About

Blue Wagon Group is a small communications firm serving clients across a wide spectrum of industries. With our roots in healthcare, we currently provide our services to clients in both the non-profit and for-profit realms – trade associations, technology companies, and healthcare organizations.

Blue Wagon Group is an evolution of Mayes Communications Inc. After 15 successful years in the NoVa/DC area, MayesComm relocated in 2019 to Alpharetta, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. Those first 15 years fostered some amazing growth and collaborations with clients, partner agencies, and comms pros, leading MayesComm to evolve into a true-blue team. Celebrating our 15th anniversary and relocating were the catalysts for a rebrand that better reflects our team approach.

But who says you can never go home again?  Not us!  In early 2022, Blue Wagon Group made the journey back “home” to NoVa/DC. We’re not sure where life’s road will take us next, but we know we’ll be headquartered here for the next few years (at least).

Why a wagon and why is it blue?

Because it’s fun and creative, and it implies we – as a team – and our clients are going somewhere. The color blue represents calm, strength, stability, confidence, and trust – the very traits we use to build relationships with our clients and colleagues.

 

Meet Blue Wagon Group

Blue Wagon Group is an “independent practice,” meaning principal and owner Nancy Mayes is in the driver’s seat, yet she’s assisted by several skilled navigators. The BWG team is comprised of savvy, smart women with strong experience and credentials. And if a client’s needs warrant other expertise and additional staffing, Blue Wagon operates as a “virtual agency” to bring in those resources.

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Talia Hamm (Talia)

Talia Hamm (Talia)

Nancy Plemens Mayes, APR

Hometown

Rockwood, TN

Favorite Blue

Tiffany  😉

Keys to My Sanity

Deadlines, to do lists, occasional spa days, good wine, and a daily dose of fresh air and sunshine. And chocolate.

Dream Dinner Party Guests

Anderson Cooper, Dolly Parton

What You Can Find in My Home Office

A Great Dane; fancy coffee; and the latest edition of the AP Stylebook.

Words to Live By

What you sow today determines your harvest tomorrow.

Nancy Plemens Mayes, APR

With more than 30 years of experience doing just about everything when it comes to marketing, communications, and public relations, Nancy brings both expertise and energy to any project she’s involved with. Clients who work with her quickly see that she is a quintessential “go-to” person.

A Tennessee native, Nancy began her career working on a local school-to-business partnership program where she learned the importance of establishing strong relationships, community involvement, and project management. Seven years of her career were then spent at a not-for-profit health system in Knoxville, moving through the ranks in the marketing and public relations division. She worked and learned at six facilities with unique and plentiful opportunities to build a solid base of communications expertise. Nancy relocated to the Washington, D.C. area in 2003 and launched Mayes Communications — now Blue Wagon Group — in 2004.

In addition to the hands-on work she’s done in the field, Nancy also has plenty of paper on her walls to verify her credentials. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s in communications, earned her master’s in communications at the University of Tennessee, and is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America. For eight years, she served on the adjunct faculty roster for Johns Hopkins University’s graduate communications program, teaching courses in public relations, crisis communications, and managerial communications.

Through the years, Nancy has worked extensively with clients in the healthcare industry, as well as non-profit associations. Clients come to her for her strengths in project management, teamwork, and strong writing skills.

Melana Boscio Hydrick

Hometown

Fayetteville, TN

Favorite Blue

Robin’s egg

Favorite quote

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
—Maya Angelou

Guilty pleasures

Board games, bakeries and flea markets

Ideal evening out

Live music, great dessert and comfy shoes

Things I find magical

Robert Sabuda pop-up books, seashells, dogs and snowflakes

Melana Boscio Hydrick

Melana has nearly 20 years of experience in health care public relations and marketing. In her work for a large not-for-profit hospital in central Tennessee, she managed internal and external communication projects and coordinated a variety of publications. Additionally, she has experience in media and employee relations in her work with a nationally known teaching and research medical center in Nashville. For Blue Wagon, Melana manages media relations projects and provides editorial and writing services to a variety of healthcare clients.

