CAPIO ADVANCED TRACK: Navigating leadership and communications in the C-suite
Power Lunch Webinar


As an executive-level communicator, the risks of success and failure have a much bigger impact on your agency. With the stakes being higher, communicators new to an executive position or looking to transition into one must quickly begin to show value and gain trust after landing the role.

Join CAPIO’s panel of executive-level, public-sector communicators, who have successfully risen through the ranks, for a behind the scenes look at what it takes to reach and thrive in the C-suite.

Key topics covered during this webinar:

  • Tips for a successful transition to an executive
  • How to develop new skill sets and tools required for success
  • How to balance work and personal life without burning out
  • Real life lessons learned and career mistakes
  • Networking strategies to land the role
  • Navigating politics, culture and people
  • How to develop and inspire a team
  • How to gain buy-in from the heads of your agency

CAPIO’s Advanced Track courses are offered to members with more than five years of experience in communications (or related field) and/or to CAPIO members who have completed CAPIO’s Certificate in Communications.



Recorded: Thursday, September 30


Social media handles
  • Twitter @maryjoycoburn
  • YouTube @maryjoycoburn
  • Facebook: @ContraCostaWaterDistrict
  • Twitter: @CCWD
  • Instagram: @ContraCostaWaterDistrict

Jennifer Allen is the Director of Public Affairs at Contra Costa Water District (CCWD). She currently oversees CCWD’s education, outreach, communications and legislative programs working directly with the General Manager. Prior to CCWD, Jennifer worked for CirclePoint and Southern Sonoma County Resource Conservation District. She also has been a member of the Water Education Foundation Board since 2013.  Jennifer has more than 21 years of experience working on education, outreach and communications programs and holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology and Management from University of California at Davis.

Mary-Joy Coburn has more than 15 years of experience in government and media relations, strategic planning, and crisis/emergency communications. Currently, she services as the director of communications for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, which serves nearly 6 million residents in 36 cities and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. She leads a team who are all dedicated to public health and protecting the population from vectors and vector-borne diseases. Her department handles public relations, media relations, government relations, and public education and outreach for the agency.

Mary-Joy is the founder of the Los Angeles Public Information Officials (LAPIO) and the Orange County Public Information Officials (OCPIO), auxiliary groups to CAPIO.

She holds degrees in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine, and Television Broadcasting and Production from the Academy of Radio and Television.

 Lon Peterson 

Lon Peterson is well-versed in local government, with extensive experience in communications, project and budget management, technology and innovation. He has almost 20 years of experience working in fast-paced, progressive cities in California – Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Sacramento and Roseville. 

Currently, he is the Director of Communications for the City of Santa Clara and an active member of the City’s Executive Leadership Team. Lon’s unrelenting effort to push government communications, engagement and technology to the next level drew him to the City of Santa Clara, known for its spirit of innovation, leadership and located at the center of Silicon Valley. 

In addition to lead communications roles for the City of Palo Alto, the City of Sacramento and the Marin Water District, Lon spent over a decade in the City Manager’s Office in multiple communication roles directing award-winning digital and creative communication services for the City of Roseville. Under Lon’s leadership, the City of Roseville ranked in the top three (1st in 2011, 3rd in 2013 and 2nd in 2014), by the Center for Digital Government for being a technologically innovative and transparent city in its size.

Lon holds a Bachelor of Science, Information Management at the University of San Francisco and an Associate of Science in Graphic Communication at Sacramento City College. Before entering the public sector, Lon created and managed an advertising agency in Sacramento.

Christine Brainerd, APR

Christine is a seasoned, award-winning communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience in government communications, public relations, and journalism. As communications director, she manages the city’s comprehensive communications program, including news media relations, public information, and community relations.

Christine joined the City of Folsom in 2015. She previously served the City of Elk Grove for nearly nine years as the public affairs manager and public information officer. She also worked at two Sacramento-based public relations firms, where she managed national and statewide public relations and marketing campaigns. Christine’s career started in journalism. She has written for a weekly newspaper and worked as an assignment editor at KTXL-TV FOX-40 News.

A communications graduate from California State University at Sacramento, Christine earned the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential from the Public Relations Society of America and the Universal Accreditation Board in 2012. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Golden Gate University.

Christine is the past president and current education and development chair of the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) and she serves on the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), the national board that oversees the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential. She has received more than 60 national, statewide, and regional awards for communications and public relations projects through well-respected organizations, including CAPIO, the Public Relations Society of America, and the League of California Cities. In 2016, she was honored with the 40 Under 40 Award by the Sacramento Business Journal, which recognizes young professionals for their accomplishments in their respective industries and for their contributions to the community at large.