Elizabeth Much – CEO
Elizabeth Much, owner of East 2 West, was born and raised in Wilmette, Illinois (outside of Chicago) and received a B.A. in Communications from UCLA. The company recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary.
Much heads the talent division of East 2 West. Her expertise in talent development and media relations is evident in her clientele from breakout talent to established actors as well as films, television shows and plays. She has guided awards campaigns for her clients from the Emmys to OSCARS® to the Golden Globes. She has also developed a niche for working with best-selling authors such as Hoda Kotb, Alicia Silverstone, Sherri Shepherd, Melissa Rivers, etc.
Inspired by her cousin, Margie Korshak, a renowned Chicago publicist, Ms. Much knew from an early age that she wanted to be a publicist. “Public relations is the perfect career for me. It combines all of the things that I love to do – writing, communicating, and traveling,” she says. “I see the amazing effects that P.R. has provided for my clients and it is tremendously gratifying.”
She is also an active volunteer with Much Love Animal Rescue, a member of HRTS (the Hollywood Radio and TV Society) and is one of the mentors for the Hollywood Reporter’s program to help high school-aged women from underserved communities.
She is married to Steve Muller, a talent agent at Innovative Artists. They have one canine son, Enzo, a spoiled maltipoo (from Much Love Animal Rescue, of course.)
Heather Besignano (Weiss) – COO
With a background in music management and artist development, Heather Besignano’s passion, strengths, and creative vision helped develop the music department which focuses on branding known artists, artist representation, and creating a buzz for breakout artists. Among her many versatile talents, Heather also leads campaigns for our actors in television and film. She’s helped carefully build actors’ careers and has headed campaigns for the Oscars, SAG Awards, Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice Awards, Grammy’s and Emmys. Additionally, she has grown with the ever-changing digital space creating media opportunities and platforms for her clients that contribute to the “digital digestion” the millennial generation so craves. Many of her clients are cross-over talent that are both artists and actors, or are social influencers with a known talent that can be utilized to create a narrative for their brand partnerships, projects and more.
A Houston, Texas native, Heather is known for bringing her Southern charm and marketing expertise to our firm. A niche specialty, Heather is also savvy in the celebrity author arena having worked on the campaigns for several best-selling authors including Mayim Bialik’s multiple releases: “Beyond the Sling”, “Mayim’s Vegan Table” and “Girling Up: How to be Strong, Smart and Spectacular” , Alicia Silverstone’s “The Kind Diet”, Kate Siegel’s “Mother, Can You Not” and Melissa Rivers’ “Book of Joan” to name a few. Over the years, she has also found an affinity for events, especially those that are charitably related, and has handled the talent and media relations for the Save A Child’s Heart West Coast Gala, HSUS Genesis Awards, Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns Los Angeles and the opening of Mark Zunino’s Atelier in Beverly Hills to name a few. She is married to musician, Kevin Besignano, and has two canine children – Casper and Bonzo.
Catia Salvadori – CFO
Catia Salvadori, has a resume that reflects the story of a true modern-day Renaissance woman. Originally from Minneapolis, Catia’s family relocated to Northern California when she was a young teen. Her sights set on Hollywood, Catia attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, which lead directly to her early beginnings as a film casting associate to Janet Hirshenson and Jane Jenkins.
In 2000, Catia followed her entrepreneurial spirit, shifted gears and acquired her California Real Estate license. Within just a couple of years, she was running a thriving LA business with her partner, and had facilitated hundreds of transactions while under the umbrella of Sotheby’s International. But by 2005, as the US real estate climate drastically changed, Catia took an opportunity to move to the UK with her husband, a songwriter and recording artist signed to Universal Music. It was there, in a new country, that she landed a job at the London offices of Live Nation UK, working as Sponsorship Coordinator, where she reported directly to the President and SVP for UK and Europe Marketing Partnerships, and was responsible for VIP events, and coordination of multiple festival sponsorships.
