C. Blohm & Associates uses a three-step process to achieve successful visibility results. We use both established and emerging media channels. Using discovery, engagement and evaluation, we create conversations that make an impact with influencers and thought leaders in the education industry and special needs markets.



We’re passionate about what we do. Our number one goal is to expand the reach of our clients’ public relations initiatives.  We use our time-tested knowledge of communications in the education industry to help them deliver their message and surpass their goals. Our guiding values are the roadmap by which we meet these opportunities.

CB&A Beliefs and Guiding Principles:
• Education is valuable. All kids deserve a chance.
• Every individual has unique strengths to offer, and deserves the appropriate tools to harness these gifts.
• The power of storytelling and carefully chosen words to convey vivid ideas and meaning.
• Sharing, collaborating and communicating to address challenges and opportunities together.
• Responsibility and accountability to the taxpayers who support our education system.
• Respect for all and doing right by others.

Why Us

Thanks to our focused expertise, we know how to tailor your communications with depth and genuine resonance. With a guiding principle of “Visibility Matters,” we work tirelessly to get you noticed, build brand loyalty and create staying power among educators, therapists, parents and students.

Whether you’re an international market leader or an emerging enterprise, we’ll work with you to define your goals and help you achieve them. Our deeply rooted industry relationships, dedication to the community and results-driven ethos create successful solutions.

Impactful Relationships

We’ve established relationships with the media. Our knowledge of social channels is unmatched. Members of the CB&A client family average millions of impressions per month in target publications including online venues. We help them develop long-standing relationships with media venues that matter most.

A Dedication to Making a Difference

We’re passionate about giving back to the community, whether it’s reading to kids at the local elementary school, providing supplies to teachers or ringing bells on behalf of the Salvation Army. We measure success in the lives touched and generations enriched.


We help our clients build and execute strategic communications plans that significantly boost their visibility, which in turn has a substantial impact on their bottom line. Each client’s plan is customized to focus on their business objectives and key audiences.


Members of the CB&A team are frequently asked to contribute articles and lead presentations at industry events. Additionally, Charlene is active in leadership roles with a number of industry associations.


• Moderator, Selling Success with Focused Sales & Marketing Boot Camp, SIIA’s Education Industry Summit, May 2015 (Charlene Blohm)
• Panelist, How Social Media Can Help You Win Educator Friends and Influence School Leaders, SIIA’s Education Industry Summit, May 2015 (Charlene Blohm)
• Co-presenter, CoSN’s CETL Summit (Certified Education Technology Leaders), March 2015 (Charlene Blohm)
• Interviewer, EdNET Insider, Selling to Schools Radio, October 2014 (Saul Hafenbredl)
• Presenter, Game-Changing Market Opportunities: Leveraging Social Media to Stay Competitive, SIIA’s Education Business Forum, December 2014 (Saul Hafenbredl)
• Co-presenter for roundtable discussion at EdNET 2014: Taking the Pulse. Uncovering Trends. A Year Four Perspective. September 2014 (Charlene Blohm with Linda Winter)
• Reviewer/Judge for Pitchfests: Reviews of Company Marketing Plans, SIIA Education Industry Summit, May 2014 (Emily Embury)
How to Use Social Media to Engage School Administrators, Selling to Schools on BlogTalkRadio, July 2013 (Charlene Blohm)
Shifts that are Changing How Products are Being Marketed, Panelist, SIIA’s Ed Tech Business Forum, November 27, 2012 (Charlene Blohm)
Educators Speak Out About Traditional and Social Media – Together We’ll Explore the Implications for Education Marketers, EdNET 2012 Roundtable, October, 2012 (Charlene Blohm & Linda Winter)
What Educators Say, Think, and Do With Your Marketing Communications, EdNET Roundtable, September, 2011 (Charlene Blohm & Linda Winter)


