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About

Our Story

Legend Labs is a brand and reputation consulting firm for the digital age. We operate at the intersection of strategy, data and creativity, bringing deep experience and innovative thinking to the brand, communications and reputation management challenges posed by accelerating digital disruption.

Services

1

Create

We capture who you are, where you are going, and why no one else can compete with a narrative and identity that moves you and your audiences.

  • Positioning
  • Messaging
  • Visual Identity
  • Brand Architecture

2

Live

We help you tell compelling stories and cultivate a storytelling culture; blending strategy, data, digital listening intelligence, and creativity to build a reputation that drives success.

  • Communications Strategy
  • Content & Digital Experiences
  • Digital Listening & Analytics
  • Training & Executive Coaching

3

Protect

We help organizations manage reputation in the digital age, with deep expertise in every phase of a crisis: preparedness, response, and post-crisis change management.

  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Issues Monitoring
  • Crisis Planning & Playbooks
  • Crisis Communications

Clients

Leadership

Jeff Hunt
Founding Partner
Ahmed Khamash
Founding Partner
James Wakefield
Founding Partner

Jeff Hunt

Founding Partner

Jeff Hunt specializes in crisis management and preparedness, branding, CEO communications, and reputation management. During the course of his 25-year career, he has worked with DuPont, IBM, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, Nike, Whole Foods, and many other companies.

Jeff has lived throughout the world and navigated many cultures on behalf of clients. Prior to Legend Labs, Jeff co-founded PulsePoint Group and before that was president of Cohn & Wolfe, a global public relations firm formed following a merger with GCI Group. He has also served as CEO of GCI and Read Poland Associates. He spent 18 years at Burson-Marsteller, ultimately serving as chief operating officer for Europe, with responsibility for 16 offices throughout the continent. He also established the firm’s presence in Korea and Mexico.

Based in Austin and a graduate of The University of Texas, Jeff serves as adjunct professor of Strategies in Public Relations at the university’s Moody College of Communications and is a frequent lecturer at its McCombs School of Business.

Ahmed Khamash

Founding Partner

Ahmed Khamash leads branding and digital strategy projects and manages the firm’s business and operations. Over his career, Ahmed has led successful initiatives for Wells Fargo, Target, Caterpillar, Red Lobster, The University of Texas, Brooks Koepka, and more. He specializes in helping organizations build and grow their brands in an increasingly mobile and socially-connected world.

Before founding Legend Labs, Ahmed was Director of Strategy at management consulting firm PulsePoint Group where he led a number of high impact branding projects, communications campaigns, and digital education programs.

Previously, Ahmed was a consultant at Dachis Group, helping large companies like Nestle, Target, and Estee Lauder successfully navigate the early days of social media. Ahmed also spent several years as a digital strategist at interactive agency Tocquigny (now Archer Malmo).

Ahmed is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and is based in New York City.

James Wakefield

Founding Partner

James Wakefield focuses on brand strategy, reputation management, and product design under the firm’s Ventures arm. At Legend Labs, James has led branding projects for the West Coast Conference and Dustin Johnson, and has overseen communications strategy development and implementation efforts for clients including Johns Hopkins University and the Pac-12 Conference.

Prior to Legend Labs, James operated in a hybrid role as Creative Director and Director of Strategy at PulsePoint Group, a communications and brand consulting firm. James oversaw a team of designers, developers, and animators to deliver world-class creative and digital experiences for clients including Penn State University, Virgin Australia, and Purdue University. As a Director of Strategy, James was a leader in the firm’s brand reputation and crisis management practice, leading engagements with clients like Tokyo Electric Power Company in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

James has built a career on the use of digital listening technology to shape proprietary strategies in brand reputation management and vulnerability analysis. He operates at the intersection of data, strategy, and design to build platforms that enable more effective threat detection and subsequent issues response.

James is a graduate of The University of Texas and is based in Austin.

Team

Michael Kehs
Partner
Bill Feldman
Senior Counselor
Debbie Godfrey
Senior Counselor
Chris Hunt
Director
Christina Rubino
Senior Associate
Corin Wakefield
Associate
Zach Irsik
Associate
Marta Izarra
Associate

Michael Kehs

Partner

Michael Kehs is a Partner at Legend Labs where he specializes in client campaign strategy, message architecture, thought leadership and reputation management.

