About Sounding Board Marketing & Communications

Strategic Communications and Marketing Case StudiesSounding Board Marketing & Communications provides strategic marketing and communication services that exceed our clients’ unique goals and delivers results that motivate audiences to act, change, and/or otherwise change behaviors for a greater good.

Sounding Board is known for providing communication and marketing solutions that are creative, thoughtful, and drive positive results for our clients.

Mission: Sounding Board Marketing & Communication’s mission is to increase public confidence in public education and improve opportunities for education non-profit organizations to succeed through proactive communication and marketing.

Values: Sounding Board Marketing & Communications believes in collaboration, respect, professionalism, honesty and integrity, and delivering high quality results to every client.

Philosophy: A sounding board is something that amplifies someone’s voice. We amplify our clients’ stories through strategic messaging and positioning, so that their messages resonate with their audiences.

Sounding Board Marketing & Communications spends time listening to its clients, then brings forward ideas to address the client’s needs, collaborates with the client throughout the project, and develops and implements results-oriented, effective and successful strategies that bring measurable results and outcomes.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Sounding Board’s President, Heather McGowan, was born and raised in San Jose, CA, where she ultimately graduated from college and started her career working for city councilmembers in one of the most diverse cities in the nation–—gender, gender expression, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability status, socio-economic background, experience and more. These experiences provided her the opportunity to develop a strong foundation, deep respect, and cultural consciousness within the workplace and also through her work and approaches in public relations and communications.

In addition to using best practices approaches in communication and public relations, the DEI standards to which Sounding Board itself to when approaching client communications include: 

  • We embrace the diversity of our clients’ employees, families and communities;
  • We will ensure that our client’s strategies will include fair and equitable treatment, access, opportunity, and engagement for all and will create an environment that respects and values all perspectives, especially ensuring that persons within historically underrepresented groups are included and represented;
  • We use the most effective and culturally-relevant approaches to best reach all of our clients’ communities and families, including the hardest to reach individuals, who may not have access to or respond best to technology;
  • We communicate and deliver communications in culturally-relevant and accessible ways; and
  • We incorporate and reflect the diversity and values of our clients’ communities and families  through our communications.

Every one of our communications that we create for our clients must incorporate these standards, and we only work with contractors who abide by these same standards.  More information about our DEI standards can be found here.


Heather McGowan, MA, APR- Principal and Owner

About Heather McGowanHeather McGowan (MA, APR) Principal and Owner of Sounding Board Marketing & Communications since 2009, has 25 years of experience developing and executing effective and successful communications and marketing strategies for elected officials, education (K-12 and higher education), and non-profit organizations.

With a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), and as the daughter of a long-time school board trustee and wife of a public high school teacher, Heather—a former K-12 school district Public Information Officer — is passionate about advancing and supporting public education.  Heather has also served as an adjunct faculty member at William Jessup University, in their Digital Communication and Design degree program, and their Masters in Educational Leadership graduate program, teaching family and community engagement.

She founded Sounding Board Marketing & Communications because of her strong desire to increase public confidence in public education and to advance the work of non-profits that benefit students and education.

Heather has earned awards for her work, including the California School Public Relations Association’s Excellence in Communications Award and recognition from the Center for Digital Education for excellence in digital communications.

2007 Award of Excellence: Folsom Cordova Unified School District’s E-Newsletter

2010 Award of Excellence: Linking Education & Economic Development’s LEEDLinks Newsletter

2012 Award of Merit: Washington Unified School District’s “Proud to be WUSD” Campaign

2019 Award of Excellence: Robla School District’s “Strong Community. Strong Schools. Strong Family.” campaign

2020 Award of Excellence: Evergreen School District’s School Consolidation Community Engagement Campaign

2022 Award of Excellence: Oroville Union High School District’s Hall of Fame and “Meet OUHSD” social media campaigns. 

2023 Award of Excellence: Robla School District’s COVID-19 Clinics Social Media Campaign

2023 Award of Merit: Robla School District’s “Launch into Preschool/TK” campaign

2023 Award of Merit: 2022 Oroville Union High School District Community Information Bulletin

Heather is a member of the California School Public Relations Association, and is serving as its APR Chair, and is also a member of the National School Public Relations Association.

Heather lives and operates Sounding Board Marketing & Communications in Folsom with her husband, Chad, who is a high school teacher, and her three children.

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