Do’s and Dont’s of CTO Communications with Local Media, CoSN CETL blog, May 2015 (Charlene Blohm)
• How CTOs Can Share Success with a Wider Audience, CoSN CETL blog, May 2015 (Charlene Blohm)
• How CTOs Can Communicate with Internal Stakeholders More Effectively, CoSN CETL blog, April 2015 (Charlene Blohm)
• What Are CTOs’ Biggest Communications Challenges? CoSN CETL blog, April 2015 (Charlene Blohm)
How to Drive K-12 Sales in a WebCentric World, Selling To Schools, Dec 2012 (Charlene Blohm)
• Integrating Social Media and Traditional PR for Better Brand-Building, Chapter 4, “Marketing”, in SIIA’s The Experts’ Guide to the Postsecondary Education Market, June 2011 (Charlene Blohm)
Desktop and Web Widgets, Education Channel Partner, January 2009 (Charlene Blohm)

  • Charlene Blohm

    Charlene earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of the Incarnate Word and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has more than 20 years experience in the communications and marketing fields. Since founding CB&A in 1991, Charlene has worked with publishers and manufacturers whose products span the educational landscape, from traditionally printed books to broadband-delivered online curriculum. Her expertise in developing and implementing strategic marketing plans has been fine-tuned over the years, and she’s now one of the “go-to” people in the educational publishing industry. Charlene began her career as a reporter, columnist and managing editor for newspapers in Montana and Texas.

    Q & A

    • What was the first meal you learned to cook? I know I burned it. I made beef hash with potatoes and gravy. It was a mess and I had no idea what temperature to cook it at. You should’ve seen my dad’s face when he ate it.
    • Favorite movie? Bagdad Café and Once the Musical. In both cases the music teleports you to a different time and place and you become one with the movie.
    • Best PR advice you can fit inside a Tweet? Customer stories are key. Your prospects want to hear and learn in an authentic way from your customer base.
    • If you could have one super power, what would it be? Read people’s minds. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to create key message text that answered the unstated needs of educators and therapists?
    • Best vacation you ever took? Fishing and canoeing at a cottage in northern Wisconsin. We canoed four lakes in three days and had to use the second stringer in the boat.

    a CHARLENE BLOHM, Founder & President

    Emily Embury

    A graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Emily earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and women’s studies. Devoted to working with organizations whose overall mission benefits the community, she completed internships with two nonprofit organizations while in college. Emily joined CB&A in 2004, and previously held titles of Account Executive and Account Supervisor. She works in partnership with clients to develop and execute strategic public relations and social media plans to achieve their visibility goals. In her expanded leadership role, Emily also oversees campaigns, manages team members and supports the overall growth of the agency. She is an active member of PRSA and regularly attends Social Media Breakfast events. A certified master gardener, Emily enjoys digging in the dirt and spoiling her dog Barley.

    Q & A

    • Dogs or cats? Woof. My dog Barley, a soft coated wheaten terrier, is a big brother to my son Arlo.
    • Morning or night person? Morning but only if a good cup of coffee is available. A coconut latte would be even better!
    • Favorite sport and team? Football. I grew up in Green Bay and used to work for the Packers.
    • If you weren't in PR, what would you be doing? Running an organic farm with goats. I’m a master gardener and love goat cheese.
    • Best PR advice you can fit inside of a tweet? Act like a duck...stay calm, cool and collected on the surface even if you're paddling like crazy under water.

    a EMILY EMBURY, Account Director

    Saul Hafenbredl

    Saul attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication. While in school, he held positions with several Madison-based organizations such as the Associated Students of Madison, StudyBlue, Inc. and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. Saul joined CB&A as a PR & social media account coordinator in 2011, was promoted to Account Executive in 2012, and Account Manager in 2014. In his expanded role, Saul completes more strategic client work while playing a larger part in leading account services. He prides himself on adding innovative nuances to traditional methods and helping clients surpass their goals. A Wisconsin native, Saul has adapted to the state’s decidedly temperamental climate. He enjoys outdoor activities and breathing as much fresh air as possible.