Melana holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with an emphasis in public relations from Middle Tennessee State University. She offers extensive knowledge of effectively relaying information, whether the audience is seasoned employees or the general public.

Leslie Hughan

HOMETOWN

Glen Burnie, MD

FAVORITE BLUE

Teal blue

KEYS TO MY SANITY

Coffee and color-coded calendars

WORDS TO LIVE BY

“Diversity is a fact; inclusion is an act.”

GUILTY PLEASURE

True crime dramas

Leslie Hughan

Leslie is a seasoned communications professional with nearly 15 years of experience—almost exclusively in health care.

Leslie worked for a community hospital in Baltimore under the umbrella of a large nonprofit health system in the Maryland/D.C. region. Her primary focus areas were in employee communications, especially related to human resources, information technology, and quality and safety, as well as community outreach and community engagement.

Leslie earned a bachelor’s degree in communication arts with a public relations focus from Hood College.

Amanda Ebert

Hometown

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Passionate about

Traveling – I have visited 20+ countries and have many more on my list!

Hidden talent

Breaking boards (I got my black belt at 12)

Dream dinner date

Kurt Vonnegut

Favorite quote

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” —Albert Einstein

Favorite blue

Ocean

Amanda Ebert

Amanda is a results-driven, creative communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience in integrated marketing, strategic communications, public relations, and business development for financial institutions and nonprofit healthcare associations. Her areas of expertise include copywriting, brand messaging, advertising campaigns, social media, and project management.

Amanda’s experience includes roles as a content strategist and senior copywriter at virtual agencies, where she creates short- and long-form content for traditional and digital media for a variety of clients in diverse industries. She previously worked as the assistant vice president of marketing and communications at an independent community bank.

She obtained a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in public relations from Hood College followed by an M.B.A. with a focus in marketing from Mount St. Mary’s University.

Tami von Isakovics

Tami von Isakovics

Tami von Isakovics
Hometown

Reston, VA

Favorite Blue

Cobalt, bold and timeless

Dream Dinner Party Guests

Prince, Oprah and Rachel Maddow

Can Never Get Enough of

Ice cream, sunsets, cats

What You Can Find in my Home Office

RBG wall calendar, a feather pen, homemade cork board supplied by ample wine drinking, and lip balm.

Tami von Isakovics

With 20+ years of bi-coastal pr and marketing experience across the hospitality, arts and entertainment, environmental and retail industries, Tami von Isakovics is a holistic marketing strategist and communications pro who cares as much as you do about your business. Working both in-house and at agencies during her career, she approaches each client with an eye for helping them stand out from the crowd and market their best assets.

In 2020, she relocated to Charlotte, N.C., where she most recently led the marketing and pr department for a utility-scale solar development company.

She served as the executive director of marketing for Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud, and she led all aspects of marketing and pr for his group’s 16 restaurants worldwide. A passionate environmentalist, she is constantly looking for ways to help lessen the carbon footprint and while at Dinex, Tami implemented a company-wide policy against the use of plastic straws.

Before moving to New York City in 2016, she spent 12 years in San Francisco, specializing in the hospitality industry for companies including Moana Restaurant Group and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, working with chefs, restaurants and hotels on brand campaigns, pr launches, brand partnerships, property renovations, and new openings. Prior to joining Kimpton, she was the president and co-owner of Ellipses Public Relations—a boutique hospitality pr firm specializing in restaurants, travel, food and beverage products, and special events.

She began her career in Washington, D.C., at Burson-Marsteller, working for public affairs clients such as the U.S. Treasury and Tysons Corner Center. Tami later moved into the entertainment pr world, serving the messaging needs of several clients, including the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, WETA Washington, DC (PBS producing station), Disney on Ice, and DisneyLive! before she moved westward in 2004.

She is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a major in communication and a minor in Spanish. She still dreams of being fluent one day.

Talia Hamm

Hometown

Monterey, CA

Favorite Blue

Cobalt

On the Weekends

You will find me baking bread, taking extra long trail walks, and watching movies with my family.

