The Brand Guild was founded in 2010 by Barbara Martin and Jayne Sandman. The company grew from a shared belief that dynamic brands need a collaborative communications and marketing strategy to succeed in today’s ever-changing landscape. Jayne and Barbara have built an agency of specialists, with expertise in-house across our departments—Public Relations, Marketing, Events and Creative—to deliver meaningful results to our clients.
The duo has been profiled in The New York Times’ Sunday Styles cover story as “the architects of the new Washington,” named to the Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 List, cited by GQ Magazine as one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Washington,” and selected by BizBash magazine as among the top event innovators in the country.
At The Brand Guild, we believe that diverse ideas, perspectives and backgrounds create a stronger and more creative agency that delivers better results. We strive to be a wholly inclusive workplace, where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, authentic selves to work. We are committed to building a team, cultivating leaders and establishing a culture that upholds these values.
Co-CEO and Co-Founder
Co-CEO and Co-Founder
Executive Vice President, Public Relations
Amy oversees the creation of communications strategies and the execution of media outreach for The Brand Guild’s portfolio of clients. She leads the press team’s three divisions in the areas of consumer lifestyle brands, F&B & hospitality, and real estate. A seasoned communications specialist, Amy has two decades of PR agency experience in New York and Washington DC, guiding some of the most iconic consumer brands in the world, including Jameson Irish Whiskey, JUST Water, Ace Hardware and Hasbro. She has a developed expertise in all areas of communications, including developing strategic campaigns, brand positioning and messaging, and media training. She has extensive relationships with top-tier media.
Executive Vice President, Events
Annie leads The Brand Guild’s events department where she successfully oversees more than 100 events per year ranging from brand launch parties targeting the country’s top influencers to 20,000-person ticketed festivals. Whether she’s working with iconic brands like Brooks Brothers and Kiehl’s, rapidly-scaling startups like Sweetgreen or SoulCycle or powerhouse corporate clients like Amazon and Bloomberg, Annie brings unique concepts and dynamic experiences to every event she creates. With more than 15 years of high-level event planning experience, Annie began her career at one of DC’s premier event planning and catering companies, where she worked on the most high-profile events including the Vanity Fair/Bloomberg White House Correspondents’ After Party, Washington Times 35th Anniversary with President George H.W. Bush and numerous Presidential inaugural events including the Presidential Inaugural Luncheon for President Barack Obama.
Executive Vice President, Marketing
Vanessa leads the Marketing Team at The Brand Guild, creating and implementing strategic integrated campaigns for clients. She’s a senior marketing leader with over 15 years experience developing consumer brands. Formerly an SVP at a top global advertising agency, Vanessa led cross-industry award winning brand campaigns (including food, retail, tech, financial services and wellness categories). Before joining The Brand Guild, she served as the Head of Brand at &pizza, the purpose-driven pizza shop. She’s passionate about showing the power of brand and purpose and how it can truly drive business value.
Katharine Ragsdale Bared
Senior Vice President, Operations
Katharine leads the operations department at The Brand Guild, overseeing the accounting, legal, HR, staffing, recruiting and property management for both the DC and NY offices. Focusing on both the day-to-day operations as well as strategic long-term planning, Katharine works across all departments to ensure The Brand Guild is optimized for growth and meets organizational goals. With over a decade of experience in client services and media – from POLITICO to Washingtonian Magazine to The Brand Guild when it was BrandLinkDC – Katharine brings a wealth of experience to the organization.
Vice President, Creative
Lance oversees the creative team at The Brand Guild, helping deliver thoughtful, innovative work across the social media and visual studios. Whether he is developing complete branding solutions for Fortune 500 real estate companies, creating memorable campaigns for top tech companies and consumer brands, or even helping save the dollar bill (you’ll have to ask him about that one!), Lance has guided his clients to elegant design solutions for complex problems. With close to two decades of experience in branding, marketing, identity design, collateral and UX/UI design, and a career spanning technology, consumer goods and real estate industries, Lance brings a varied background and wide range of expertise to his work at The Brand Guild.
Vice President, Growth
As Vice President of Growth, Maria forges new business and growth opportunities across diverse sectors, driving the agency’s strategic expansion. Maria brings over 14 years of experience in business development, specializing in multicultural marketing, DE&I and purpose-driven campaigns, collaborating with renowned clients across industries, such as American Express, Ulta Beauty, Pfizer, and the Ellis Island Foundation. Before joining The Brand Guild, she led the Growth team at a multicultural marketing agency, propelling new business growth, thought leadership and strategic partnerships for the multicultural marketing & communications agency. Maria’s industry track record underscores her passion for delivering growth solutions that truly make a difference.
AssocIate Vice President, Brand Strategy
As AVP of Brand Strategy, Sarah leads a team that drives research-backed brand strategy projects for companies of all sizes — from venture-backed startups to key national brands — with a focus on identifying advantages and building narratives. Before joining The Brand Guild, Sarah was Special Projects Editor at Fast Company where she led the programming for the Innovation Festival, managed Most Creative People, Most Innovative and Innovation by Design communities, and forged brand partnerships. Her work has also appeared in New York Magazine, The New York Times, and Complex.com.
Associate Vice President of Lifestyle, Food & Beverage PR
Giselle leads the PR team focused on Lifestyle, F&B, and hospitality clients. She has 14 years of experience helping brands tell their story, including Sweetgreen, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, &pizza, and Imperfect Foods, generating billions of earned media impressions. Additionally, she has overseen press for over $150 million in hotel renovations and launches for hospitality brands within the Marriott family. Prior to joining The Brand Guild, Giselle created and managed press campaigns for New York Times bestselling authors at some of the world’s top publishing houses.
Associate Vice President, Real Estate and New Economy PR
Sofia leads The Brand Guild’s Real Estate team and crisis response services. She specializes in developing and executing impactful media messaging and strategies as well as providing ongoing counsel to clients in real estate, government, sports, and tech. Sofia’s successes include masterminding the press efforts of The Wharf, one of the largest waterfront development projects in the country, resulting in 3 billion press impressions in the opening week alone. She also leads press efforts for large-scale development projects and their corporate executives across the country, leading a team that consistently secures coverage in media outlets ranging from local broadcast and regional trade publications to national lifestyle and top-tier business outlets. Prior to joining The Brand Guild, Sofia managed communications campaigns for a variety of policy-focused clients ranging from immigration to education to presidential candidates to documentary films. She has also created and worked on crisis and corporate social responsibility campaigns for some of the world’s largest energy companies and is experienced in C-suite media training.
Associate Vice President, HR
Betsy leads the HR team at The Brand Guild, overseeing all aspects of people operations and culture at the agency as well as recruiting and hiring. In her years working within the Operations Department, Betsy has implemented processes, policies and professional tools that have streamlined the HR function for a team that has more than doubled in size during her tenure. Betsy takes a very people-centric approach to HR – understanding that our people are our most valuable asset and focusing on employee wellness and wellbeing is above all else. As recognition of her excellent work in the area of HR, Betsy was recently a recipient of the Top Women in Wellness and HR Award.