    Q & A

    • Dogs or cats? I love animals in general, but dogs win this match-up. I'm the proud dad of a wonderfully affectionate and needy Yellow Lab named Garrett.
    • If you could have dinner with your favorite literary character or author, who would you choose? Hemingway. Although he probably drank more dinners than he ate.
    • What's your favorite sport and team? I back all of the Wisconsin sports teams, but my favorite team is whoever happens to be playing against the Cubs and Bears.
    • If you weren't in PR, what would you be doing? I've wanted to work in PR for a long time, so I haven't really thought about it much. But I would probably be working on the other side of the desk, so to speak, as a journalist.
    • Favorite condiment? Exotic, spicy mustards. Ranch dressing is also good on most things.

    a SAUL HAFENBREDL, Public Relations Strategy Manager

    Jay Bryant

    Jay earned a BA in Photography from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and completed graduate studies in Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He got his start in journalism as an intern photographer at the White House and spent many years as a newspaper photographer and editor before starting work in digital communications in 1996.

    Prior to joining CB&A, Jay held various roles in business and product development with publishers and software developers. Jay’s most recent account work at included social media projects for Walmart, Intel and Pfizer. Other work includes TV Guide, where he developed and deployed one of the largest blogging communities focused on entertainment. Earlier, Jay held senior positions at Educational Testing Service,, and Freedom Communications.

    a JAY BRYANT, Digital Director

    Donna Kraenzle

    Donna is a graduate of Avila University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education (ED/LD/MR). After teaching for several years, she completed graduate course work at Kansas University and Lindenwood University before moving to management positions with commercial real estate and investment banking companies in Kansas City, Mo. In 1995, Donna began a 10-year stint as Business Manager with HealthTech Solutions in St. Louis, Mo., followed by a move to CPI Corp. as Director of the Business & Institutional Services Division. Under her leadership, the division grew to a multi-million dollar business focused on providing professional business portraits. Donna recently moved to Madison to be closer to family, especially three “totally adorable” grandchildren. She is a certified Zumba instructor and hospice volunteer.

    Q & A

    • Favorite movie? The Color Purple
    • If you could have one super power, what would it be? Power to heal, definitely!
    • Best vacation you ever took? Spent a couple of months touring Europe.
    • If you weren’t in PR, what would you be doing? Leading a non-profit organization or creating pocket neighborhoods in communities.
    • If you could have dinner with your favorite literary author or character, who would you choose? I would have loved to sit down with the incredible author and humorist Terry Pratchett and talk a little Discworld and life in general.

    a DONNA KRAENZLE, Office Manager

  • Chris Swietlik

    Chris earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and communication from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis. During that time, Chris hosted a show on the college radio station, was co-editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, and interned in the college’s office of communication. Prior to joining CB&A in 2012 as an Account Coordinator, Chris spent two summers interning at an advertising and marketing firm in his hometown of Cedarburg, Wis. As an Account Executive, Chris works with a diverse group of clients, while continuing to engage with industry media and pursue his passion for writing. In his spare time, Chris can be found Frisbee golfing, reading a good book or enjoying the latest movie blockbuster.

    Q & A

    • Morning or night person? Morning, I like to get up and get going.
    • Best PR advice you can fit inside of a tweet? Find that thing that makes you different. Standing out is much more effective than blending in.
    • What was the first thing you learned to cook? Scrambled eggs, still one of my favorite things for breakfast.
    • Favorite sport and team? I love hockey and the New Jersey Devils.
    • If you could have dinner with your favorite literary character or author, who would you choose? Stephen King, hands down my favorite author.

    a CHRIS SWIETLIK, Account Executive

    Dusten Carlson

    Dusten earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Creative Writing from Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., as well as a Masters in Education from Rockford University in Rockford, Ill. After graduation, he started a career in new media and has worked as a blogger, journalist, editor and editorial contributor for many online and print publications and magazines. Dusten also co-owned an online publication focused on social media enterprise and culture for two years, which he and his partners sold in 2013.

