Our Team

dustin
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.

POP TV
LET’S CONNECT

Hillary Povar

EVP & Chief Creative Officer

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.

Joanna Edit
LET’S CONNECT

Joanna Brahim

Executive Vice President

A brand storyteller and established communications executive with widespread knowledge of the media landscape, Joanna Brahim has worked on some of the most popular programming – domestically and internationally – across scripted, unscripted, sports and news categories.

At SMITHHOUSE, Brahim serves as part of the senior team, helping to manage a bicoastal staff and enhance business and culture best practices across the company. She has led the team on successful and high-profile campaigns and accounts including Amazon MGM Studios, Prime Video, Hulu, CBS properties (Ghosts, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, CBS News & Stations), WOW – Women Of Wrestling, Mattel, USO, Hot Snakes Media and Fuse Media.

Prior to SMITHHOUSE, Brahim was Head of PR for Showtime Networks Cable Group and is known for elevating awareness, increasing audience engagement and protecting brands such as Smithsonian Channel, Pop TV, TLC (where she launched and managed some of the most talked about shows in reality television history), CBS and MSNBC. She has extensive experience in crisis communications, program publicity, corporate communications, live events and red carpets, executive management and talent relations, and is well-versed in multiple areas of the media business including programming, marketing, legal and digital. Brahim is the recipient of a Cynopsis ‘Top Women in Media’ Award (2023), a Cablefax ‘PR Team of the Year’ Award (2019), and an NYC Television Week ’40 under 40′ Award (2018).

Lynn Weiss
LET’S CONNECT

Lynn Weiss

Senior Vice President

Weiss is a multifaceted 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 and red carpet, tour publicity, and conferences/events. She held previous positions at USA Network, American Movie Classics (AMC) and at her own firm, Weiss Communications. 

Projects have included Primetime Emmy Award campaigns for Prime Video’s top series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Boys. For ABC, Weiss’ awards work included submissions, editorial, advertising and events for the network’s top series, talk shows, and game shows, including Jimmy Kimmel Live! Abbott Elementary, black-ish, The Conners, Dancing With The Stars, Grey’s Anatomy, Shark Tank, Jeopardy, The $100,000 Pyramid, Press Your Luck, and more. Her work garnered several nominations and top awards.

Throughout her career, Weiss has demonstrated her versatility by working with a diverse range of clients. These include renowned non-profit organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Doris Day Animal League, The Waterkeeper Alliance, Imagen Foundation and for a Global Ambassador for United Nations, showcasing her ability to adapt to different sectors and causes. Weiss’ extensive and valuable relationships with trade reporters in the entertainment space have been instrumental in securing frequent and positive coverage for SMITHHOUSE clients, demonstrating her strong networking skills and industry influence.

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 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. Before that, she was a Senior Corporate Communications Manager, managing the company’s industry analyst and customer relations programs. Ballabio has an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and an undergraduate degree from Boston University’s College of Communication.

Stephanie Berman
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.

Steph Silva
LET’S CONNECT

Stephanie Silva Kreps

Vice President

Silva is a seasoned publicity executive with more than a decade of experience focused on the entertainment industry. At SMITHHOUSE, she oversees the strategy, development and delivery of PR services for a variety of clients including Amazon Freevee, National Geographic, Telemundo, USO and Hulu. Silva has a proven track record building executive profiles and scaling campaigns of all sizes with talent ranging from celebrities to award-winning cinematographers and animal experts. She is based in Miami and fluent in Spanish.

Frankie
LET’S CONNECT

Frank Marchesini

Lead Strategist

Frankie Marchesini is a highly regarded television public relations executive who works across the SMITHHOUSE roster of clients including National Geographic, Amazon, Hulu, Mattel, USO (United Service Organizations), and Paramount Global Content Distribution. Prior to joining SMITHHOUSE, Frankie served as Vice President, Entertainment Public Relations for Showtime Networks Inc.

Over his seventeen years at Showtime, he 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

Becca Brando

Director

Rebecca Brando’s extensive experience of over 15 years has developed a deep understanding of the media and entertainment ecosystem. By representing premium brands, top-tier talent, film and television studios, and exceptional executive leaders, she brings a unique blend of entertainment publicity, personal publicity, and award submission expertise.

At SMITHHOUSE, she excels in devising comprehensive publicity strategies, encompassing national and regional outreach, online promotion, and multicultural initiatives. Alongside PR, she oversees client award submissions in various esteemed competitions, including Emmys, Pulitzer, Annies, BAFTA, Imagen, NAACP, GLAAD, Peabody, and others.

Past clients include: Disney Channel, TNet, Good Morning America, Brown Forman, P&G, Paramount Pictures, Netflix, Disney + (TikTok) Sony Music, Universal Music, Konami, Activision, Universal NBC, GSN, DoubleDay Publishing, Hachette Publishing, Capcom, Actor – Balthazar Getty, Conga Room – Los Angeles



Maura Welp
LET’S CONNECT

Maura Welp

Director

Welp is a driven and creative publicist with over a decade of experience leading press campaigns across many sectors of the entertainment industry, including; scripted and unscripted programming spanning nearly every genre, lifestyle brands, mobile gaming, sports, podcasts and new media. Recent campaign work includes: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Making the Cut, Kelce, Animals Up Close with Bertie Gregory, The Price is Right, Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, The Young and the Restless, Primo, Leverage: Redemption, Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge, Big Freedia Means Business, The Groundlings special ‘One Night Only’ benefit for MPTF, and more. Welp held previous positions at Pop TV (formerly the TV Guide Channel), where she worked on multiple seasons of the network crown jewel and critical darling comedy series Schitt’s Creek, and served as a Public Relations and Communications Manager at leading mobile entertainment company Jam City, where she oversaw publicity efforts for Disney and Warner Brothers IP. She started her career as a publicist with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

LET’S CONNECT

Emily Motill

PR Manager

Starting her career in the sports world working for Major League Baseball and NBC Sports, Motill found her true passion in Entertainment Publicity and combining her love for all things sports and entertainment.  Motill joins SMITHHOUSE after almost four years at Rogers and Cowan PMK with clients ranging from Apple TV+, Hulu, ABGO, Conde Nast Entertainment,101 Studios, New York Film Festival and many others. 
 
