As chairman of Everett Clay Associates, Dana has been an innovator in designing and implementing successful communications programs for over 45 years. She works in a ‘hands-on’ partnership with clients to solve their complex issues and challenges. Heading the oldest public relations company in Florida, with vast experience in the family business, she leads the firm with the core values of quality, fairness, consistency, tradition and public service. After graduating from college, she edited a daily newspaper before entering the public relations field, following in the footsteps of her father and brother.
Ms. Clay strongly believes in promoting a culture of civility. The firm limits its representation to only one client per industry or business to prevent any potential conflicts of interest unless the clients involved otherwise agree there is no conflict.
The recipient of numerous industry awards, including the Addy, Emmy, Big Mike, Golden Image, Gold Quill, Clarion and PRSA Lifetime Achievement, she and the firm have been retained by major business organizations and individuals for communications advice. She is an accredited member and counselor of the Public Relations Society of America.
In addition, Dana is an active and long-time member of many civic and professional organizations such as Women in Communications, The Salvation Army, Feeding South Florida (formerly the Daily Bread Food Bank), the Junior League of Miami, Audubon Society, Health Systems Agency, The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, and Camacol.
She attended Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and psychology from the University of Alabama, where she was editor of the school’s daily newspaper The Crimson.
Dana is a cooking, travel, and mystery-novel addict. She also has a keen eye for spotting great deals as an experienced and savvy outlet-mall shopper.
Melisa Chantres, President
Melisa Chantres has more than 15 years of bilingual communications experience. She offers clients senior-level communications counseling, working in conjunction with their business objectives and strategies.
Melisa oversees strategic media operations for the firm's public affairs, tourism, professional services, and legal clients. She has also worked closely with MSLGroup on a wide array of projects during a multi-decade partnership and with the firm as its Miami affiliate.
She heads up the firm's legal accounts and is responsible for strategic planning and media placements for global law firm Hunton & Williams' Florida office. She also manages bilingual public relations for TotalBank.
Melisa was responsible for securing Hispanic media relations for the Jamaica Tourist Board. The island nation saw an upsurge in U.S. and Latin American media coverage through her efforts in conceptualizing media initiatives to increase awareness and promote tourism clients.
In addition, Melisa has directed media and community relations programs for a national manufacturing company, and has provided litigation support for global law firm Baker & McKenzie. She also has developed and implemented several successful communications initiatives for Miami-Dade County Public School's Workforce Development Programs.
Melisa is an active community member. She works with the JunTos Foundation, the Junior League of Miami, and serves as vice president of the Costa Foundation. She received both her B.A.S. in public relations and theatre management with a minor in marketing, and a master’s degree in music business and entertainment industries from the University of Miami.
A Miami native, Melisa loves listening to and discovering new music, and shopping for everything on Amazon while chasing her three daughters on the soccer field or at the dance studio. In the summer, she discovers new towns and minor league baseball fields while visiting her husband, Carlos, on location.
FRANCES GONG, VICE PRESIDENT
Frances has been at EvClay for over 25 years. She began as an editor, working on press releases and special client projects including brochures, newsletters, and annual reports. In addition, she has written several articles on behalf of clients for local business publications.
Frances works closely with account executives on developing strategies and tactics to increase client awareness as well as the management of crisis situations. She has also helped to conceptualize and implement media initiatives for clients.
Currently she heads the firm’s operations side, and is responsible for training, personnel, fiscal, and business matters. She works together with firm principals to focus on innovation and the bottom line.
She graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a minor in art history. Frances also spent a summer semester abroad in Florence, Italy studying Renaissance art.
Frances enjoys reading, travel—especially to Africa, and Bible history. She also loves the arts and is a huge fan of Florida Grand Opera.
YELENY SUAREZ, SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER
Yeleny Suarez manages client development and market research, targets media contacts, and pitches key media for firm clients. She handles media and crisis communications for a prison health-care company, and media relations for a real estate firm. In addition, she helps design, plan and execute communications strategies and collateral for clients, including crisis communications, press releases and pitches in English and Spanish, media events, advertorials, and editorial content.