Returning to the States in 2008, Salvadori was approached to be a Personal Affairs Manager for an iconic international figure in the music industry. Her responsibilities were to manage all activities of the personal estate, coupled with the 24/7 demands of a highly creative individual. This job of running all operations required the utmost tact, sensitivity and confidentiality, along with powerful management skills, for both projects and interpersonal relations, as well as handling all management of properties, staff and accounting.
In 2010, Catia joined the prestigious Much and House PR firm, now known as East 2 West Collective, and utilized her many skills from her previous positions to maintain the business affairs of a constantly changing, thriving Public Relations firm. With her dedication and detail-oriented skill set, she has found herself in the position to manage the financial aspects of the firm, handle the day to day tasks at hand, as well as helping to manage the companies HR and business affairs. She is also a key player in business development.
Catia has recently relocated her family to the South East to open our East 2 West Collective Nashville office.
Ame VanIden – Head of East 2 West Collective's Nashville Office
Ame VanIden, founder of VanIden Public Relations and Consulting LLC and Head of East 2 West Collective’s Nashville Office, has over 25 years’ experience working in Entertainment Publicity, which includes specializing in high-level entertainment, as well as brand and cause related campaigns. She has a passion for developing, managing and reinventing images of high profile talent utilizing domestic and international print, TV, radio, digital and social media. Her experience includes successful Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Award campaigns. She has worked with celebrity authors, musicians, television/film/theatre actors, lifestyle brands and philanthropic organizations, and has helped to launch international blockbuster films, independent features, top-rated TV series’, best-selling books, successful endorsement campaigns and charity engagements, as well as damage control.
VanIden began her publicity career in 1991 as a receptionist for Wolf-Kasteler, working her way up to Partner in 2004. In 2006 she left Wolf-Kasteler-VanIden & Associates to join PMK/HBH and broaden her experience outside of talent representation. After making the decision to move to Nashville, she created VanIden Public Relations and Consulting LLC, continuing to represent and sign talent in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville, as well as overseas.
She has built her career through solid industry and talent relationships, being strategic but also adaptable to the changing needs of the industry and client. She believes in working as a team with the client and their other representatives to serve the long term and immediate goals of their career. Viewing entertainment as a Global Industry, she feels it’s important to include international strategy in campaign goals.
Amanda Cee – VP of Social Media & Music Strategy
Amanda Cee has cultivated her reputation in the music and social media marketing industry through hard work, strong relationships and a unique set of skills. The Los Angeles native worked as a Music Manager for many years learning every facet of the music industry hands on. Her knowledge and experience in Music Publicity, Social Media and Artist Development has given her the ability to strategize with a big picture perspective giving her campaigns a unique and creative spin. Beginning as an assistant in 1994 to Music Producer, Remixer, DJ Richard Vission and ascending to the Music and Social Media department at the prestigious Los Angeles firm E2W Collective (formerly Much and House PR), Cee has built a creative resume that is notable for its breadth of experience and depth of accomplishment. Her love for social media led her to General Assembly in 2015 where she completed their highly reputable course in Digital Marketing. Cee’s business mantra is client first, drawing a line directly from creativity to commerce.
Her ambition and ability to quickly embrace new and alternative media has led to the development of 1.5-million-plus Twitter followings for two of her independent, up-and-coming clients, the alt-rock band Hypnogaja and the dance pop diva Kimberly Cole. Cee’s networking acumen has produced unique influencer campaigns with brands like Sony, LG, Skittles, Intel and more, launching her artist Cole from the ground-up (Cole’s LP Bad Girls Club was the Oxygen Network’s first ever co-branded music release). Amanda’s comedic video concept produced a viral YouTube hit at over 4.6 million views for BigBeat/Atlantic Records. “Amanda is a secret weapon” says music publisher Richard Hellstern of PEN Music Group, Inc. “Her natural understanding of music and social media and its ability to affect the culture at large, together with her ability to move quickly and adapt to the swift pace of change in the industry makes her a formidable asset to a development team.”
Amanda is without doubt one of the brightest young faces and sharpest minds coming up through the industry today.
