadership tenure at the multi- campus Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) in Maryland. While producing and managing multimedia communications to build enrollment, student success, and public support, Mary cultivated creativity and excellence—resulting in her team winning more than 100 Paragon and Medallion awards from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR). Mary has an M.A. in Publication Design from the University of Baltimore, where she earned the graduate program’s Ampersand Award for exceptional achievement in marrying words and images. She also served as the NCMPR District 1 Director.
Grace Kendall, MFA
Grace Kendall is a driven innovator who is passionate about the power of education. Her breadth of experience in higher ed includes eight years of marketing and communications, most recently as a community college director for strategic marketing and community engagement, and twelve years as faculty. Grace brings a rich background of creativity, curiosity, and strategic thinking to her position as Account Executive. A first-generation college student, she attended community college, then earned a Bachelor of Science from San Diego State University, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Visual Communication from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts. She has served the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations as district 7 director and national board of directors member and was an executive board member for the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges Public Information Commission. Grace has experience with strategic technology and Guided Pathways, is FEMA certified in National Incident Management System/Incident Command System, and was a graphic design professional for 17 years where her work was published, shown, and awarded. Grace is always eager to learn and to help others.
Michele Byrd is an Account Executive for Interact Communications, managing client relationships, and project management timelines and budgets. Her experience comes from developing and maintaining relationships, ensuring smooth transitions with project executions. With over 15 years of experience in providing strategic leadership in all facets of sales management, market development, and brand engagement for businesses of all sizes both locally and nationally, Michele is passionate about helping clients and seeing their plans and visions come to life. She holds a Bachelors’s degree in Business Administration from Roberto C. Goizueta Business School.
Angelina Devairakkam joins Interact after working two years in the banking industry. She previously worked as a project assistant for a startup company in Washington DC. She attended Stevenson University in Maryland and holds a Business Communication Degree. She joins Interact as an Account Coordinator to assist our Account Executives with various tasks such as creating weekly reports and communicating with clients.
Kenzie McCoy joins Interact after graduating from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, with a double major in financial planning and marketing. After spending her first few years of college within the finance industry, Kenzie found her passion in marketing and made the switch. She joins Interact as an Account Coordinator to assist our Account Executives with various tasks such as creating weekly reports and communicating with clients.
Christopher Salazar begins his career with Interact after eight years working in higher education student services. He previously worked for Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico, where he worked his way up from a work-study position to a full-time freshman advisor. Prior to that, he was an admissions specialist for Clovis Community College in Clovis, New Mexico. Having started both his education and professional career at a community college, Chris brings a passion for helping colleges grow and reach as many students as possible. He joins Interact as an AE coordinator, assisting our account executives in their day-to-day needs, building reports and materials for our clients.
Interact’s Research Manager, Michelle Sturm, has over 10 years of experience in higher education, including work with pre-college programs, academic advising, and institutional research. Her keen eye for detail and drive to create accessible data make her an integral part of our research team. She holds a Master’s in Student Affairs Administration, a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies, and an Associate in Architectural and Commercial Design. Outside of work, Michelle is an avid reader, baker, and church volunteer.
Terry Kinney, Ph.D.
Terry Kinney, Ph.D. is Interact’s Director of Research. Terry has served as an expert on numerous state-level public information campaigns and has extensive experience in research methodologies and techniques. Terry was a university professor at three urban and very diverse universities, has taught several university courses dealing with equity, racism, and discrimination, and has researched issues of racial/ethnic discrimination, sexism, and gender-based inequalities for several decades. He holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctorate in communication arts, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Mai Yingneuk is our Creative Director, coming to Interact from Thailand. A talented designer and visual engineer, she brings a world perspective to visual and communication arts. Having developed an early talent for vivid and creative media design. As the leader of Interact’s Visual creative staff, she lend her sharp eye and design-savvy to our print, web, and video projects. She has won multiple awards for visual design, including a Gutenberg Award from the International Graphic Arts Education Association. Mai supervises our designer team as well as our video unit. Mai has studied in Thailand, Japan, and the United States, earning her degree in Graphic Design from a technical college before continuing at Winona State University. She currently sits on the Technical College Graphic Design Advisory Committee.
Sara Sampey is a talented videographer with a background in film, web and live music broadcasts. As the Lead Videographer/Editor, she shoots, edits and produces video content for Interact’s creative team. Sara holds an Associate Degree in Visual Communications from Western Technical College, where she graduated with honors.
