About Us


Meet the Team

Sarah Thornton, APR

President and Founder

Having worked with the country’s top developers throughout her career, Sarah is one of the most experienced real estate PR experts in Nevada. Her passion for construction and development is rooted in successful tenures at Southern Nevada’s largest master plan developer and the valley’s largest construction equipment dealership. While working with Del Webb Corporation, she garnered more news coverage in her first quarter than the company had ever received, earning the company an average of 20 million news impressions per month.

Sarah is an active member of the community and currently serves as an advisory board member for Family to Family Connection, High Rollers Adaptive Sports Foundation and Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Las Vegas chapter. She spent two years on the Board of Directors for Kenzi’s Causes, a children’s nonprofit in Denver. She has also served on the board of directors for the PRSA Colorado chapter and the International Association of Business Communicators’ (IABC) Las Vegas and Colorado chapters. She regularly volunteers with the Clark County Bar Association’s Community Service committee and Cure 4 The Kids Foundation. She has also volunteered with the National Association of Women Business Owners- Southern Nevada chapter. Sarah was named Public Relations Principal of the Year at the Electronic Media Awards in 2011, and the 2018 Volunteer of the Year by the Clark County Bar Association. Most recently, Sarah was named Senior PR Practitioner of the Year in 2020 by PRSA Las Vegas.

Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and in 2019 was honored as UNLV’s Alumna of the Year for the Greenspun School of Communications. Sarah was awarded Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from PRSA, a distinction held by only 15 percent of public relations professionals within the society’s global membership.

Whitney Maher

Digital Marketing Specialist

Whitney Maher brings a wide range of experience to Connected Communications, from media relations and digital and print content development, to social media and website management, photography and videography.

She joined the firm in 2019 as a Public Relations Specialist and Connected Communications’ first full-time employee. Whitney currently serves as the firm’s Digital Marketing Specialist, with responsibilities that include developing and implementing PR and social media strategies, crafting press releases and other communications materials, building relationships with local and national media members, and managing and training a team of PR and social media professionals.

Prior to joining Connected Communications, Whitney was a Public Relations Coordinator at a Las Vegas PR and marketing agency. Before entering the PR industry, she worked as a sports journalist at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, reporting on college men’s and women’s basketball, college football and Minor League Baseball. She has had the opportunity to report from the sidelines of several college and professional tournaments and championship games, including multiple seasons covering March Madness and courtside reporting from the NCAA Division I men’s basketball Final Four championship.

Whitney continued her work in media as a news and sports producer and reporter at Spokane’s local CBS affiliate, KREM 2 News. While working for KREM, she covered high school and college sports, as well as local and regional news. Her responsibilities included filming and editing news stories, writing digital stories and producing daily sports and newscasts.  

Whitney is an active member of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and has served as the PRSA Las Vegas chapter board’s liaison for UNLV Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). She was named PR Newcomer of the Year in 2020 and was awarded a Pinnacle Award (top award) for a digital platform by the PRSA Las Vegas chapter. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in 2015.

Carlee Gettman

Public Relations Manager

Carlee Gettman is a Las Vegas native and senior public relations specialist with a wealth of experience across diverse markets, including multifamily and residential real estate, corporate and non-profit industries.

She is currently a public relations manager for Connected Communications, where she is responsible for optimizing team members performance to promote internal development, managing client accounts, overseeing the firm’s public relations department and innovating strategies to strengthen media relations.

Throughout her career, she has built an extensive background in media relations, writing, marketing, creative services and digital marketing. Carlee specializes in media relations and copywriting, which has supported her successes in garnering hundreds of millions in coverage for clients. She has secured placements in some of the industry’s most prestigious media outlets, including the New York Post, Robb Report, L.A. Times, Yahoo!, Mansion Global, People and more.

Carlee is the vice president of communications with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Las Vegas Valley chapter, having previously served as its chapter administrator for two consecutive years. 

At the beginning of 2022, Carlee co-founded a public relations and marketing networking group called New Society. The organization promotes and connects new and up-and-coming public relations and communications professionals through quarterly social events and meetings.

Carlee earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2020.

Emily Hollister

Public Relations & Social Media Coordinator

Emily Hollister is a driven and talented professional with a passion for design, social media and public relations. As a certified expert in Adobe Suites, she has mastered the art of content creation and storytelling.

Throughout her career, Emily has gained extensive experience interning in various industries, including marketing, PR and fashion design. Leveraging her skills and knowledge in her internship roles, she has developed a deep understanding of effective branding and communication.

After completing her first year of study at California State University San Marcos, Emily returned to her hometown of Las Vegas, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in business marketing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2023. Emily’s education, extensive practical experience and deep-seated passion for design have equipped her to comprehend clients’ needs and translate them into reality.

Kelli Karlsen Las Vegas Public Relations Specialist

Kelli Karlsen

Public Relations Specialist

Kelli is a seasoned Public Relations Specialist at Connected Communications, and is originally from Winnipeg, Canada. She holds degrees in Marketing and Human Resource Management & Organizational Behaviour from the University of Winnipeg, including a study abroad experience in International Relations & Business at the Metropolitan University of Prague.

Kelli‘s professional journey includes a role as a Corporate Communications Specialist at Western Canada Lottery Corporation and extensive experience in marketing agencies, focusing on professional services and agri-business. She has nearly a decade of expertise in hospitality, tourism, and event planning, with notable experience as a hostess at The Yacht Week in Croatia. Additionally, Kelli has worked in digital media and content creation for various restaurants and bars, handling their social media and content writing needs.

Kelli, a passionate world traveler, has explored 20 countries during her adventures and has lived in Croatia, Prague, United Arab Emirates. Beyond her career, she’s dedicated to animal welfare, having fostered 40 animals in Canada and volunteered with three rescues. Currently, she actively volunteers at the Nevada SPCA and Vegas Roots Rescue.

Kelli Karlsen Las Vegas Public Relations Specialist

Allison Gallagher

Public Relations Specialist

Allison Gallagher is an experienced communications and digital marketing professional, as well as a native Nevadan.  

She found her passion for the different facets of the communications industry when she began her career working with professional hockey teams. Having worked with some of the top hospitality brands and public figures in entertainment and sports, she brings a variety of experiences to Connected Communications.

Allison graduated Magna cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in sports management from Grand Canyon University in 2017. 


Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Las Vegas Valley Chapter’s Pinnacle Award winner for Senior PR Practitioner of the Year in 2020.

Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Las Vegas Valley Chapter’s Pinnacle Award winner for Newcomer of the Year in 2020.

Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Las Vegas Valley Chapter’s Pinnacle Award winner for Naqvi Injury Law’s Culture Code in 2020.

Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Las Vegas Valley Chapter’s Pinnacle Award winner for William O’Keefe of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties social media campaign.

  • Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Las Vegas Valley Chapter’s Pinnacle Award winner for Quick Turnaround Programs
  • Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Las Vegas Valley Chapter’s Pinnacle Award winner for Marketing Communications
  • The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Greenspun College of Urban Affairs’ Alumna of the Year
  • Clark County Bar Association’s Volunteer of the Year