Alexis Fleischer – President of Timeline PR – Director of Digital Marketing & Emerging Talent at E2W Collective
Alexis Fleischer is currently the President of Timeline Public Relations, an influencer marketing and public relations firm which is joining forces with East 2 West Collective to represent the top digital and emerging talent in the industry.
She has a wide range of experience in public relations and influencer marketing and got her start interning at entertainment public relation firms Slate PR and Sunshine Sachs. She immersed herself in both the Talent and Special Events departments, which is where she found her love for PR. From there she began working in the talent department at Rogers and Cowan where she learned valuable information that allowed her to transition into her new role at Disney Maker Studios. Upon accepting the offer, Alexis would spearhead publicity in the Life and Style department where Maker Studios represents the top personalities on YouTube, which garner millions of views on YouTube daily. In this role Alexis was able to transition their digital talent into traditional mainstream press outlets. After leaving Maker Studios to focus on personal publicity, she founded Timeline Public Relations. Her clients range from singers, actors/actresses, models and a variety of YouTube personalities and social influencers.
Bryan deCastro – Director of Communications
With more than 15 years of experience, Bryan deCastro has established himself as an expert in entertainment and consumer publicity, advising talent from motion pictures and television as well as consumer brand clients.
Before joining E2W Collective (formerly Much and House PR), Bryan was a Principal at BDC Communications responsible for developing and implementing strategic campaigns for films, as well as actors, filmmakers and production companies. There, Bryan was at the forefront of publicity campaigns for feature films such as The Cake Eaters starring Kristen Stewart, Jayce Bartok, Melissa Leo and Bruce Dern, and Bad Actress starring Beth Broderick and directed by Robert Lee King.
Throughout his career, Bryan has worked at leading PR agencies including Ketchum Public Relations where he served in senior account management positions in the Brand Marketing and Healthcare Practices creating and executing innovative media and influencer programs with integrated social and traditional media campaigns. During his tenure, Bryan led the charge in working with entertainment partners to secure product placements and celebrity spokespeople, including Grammy-winner Randy Jackson and Debi Mazar, for countless brand initiatives for clients such as Frito-Lay, Clorox and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
Bryan is also Co-Founder of The Independent Collective, an organization of filmmakers committed to funding and developing feature films and new media projects, and is co-producing the organization’s first project, the film Fall To Rise.
Kevin Derkash – Senior Publicist
Kevin Derkash joined E2W Collective (formerly Much and House PR) having worked years in the industry with a wide spectrum of diverse clients ranging from entertainers, authors, and inventors to scientists, CEOs, and even a psychic. Working in both our Talent and Lifestyle divisions, Kevin leads client campaigns geared for traditional media coverage as well as strategic out-of-the-box press. Sometimes the best story isn’t the most obvious one. Kevin started his entertainment career as a teen in front of the camera in commercial, television and film. However, while attending Loyola Marymount University, he uncovered his knack for marketing and decided to major in Communication Studies, where he honed in on his ability to think creatively about goals and then develop and execute a plan to get there. Combining his knowledge of acting with his ambition for media relations, Kevin entered the PR scene finessing the balance between the creative and the consumer which has proven to be a successful asset throughout his career. Always reading, Kevin enjoys non-fiction books above any other because he likes to finish a story feeling more informed about the world. He is also an avid runner competing in 5k, 10K, and half or full marathons. On sunny days, look for him around Venice on his beach cruiser with his shih tzu sitting in the front basket enjoying the wind-blown ride.
Kasey Kitchen – Publicist
Having started her career in entertainment as a dancer and actress, Kasey is well versed in all aspects of the needs and demands of this fast-paced and evolving industry. Born in Miami, FL, and raised in Atlanta, GA, she is a southern girl at heart; poised and polite with a unique gift for acquiring swift, yet efficient results. Her love affair with acting carried her to such cities as London, and New York, before finally settling in Los Angeles. In March of 2009, Kasey aided in restructuring and rebranding a local Atlanta business – which led to her new found love of public relations and all it entailed. While briefly dabbling in lifestyle and brand marketing, Kasey quickly realized that her true calling was where her love first began – entertainment.
