EST. 1985

A comprehensive public relations firm focused on our clients’ success

About Us

We use our communication and consulting expertise to bridge the gap between our clients and their audiences by identifying and activating strategies that enable client success.


Industry Experience



The Gooden Group is a comprehensive firm with recognized strengths in the areas of strategic business consultation and public relations services, corporate communication, perception and reputation management, issue mitigation, media management, crisis communication, government relations, community relations, influencer engagement, media and social media training, digital media, social media measurement, event planning, creative content production and video/audio production.

The Gooden Group works with an array of clients spanning a wide breadth of industries. Industries include but are not limited to energy, banking, insurance, technology, healthcare, sports and entertainment, education, legal, manufacturing, hotel, restaurant, real estate, retail, municipal services and transportation.

We are in business for the good of our clients and each other. We put the needs of our clients first and work ethically to identify and activate solutions to enable client success.

We believe that authentic, quality communication between our clients and their audiences drives brand reputation and has a positive effect on the bottom line.

We understand one of the keys to our success is not only to master our discipline, but also to earn the trust and gain the confidence of our clients.

We direct our clients and each other to make decisions with integrity and provide constructive support every step of the way.

We succeed together as a cohesive and synergistic team made up of servant leaders.

We help each other develop and perform to the best of our abilities.

We are committed to supporting our families and the communities in which we live and work.

We embrace creativity, value forward-thinking, honor loyalty and view hard work as standard practice.

We are focused on our clients’ success.

We are Team Gooden.

The Team

Brent Gooden

Founding Principal

Brent Gooden co-founded the Gooden Group in 1985. Brent has decades of experience in public relations management, business consulting, marketing communications, media relations, public affairs, issue advocacy and crisis management serving a diverse group of clients and professional organizations. Brent enjoys close relationships with Gooden Group clients, preferring active involvement in supporting their business objectives and strategies.

Before founding the Gooden Group, Brent worked with an internal team managing media, public and community relations and coordinating and producing high-profile events for two Fortune 500 companies, Rockwell International and Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.

Brent is a native of Oklahoma City, a graduate of Northwest Classen High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Oklahoma State University.

Katy Gustafson, APR


Katy is an accredited public relations and strategic communications professional based in Oklahoma City. Katy serves a wide array of clients including a Fortune 50 tech company and local nonprofit organizations.

Katy’s background includes planning and coordinating large scale events, developing and implementing national public relations campaigns and consulting clients on everything from digital media to crisis communications.

Katy joined the Gooden Group in 2009 after graduating from Oklahoma Christian University with a degree in public relations/ advertising and international studies.

Tristan Shutt, APR


Tristan Shutt is an accredited strategic communications professional based in Oklahoma City. Tristan joined the Gooden Group in 2005.

With experience working with clients from a wide array of industries, including a global tech company and an international NBA player, his passion has always been his clients’ success. The Journal Record named Tristan an Achiever Under 40 in 2015. Before joining the Gooden Group, Tristan toured the U.S. and wrote for a Grammy Award-nominated musician.

Tristan graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with degrees in public relations and creative writing.

Valerie Gooden, CPA, CGMA


Valerie Gooden is a certified public accountant with experience in financial, management and tax accounting and auditing. She is based in Oklahoma City/ Edmond. Valerie co-founded the Gooden Group in 1985 and currently serves a dual role as chief financial officer and chief operating officer. Valerie is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants and is a chartered global management accountant.

Valerie is focused on the Gooden Group’s operations and financial management, long-term business development and strategic planning, ensuring that the Gooden Group is best positioned to continue serving clients well for decades to come. Before founding the Gooden Group and for several years after, Valerie worked in the auditing division of Deloitte Haskins + Sells — now Deloitte. She also served Oklahoma Christian University as an adjunct professor in accounting for several years.

Valerie graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and participated in graduate studies at Oklahoma State University in accounting and business administration.

Damaris Bender

Senior Media Relations Director

Damaris Bender is a public relations professional specializing in media relations and media analysis. Based in Kansas City, Damaris joined the Gooden Group in 2013 and serves as senior media relations director.

In a constantly evolving social and economic landscape, Damaris’ top priority is ensuring that Gooden Group clients are always apprised of the latest trends and news concerning their business and industry. Before joining the Gooden Group, Damaris worked for a business consulting firm in Tulsa.

Damaris graduated from Oklahoma State University with degrees in public relations and broadcast journalism.

Jane Braden

Managing Director

Jane Braden serves as a managing director and has directed public relations and creative efforts for clients across a broad number of industries throughout her nearly two decades with the Gooden Group. In addition, she leads Gooden Group media and crisis training seminars, coaching executive teams at a number of top tier companies across the country.

Jane is an Emmy award-winning, 20-year veteran television news reporter and producer. She brings an intimate knowledge to the Gooden Group of broadcast and print media, creative writing skills, video and radio production and event production.

Jane is based in Oklahoma City and is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in radio, TV, film, news and public affairs.

Katy Fabrie, M.A.


Katy is a strategic communications professional based in Oklahoma City. As a senior account director at the Gooden Group, Katy offers project and content management, strategic planning and media relations assistance to an array of clients.

Katy has been an active volunteer for the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System since 2015 and currently serves as the communications chair for their board. In 2018, she was accepted into Class X of OKConnect, a program that connects Oklahoma City professionals to community outreach projects and initiatives.

Katy joined the Gooden Group in 2017. Her background includes writing for local and national clients and thought leaders, developing integrated marketing campaigns and teaching college writing courses. A graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, Katy has a bachelor’s degree in writing with a minor in communications. She also has a master’s degree in 20th and 21st century literature from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Kathleen Foster

Operations Managing Director

Kathleen Foster joined the Gooden Group in 2000 and serves as office manager and senior executive assistant to Mr. Gooden. She oversees the workflow of the office including scheduling, time and billing, accounts payable and distribution of press releases and media advisories.