An artist in heart and mind, Jasmine Tully lends her practiced and inspired skill set in helping our clients tell their most vivid stories. As Graphic Designer, Jasmine provides support for Interact’s award-winning creative team, designing and executing marketing materials, templates, publications, web pages, and more. With an Associate degree in Graphic Design from Western Tech, Jasmine is also a freelance artist, with a versatile background in childcare, child art, and non-profit work. When she’s not drawing up design schemes, she’s drawing up loops, as an avid crocheter, knitter and seamstress.
Jake Ammann is a talented videographer and editor with a wide professional background in digital multimedia, live event, and music video production. Jake works with the creative team to illustrate stories and create inspiring multimedia content for our clients. Jake studied Digital Media Production at Western Technical College.
Previously employed as a journalist, publisher, and comedy writer, Jim Wiseman infuses his sense of humor and knack for attention-grabbing messaging into all of his projects for Interact. As Strategic Director, he is responsible for developing verbal messaging and scripts for Interact’s print, video, radio, and web campaigns, as well as providing research reports on regional political trends and ethnography. In addition to his experience in journalism and web publishing, Jim has 10 years of experience in university administration, and has also worked as a project editor for an academic publishing firm. Jim graduated from the University of California in 2001, with a degree in political science.
Rachel Rosen-Carroll is a talented writer with a keen eye for content and knack for storytelling. She has deep ties to local community colleges, having worked for Sierra College’s marketing department, and for a number of Northern California colleges on a freelance basis. She has truly hit the ground running in her first days on the job, spearheading content creation for the North Far North Consortium and Orange County Career Education News Centers, and contributing to a variety of campaigns. In her (now limited!) free time, Rachel is a published poet and author, and is currently working on a YA novel.
Margaret Scott joins Interact as a Jr. Copywriter looking to expand her writing horizons. Previously a freelancer, she possesses an adaptable writing background with thorough research skills. While working as an in-house copywriter, she embraced the fast-paced environment of ever-changing projects and perfecting client voices, which has helped her build a strong portfolio and find a great balance at Interact. She holds a degree in Communications with a primary focus in advertising and public relations. She is a graduate of Marywood University, located in her hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. She enjoys exploring her current residence, Philadelphia, PA, and volunteers as a graphic designer and website developer for a media literacy nonprofit in her free time.
Jamie Wagner is the dynamic and focused Executive Director of Interact’s Media Preferences research. With over 10 years of experience in project management, event marketing, and community outreach, she is an expert at building relationships and making the research experience both enjoyable and stress-free. Jamie is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where she studied Marketing and Organizational and Professional Communication.
Leina Gilster is our Director of Client Experience. She has several years of experience working in various industries including higher education, real estate, construction, and non-profit event planning. At Interact, Leina uses her cross-industry knowledge to improve the client experience throughout the project life cycle. She also assists with multiple client accounts. Leina graduated from Biola University with a degree in Sociology, and she holds multiple certifications for ArcGIS mapping, Raiser’s Edge CRM, and Dubsado CRM.
Wendy Ferestad joins Interact Communications as an Account Coordinator. Her creative background began as a photographer and graphic designer then she moved into project management. Wendy’s experience while working for Madison Area Technical College as a Communications Specialist, and other positions she has held as a Marketing Project Manager and a Client Services Coordinator are a great asset to our Interact team.
Brittany Jansen joins Interact’s La Crosse office as Project Coordinator, responsible for a variety of workflow and client communication tasks. Though she has not yet agreed, it is expected that her background in music and community theater will make her Interact’s official “karaoke ringer.” Brittany, a Wisconsin native, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a major in English and a minor in Music. She enjoys reading, singing in church, and long walks on the beach (though she prefers to Uber back!)
Peggy Langreck handles the day-to-day business, including payroll, auditing, financial planning, tax issues, purchasing and accounts receivable, as Chief Financial Officer of Interact. With 25 years of experience in a two-year college finance department, Peggy understands the ins and outs of higher education accounting. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology, in addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis on Organizational Management.
Patrick Larson has joined Interact as Senior Accountant after six years at the F&M bank in Tomah as Associate Vice President of Finance and Physical Security Officer, where he was responsible for compiling the company’s financial statements. Patrick has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Rasmussen College as well as an associate degree for accounting in human resource accounting and finance. Patrick also wants to pursue a master’s degree. Patrick volunteers as an assistant swimming coach and works with “Last Paw Rescue” fostering dogs and helping find them homes. He is also the treasurer of “Remembering Teresa”, a group raising funds for abused and battered women. Patrick is a proud husband and father to three boys and one girl.