    He joined CB&A as an Account Executive with a simple impetus; to create compelling content that reflects his dedication and passion for the education and special needs industries. Dusten also enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, volunteering, and music (so if you’re looking to start a band, you might want to shoot him an email).

    Q & A

    • Early riser or night owl? A little of both, depends on the day. Workdays, early riser for sure. Weekends, well…
    • What would be your last meal on Earth? If I knew I was going to die, I wouldn’t be able to keep anything down.
    • What is the first meal you learned to cook? Either Pizza Rolls or Ramen (I learned in college, obviously).
    • If you could have one super power, what would it be? Shape shifting for sure. Imagine what an employment advantage it would be if you could be your boss in that meeting she can’t make it to!
    • If you could have dinner with your favorite literary author or character, who would you choose? Ernest Hemingway. Another no-brainer.

    a DUSTEN CARLSON, Account Executive

    Audra Johnson

    Audra has nearly 20 years of experience as an executive in promotions, advertising, marketing and public relations, spending much of that time as promotions manager at a Fox television station in Madison, Wis. To pursue new challenges and grow professionally, Audra decided to enter the agency world, gaining valuable experience at a full-service digital marketing firm. Now at CB&A, she offers her expertise to clients in the education and special needs markets. Audra grew up in Rockford, Ill., earned a degree in communications from Purdue University, and loves living in Madison.

    Q & A

    • Dog or cat? Dog! I adopted a four-year-old Doberman/Australian Cattle Dog mutt eight years ago. Her name was Wilma when I brought her home, and I decided it suited her so I never changed it.
    • Best vacation you ever took? All four times I went to New Orleans. The first trip was Mardi Gras, second trip I visited my college roommate who lived there, third trip we rented a condo in the French Quarter, fourth trip was a Girls Trip we rented a house near the Garden District.
    • If you could have dinner with your favorite literary author or character, who would you choose? I would love to go to a dinner party, get seated next to Jane Austen, and listen to her gossip about everybody all night.
    • Number one song played on your iPod: Every once in a while an entire album is released and I have to listen to every song front to back constantly. My favorite album is Hot Fuss by The Killers and my favorite song has to be Mr. Brightside.
    • First meal you learned to cook: My mom went back to work the summer I turned 14, so we had to learn how to make some lunch for ourselves. Kraft Mac & Cheese in a box was as easy as it gets. Now I enjoy making mac & cheese from scratch with cream, butter, eggs and four kinds of cheese.

    a AUDRA JOHNSON, Account Executive

    Olivia Hoff

    Olivia earned a dual degree in Life Sciences Communication and Agriculture Applied Economics from UW-Madison. To gain real world career experience in public relations, she worked as an intern for both StudyBlue, Inc. and the UW System Office of Economic Development. She brings passion and the willingness to grow to her position at CB&A. A sports enthusiast, Olivia competed as a goalkeeper for four years on the UW-Madison women’s soccer team. Hailing from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, Olivia enjoys hitting the slopes to ski, going for runs, and traveling.

    Q & A

    • If you weren't in PR, what would you be doing? Coaching a basketball or soccer team, starting at the high school or club level.
    • What is the first meal you learned to cook? Chocolate Chip Pancakes. It was a big deal when I learned how to flip a pancake without it making a huge mess.
    • Favorite movie? Remember the Titans
    • If you could have one super power, what would it be? Teleportation. I love to travel but hate the time it takes to get places. Imagine how many different cities and countries you could see if you could just teleport to them.
    • Best vacation you ever took? A two-week trip to Europe with friends after graduating from college. We went to Barcelona, Switzerland, Florence and Rome.

    a OLIVIA HOFF, Account Coordinator

    Lauren West

    Lauren earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She developed a love for PR and social media while completing several internships, including stints with a UW student food publication The Dish, and a Chicago-based dating service. While in the Windy City, Lauren enjoyed expanding her PR knowledge in the Publicity Club of Chicago, and as an CB&A Account Coordinator, she puts her affinity for writing and meaningful communication to good use. Decidedly Midwestern, she’s lived in Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin. When not working, Lauren is probably at a Badger game, dining at the newest restaurant with friends or catching up on favorite TV shows.