Michael leverages more than three decades of experience counseling major corporations and trade associations across a wide spectrum of sectors including energy and industrials, information tech and telecom, medical devices and healthcare. He has worked with ACC, ANGA, API, Business Roundtable, Dupont, Exxon, H-P, International Paper, Kimberly-Clark, LyondellBasell, Memorial Hermann, Medtronic, Motorola, P&G, Shell, Sun Microsystems, US Chamber of Commerce, Victaulic, Weyerhaeuser and Wyeth, among many others.

His award-winning programs for clients include PRSA’s 2017 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence in Public Affairs (Extraction Oil & Gas) and PR Week’s 2007 Public Affairs Campaign of the Year (Abundant Forests Alliance).

Michael previously led the energy practice and Houston office at Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Before that, he was Vice President for Strategic Communications and Public Relations at Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma City. He spent the first 25 years of his career in Washington, DC (including two years in Palo Alto, CA) where he served in various leadership roles at three of the world’s largest PR firms: Burson-Marsteller, Porter Novelli and Hill & Knowlton.

Michael is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Davidson College.

Bill Feldman

Senior Counselor

Bill Feldman is a lawyer and former journalist who combines both backgrounds to help clients navigate communications challenges in environments where litigation, liability, and regulations can pose significant risks. His work has taken him seven times to Japan to work on the Fukushima nuclear crisis, and he has also advised clients in higher education, health care and pharmaceuticals, banking and finance, and more. His work has included guidance on managing human rights issues for a global telecom firm, providing communications counsel for several major law firms regarding cyber breaches and ransomware attacks on their clients, and the development of crisis preparedness programs, including crisis simulations, for several Fortune 500 organizations.

Bill has more than 40 years’ experience at the intersection of law, journalism, politics and public policy. Prior to his work with Legend Labs, Bill was Senior Counselor with PulsePoint Group. Before that, he was president of Agra Informa, Inc. (a unit of Informa plc), the leading information company in the U.S. covering food and nutrition regulation and policy. Prior to that he held several positions in legal journalism and publishing, including the period 1982-1990 at the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., now Bloomberg/BNA.

Bill holds a B.S. in Journalism, magna cum laude, from Boston University, and a Juris Doctor from George Washington University. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia.

Debbie Godfrey

Senior Counselor

Debbie is a leading-edge market research specialist and thought leader with over 25 years of experience in market research, marketing communications and brand planning. These skills have been applied to some of the country’s largest and most well-known domestic and global brands including: Citibank, Sears, AT&T, Colgate, Disney and United Airlines. Debbie gained those experiences during 15 years at Young & Rubicam, rising through the ranks to become EVP, Managing Director of Brand Planning.

Following Y&R, Debbie assumed these same responsibilities at Carnegie Communications, a marketing services firm for colleges and universities. As EVP, Market Research and Brand Strategy, she provided strategic guidance to senior members of colleges and universities that spanned a range of small to large institutions from The University of Texas to the University of San Francisco on issues ranging from strategic messaging to organizational assessments. She provided research-based business-building ideas for traditional and non-traditional students, and for institutions in the U.S. and Central America. She authored eleven proprietary studies including: “Effectively Engaging Alumni through the Web,” “New Messaging for Private and Public Institutions in Challenging Times,” and “Creating a Digital Leadership Brand with International Students.”

At Legend Labs, she works with a number of clients in the education space, including The University of Utah, Johns Hopkins University, and The University of Texas at Austin. Debbie is an active volunteer with Princeton, a past Chair of the Alumni Relations and Communications Committee and past Board Member of the Association of Graduate Alumni and does volunteer work with Dorchester Collegiate Academy, a public charter school in Boston. Debbie holds a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Kansas and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Princeton University.

Chris Hunt

Director

Chris Hunt is an Emmy-award winning producer who creates diverse content for multiple media formats and channels. Prior to joining Legend Labs, he was a features producer at the Pac-12 Networks, working with clients across the sports media landscape. He specializes in writing, shooting and editing rich video content for film, television and the Internet in both live and post-produced formats.

Christina Rubino

Senior Associate

Christina Rubino is a communications strategist focusing on content, branding, and strategic media execution. Past clients include: Southern California Gas Company, Purdue University, Wells Fargo, PGA TOUR, TxDOT.

Prior to joining Legend Labs, Christina served as an Account Supervisor at Under Armour Connected Fitness, where she focused on empowering a team to develop, execute, and optimize multi-platform digital media campaigns while fostering individual and collective growth.