She has secured positive TV and print news coverage for clients such as TotalBank, Hunton & Williams LLP, Armor Correctional Health Services and Business Improvement District (BID) of Coral Gables in large business and lifestyle publications. While working with the BID, she developed and executed successful communications strategies and community outreach campaigns on site events, including Wine Walk & Shop, Giralda Under the Stars, Jazz in the Gables, Carnaval on the Mile, Taste of the Gables and Coral Gables Restaurant Week.
Yeleny also works closely on the firm's legal account, securing media placements and assisting with crisis management for an international Chinese drywall manufacturer.
She boasts a strong communications background with six years of daily, weekly and monthly reporting experience beginning at The Miami Herald where she reported on inner-city community issues. She later joined Miami Today covering the City of Miami, and in 2005 made a move to glossy as the lead writer at South Florida CEO magazine interviewing senior executives of major South Florida and Latin American corporations.
Yeleny is fluent in English and Spanish, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in communication from Florida International University.
When she is not putting out “fires” or drafting press releases, you can find her playing soccer with friends, enjoying the outdoors, barbequing, or spending time with her family.
TERESA ESTEFAN, SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
Teresa has been with the firm since 2008. A team player, she is always ready, willing, and able to dive into any project, including drafting press releases, media alerts, and award nominations for the firm’s clients. Always keen to learn, she does not shy away from the latest social media app or industry software tool to assist in media monitoring, client development, market research, establishing media contacts, and pitching target media.
Her projects include: the management of a redesign of Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s quarterly newsletter from layout to content development, assisting in successful media campaigns for Downtown Coral Gables Business Improvement District, and TotalBank’s fundraising initiatives in support of the American Cancer Society.
She is fluent in English and Spanish and has an associate in arts degree from Miami Dade College.
When she isn’t putting her creative-thinking skills to work for clients, you can find her supporting Miami’s evolving art scene and its artists, attending an obscure indie rock band’s show, or binge-watching classic movies. During Art Basel week, this adoptive mom to a needy Chihuahua “Basels” till she drops.
JENNIFER RANGEL, ACCOUNT ASSOCIATE
Jennifer leads the firm’s social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She assists account executives with the development of press releases on news ranging from recent promotions to events, as well as the creation of monthly activity reports capturing the media outreach obtained by the firm. In addition, she works to maintain and monitor client media clips and social media mentions.
Jennifer received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with a double minor in public relations and marketing from Florida International University, and her master’s degree in media and communications studies with a certificate in multicultural marketing from Florida State University.
In 2015 she developed and implemented an international integrated marketing communication campaign in Guatemala for a group of indigenous women to help develop their business within the country. She has been an active member of The Salvation Army’s public relations and marketing committee and an active member of the Alzheimer’s Association. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
When she is not tweeting, she is playing soccer, cheering for her beloved Miami Dolphins, and discovering new places to travel.
EDMOND J. GONG, ESQ., IN MEMORIAM (1930-2015)
Former State Senator Edmond Joseph ("Eddie") Gong passed away in 2015. He was the firm’s General Counsel who was respected and beloved by all.
He served 10 years in the Florida Legislature, as a member of the House of Representatives for four years and then as a member of the Senate for six years.
A native Miamian who attended Miami Senior High School, Eddie graduated from Harvard University where he received an honors degree in government. He started his career as a journalist for The Hong Kong Standard and then as a staff writer for The Miami Herald. In addition, he was a freelance writer for Time and Life magazines.
After working as a journalist for four years, Eddie attended law school and received his degree from the University of Miami, School of Law. He worked for an international law firm. In 1961, he was appointed as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida by then-Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, and prosecuted criminal cases for the U.S. Department of Justice. Later he maintained a successful real estate law practice and served as the General Counsel for EvClay Public Relations.
During his distinguished career, Eddie served as Associate Director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; as Vice-Chairman of the Florida Board of Business Regulation; and as an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Associated Harvard Alumni.
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