The San Francisco Team
Amanda Marcello | Director
Vanessa Karlsson | Senior Account Manager
Erin Euser | Senior Account Manager
Jamie Kopmann | Senior Account Manager
Madison Ginnett | Senior Events & Program Manager, SF Chefs
Layla Azimi | Account Supervisor, SF Chefs
Alex Rynne | Account Manager
Kelly Curran | Account Manager
Alex Aitchison | Junior Account Manager
Monica Powers | Account Manager
Laura Garner | Account Manager
Stephen Herbert | Account Coordinator
Julia Hechanova | Account Coordinator
Maya Placido | Account Coordinator
Farryn Lewis | Executive Assistant
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” – James Beard
Amanda joins us from Rhode Island, where she was previously vice president of a highly successful and award-winning restaurant group including Eleven Forty Nine, Eleven Forty Nine East, 1149 Bar & Grill, and Eleven Forty Nine Events & Catering. From a young age, she had a love for food and hospitality which she shared with her entire family. Her father was a third generation chef/owner of the families’ restaurant. It was there that Amanda first learned and fell in love with the many roles of a restaurateur. She witnessed the many challenges and rewards the business presented. Her father harnessed his passion for food and dedication, evolving the family business from what was once a causal concept in the 1940s, to the upscale Italian eatery it is today, Bellini’s Ristorante.
She went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree of Science and Master’s in Business Management from Johnson & Wales University, specializing in Global Business Leadership, Organizational Development, and Operations Management.
In her last role, Amanda was a key player in the extraordinary success of the restaurant company. Her contagious energy and drive for only the best in quality made her an ideal resource to business owners and senior management alike. She has repeatedly developed creative marketing and tactical sales plans that integrate social media, digital marketing, print advertising and public relations.
At Andrew Freeman & Co., Amanda leads the agency account teams, encouraging continuous improvements and growth in deliverables, as well as ensures that clients are overly satisfied at all times. She works directly with Andrew to develop and support the businesses strategies and future plans. A true people person, Amanda is excited to make new connections and play a vital role in the growth and success of the agency and its many clients. Amanda’s many strengths lie in the areas of creative leadership, guerrilla marketing, restaurant operations, project management, human resource management and private events.
When not at work, you can find Amanda searching for the season’s best local ingredients to share with others at one of her many dinner parties. Of course, you can also find her out enjoying one of the Bay Area’s many fabulous restaurants or sneaking away to check out a new hotel or spa to make sure she is up on the latest trends. It’s tough work, but someone has to do it.
Senior Account Manager, Public Relations
“If you’re not in a good mood, the only thing you should make is a reservation” – Carla Hall
Originally from Southern California, Vanessa followed her love of the Northern California coast to San Francisco in 2006, and has never looked back! Being raised by parents who loved traveling, food and wine, camping, and exposure to other cultures really helped develop her passion for hospitality and people.
Vanessa graduated with a B.A. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations from CSU Fullerton. As the VP for PRSSA, Vanessa was able to land an internship and a position in L.A. with Golin Harris International as an entertainment Media Executive. She fell in love with everything in the PR world and learned production on Nintendo, Mattel, USAopoly game accounts, and the DVD releases of major motion pictures. She grew her career through four years at a global agency, Ogilvy & Mather and freelanced on several reality television shows for two years. Once she moved to the Bay Area, she took on business and managerial opportunities and landed at Ubisoft Videogames as PR Specialist working on national and international press opportunities for videogame launches and blockbuster events.
Longing for an opportunity to explore her passion of food and wine, a position opened up with Bloomspot where she worked with restaurants, wineries, and a variety of hospitality vendors and met Andrew Freeman. Now settled into what she calls her “dream job”, Vanessa brings a wealth of business and PR experience to the team. If she’s not writing about food and travel, you can find Vanessa hiking, exploring Northern California, attending festivals and shows, or researching her next adventure with a passport in hand.