Additional experience includes acting as a strategic project lead across a variety of communications strategy projects for Fortune 500 companies, serving as an account service strategist at a startup advertising firm, and working as part of the client services team at a digital marketing agency in Austin.

Christina holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Corin Wakefield

Associate

Corin Wakefield, an Associate at Legend Labs, is a digital analyst highly trained in listening technologies and social media platforms. He primarily focuses on issues monitoring and reporting, helping clients understand their key vulnerabilities and tracking the online conversations around each vulnerability to identify key influencers and conversation topics.

Zach Irsik

Associate

Zach Irsik is a digital-first storyteller with a unique skillset, blending strategic thinking with creative execution. He specializes in issues monitoring and brand messaging, turning data-driven insights into actionable solutions.

A graduate of the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, he has a background in creative writing, film production, and graphic design with an emphasis on telling unique stories through different mediums.

Marta Izarra

Associate

Marta Izarra is an Associate at Legend Labs focusing on digital analytics, issues monitoring, and content production. Leveraging her international perspective, Marta utilizes deep insights to help clients understand the conversation around their brand and build data-driven strategies. Marta also has a background in content production for a variety of formats and platforms.

Marta holds a Master’s Degree in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Advisory Board

Don V. Cogman
Co-Chair
Steve Patterson
Co-Chair
Becky Klein
Chris Plonsky
Jim Delany
Larry Scott
Steve Schuckenbrock

Don V. Cogman

Co-Chair

Don V. Cogman is a former communications, public affairs and advertising executive with forty years of experience working in business, government and politics. He began his career in Washington D.C. as chief of staff to Senator Dewey F. Bartlett (R-Okla.). He followed that experience with leading the Washington office of an Oklahoma based energy company, MAPCO Inc., as their Vice-President of Government Affairs. Subsequently he founded the Washington based public and government affairs consulting firm, The RCF Group, which merged with the world’s leading public relations/public affairs firm, Burson-Marsteller, in 1992.

In 1996 Cogman joined Burson-Marsteller as the Chief Operating Officer World-wide, becoming President and COO in 1999 before moving to parent company, Young & Rubicam as Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs for Y&R Inc.

He has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Acting Company, the Fund for American Studies, Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Scottsdale Cultural Council, the Partnership for Gender Specific Medicine, the International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). He has been appointed and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to three Presidential commissions.

Steve Patterson

Co-Chair

Steve Patterson has served as an innovative and successful executive in the NFL, NBA, NHL, professional baseball and college athletics for over 30 years. He has built championship teams and organizations, designed, financed, built and run stadia, ballparks and arenas all over the United States. Patterson successfully led the effort to bring the Houston Texans NFL team and Super Bowl XXXVIII to Houston, Texas. As General Manager of the Houston Rockets he built the 1994 NBA Championship team.

Patterson is formerly the President and CEO of the Arizona Coyotes. He is also the former Director of Men’s Athletics for the University of Texas at Austin where he oversaw the largest athletic department budget in all of college sports while setting records for academic success, revenue generation, endowment growth and philanthropic giving to the athletic department.

Prior to UT, Patterson served as Managing Director of Sun Devil Sports Group, Vice President for Athletics and Athletic Director for Sun Devil Athletics at Arizona State University. In that capacity, Patterson was responsible for all ASU Athletic Department business and sports operations, acquisition, development and operation of current and new sports facilities and assisted with the development of the 425-acre Sports Facilities District adjacent to the University in downtown Tempe.

Born and raised in Beaver Dam, WI. Patterson attended the University of Texas, graduating with honors earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1980. He graduated from UT’s Law School in 1984.

Becky Klein

Becky Klein is Principal of Klein Energy, LLC, an energy consulting company based in Austin, Texas. Over the last 25 years she has worked in Washington, DC and in Texas in the energy, telecommunications and national security arenas. Ms. Klein’s professional experience also includes service with KPMG Consulting (now Deloitte) where she headed the development of the company’s Office of Government Affairs and Industry Relations in Washington, DC. She also served as a Senior Fellow with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. She serves on the Board of Directors of Avista Corporation, a publicly traded utility serving the Pacific Northwest. She has served as chair of the board of the Lower Colorado River Authority, a public power utility owning generation, transmission, and water services across the central Texas area. In addition, she sits on the board of GroupNIRE, a company focused on developing energy resources from early stage technologies to commercial deployment, and on the board of PowerFin Partners which invests in and develops solar projects. Ms. Klein earned a Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. She also holds a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology from Stanford University. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

Ms. Klein has extensive management, strategic planning, human resource, organizational development, and national security experience.

