The Team

Petkanas Strategies is staffed with experienced communications operatives who have been battle tested in the most challenging and complicated campaigns, causes and corporate environments in the country. 

We bring years worth of media relationships and experience handling every possible scenario from product launches to crisis communications. This top tier team utilizes a blend of traditional and modern communication channels to optimize message reach and impact – and deliver for our clients.

Ryan Thomas

Having worked at the intersection of government, campaigns, and issue advocacy, Ryan Thomas helps our clients—ranging from nonprofits and issue advocacy groups, to private companies—achieve their communications goals and generate media coverage for their work in order to advance their agendas. Ryan was most recently the Coalitions Communications Director on Mandela Barnes for Wisconsin and the Democratic National Committee’s Midwest Press Secretary. Previously, he worked as National Press Secretary for Stand Up America, Communications Manager at The Hub Project, and on the communications teams for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Obama White House.

Ryan got his start in politics after failing to make it big as a child actor. Based in DC, he grew up in Florida and hails from Minnesota

Maya Hixson

Maya Hixson is a seasoned political media, issue advocacy, and public affairs expert with almost a decade of experience. She specializes in building large-scale messaging campaigns and coalitions nationwide, crafting impactful communication strategies across corporate, electoral, and non-profit sectors. She has led successful campaigns across various issue areas including tech and global solutions, climate action, voting rights, and reproductive rights advocacy.

Ahead of 2020, Maya served as Deputy Director of Battleground States Communications at the Democratic National Committee, overseeing a multi-million dollar program across key swing states to help ensure victories for Democrats up and down the ballot. Maya developed her talent and passion for reproductive rights and state-specific communications work during her tenure as Associate Communications Director for NARAL Pro-Choice America, where she led the organization’s communications efforts in critical states like Iowa, Nevada, California, and Georgia. Maya has served in senior advisory roles for high-profile campaigns and elected officials across the country, including Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Washington State. She currently lives in Manhattan.

Joann Saridakis

Joann Saridakis is the Campaigns Director at Petkanas Strategies, where she helps spearhead the development of our expanding advocacy campaign and war room practice.

Before joining Petkanas Strategies, Joann served as Regional Campaigns Director at the League of Conservation Voters, where she guided electoral and issue advocacy efforts across 16 states, helping secure critical Democratic wins in Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

An experienced campaign operative with more than a decade of experience on competitive races, Joann has worked in senior roles in races across the country, including managing a DCCC Red to Blue race in the Midwest in 2020, the re-election of an embattled state delegate as part of the Virginia legislative wins in 2019, and serving as a senior staffer on now-Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s first election to the Senate in 2016. 

A native of New Jersey, Joann is a diehard fan of Philly sports and Bruce Springsteen and enjoys robust debates about the nonexistence of Central Jersey.

César Vargas-Torrico

César Vargas-Torrico is the Communications Associate at Petkanas Strategies, where he works with the team to craft communications materials and helps manage, create, and distribute materials on behalf of clients.

Before joining Petkanas Strategies, César served as the Press Assistant for Senator Chris Coons, where he played a key role in the management of the Senator’s social media accounts, drafted press releases and advisories, lifted the Senators’ work in his Judiciary, Small Business, and Appropriations committees, and assisted press staff in the daily operations of a highly productive press office. In 2019, César started on the Hill in the House Committee on Rules and then Congresswoman Norma Torres’ team.

Hailing from Bolivia, Cesar’s secret weapon is a Spotify playlist that seamlessly transitions from reggaeton to campaign strategy podcasts. When César isn’t helping his team craft press materials, he spends time with his Siberian Husky and plays the electric guitar in his Washington-D.C. based band.

Joe Vogel

Joe Vogel has helped launch political campaigns and issue-advocacy organizations at all levels. He started his career as an advance staffer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. After working to elect Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in 2017, Joe joined Senator Cory Booker’s political team, helping build his presidential campaign. Joe went on to lead the campaign’s national advance operation, before managing operations for Mike Bloomberg’s national advance team. He has helped plan messaging strategies, produce rallies, and execute press conferences for organizations focused on gun violence prevention, access to reproductive healthcare, and tech accountability.

Joe serves as a State Legislator in Maryland, and in 2024 was a candidate for the U.S. Congress. He lives in Gaithersburg, MD, just down the street from where he grew up, and is one of Noah Kahan’s top listeners on Spotify.

Join the Team

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Contact

Shoot us a message. We look forward to working with you in the future!