    Q & A

    • Dog or cat person? Dog. My childhood cat used to scratch me so I’m literally and figuratively scarred.
    • What would be your last meal on Earth? Noodles & Co. Spicy Chicken Caesar Sandwich and cookies and cream ice cream as dessert.
    • If you weren’t in PR, what would you be doing? Going to grad school to be a school psychologist.
    • Best vacation you ever took? I went to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA and then stayed in Vegas a couple times.
    • Favorite movie? Sixteen Candles.

    a LAUREN WEST, Assistant Account Executive

  • Aaron Krish

    Aaron attended the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication with a public relations emphasis. During that time, he served on student government, held a committee chair position for Stevens Point’s PRSSA chapter and wrote for the campus newspaper – The Pointer. Prior to joining CB&A, Aaron completed an internship with an entertainment and arts agency in London, England, and worked within the consumer-marketing practice at Edelman PR in Chicago. Outside the office, Aaron can be found at the nearest coffee shop, reading, or catching up with the latest TV shows on Netflix.

    Q & A

    • If you weren’t in PR, what would you be doing? The answer to this changes daily. I’d love to own a coffee shop/brewery/publishing house.
    • If you could have one super power, what would it be? I’d chose invisibility or the ability to fly, but I’m not sure I’d be able to pick one or the other.
    • Best vacation you ever took? Spending New Year’s in Sydney, Australia and spending a summer in London are at the top of my list.
    • If you could have dinner with your favorite literary author or character, who would you choose? Authors: Douglas Adams, Agatha Christie, Sherman Alexie or J.K. Rowling.
    • What was your favorite part of going to school at your alma mater? I always felt that where you go to school needs to feel like home, and Stevens Point is where I’m my most authentic self.

    a AARON KRISH, Account Coordinator

    Kelsea Kierstead

    Kelsea earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in psychology and journalism, with an emphasis in strategic communication. While at UW-Madison, she honed content marketing and social media skills during internships with Pop-Dot Marketing and Legato Healthcare Marketing. Kelsea discovered her passion for education, especially regarding students with special needs, through work as a fitness instructor at UW Rec Sports, and as a direct service provider for children with autism at Integrated Development Services. At CB&A, she applies her love for storytelling and education to help her clients reach their visibility goals. A true Wisconsinite, Kelsea enjoys racing sailboats on Midwest waters, water-skiing, running and spending time with family and friends.

    a KELSEA KIERSTEAD, Account Coordinator

    Paul Mamelka

    Paul administers our Macintosh network, scripts the servers, and helps the team keep the CB&A website up-to-date. He’s also the author of our in-house database system and copy editor of last resort. Although loathe to admit it, he’s spent some 40 years working with computers as a systems analyst, programmer and web designer, including stints with Control Data Corp., State of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio. He completed a math and computer science degree (before it was fashionable) at University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

    Q & A

    • Dog or cat person? Cat: Enigmatic critters, they might be indifferent, or merely diffident; who can tell?
    • Best PR Advice you can fit inside a Tweet? Eschew obfuscation.
    • Number one song played on your iPod? Female: “Island of Wonder”, Nelly Furtado. Male: "Mystery Train", Elvis Presley
    • If you could have dinner with your favorite literary author or character, who would you choose? Author(s): Margaret Atwood or ee cummings; character: Don Quixote.
    • What would be your last meal on Earth? The meal I ate before being kidnapped by aliens from Ursa Minor; a heaping bowl of borsch, hopefully.
    • a PAUL MAMELKA, IT Administrator

To monitor trends within the industry, advance our clients’ interests and support client communications planning, CB&A is an active member of the following associations and organizations.