Cathy Ackermann President and Chief Executive Officer of Ackermann Marketing & PR, a full-service marketing communications firm based in Knoxville, Tennessee with client service offices in Dallas, Texas and Washington, DC. Ranked among the Top 100 public relations firms in the country. She is a nationally published author on the topic of integrated marketing and communications and on how to grow a successful professional services firm. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from the University of Tennessee and a Certificate in French Language and History from L’Universite Catholiqué in Paris, France. Ms. Ackermann has been at the helm of Ackermann PR for 40 plus years. She founded the firm in 1982 on the heels of having served as Director of Corporate Marketing and Promotions for the 1982 World’s Fair. She was responsible for generating millions in revenue and worked primarily with Fortune 500 companies. Her firm has become one of the top mid-sized, independent PR firms in the South. In its first five years, the company grew over 650 percent, placing Ackermann PR on Inc. magazine’s list of fastest-growing companies in the country, and the firm has continued its track record of growth and impressive client acquisitions. Ms. Ackermann is very involved in community organizations as a volunteer and serves on multiple boards of directors, including East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, UT Development Council, UT College of Communications Board of Visitors, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, among others. She is a recent past member of the board of directors of the U.S. Council for PR Firms in New York, and is a founding member of the Croft Society, a group of 20 of the top regional PR firms in the country. Past community board involvements include Leadership Knoxville, AAA, Pellissippi State Foundation, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Knoxville Museum of Art, The City Ballet, UT Theatres, McClung Museum and the Hearing and Speech Foundation.