Our Team

LET’S CONNECT

Dustin P. Smith

President & CEO

Smith is the founder of SMITHHOUSE, a strategic communications company. He launched the firm in 2018, the next step in a 20-year career that has encompassed in-house and agency experience across the entertainment, lifestyle, corporate and technology industries. He partners with clients and advises on corporate and consumer PR strategy and campaigns as well as handling events, awards, speaking opportunities, and crisis communication.

Prior to launching SMITHHOUSE, Smith served as Vice President of Communications at the CBS Television Network, creating PR strategy for the Network’s Daytime and Alternative programming.

There, he was the communications lead on several seasons of pop culture phenomenon Big Brother and also launched new competition series TKO with Kevin Hart, Candy Crush with Mario Lopez, global format Hunted, and the true-crime limited series The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey.

Smith also oversaw 1,000 hours of daytime programming each year, including iconic series The Price is Right and The Young and the Restless, as well as the daily live talk show The Talk, which took home Best Host and Best Show Daytime Emmy Awards during his tenure.

Previously, Smith was Vice President of Communications at TLC, part of Discovery Communications, where he led consumer and corporate efforts for the network, executives and programming, as well as managing all awards, events, and speaking opportunities.

LET’S CONNECT

Joanna Brahim

Executive Vice President

A brand storyteller and established communications executive with widespread knowledge of the media landscape, Brahim has worked on some of the most popular programming – domestically and internationally – across scripted, unscripted and news categories. Most recently Head of PR for Showtime Networks Cable Group, Brahim is known for elevating awareness, increasing audience engagement and protecting brands such as Smithsonian Channel, Pop TV, TLC, CBS and MSNBC. She has extensive experience in crisis communications, program publicity, corporate communications, executive management and talent relations, and is well-versed in multiple areas of the media business including programming, marketing, legal and digital.

Brahim has overhauled brands resulting in unprecedented and competitive press coverage and industry accolades. Additionally, she has managed some of the biggest crises in reality television history, spearheaded multiple international launches, and led a number of campaigns for high-profile tv series and documentaries. In 2018, Brahim was named as one of NYC Television Week’s 40 Under 40 and in 2019 she led her communications team at Smithsonian Channel to be recognized as Cablefax’s PR Team of the Year.

LET’S CONNECT

Hillary Povar

Executive Vice President

Povar, a seasoned television communications executive, has worked in entertainment publicity, media relations, and talent relations for 15+ years since starting her career at Showtime. During her career, she has launched and contributed to over 60+ original scripted and unscripted series, specials, and events that have covered virtually every major genre in storytelling with some of the biggest and most recognizable personalities in the entertainment industry, including the legendary Norman Lear. She is best known for her unprecedented work as the creative mastermind behind the publicity campaigns and FYC effort for what was originally a quirky, unknown series―Schitt’s Creek―that spectacularly morphed into a television pop culture icon making Emmy Award history.

LET’S CONNECT

Lynn Weiss

Senior Vice President

Weiss is a multi-faceted publicity executive specializing in television publicity for scripted and non-scripted series, television and film award campaigns, executive visibility, talent relations, social media, event production & red carpet, tour publicity and conferences/events. She held previous positions at USA Network and AMC, as well as at her own firm, Weiss Communications. There, clients included WGN America for the John Legend original series “Underground” including panels with actors at historically Black colleges, and “Outsiders;” Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s WaterKeeper Alliance’s “Keep It Clean” annual live comedy benefit; American Pistachio Growers (APG); actor Timothy Omundson for his ABC series “Galavant;” UCLA Extension and author/playwright Janet Langhart Cohen’s award-winning play “Anne & Emmett.” Weiss consulted for Grace PR, working with ABC Television for their 2018 and 2019 Emmy campaigns that included editorial outreach for talent and series in contention, exhibits, grass roots campaigns, outdoor and radio media, along with other award submissions (such as Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild); social media for producer/author Candy Spelling; actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw; Machete Productions; director Richard Shepard; and other clients.