Account Manager, Marketing
“There are things you do because they feel right, and they make no sense, they make no money, and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other’s cooking and say it was good.” –Brian Andreas
Hailing from the south, where food is a way of life, Laura will be the first to tell you that all good things happen at the table. Having spent her early years shelling, shucking, pickling, canning and cooking alongside her mom and grandmas, she has an unshakable passion for food and drink.
At 16, Laura began working in the restaurant industry and officially caught the bug. From there, she spent a semester in Italy completing a culinary arts and wine studies program and used her knowledge while working in a wine shop in college. After graduating with a BFA in film and marketing from Stephens College in Columbia, MO, she moved to San Francisco, worked briefly for a wine brokerage and fell deeply in love with the food and drink scene in the city. Most recently, Laura was an Event Coordinator at streamlinevents, where she worked with clients such as Salesforce.com, LinkedIn and VMware honing her skills in large scale event concepting, planning and execution. Laura also took great pride in wowing guests with creating unique and interactive menus.
Outside of the office, you can find Laura practicing yoga, watching the Giants and 49ers, and cheering on her Arkansas Razorbacks from a distance. When she’s not exploring new spots in the city with her culinary companions, you can usually find her at Stock in Trade where her boyfriend, Jake, is the chef.
Senior Account Manager, Public Relations
“A party without cake is really just a meeting.” – Julia Child
Jamie joins AF&Co. with extensive experience and passion in the hospitality and lifestyle industries. Her love for food, entertaining and travel was evident in some of her earliest childhood memories. Whether hosting a cooking show in her parent’s kitchen or discovering the best chocolate croissants in Paris, Jamie discovered quickly the story a meal can tell. A Midwest native, Jamie graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in Journalism before heading west toward San Francisco. She continued her education with master’s studies at the Academy of Art as well as started her own fashion and art company. Many amazing experiences later, Jamie made the move to hospitality PR, a marrying of her passions and her job. Prior to joining the team at AF&Co., Jamie worked for some of the Bay Area’s leading hospitality and lifestyle public relations agencies, working with various high profile restaurants, chefs, hotels, spas, wineries, among others.
When she is not working, Jamie enjoys weekend getaways to wine country, exploring the culinary delights of San Francisco, searching for the world’s best french fires, early morning runs, and hanging out with her dog, Charlie.
Senior Account Manager, Marketing
“Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.” -Hippocrates
Erin is a born and raised Napa girl who traces her love of food back to her parents–her father, a landscaper turned organic farmer and her mother, a consummate hostess. From them, she also inherited a special appreciation for the full cycle of food–from seed, to table, to compost heap. Growing up surrounded by bounty and lively events at every turn, Erin is a healthy-food-loving, bubbly-drink-seeking woman who believes that the big picture is achieved through attending meticulously to the details. She manages to take on the latter with a smile and sense of humor. Erin comes to AF&Co. from the Yountville Chamber of Commerce where she worked for two years among the nation’s culinary powerhouses and hospitality experts. When not on the job, you can find Erin running, hiking, cycling or plain picnicking with friends in the park.
Senior Events & Program Manager, SF Chefs
“A balanced diet is a cupcake in each hand” – Anonymous
Born in Alaska and raised between the West Coast and East Coast (although she prefers the West) Madison’s biggest passions are food, travel and planning events for her friends. Madison has a strong love of anything sweet and first fell in love with desserts as a young child when she would help her grandma bake cookies. Her love of desserts continued to grow while working at a cupcake shop in Seattle. In 2010 Madison moved to San Francisco to pursue her love of desserts and event planning before coming to Andrew Freeman and Co. in 2011 to assist with the SF Chefs Food and Wine festival. When Madison isn’t baking something sweet or trying new restaurants in the city, you can find her enjoying a book in the park or planning her next vacation.
Account Supervisor, SF Chefs
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Midwesterner by birth, Californian at heart, and New Yorker by sheer gumption, Layla Azimi is thrilled to be joining the AF&Co. team and returning to her beloved Bay Area where avocados are plentiful and strawberries are sweet.