Kasey has led numerous successful PR campaigns for her clients, and is thrilled to be a part of E2W Collective. With her unique skillset and the synergistic strength of the agency behind her it’s no surprise Kasey and her clients are stronger than ever. Kasey resides in Sherman Oaks with her actor husband, Adam Kitchen, and their two dogs Kody and Klair.
Ashley Moore – Junior Publicist
Ashley Moore brings five years of experience to the table, specializing in generating buzz and press for emerging and established talent. She strategizes with clients to determine their key brand messaging and how to effectively convey what exactly makes them unique in the eyes of the media. She’s a multi-disciplined professional with well-developed priority planning skills and cross-functional experience in digital, PR, event planning, awards and film/TV. She truly enjoys creating a demand for clients, plus, her strong work ethic and proactive nature makes her an invaluable asset to any team.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Ashley started her career in music publicity in Chicago as an intern for the legendary Jeff McClusky who helped launch the careers of superstars like U2. Shortly after, she interned with Biz3 Publicity who represent some of the biggest names in electronic dance music including Skrillex, Diplo, and Bassnectar to name a few.
Working in those capacities helped her gain the knowledge to launch her own career as a freelance publicist, working with various DJs, producers, concert promoters, publicity firms, and music festivals like Riot Fest, React Presents, Becks’ Access, Manic Focus, Autograf, Grandtheft, Shaun Frank, SNBRN, and more.
Wanting to advance her career further, Ashley relocated to Los Angeles, transitioning into Entertainment publicity at The Krakower Group (previously Krakower Poling PR) where she represented various below the line talent for Film, TV, Video Games, and Broadway whilst producing red carpet events for film & music festivals around the world. From there she went onto work at BWR PR in the talent division working with a roster of over 30+ actors and providing administrative support to the Executive Vice President of the Talent Department.
Now she joins E2W Collective as a Junior Publicist where she continues to work with talent and various entertainment brands.
Susie Dunner – Junior Publicist
Susie Dunner joins East 2 West Collective straight from two top LA talent agencies; Abrams Artists Agency and Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) where her years of experience in branding and digital as well as booking commercials, endorsement, and print deals for clients will serve her well as she looks to develop opportunities to expand E2W’s client base.
As a native Angelino, Susie has been exposed and involved in the entertainment industry all her life. In addition to Abrams and APA, her internships at UTA, Gersh, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and EAG Sports have given her important insights into the workings of the entertainment industry. She has gained invaluable experience being productive and comfortable in dynamic and fast-paced environments. Her passion for fashion, lifestyle, film, TV, beauty, and pop culture will translate into the enthusiasm and energy needed for success in her position as Junior Publicist at E2W.
Susie was a premier level soccer goalkeeper and a recruited NCAA Division I athlete for the University of Michigan where she received her BA in Psychology – Go Blue! She currently resides in Brentwood and delights in her obsessions with her family’s three dogs Cassie, Chloe, and RJ and her almost four-year-old niece Polly.
Katrina Ortiz-Chavez – Social Media Strategist
Katrina Ortiz-Chavez has truly established herself as an up-and-comer in digital marketing, specializing in social media and emerging platforms to maximize exposure for her various entertainment and media clients. Katrina began her career in traditional Public Relations soon evolving to social media management, managing for highly respected businesses, non-profits, and professionals. From the Big Island of Hawaii, Katrina utilizes her first-hand experience in multiculturalism and her out-of-the-box thinking to form relationships with a vast array of clientele. With an aptitude for strategy and tenacious work ethic, Katrina has truly embraced her role at E2W Collective and continues to demonstrate incredible potential with each passing week. Katrina is bright, focused, and one to watch in the quickly-evolving world of social media.
