Meet the 2023 Local Host Committee

Katie Charleson 

Katie Charleson joined State service in 2016 and the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange as IT Analyst/ Marketing Assistant in August of 2019, where she supported the communications department through marketing strategy and monitored systems. In May 2022, Katie was named the Exchange’s Communications Officer. She manages the marketing & advertising vendor during open enrollment and special enrollment periods, develops integrated communication strategies and outreach campaigns.

Lydia Gutierrez 

Lydia Gutierrez has over 15 years in governmental service. She is currently an Office Assistant III at Washoe County and is part of the Washoe311 team of knowledgeable customer service assisting with non-emergency government matters. She was previously the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Government Social Media, LLC; the City of Reno Code Enforcement Secretary; and an accounting assistant for the City of Reno City Clerk’s Office. 

Is the point of contact for Washoe County Public Records and as part of the Communications Division has assisted in creating and managing the Washoe County TikTok. She recently received recognition from her peers as a Washoe Star. She is certified in FEMA Emergency Incident Command System. She is continuously seeking out learning opportunities for growth.

Born in Mexico and fluent in Spanish, Lydia was raised in Reno. She is proud to raise her family here and share in the growth of the community. She and her husband enjoy exploring the region with their four children and two dogs. She loves organizing and assisting in events both personal and professional.

Julie Duewel

Julie Duewel has been the Community Relations Manager for the city of Sparks, Nevada for five years handling all internal and external communications. A storyteller at heart, Julie has a passion for telling stories about the many great things going on in the City through media releases, podcasting, videos, social media and newly designed website. 

Prior to working for the city of Sparks, Julie served as a public information officer for the Nevada Department of Transportation and was the state of Nevada photographer/videographer, winning national awards for images taken during a bridge inspection of the Mike O’Callaghan- Pat Tillman Bridge, arching 890 feet above the Colorado River.

Julie is proud to work with fellow communicators on the Regional Information Center team, formed during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This regional team works collaboratively to distribute life- saving information, and recently launched a brand-new regional emergency website, a one-stop information source during regional emergencies in Washoe County.

Julie is a fourth generation Nevadan and a University of Utah graduate—go UTES! She holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in English. She’s always looking for new ways to communicate and believes GSMCON is a great resource for communicators to learn, share ideas and collaborate.

Emerson Marcus  

Captain Emerson Marcus is the state public affairs officer for the Nevada National Guard, a statewide agency that includes more than 5,000 Airmen, Soldiers and Civilian personnel. He worked as the Nevada National Guard’s liaison in the State’s Joint Information Center during Nevada’s pandemic response in 2020 and 2021. Marcus previously worked as an investigative reporter at the Reno Gazette Journal from 2010 to 2015, winning Nevada Press Association awards in online and feature writing. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism and a masters of arts in history from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Cynara Medina

Cynara M. Medina has had a multi-faceted career, spanning over 20-years in the non-profit sector and academia. She started out as a public affairs officer for Caritas Germany, in Nicaragua and El Salvador, where she focused on disaster relief outreach. She then pivoted to higher education, and taught for 12 years in Texas and Nevada. She returned to public affairs in 2022. Cynara joined the Nevada Division of Forestry in June, as Education & Information Officer. 

She is a Fulbright alumna, who holds an MA in Communication and Development, and a Ph.D. in Media studies from Ohio University.

Jacob Sanders  

Jacob Sanders serves as the Digital Media Manager for the Clark County Water Reclamation District in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. With more than a decade of experience in Communications across private and public sectors, he spearheads the social media and community outreach efforts for the District's jurisdiction of more than 200,000 residents.

Natasha Shahani

Natasha Shahani joined the city of Las Vegas in 2016. She is a member of the digital content team that oversees all of the city’s social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. 

In her role as Public Information Officer, Natasha collaborates with each city department to determine key objectives and promote initiatives through social media, press releases, email newsletters and advertising. 

Born-and-raised in Southern California, Natasha moved to Las Vegas in 2013. She was on the founding team for Life is Beautiful, a three-day music, food, arts and learning festival in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. During her time as Brand Storyteller for the festival’s first two years, she oversaw all communication and media activities, managed the social channels and planned additional community events. 

Natasha has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising from Chapman University. She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta and serves as Chapter Advisor for the sorority chapter at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 

In her free time, Natasha enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors, supporting local businesses, reading and watching Hallmark movies.

Erin Yeung 

Erin Yeung has been in public safety dispatch for eighteen years, with almost ten years as a supervisor. She serves as the Reno Public Safety Dispatch Information Officer and holds an Advanced PIO certificate from FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute and a B.S. in Business Management. Before delving into the world of public safety, Erin was a news producer/video editor/photographer for a local television station. She is thrilled to apply her media experience in her public safety work and is excited to have the opportunity to experience the best of both areas.

Erin enjoys sharing topics she is passionate about and has had the opportunity to speak at several public safety dispatch conferences over the past five years. She is currently developing education and social media strategies to help the public understand emergency dispatch’s role and give them the knowledge and tools they need for a better 9-1-1 call experience. 

She runs her podcast aimed at helping first responders improve their mental health and contracts for the State of Nevada Division of Child and Family Services as a Systems Advocate/PIO in her spare time. She loves spending time with her family, playing ice hockey, and geeking out on mental health and public relations/communication topics with anyone who will listen. 

She can’t wait to meet everyone - welcome to the Biggest Little City!


Mailing Address:
9732 Pyramid Way #125, Sparks, NV 89441

Contact Us | Privacy | Terms


Government Social Media


Golden Post Awards


SBA U.S. Small Business Administration WOSB Certified

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.