She loves to think creatively, strategically and make her clients stand out in the never ending stream of content. Her publicity campaigns range from Apple TV+ titles like Gutsy, They Call Me Magic, The Super Models, Make or Break, Messi Meets America, Hulu’s titles Bakers Dozen, WeWork, The Curse of Von Dutch, Paramount+ spin off of Yellowstone, 1883, and OWN Networks final season of Queen Sugar.
LET’S CONNECT

Brian Porreca

PR Manager

Porreca is a writer, storyteller, and creative strategist who has built his portfolio through over a decade of experience across all media. Notably, the majority of his career was as a reporter and producer at The Hollywood Reporter where he led interviews, video series, and features with some of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars. His work has included expansive film, television, events, and culture coverage leading to some of the publication’s top performing stories. Porreca has worked on live streams for awards show telecasts for the Grammys and Golden Globes and has been on the ground at film festivals including Sundance and Cannes. His background in editorial and storytelling has been used in his work for other brands including Prime Video, World of Wonder, HBO Max, and Google.

Johanna Calderon-Dakin
LET’S CONNECT

Johanna Calderon-Dakin

Publicist and Latino Culture Strategist

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.

vince calvi square
LET’S CONNECT

Vince Calvi

Senior Publicist

Vince Calvi is a dynamic communications specialist with a multifaceted skill set that spans event planning, media relations, and strategic brand positioning and campaign planning. With a background in the fashion industry, Calvi began his career as the Director of Communications at French sustainable luxury brand Amédée Paris demonstrating his ability to build dynamic publicity campaigns that captured the essence of the brand’s ethos on a global scale.

With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, Calvi crafted compelling narratives that resonated with diverse audiences, fostering meaningful connections and driving engagement across various media platforms. His expertise in social media allowed him to curate innovative content strategies that not only captivated audiences but also fostered a sense of community and inclusivity.

Since joining SMITHHOUSE in 2021, Calvi has distinguished himself as a trusted advisor and strategic partner for clients by developing comprehensive strategies that leverage his deep understanding of the media landscape to deliver impactful results. Client work includes The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Shiny Happy People, Apple TV+ unscripted, Scout Productions, GMA, The Groundlings, YogaWorks, End Well, and more.

Whether orchestrating a press event, conceptualizing a publicity campaign, or earning top-tier press hits, Calvi approaches each project with creativity, enthusiasm, and a relentless commitment to excellence.

LET’S CONNECT

Matthew Clark

Junior Publicist

Clark is a passionate, creative storyteller and media lover with experience in production and live entertainment. While completing his degree at California State University, Northridge, Clark began his PR career with an internship at SMITHHOUSE in the fall of 2022, and he’s thrilled to continue his work with the team today.

LET’S CONNECT

Jillian Santoro

Junior Publicist

Santoro is a creative and strategic thinker who came to SMITHHOUSE in July 2022 after graduating from New York University. Since joining the team, she has worked across successful series campaigns including Prime Video’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, Amazon Freevee’s Jury Duty and Primo, National Geographic’s Genius: MLK/X and Running Wild with Bear Grylls, Hulu’s The Jewel Thief and more. Prior to joining SMITHHOUSE, Santoro was an intern at NBCU where she worked with publicity teams on late night, scripted and unscripted series.
Updated Headshot
LET’S CONNECT

Fabian Arroyo

Assistant Publicist

Arroyo is a self-motivated, budding PR professional who began his career during his internship with SMITHHOUSE where he proved to be a valuable asset to the team, supporting several accounts. As an Assistant Publicist, he continues to support various accounts and multi-tiered PR campaigns. Arroyo is also passionate about giving back and amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities and disadvantaged youth. He considers himself a mega TV and movie fan, which led him to purchase the AMC Stub A-List Membership further driving his interest in the TV and film industry. Arroyo recently graduated from California State University Northridge in May 2022, where he studied marketing and communication studies and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Stephanie Ballabio
LET’S CONNECT

Stephanie Carrillo Velazco

Assistant Publicist

Carrillo is passionate about storytelling and isn’t afraid to face any challenge thrown her way. She has a deep love for all things music, media, and sports. Carrillo recently graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills in May 2023 with her B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations. While studying, she found her passion for writing, research, and presenting. Before graduating, Carrillo completed an internship with SMITHHOUSE and is excited to continue working with the team.

LET’S CONNECT

Emily Manley

Assistant Publicist

Manley is passionate about creating impactful and engaging messages for diverse audiences. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Communication Studies, where she developed a strong background in communications, public relations and marketing.

Most recently, she worked at NBCUniversal on the Scripted Publicity & Strategic Communications teams. Since joining SMITHHOUSE, she’s had the opportunity to assist with clients such as Prime Video, Lifetime, Scout Productions, Casting Society and MoonBall Media.

When she’s not pursuing her passion in communications, she spends her time watching and discussing TV and film, in addition to reading novels, listening to pop music, going outdoors, and traveling. She’s eager to use her skills to make a difference in the world, and she currently resides in New York City.