Perfect Movie Snacks

Movie theater popcorn (extra butter), peanut M&Ms, and red vines.

Favorite Quote

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~ Anais Nin

 

Talia Hamm

Talia Hamm received her master's of public health from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has considerable experience in the healthcare sector, working with a range of clients from pharmaceutical companies to non-profit and for-profit hospital systems.

While pursuing her MPH, she focused on public health communications and interned with the American Heart Association. Her internship supported AHA’s science media relations team, tasked with aiding the promotion of AHA's 14 scientific journals and annual scientific conferences.

Talia's other work experience has centered on clinical research, including federally-funded and industry-sponsored clinical trials for a range of populations primarily in the fields of psychiatry and neurology.

Becky Peterson

Hometown

Ithaca, NY

Favorite Blue

Aquamarine

In My Spare Time…

You’ll find me…swimming, running, hiking, kayaking or biking, quite possibly with one (or all) of my grandchildren. Or at a choir rehearsal.

Dream Dinner Party Guests

David Brooks or Lester Holt

Words to Live By

Whether you say ‘you can’ or ‘you can’t,’ you’re right!

Becky Peterson

A seasoned public relations professional, Becky cut her teeth at Burson-Marsteller and Hill & Knowlton in Houston and worked in retail PR before relocating to rural Ohio, Chicago, Atlanta, Indianapolis and back to Atlanta, always producing stellar results for her clients. Although a generalist at heart, she’s comfortable in both the B2B and B2C spaces and has worked in a variety of industries including environmental, franchising, disabilities, healthcare, sports and retail.

With writing and media relations solidly at the core of her expertise, Becky enjoys strategizing with clients to find the nut of a story, then the challenge of crafting the pitch and sleuthing out media professionals open to coverage. Whether pitching to small neighborhood publications or national outlets, Becky always takes a human approach to media relations. She’s comfortable in the board room or locker room and can write a mean byliner on nearly any topic.

She earned a BA in journalism from the University of Houston in journalism/public relations after transferring from Butler University in Indianapolis where she was a vocal performance major. She’s active in PRSA Georgia and believes strongly in community give back.

Sandy McBride, APR

Hometown

St. Louis, MO

Favorite blue

Navy – it will always remind me of my kids’ school activities and sports!

What I’m currently reading

The Women by Kristen Hannah. I have loved all her books! The Nightingale is one of my favorite books of all time.

Savory or sweet?

Savory and salty, all the way!

Favorite quote

“Carpe diem. Seize the days, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”  ~ Robin Williams as John Keating, Dead Poets Society

Sandy McBride, APR

Sandy is a seasoned strategic communications professional with more than 25 years of experience in both agency and corporate communications. She has worked with clients, big and small, across a variety of industries. Most recently, she served as vice president of media & public relations for a Fortune 500 healthcare company, where she spent 20 years in marketing and communications roles with increased responsibility. For Blue Wagon, Sandy provides strategic communications, media relations, writing and editing support.

Sandy earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis on advertising and public relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2014. She is an active member in PRSA and volunteers for local organizations in her hometown of St. Louis.

In her free time, Sandy enjoys anything and everything outdoors, traveling and spending time with her husband and four boys.

Ami Neiberger, APR

Hometown

Gainesville, FL

Favorite Blue

Periwinkle

Keys to My Sanity

Post-it notes, THE notebook of notes, walking the dog, lattes

Dream Dinner Party Guests

Anne LaMott, Dolly Parton, George Washington

What You Can Find in My Home Office

A Maltipoo, coffee, tons of books

Words to Live By

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Ami Neiberger, APR

Sharing great stories and helping nonprofit organizations, trade associations, government agencies, and small businesses improve how they communicate is what keeps Ami Neiberger in public relations. She has worked in the field for more than 30 years. She likes to point out that she handled her first PR crisis at age 19 when she joined a nonprofit board of directors that sacked its executive director for mis-managing funds.

