Meet WordLab


WordLab is led by a team of industry professionals with over 65 years of experience in public relations, marketing and communications. They are closely involved in each project and guide our apprentices in creating high-quality work.

Linda Varrell

Linda Varrell, APR

Linda Varrell has more than 25 years of experience in communications, public relations, crisis handling, and project and sales management. As a former vice president and company spokesperson for a publicly traded financial institution, she created and executed external and internal communications campaigns supporting expansive growth, product introductions, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, financial disclosures, high-visibility construction and technology projects as well as numerous crises.

In 2006, she founded Broadreach Public Relations, LLC, an award-winning, women-owned strategic communications firm based in Portland, Maine. She is nationally accredited in public relations (APR), holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and is regularly tapped to speak at C-level events and industry-specific conferences. Linda serves on numerous nonprofit boards, including as President of the Maine Public Relations Council, Chair of University of Southern Maine (USM) Corporate Partners and is a board member of the Maine Press Association. She has also served as adjunct faculty at both USM and Thomas College.

Linda recently launched WordLab®, LLC, a nationally recognized Department of Labor apprenticeship program providing public relations, marketing and public affairs training to young professionals while serving the communications needs of small businesses and nonprofits.

Wayne Clark

Wayne Clark, MA
Program Director

Wayne is a Maine native who has worked in Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon. He spent most of his career in executive positions in healthcare marketing and communications. Wayne has a BA in Communication from the University of Southern Maine and an MA in Communication from Marist College. He teaches public relations, marketing, and strategic planning at the graduate level. He is active in the Maine Public Relations Council.

Winter 2019 Apprentices

Our apprentices are carefully selected from a large, talented group of applicants from Maine and beyond. They represent the industry’s brightest, young talent and eagerly handle every project with skill and professionalism.

Brian Lee
Brian Lee began working at WordLab as a client associate in February. He moved to Portland from Boston, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Florida with minors in history and communication studies. He is looking forward to working with Maine’s nonprofits and small businesses and making a positive impact through effective communication. When he’s not at work, you can most likely find him in the woods or on the water, where he enjoys hiking, camping, backpacking, kayaking and fishing.

Glendon Zernicke

Glendon Zernicke
Glendon is a client associate who currently resides in Portland. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine, Class of 2018, where he studied both communications and media studies. His interest in public relations stems back to his childhood passion for music entertainment. His experience includes radio internships, the creation of his own radio show and a broadcasting scholarship award from the state of Maine. Glendon serves as an active member of the Maine Public Relations Council. In his personal time, you can find Glendon hiking mountains, relaxing at the beach, or checking out music blogs for the latest tunes. 

Katherine Hulit

Katherine Hulit
Katherine Hulit joined WordLab as a client associate with international public relations experience in the fields of public service, activism and entertainment. Katherine grew up in Portland, Maine, but moved to India, where she served as a communications volunteer at a large nonprofit and as a project manager for a large-scale international music festival. After her time overseas, she relocated to New York City, where she assisted in social media management for an experimental art space. Most recently, Katherine completed an internship with the Maine International Trade Center. She holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and gender studies from the University of Southern Maine, where she also holds a certificate in grant writing.

Kyle Walton

Kyle Walton
Kyle Walton joined WordLab as a client associate having recently finished a graduate-level certificate program in digital curation through the University of Maine. This transition came after digital desk work at NEWS CENTER Maine, allowing him to further strengthen his social media and brand-based outreach skills. Kyle also has experience in multimedia development and production for local, regional and national companies. Kyle is looking forward to incorporating his diverse media skill set into business communication and helping WordLab continue to grow and diversify its client offerings.

Spring 2019 Apprentices

Scott Michael
Scott Michael is a client associate from Cleveland, Ohio. He recently graduated from Ohio State University, where he studied strategic communications with a minor in music, media and enterprise. Scott was president of the music business club at Ohio State and is a member of the PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America). He is also a fan of Cleveland sports and enjoys writing about music, especially hip-hop and alternative. Scott loves going to the gym and enjoys taking advantage of every opportunity to be outdoors and explore his surroundings. 

Lauren Whitney

Lauren Whitney
A southern Maine native, Lauren Whitney quickly found her interest in public relations during her time as a marketing assistant for Old Orchard Beach’s Pier, which provided her with challenging work and introduced her to the profession. She attended East Carolina University (ECU) in Greenville, North Carolina, earning a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration.  

Having lived so far from home, Lauren welcomed the opportunity to return to her roots. She is looking forward to living again in her home state and working in the lively city of Portland.  

Sacha Kiesman

Sacha Kiesman
Sacha Kiesman joined WordLab as a client associate in June. She grew up in Maine and graduated from the University of Southern Maine, where she studied strategic communication and public relations and integrated herself into Portland’s community. In her career, she has conducted communications for local nonprofits including Amistad and Catholic Charities Maine. Sacha aims to build genuine connections while using efficiency and measurement to deliver excellence, and she believes great communication is achieved through a balance of technical procedure and humanity. In her free time, she loves taking walks in the city and playing tennis in the park.