LET’S CONNECT

Stephanie Ballabio

COO

Ballabio is a veteran marketing and communications professional with 20+ years of experience working both in-house and on the agency-side. She is responsible for all of SMITHHOUSE’s business operations including marketing, HR, finance and strategy. Prior to joining SMITHHOUSE, Ballabio was responsible for managing new customer acquisition for Intuit’s $150 million Financial Supplies business serving Intuit’s 100 million customers worldwide with TurboTax, QuickBooks and Quicken. Prior to that, she was a Senior Corporate Communications Manager, where she managed the company’s industry analyst and customer relations programs. She started her career at Schwartz Communications (now MSL Group), working with emerging high-tech start-ups. Ballabio has an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and an undergraduate degree from Boston University’s College of Communication.

LET’S CONNECT

Stephanie Berman Raphael

Vice President

Stephanie Berman (Raphael) is a PR specialist with over 20 years of experience in the entertainment, lifestyle and consumer industries. Prior to joining Smithhouse, Berman served as Vice President of Communications at Decadent PR, where she consulted for the Pop TV network, launching two high profile series; the fifth season of “Schitt’s Creek” and new dramedy “Flack” starring Anna Paquin.  She also co-spearheaded the launch of NBCUniversal International Studios “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition in NYC,” garnering more than 200 valuable media placements that totaled more than $5M in earned media value for the opening.

Berman previously consulted for a spectrum of clients including MPRM Communications, Kay Unger New York, Wholesale Halloween Costumes and Blackfeet Films.

Prior to consulting, Berman served as Senior Director of Communications at MTV Networks where she oversaw multi-tiered press campaigns for high priority network projects including the launch of MTV’s scripted programming slate.  Berman re-branded MTV’s Original TV movie franchise with strategic launch campaigns tailored to each individual movie genre. Original movies include: “Pedro,” “My Super Psycho Sweet Sixteen” parts one and two, “MADE: The Movie,” “Turn the Beat Around,” “Worst Prom Ever” and “The Truth Below.”  Other campaigns include “The 2009 MTV Movie Awards,” scripted series “Awkward,” “Good Vibes,” as well as “World of Jenks,” “I Used To Be Fat” and “The Buried Life” (Seasons 1&2).

Berman spent two years at The Dowd Agency as Director of Accounts before moving to MTV.  She managed and oversaw publicity, advertising and Emmy campaigns as well as event planning for several prominent clients. Some of the accounts Berman oversaw include “Meerkat Manor” for Animal Planet, the launch of “The Two Coreys” and “Psychic Kids” on A&E, “Sordid Lives” for “Logo Network”, “Ace Hardware,” “Yahoo!” and the launch of a children’s music brand “BoyintheShade.”

In January 2003, Berman served as press manager at NBC and launched the high-profile unscripted series “I Want to Be a Hilton,” which generated the most public awareness of any summer program on NBC. Berman became the official NBC liaison to the Hilton Family and implemented a comprehensive yearlong media campaign leading up to the summer 2005 premiere. While leading the launch of the Hilton series, Berman continued to run the press campaigns for “Third Watch”, “Law & Order: SVU”, “Last Call with Carson Daly”, “The Restaurant II”, “Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade” and “Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.” In addition, she launched the first live late-night New Years Eve program for NBC; “New Years Eve with Carson Daly.”

Berman began her career at NBC as a research intern at “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” in January 1998, which soon earned her a place in the prestigious NBC Page Program. As an NBC Page, she covered many assignments throughout the network including working in the office of Mr. Robert C. Wright, President and CEO, of NBC. In March of 1999, Berman earned a position as coordinator for the East Coast Entertainment Publicity Department.

Berman graduated from Washington University in 1997 with a double major in art history and photography. She is originally from Woodbridge, Connecticut and currently resides in Westport, Connecticut with her husband Eric and daughters Emma and Charlotte.