Ms. Klein has a unique blend of legal and regulatory experience. She has served as a commissioner with the Texas Public Utilities Commission and subsequently as its chair. Her areas of legal expertise include energy and telecommunications.

She has experience in the military and national public policy arenas. She also has lobbying experience at both the state and federal level.

She serves as a member of the board of an electric utility, a solar company, an energy resources company, and served as chair of the board of a public power utility.

Chris Plonsky

Chris Plonsky has worked in college athletics since 1976 and is in her 33nd year at The University of Texas. She is executive senior associate athletics director/chief of staff and is UT’s senior woman administrator for Big 12 Conference and NCAA governance.

She supervises staff leaders in student services (academics, career/leadership/personal development), equipment, compliance/risk management and sports medicine/health and wellness/strength performance. The latter area also includes staff experts in nutrition, behavioral health and applied sports science.

Plonsky is a USA Basketball board member, a USOC Collegiate Advisory Council member and an emeritus board member of the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame. She is past president of NACDA, NACMA and Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA).

She is a past member of the NACDA Board, the LEAD1 board (formerly Division 1AD Association) and has served NCAA committees on Academic Performance, Women’s Basketball Competition and NCAA Commercialization activities. She chaired the NCAA Division I Management Council in 2003.

At Texas, she was women’s athletics director from April 2001-December 2017. From 1993-2017, she also supervised revenue areas in sponsorship, marketing, licensing and television. She worked in communications/media relations at Iowa State University (1979-81), Texas (1982-86) and The BIG EAST Conference (1986-90). After three years in administration at The BIG EAST as associate commissioner (1990-93), she returned to Texas in October 1993.

Born in Pittsburgh and raised in Greensburg, Pa., and northeast Ohio, Plonsky earned a B.S. Journalism degree in 1979 at Kent State University, where she was a three-year basketball student-athlete, undergraduate KSU athletics media relations assistant and editor of The Daily Kent Stater.

In Austin, Plonsky is a member of many University campus committees and serves as a volunteer on the University Federal Credit Union supervisory committee.

Jim Delany

Jim Delany is the former Big Ten Conference commissioner, where he led the conference through significant periods of growth that have helped it maintain its preeminent position as one of the nation’s leaders in providing quality academic and athletic experiences for young men and women.

During Delany’s 30+ year tenure at the conference, The Big Ten grew to 14 member institutions, including the additions of Penn State in 1991, Nebraska in 2011 and Maryland and Rutgers in 2014.

Under Delany’s guidance, the Big Ten was a national leader in providing opportunities for students to earn a degree while competing in intercollegiate athletics, maintaining broad-based programming, supporting gender equity and continued innovation. The Big Ten now sponsors 28 official sports, more than every conference except the Ivy League.

Delany’s distinguished career in administering intercollegiate athletics began at the NCAA where he was employed as an enforcement representative from 1975-79. For the next decade, he served as commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference before joining the Big Ten in 1989.

Delany received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of North Carolina in 1970 and juris doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1973.  At UNC, Delany was a three-year member of the varsity basketball team, serving as tri-captain in 1970 and twice participating in NCAA Final Four competition. In September 2012, Delany received the UNC Distinguished Alumni Award.

After earning his law degree, Delany served as counsel for the North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee from 1973 to 1974, and was staff attorney for the North Carolina Justice Department from 1974 to 1975.

 

Larry Scott

Larry Scott is a highly successful American sports administrator and former professional tennis player who was the commissioner of the collegiate Pac-12 Conference until 2021. He has also served as chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association and as president and COO of ATP Properties, a division of the Association of Tennis Professionals.

Scott graduated from Harvard University in 1986, where he was captain of the tennis team and named an All-American.

Steve Schuckenbrock

Steve Schuckenbrock is the former CEO of CROSSMARK, a leading sales and marketing services company. After more than 30 years of leadership experience in global companies such as Dell, EDS, PepsiCo, Frito-Lay and IBM, his expertise spans sales, marketing and technology. Prior to CROSSMARK, Steve served as President of Dell Services, and prior to that led Dell’s Large Enterprise Unit and served as the Chief Information Officer. He also served as the President and CEO of Accretive Health.

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