Born in Missouri and raised in Kansas, Layla earned her public relations degree from University of Kansas and then headed west to start her career. She worked first at the San Francisco Symphony and Straus Communications before landing at Slow Foods Nation, where she helped produce one of the largest food festivals in U.S. history with more than 85,000 attendees. With her culinary career launched, Layla took over as Events Manager at Patrick David’s Catering before moving to Napa Valley to plan events at The Culinary Institute of America and Auberge du Soleil.
After seven years in the Bay Area, Layla left for New York City to work for StarChefs.com. She executed Rising Stars Awards and Tasting Galas across the country, helped curate content and manage the International Chefs Congress and had the incredible opportunity to work with more than 600 professional chefs, sommeliers and mixologists from all over the world. She is excited to be a part of the SF Chefs team where she can continue to be a part of the culinary industry and support the people in it.
Outside of work, Layla can be found eating, cooking, drinking bubbles, making jam and soaking up the beauty of the Bay Area.
Account Coordinator, PR and Marketing
“Good food will quiet a hungry man, but great food is a catalyst for conversation” – Anonymous
Stephen joins us as a recent graduate of San Francisco State University, where he received his B.A. in Communication Studies. Perpetually intrigued by the way in which people interact, Stephen knew he had to pursue and education in the field. Having worked in restaurants since he was 16 years old, his passion for the service industry grew as he worked his way through the FOH ranks.
An unbridled enthusiasm for all things fun and food brought Stephen to San Francisco, where he had been coming to play since his high school years. Working at both a tequila bar and a wine bar has led Stephen to develop an affinity for food, drink and good company. The ever changing dynamics of service, as well as the familial relations that one develops with coworkers in a restaurant setting are what truly inspire Stephen about the hospitality industry. He is thrilled to have found a perfect combination of his interests and passions here at Andrew Freeman & Co.
When not eating at a new restaurant, or playing pool with his friends, Stephen does yoga to stay in motion and enjoys spinning electro house music when he has time. When out with friends he loves a good IPA (Double Daddy, Speakeasy!), although he has a soft spot for tequila. Stephen is always looking for a new spot to try in The City, and is excited to be finished with school so he can enjoy his weekends off and have time to read for pleasure.
Account Manager, Public Relations
“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first” Ernestine Ulmer
Originally from Walnut Creek, Monica has always had a passion for PR. While attending UCLA she majored in Anthropology and was member of the Women’s Water Polo team, winning two national titles. Along with carrying a full course load and practicing 6 days a week, Monica interned at fashion and personal public relations firms. After she graduated, she packed up her car and moved back to the city by the bay. In January of 2012, Monica accepted an internship at Andrew Freeman and Company and quickly realized this was were she wanted to kick start her PR career.
Outside of work, Monica enjoys finding new places to eat, traveling and connecting with friends and family over a delicious glass of wine.
Account Coordinator, Public Relations
“Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” – Harriet Van Horne
As a San Francisco native, Julia has always been surrounded by a world of food, wine and travel, particularly due to her studies at the French American International School where she became fluent in French by the age of nine. Her strong desire to experience new cultures drew her south to Louisiana State University where she earned a B.A. in French, International Studies.
Julia then moved to the culturally rich city of New Orleans where she immersed herself in the hospitality industry and completed a Marketing Internship representing the Bacardi Limited and Sazerac portfolios. In addition to helping execute the tenth anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail, she was also the Sales and Catering Assistant for the Besh Restaurant Group, including a 2013 James Beard Outstanding Restaurant Finalist, Restaurant August.
Outside of the office, you can find Julia exploring her ever-changing hometown through sports, food and drink or even grabbing her passport to do the same across the world, most recently in Hong Kong, Bali, and the Philippines.
Junior Account Manager, Marketing
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”- George Bernard Shaw
After spending the past three years in advertising, Alex joins AF&Co excited to work in the industry she has long admired. Thanks to her dad’s career path, she was raised in the world of hospitality, which ultimately lead to a passion for food, interest in hotels, and eventually a love for wine. This continued into her college years, when she held marketing internship positions with The Pebble Beach Company, Club Polo, The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and Brooks Wine. She also got a true taste for the restaurant business when spending time working at a couple of San Diego’s most popular beachfront fine dining venues.