LET’S CONNECT

Steven Feldman

Vice President

Feldman is a communications pro with more than 15 years’ experience working on behalf of globally recognized brands to strengthen and grow connections with their audiences. In his career, he opened a limo door for a pair of penguins, screened a film for Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed Medical Center, coordinated a film shoot from six time zones away, handled and pre-empted countless crises and more. He is regularly recognized for his creativity, professionalism, relationship-building, writing skills and far-reaching, strategic campaigns.

Feldman spent nine years with the Media Relations department at CBS Television, starting as a publicist and rising to Director, Communications. During that time, he worked with countless high-profile actors and producers and established trust and rapport with colleagues and executives in cross-functional departments. He launched or sustained campaigns for projects including Person of Interest, God Friended Me, Bull, Blood & Treasure, The Price is Right and The Mentalist

Prior to CBS, Feldman spent five years at Hallmark Channel, starting as the assistant to the SVP of Publicity and eventually being promoted four times to Manager of Publicity. While there, he was an instrumental part of many campaigns, including the second-and-third-highest rated premieres in Hallmark Channel history, The Christmas Card and March of the Penguins. Additionally, he established the network’s social media accounts and social strategy and contributed to the launch of the network’s most-successful franchise, Countdown to Christmas.

A graduate of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, Feldman wrote numerous articles for The Diamondback, the university’s student-run newspaper. After receiving his degree, he took a leap of faith to begin his career by moving to Los Angeles without a job and few business contacts to rely on.

Feldman is proud to be born and raised in New Jersey and, when not following his passion for international travel, lives in Jersey City with his wife, son, and cat.

LET’S CONNECT

Stephanie Silva Kreps

Vice President

Silva is a strategic and creative thinker who has worked across priority publicity campaigns for scripted and unscripted series, including docuseries and companion podcasts. Most recently at National Geographic, Silva developed and executed campaigns for the linear channel and original content for streaming platform Disney+. She launched the network’s most-watched scripted series ever, The Hot Zone, starring Julianna Margulies and the network’s first scripted original for Disney+, The Right Stuff from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way. Silva has held previous positions at Discovery Communications (TLC) and AMC Networks (WE tv).

LET’S CONNECT

Frank Marchesini

Lead Strategist

Marchesini is a highly-regarded television public relations executive having most recently served as Vice President, Entertainment Public Relations for Showtime Networks Inc. Over his seventeen-years at Showtime, Marchesini oversaw the consumer and trade publicity campaigns for some of the network’s most acclaimed original series including Dexter, Homeland, Shameless, Billions, The Affair, Nurse Jackie, Masters of Sex, Episodes and City On A Hill. Additionally, he worked on numerous non-scripted and sports titles including The Circus, The Franchise, Inside The NFL, Shut Up & Dribble and Kobe Bryant’s Muse. Prior to that, Marchesini served as Senior Public Relations Manager for the Playboy Entertainment Group, and started his career as an Account Executive for The Lippin Group.

LET’S CONNECT

Danielle Matlin

Director

After beginning her career at Sony Pictures Television, Matlin worked at Discovery Inc. for over eight years on the TLC and Discovery Channel publicity teams. For the past several years she turned her attention to TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé franchise, where she solidified the series’ presence in pop culture, evidenced by coverage in major publications, a slew of celebrity fans, several successful spinoff launches, award nominations and consistent mentions on social media and elsewhere. Matlin also drove publicity for other top-rated TLC series, including My 600-lb Life, My Big Fat Fabulous Life, Sister Wives and Who Do You Think You Are? She was passionately involved in the publicity for Discovery’s corporate initiative, Say Yes To The Prom, a program that gives deserving high school students across the country the perfect prom look. Additionally, Matlin provides publicity support to the nonprofit organization, WriteGirl.

LET’S CONNECT

Maura Welp

Director

Creative and strategic storyteller with over a decade of experience immersed in entertainment publicity including; scripted and unscripted series, podcasts and new media, with a background in sports and live events.

