ABOUT CITRUS PR
Founded in 2005, Citrus Public Relations brings years of experience developing and executing results-driven media relations programs for clients from a broad range of industries.
Clients enjoy working with our Citrus Public Relations team because we serve as ‘extended team members’ to deliver the best results in a hybrid in-house marketing communications agency. Citrus Public Relations specializes in reaching target audiences through traditional and social media. We work with consultants who have unique expertise with a shared passion for demonstrating the innate value of PR. Such expertise spans the areas of public affairs; Hispanic PR; graphic and web design; media training; video/photography; social media and more.
The company has experience with both notable and new brand names in a wide range of industries. Whether working with a publicly traded company or a small business, the Citrus PR team loves the creative process and has developed smart strategies and executed stellar tactics as part of communications programs, including: grand openings/launches, VIP events, press tours, social media campaigns, ongoing media relations, news releases, street team management, charity events, and more.
LAUREN WALSH FORGIONE
Lauren Walsh Forgione is principal of Citrus Public Relations and serves as lead publicist to develop and execute smart communications programs for her clients. As a dedicated PR practitioner, Lauren brings unique value to her work creating opportunities that engage target audiences. Alongside a team of expert consultants in their respective fields, she supports clients in a variety of industries to earn the media spotlight.
With experience in both agency and corporate environments throughout California, Lauren previously held client management positions at Fleishman Hillard’s esteemed San Diego office and Marston + Marston, a San Diego-based public affairs firm. She has developed and managed communications activities on behalf of major national brands in the Fortune 50 with clients including AT&T, Kodak and GE’s Global Finance division; specialized tourism and educational media relations for the launch of a new exhibit, StormStruck: The Tale of Two Homes™ interactive exhibit at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort; and developed and executed media relations programs for San Diego-based entities such as Cricket Wireless, Fitness Together, Jet Source, San Diego Museum Council among numerous other recognized brands.
Lauren previously worked as Director of Client Relations for Barker Walters, a San Diego-based law firm, where she spearheaded marketing, client development and PR strategies for six primary practice areas: development and execution of marketing strategies, co-sponsored media events planning, current and prospective client communication, seminar and special events planning and coaching attorneys’ client relations skill sets.
Lauren specializes in offering marketing counsel and support for San Diego-based businesses and offers invaluable expertise to generate impact for her clients. She has served in a number of roles for Southern California business and non-profit organizations, including: Program Chair, Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Southern California Chapter Board; Board Member, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), San Diego Chapter; Board Member, Healthcare Communicators, San Diego Chapter.
Lauren graduated from California State University San Marcos with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and resides in La Jolla, Calif.
SARA WACKER, APR
Senior Public Relations Strategist/Consultant
Sara E. Wacker, APR is a senior public relations strategist with 13-plus years of experience, working on a variety of local, regional and national campaigns, projects and events. The majority of Sara’s tenure in the field has been facilitating media and community relations, corporate positioning and messaging, cause marketing and special event promotion.
Sara has a variety of experience ranging from small businesses to national franchise chains and big-box brands, including work with several food & drink brands, as well as restaurants. Franchise concepts include regional PR support for Einstein Bros. Bagels, and west coast media relations for Quiznos Subs. Additionally, Sara worked for several years with Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, promoted Behind the Scenes Catering (who provided all catering at the Olympics), and relaunched George’s at the Cove to George’s California Modern. Other restaurants in which Sara conducted an extensive amount of publicity are the Marine Room and Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the former Seau’s the Restaurant, and The Fish Market, along with its fine dining establishment, Top of the Market. On the beverage side, Sara worked with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® for many years as well. These campaigns have been centered on media relations by releasing new products, launching new locations, and promoting charity drives, brand-related holidays, and awards.
Sara is the past chapter president (2010) for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter, after serving nine years on the board of directors. Her volunteer post includes serving as an Assembly Delegate, representing the PR industry in the region, and leading the chapter’s Ethics Committee. In addition to her continued work with PRSA, she is works with SDG&E, acting as an organization spokesperson during disasters.
She graduated from San Diego State University’s acclaimed School of Communication with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, emphasizing in Public Relations and a minor in Spanish. In 2006, she earned the coveted Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice, and who are selected based on broad knowledge, strategic perspective, and sound professional judgment.
In her spare time, Sara enjoys being active. In the winter, she loves to snowboard and in the summer, she scuba dives. She just completed her 10th half marathon – the Carlsbad Half Marathon –in January 2014. She lives in North Coastal San Diego’s Encinitas with her husband Ryan, young son Jake and two (crazy) Weimaraners, Otis and Winston.
Along with a passion for journalism and hunger for innovation, Maria has extensive public relations experience working with a variety of clients ranging from restaurant and hospitality to non-profit and real estate accounts.
Prior to joining Citrus, Maria gained invaluable experience in media relations and marketing at San Diego-based companies and firms. Maria’s passion for storytelling led her to a role with fast-faced startup company, Classy, where she worked with the editorial team to create social impact content. Maria also holds agency experience where she previously served in social media, client and media relations management positions. In these roles, she created communication, branding and content strategies for local restaurants such as Breakfast Republic, Union Kitchen & Tap, Barrel Republic and Woodstock’s Pizza, and non-profits Teach for America and Barrio Logan College Institute.
Maria graduated with highest honors from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing. During her time at USD she was involved with distinguished organizations such as the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Beta Gamma Sigma, Delta Sigma Pi, Kappa Alpha Theta and Honor Society. She utilizes her extensive knowledge of strategic management, marketing strategy and consumer behavior in her day-to-day communication approaches, making sure all efforts are executed both creatively and efficiently.
Originally from Buffalo, New York, Maria’s sense of adventure led her to San Diego when she was just 18. She now resides in Pacific Beach where, in her free time, she enjoys morning runs, practicing yoga and sharpening her eye for photography.