After spending more than 18 years as a legal secretary/ assistant, Kathleen brings to the Gooden Group a diverse set of administrative, information technology, human resources and accounting experience.

Kathleen is a native of Oklahoma City, a graduate of Northwest Classen High School and attended the University of Central Oklahoma.

Mary Ellen Kilpatrick

Senior Strategy Director

Mary Ellen Kilpatrick is a strategic communications professional based in Oklahoma City. In her role as Senior Strategy Director, Mary Ellen leads special projects and counsels clients spanning a wide breadth of industries. She is experienced in identifying and executing communications strategies in support of clients’ business goals.

In 2019, Mary Ellen was accepted into Class V of United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Board Serve Program, which trains and matches participants with local nonprofits. In 2014, she was named one of Oklahoma City’s 30 Under 30 — an award that recognizes the city’s next generation of innovative individuals.

Mary Ellen joined the Gooden Group in 2014 after graduating from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys volunteering as a volleyball coach for the Police Athletic League and is a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters Oklahoma.

Demery Pennington

Account Associate

Demery Pennington is a strategic communications professional based in Oklahoma City. As an Account Associate, Demery supports the team with account assistance, media relations, communications, PR development and event management to achieve a high level of client satisfaction. Demery serves a wide range of local and national clients.

Before joining Gooden Group, Demery served as President of the University of Oklahoma’s Public Relations Student Society of America. She has contributed work for clients like the Oklahoma Geological Survey and the globally recognized Movember Foundation.

Demery joined Gooden Group in 2019 after graduating from The University of Oklahoma with a degree in public relations and a minor in psychology.

Valerie Williams, CPA, MBA

Controller and Operations Managing Director

Valerie Williams has over 30 years of broad accounting and financial leadership experience. Valerie has been with the Gooden Group since 2013 where her focus is on accounting and general office support and best practices for the Gooden Group.

Valerie’s background includes working in public accounting and industries with an emphasis in logistics for two Fortune 500 companies. She is a certified public accountant, certified internal auditor and a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

Valerie received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Oklahoma State University and an MBA in finance from Georgia State University.

Consulting Partners

Aubrey Santo, M.S.

Consulting Partner

Aubrey Santo is a strategic communications and reputation management professional based in San Francisco. Aubrey joined the Gooden Group in 2014 with a dual role as senior operations and account director and now serves as a consultant for the company.

Aubrey’s background includes developing and implementing global communication plans, reputation management strategies and corporate social responsibility initiatives for her clients. Prior to joining the Gooden Group, she worked at Edelman’s New York office in the Corporate and Public Affairs practice.

Aubrey holds a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from New York University and graduated with honors from Oklahoma State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in finance.

Ben Ehrlich

Consulting Partner

Ben Ehrlich is a creative professional dedicated to producing current and engaging content. In 2012 he joined the Gooden Group where he now serves as senior creative director. Though primarily a video producer, he is also a graphic designer, tech whisperer and musician.

Ben has received an Emmy and multiple Addy awards for his work.

He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing as well as additional studies in international business and music.

Jennifer Eve

Consulting Partner

Jennifer is an Emmy award-winning anchor/reporter who has worked in television news for 20 years, bringing to the table an intimate knowledge of the broadcast industry. She is the president of Jennifer Eve Media, Inc. where she assists clients with media training, public relations, marketing and advertising. Shortly after 2001, Jennifer joined the Gooden Group as a consulting partner, assisting clients with high-impact videos, public relations consulting and public events.

Jennifer has produced and hosted two long-running television shows in the Oklahoma City market and has served for a number of years as the director of marketing and public relations for an internationally-based energy industry consulting group.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Oklahoma with degrees in business and communications and also participated in graduate studies in journalism.

Crystal Coon

Consulting Partner

Crystal Coon comes from a public affairs background with an emphasis on strategic communications related to public policy initiatives. Based in Oklahoma City, Crystal joined the Gooden Group in 2012 and works as a consulting partner.

She has worked with Fortune 500 companies on statewide issues and political candidate campaigns and has extensive experience leading national media relations efforts.

Crystal graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and public relations.

John Reid

Consulting Partner

John Reid has been a consulting partner with the Gooden Group since 2008. He has more than 25 years of experience managing and directing economic development and marketing for the state of Oklahoma. He served as deputy director and director of business location for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. While there, he led a team who successfully assisted corporate clients in making more than $5 billion of investment in the state.

John also has a strong record of involvement in public-private sector partnerships and currently assists the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, the state’s primary economic development support organization. Reid has a strong background in media relations, public relations and public affairs, having served as press secretary to Oklahoma Governor George Nigh from 1979 to 1986.

John graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.

Meg Martin, M.S.

Consulting Partner

Meg Martin is an experienced marketing and public relations professional based in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Meg joined the Gooden Group in 2007 as a consulting partner. She works closely with clients in industries ranging from education, energy and consumer products to create, manage and execute strategic communications plans that help them achieve their business goals.

Before joining the Gooden Group, Meg managed product and industry marketing communications at a leading maker of scientific and engineering hardware and software based in Austin.

Meg graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


The Gooden Group offers full-time and consultant employment opportunities for experienced professionals. Interested individuals should send their resume and cover letter to

Gooden Group’s internship program hires high-caliber undergraduate and graduate students. Our internship program is customized to the individual and can begin at any point during the year. Send internship program inquiries and resumes for consideration to


New business inquiries and requests:

Gooden Group Headquarters

2611 Kelley Pointe Parkway
Edmond, OK 73013


Our Network includes
  • Oklahoma City

  • Seattle

  • Kansas City