LET’S CONNECT

Kristina Quintos

PR Manager

Quintos is a seasoned media and talent relations professional with experience in the entertainment, lifestyle, culinary, travel, nonprofit and radio industries. With a passion for creative storytelling, she specializes in strategic publicity campaigns for scripted and unscripted series and podcasts, as well as managing crisis communications, events and speaking opportunities. Most recently, Quintos worked at The Brooks Group, a lifestyle PR firm, overseeing high-profile television personalities, consumer packaged goods, brands and an array of restaurant concepts. She started at CBS RADIO, one of the leading radio and media platforms, managing the internal and external press efforts for the company’s radio stations, national events and digital media initiatives.

LET’S CONNECT

Johanna Calderon-Dakin

Publicist and Latino Culture Consultant

Calderon-Dakin is a bilingual communications specialist with extensive experience in the entertainment and creative industries. She has developed and executed successful communication strategies for brands and institutions across the globe including Airbnb, American Film Institute, COLCOA French Film Festival, Distro TV, Epic Pictures, Fuse Media,  Hola Mexico Film Festival, Latino Film Institute (LALIFF and Youth Cinema Project), NALA Films, OC Fair, Poppy Jasper International Film Festival, Saatchi & Saatchi LA, SABEResPODER, San Sebastian International Film Festival and Vision Films among others. She works closely with clients to help them position themselves as thought-leaders in their industry by designing and implementing valuable strategic communication campaigns while increasing their profile and business capabilities.

Born and raised in Mexico City, she is in a unique position to help her clients develop and expand their business and presence in the ever-growing US Latino and Latin American markets.Her knowledge and understanding of the culture and language has resulted in competitive press in both English and Spanish media. 

She has excellent client-relationship skills as well as  strong media relationships with top-tier US Latino outlets as well as in Mexico and Spain. She graduated from Boston University majoring in Communications with a minor in Latin American International Relations.

LET’S CONNECT

Vince Calvi

Publicist

Calvi is a creative thinker, communications specialist, and media lover. After earning a Master’s Degree in Global Media in Paris, France, Calvi launched his publicity career in the fashion sector as the Director of Communications for French sustainable luxury brand Amédée Paris. With expertise in social media, Calvi has an eye for creative, innovative, thoughtful content focused on community building  tailored to the client’s audience. Calvi creates meaningful relationships by collaborating with brands aiming to support minority voices through impactful storytelling.

LET’S CONNECT

Shean England

Publicist

In 2017 – after four years at Parkwood Entertainment – Shean England ventured into entrepreneurship and launched his company, Shean England PR. Shean England work history includes executing PR campaigns for Disney, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount +, Culture House, June Ambrose, Condola Rashad, and the Prince and Princess of Ethiopia, to name a few. Shean has also had the privilege of supervising a diverse roster of artists at Steve Stoute’s music distribution company, UnitedMasters, in addition to generating press campaigns and managed events for ASCAP, BET, Comcast, ESSENCE, MLB, REVOLT TV and WeTV during his time at Strategic Heights Media. 

LET’S CONNECT

Jamal R. Averett

Assistant Publicist

Jamal R. Averett, M.ED is a critically acclaimed motivator, speaker and educator from Kinston, NC. Coming from his own personal experiences as they relate to low self-esteem, a single-parent home, identity issues and various other obstacles, Averett has constantly allowed his life to be open as a light as he believes with every testimony is someone else’s breakthrough. Averett graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a B.S. in Marketing Sales.  He then went off to graduate school at American University in Washington, D.C., where he graduated with a Masters in Education (M.ED).

LET’S CONNECT

Elizabeth Sanchez

Assistant Publicist

Sanchez is a PR professional with experience in film, television, streaming productions, awards, and influencer marketing. She is passionate about championing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and using authentic approaches to create, develop and execute innovative campaigns that speak directly to diverse audiences. Sanchez launched her career in public relations at Allied Global Marketing specializing in multicultural publicity and previously worked at ERS Public Relations, spearheading influencer outreach and assisting with PR campaign development for The Players Coalition.