Alex earned her B.S. degree in Business Marketing from San Diego State University, but her favorite college memories come from her time spent studying in London, England and Marseille, France. This experience left her craving the adventurous cosmopolitan city life, and she promptly moved to San Francisco post-graduation.
In her time off, Alex is most happy when she is sampling everything at the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market, brunching with lots of bubbly, seeing a musical, or enjoying delicious food with friends at one of San Francisco’s many fantastic restaurants.
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” — Cesar Chavez
Maya joins the team at Andrew Freeman & Co. with 10 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Her journey in the business began in high school when she took a part time job at an upscale hotel and restaurant in her hometown of Mendocino and continued throughout college as she worked at various boutique properties up and down California. She has a wide range of hotel and restaurant experience, doing everything from serving tables and taking reservations, to working in sales and at front desks.
After having worked a number of front of house positions, Maya wanted to experience a different side of the business and switched majors from Hospitality and Tourism Management to Communications. She recently graduated from Sonoma State University with a B.A. in Communication Studies, specifically focused on Public Relations and Writing for the Media. During her final semester at SSU, Maya accepted a Public Relations internship at Andrew Freeman & Co. and the rest is history…
On her days off Maya enjoys spending time with friends and family over a good meal or a glass of wine. She also enjoys eating garlic fries and drinking the priciest cheap beer you can find at AT&T Park and is constantly on the hunt for a new favorite brunch or happy hour spot!
“People who love to eat are always the best people.” ― Julia Child
Kelly comes to Andrew Freeman & Co. eager to stick a fork into San Francisco’s dining scene. After assisting with both marketing and public relations efforts as an intern at Benefit Cosmetics, Kelly earned a Bachelor of Science in International Business-Marketing and Minor in Economics from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Orfalea College of Business.
Kelly returned to her native Los Angeles and started her career in public relations at a boutique F&B and Consumer/Lifestyle PR agency, JS2 Communications. Over the course of three years, Kelly handled media relations a myriad of regional and national accounts, including: Manhattan Beach Post, Fishing With Dynamite, Golden Road Brewing, The Corner Door, Tender Greens, Farmshop, Simmzy’s, Tin Roof Bistro, Mohawk Bend, Tony’s Darts Away, Evite, Patina Restaurant Group and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, among others.
Outside of the office, Kelly can be found cooking, cocktailing, and camping (ideally all at once), and is looking to pursue her Cicerone certification.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ― Charles M. Schulz
Since the age of 18, Alex has been working in and around the restaurant industry and has always been inspired by the combination of good food and good people. Originally from Washington D.C., a city that can certainly hold its own in the food scene, Alex recently returned to the west to pursue her passion for restaurant marketing.
Most recently, Alex worked at Fishbowl Inc., a leading restaurant marketing company, where she had the opportunity to work with high-profile clients such as California Pizza Kitchen, Haagen-Dazs, and IHOP. She also had the privilege of being invited to sit on a panel at the Florida National Restaurant Association Conference with the Director of Marketing at Tony Roma’s and speak about “What’s hot and what’s not in social media”. Alex brings her vast experience with social media, email marketing and graphic design to the Andrew Freeman & Co team.
Alex received her B.S. in Communications from the University of San Diego and could not be happier to be back on the west (best) coast. Outside of work, Alex can be spotted exploring all that they bay area has to offer, running, traveling and continuing her ongoing search for the perfect San Francisco cocktail.
“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti
Farryn Lewis’s love of food could be described as basic, but don’t count her out just yet; in her case, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Farryn joins the AFCO staff with a newfound appreciation of food and a keen enthusiasm for devouring all the finer things the San Francisco dining world has to offer.
After graduating from San Francisco State with a degree in Communications, the Bay Area native spent four years working simultaneously as the Executive Assistant at US Marketing Services – a small marketing and consulting firm, and as Sports Information Coordinator at the Academy of Art University, the nation’s only four year art institution in the NCAA.
Farryn is really excited to be working with such a fun and dedicated staff, and is glad to be part of the team!