A gifted strategist, Neiberger crafts public relations plans that achieve results, and she is well-known for her media relations outreach and success. Her forthright assessment, reliability, and skill at helping clients creatively share their stories in the public eye are well-known. A talented writer, Ami writes reports, social media, speeches, training materials, curriculum, event scripts, news releases, magazine features, and much more. An early adopter of social media, she helps clients think creatively and strategically about integrating their communications.

Stories about her clients have appeared on CNN, Fox News, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, CBS 60 Minutes, the BBC, AP Radio and National Public Radio. The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications have featured her clients. As a former op-ed writer, Ami has a heart for causes and placing letters to the editor and columns for her clients.

She is the former media spokesperson for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) where she spent six years supporting communications around programs assisting gold star families. She previously worked for Sister Cities International and the National 4-H Council, in addition to a long list of nonprofit, government and small business clients.

Ami graduated from the University of Florida with a master’s degree in history and she also holds a bachelor’s degree from the same institution. She is accredited in public relations through the Public Relations Society of America. She has spoken about public relations for students at Marymount University, American University, Columbia University, Georgetown University and at the Carter Center.

Vanessa Granville

Hometown

Medina, NY

Favorite blue

Midnight Blue

Dream dinner date

Ruth Bader Ginsberg or Dolly Parton

Favorite quote

“Work begins when the fear of doing nothing at all finally trumps the terror of doing it badly.”
—Alain de Botton

Passionate about

Rescue dogs, cheese, NPR and libraries

Vanessa Granville

Vanessa is an innovative communicator with significant experience in branding, marketing, corporate communications, and event planning. She has a passion for solving complex challenges and developing actionable strategies to engage target audiences across a variety of channels.

Prior to her work for Deloitte and Willis Tower Watson, Vanessa honed her tactical communications and project management skills in a variety of nonprofit and health care settings, including Evolent Health, NRECA, Kaiser Permanente, MedStar Harbor Hospital, and the Navy Marine Coast Guard Residence Foundation.

Vanessa obtained a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in public relations from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland and recently earned her MBA from The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Alissa Momberg Lawver

Hometown

Saint Petersburg, FL

Favorite blue

Navy for every day and gator blue for game day (Go Gators!)

Keys to my sanity

Calendars, notebooks, strong coffee, good wine and walks along Tampa Bay

What I’m streaming on Netflix

Workin’ Moms

What you can find in my home office

Laptop, ear pods, to-do lists, Hint water and my daughter’s Daniel Tiger figurines

Words to live by

I do my best to follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others…”

Alissa Momberg Lawver

Alissa is a communications specialist with more than 20 years of experience in public relations.

Previously, Alissa served as an account director at JPA Health Communications, where she provided strategic counsel and day-to-day support for a variety of national health organizations, and as a manager with Burson-Marsteller where she focused on media relations, thought leadership, advocacy and messaging for health care and corporate clients. Alissa has extensive experience in corporate communications from her positions in large health plans and health care organizations.

Early in her career, Alissa served as the communications manager with the Center for Health Transformation and as an associate with the Advisory Board Company.

A Florida native, Alissa received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Florida and her master’s degree in communications from Johns Hopkins University.

Robin Lindner

Hometown

Winston-Salem, NC

Favorite blue

Forget-me-not

In my fridge you’ll find

Probably six different coffee creamer flavors

Life motto

A winner is just a loser who tried one more time

Where you’re most likely to find me

A tennis court

Favorite quote

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
—Robin Williams

Robin Lindner

Robin is a passionate, energetic communications, media, and public relations professional with nearly 25 years of experience.

After a decade as a broadcast journalist in Virginia, she transitioned her career to the other side of the camera, working in corporate communications. She served as the vice president of communications for a large mental health and substance use non-profit in North Carolina. Robin also works with several events and businesses in the Tarheel state as a communications and digital media consultant.

Sharing her expertise with future comms pros, Robin served as a professor of the practice at High Point University. She begins a new chapter in her career as an assistant professor at Wake Forest University in the fall of 2024.

Robin graduated from the University of Virginia with her bachelor’s in history and completed her master’s in communications from Johns Hopkins University, with a dual concentration in public and media relations and digital communication.