Denise Pontaza – Junior Social Media Strategist
Denise Pontaza has been actively immersed in social media since 2010 when she worked as a Social Media Marketing Intern for several companies like Rockeros.net, Little Heart Records and Hopeless Records while she attended California State University, Northridge. After she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from California State University, Northridge in 2014 as a TELACU scholar, she soon found her home as a part-time assistant in the social media department at Los Angeles based PR agency, E2W Collective. As an innovative content creator, Denise combines her photography skills and artistic mind to generate captivating images to enhance her clients’ social media presence. This particular skill set earned Denise a full-time position at E2W as a Junior Social Media Strategist. Fluent in Spanish, she incorporates her Hispanic heritage in projects whenever possible. Her love for pugs, live music and travel inspire the visually appealing and engaging content she’s so passionate about.
Nancy Schuster – NY Associate
Nancy first started her career by producing fashion shows and charitable causes along with promoting successful nightlife events in one of the nation’s most coveted and busiest cities; New York City. But it wasn’t just the nightlife scene where Nancy found success. It was only after a stint working amongst some of the industry’s leading directors and artists in advertising production that she began honing in on her PR skills.
This modern day renaissance woman has worked with and on some of the biggest names and shows in the business. Her client roster reflects a true who’s who list within the fields of beauty, lifestyle, fashion and talent. Plus, this social media maven also has a few other tricks up her sleeve. She can effectively turn any coveted brand’s advertising campaign into a sensible PR campaign that can act as a catalyst to their success with finesse. She can also spearhead any global or international event with ease.
Nancy was born in Seoul, raised in the hometown of “The Office”, surfed the eastern shore and excitedly still calls New York home after living there for half her life. Currently living in Brooklyn, she happily shares her space with five fashion-filled closets all while being a java-fueled, self-proclaimed pop culture nerd.
Our collaborators at AMCONYC
AMCONYC has established a reputation as the ideal launch pad for today's hottest emerging designers who want to increase industry awareness, launch their line and stimulate brand promotion. Our clients are at the helm of the future of fashion.
Adriana Marie – Founder
Adriana Marie, a trailblazing entrepreneur, founded AMCONYC in early 2014 creating a platform that caters to emerging and independent designers to provide not only professional and educational support but a bigger voice within a competitive industry. With a background as a former designer herself for over seven years, Adriana knows and understands the industry from all sides of the coin and uses her background and diverse business acumen to introduce new opportunities to growing brands such as AMCONYC Fashion Week. In introducing AMCONYC Fashion Week, Adriana Marie produces a cost effective solution for designers to showcase their collections during New York Fashion Week to press, buyers, influencers, and targeted consumers to further optimize exposure and credibility for the emerging brands. Through Adriana’s diligent work efforts, she has collaborated with some of the largest organizations including Dunkin’ Donuts, Aveda, Beyonce’s WTRMLN WTR, and many others. She has expanded AMCONYC to offer public relations, marketing, sales, and educational courses for designers and lifestyle brands. Now, AMCONYC is stronger than ever and continues to grow and expand season after season. Giving back is a big part of Adriana’s DNA as she sits on the Board of Directors for Variety the Children’s Charity, working towards providing the greatest possible impact and transforming the lives of underserved children through arts.
Marina V – Senior Marketing Manager
Marina began her career in the eCommerce industry, spearheading events for a boutique consultancy in the space. With over ten years of PR experience, she has worked in a number of industries including pharmaceuticals, fashion, and travel. Marina’s expertise is in special events, corporate and conference planning, marketing, B2B and B2C social media strategy. Marina earned a Psychology degree from Montclair State University. She has been an asset to AMCONYC since 2014.
Devena Smith – Marketing and PR
Devena, youngest in her class, recently received her Masters in Media at Parsons in New York City. She has a background in modeling, social media marketing and research, production for runway shows, collaborating with aspiring designers, and her sole focus art direction in fashion photography.
She has served as director and producer for annual fashion shows in Connecticut to print series collaborations with published photographers Paul Terrie and Jonathan Taylor in The Big Apple. Devena has participated in NYFW working alongside celebrity designer LaQuan Smith for his Big E Commerce marketing campaign as well as with AMCONYC as a production assistant & PR assistant for four seasons and is excited to now be a part of AMCONYC’s PR team after two years of working side by side.