BIOS

  • Katherine Jones
    Principal and Founder
  • Brian Auderer
    Creative Director
  • Connie Freeman
    Account Director
  • Caroline Garry
    Designer
  • Shannon Ratliff
    Senior Strategist
  • Katie Bencken
    Brand and Marketing Strategist
  • Angi Menell
    Director of Finance
  • Tina Baker
    Office Manager

Katherine Jones

Principal and Founder

Katherine founded Milkshake in 1999 and continues to lead the firm today, building a team of experts who deliver unparalleled, authentic solutions for Milkshake’s clients. Katherine’s primary focus is leading the strategy group, where she guides key strategy engagements and delivers core strategy insights and recommendations. Kat’s particular passion lies in uncovering the soul of a brand and getting to its core essence so that the brand can be clearly positioned and ultimately, creatively expressed.

Katherine has more than 20 years of experience in designing brands, experiences and storytelling. Katherine is recognized as a leader in branding and community and speaks regularly at industry and client conferences. In 2005, she was awarded the Austin Ad Fed’s “Ad Woman of the Year.” That same year, Milkshake received the American Marketing Association’s Marketer of the Year Award. Katherine’s received the Austin Business Journal “Profiles in Power: Futurist” Award and in addition to community service for many organizations, she has served on several boards, including the The Seton Cove, Austin Children’s Museum, GENaustin, and American Youthworks.

Trained as a medical illustrator, she entered this world through 3-D computer visualization via her medical imaging work with the Visible Human Project at the National Library of Medicine. For five years, Katherine served as creative director at Engineering Animation, Inc., where she produced animations, illustrations and CD-ROMs for clients such as The Smithsonian, Time Warner, Merck, Glaxo, Hasbro and Mattel. Her direction on top-selling Barbie Magic Hairstyler CD-ROM lead to her next position as senior vice president of creative development at Girl Games, Inc., where she designed and produced original and licensed interactive entertainment products for teen girls. Just before starting Milkshake, Katherine worked on several films including the title sequence for Fight Club, and concept designs for The Cell and Minority Report.

Raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Katherine graduated from University of Michigan with a BFA in Fine Arts and a BGS in Zoology and earned an MA from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Biological and Medical Illustration.

Brian Auderer

Creative Director

Brian brings creative leadership, thoughtful insights, and style to the positioning and expression of Milkshake’s clients. From listening for cues about brand truths, to concepting authentic, nontraditional expressions, Brian adeptly guides the creation of compelling design solutions.

Brian has over 15 years of design experience. Prior to joining Milkshake in 2003, he held design positions at Metrowerks Corp., University of Texas, Tocquigny Advertising and Design Edge, as well as doing freelance work for clients including Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top and Texas music landmark The Continental Club. His love of music and old cars led him to be a founding partner of the Lonestar Round Up, one of the largest traditional hot rod and custom car shows in the country.

Brian earned a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas.

Connie Freemen

Account Director

Connie’s engaging style and astute organization enable her to expertly serve the needs of our clients while managing the flow of communications and service delivery between clients and the Milkshake team. Connie serves as the primary point of contact for client relationships, providing expert guidance and strategic recommendations to our clients. Connie brings the ability to translate complex ideas for diverse audiences.

Previously serving as Milkshake’s Campaign Director for Generation TX, Connie Freeman has 10 years of higher education experience. She served as Deputy Director of the Advise TX College Advising Corps, a project of the Institute for Public School Initiatives at UT Austin’s College of Education. Funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board through the federal College Access Challenge Grant program, Advise TX places recent college graduates in low-income high schools to help students navigate the path to postsecondary education. As Deputy Director, she oversaw the successful launch of Advising Corps chapters at Texas A&M, TCU, and Trinity University, and she managed the program’s strategic expansion from 15 partner high schools to 120.

Prior to moving to Austin, Connie served as Assistant Director of the National College Advising Corps, the umbrella organization for Advise TX. There she served as the primary liaison between the Advising Corps’ national headquarters at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NCAC’s 13 partner universities. From 2003-2008, she served in the Student Affairs division at the University of Virginia, where she developed programs to support the adjustment of first-year and transfer students.

Connie has a lifelong love of art, previously holding positions at the Hollis Taggart Galleries in Manhattan and a prestigious internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy.

Connie holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History and a master’s degree in Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education, both from the University of Virginia.

Caroline Garry

Designer

Caroline brings design thinking and process to Milkshake’s strategies, recommendations, and brand systems. Caroline’s expertise in information and visual design enhance both Milkshake’s development of brand expressions and systems, and the presentation of revolutionary ideas.

Before joining the Milkshake team, Caroline was a designer at Mark Brinkman Associates (MBA) in Austin, where she worked with a broad range of clients from the corporate, creative, education, high-tech, law, medical, retail and state industries. Prior to that, she developed product and package design at Seiko Instruments for brands like Warner Bros, Mattel and Perry Ellis. She has also taught Visual Communications classes at Austin Community College.

Caroline received a BFA in Communication Design, Summa Cum Laude, from Texas Tech University.

Shannon Ratliff

Senior Strategist

As a consultant to Milkshake, Shannon serves as a Senior Strategist. Shannon’s diplomacy and engaging style enable him to expertly guide key strategy engagements and delivers core strategy insights and recommendations. His particular passion lies in the creation of brand strategies that connect individuals in communities for social change. Shannon combines a wide-ranging inquisitiveness with over 15 years of experience in law and public policy at national law firms and at his own consultancy to bring a unique perspective to client work. As a result, his strategy insights are informed by an understanding of complex business issues as well as the social and political forces that shape the environment in which our clients operate.

Shannon has broad experience working with both public and private sector clients in diverse fields such as renewable energy, financial services, technology networking, healthcare and local government. An Austin native, Shannon is actively involved in the community currently serving as a member of both the Austin Area Research Organization and the St. David’s Foundation Community Health Access Committee.

Shannon graduated from Haverford College with a BA in Philosophy with Honors and earned a JD from the University Of Texas School of Law.

Katie Bencken

Brand and Marketing Strategist

As a consultant to Milkshake, Katie serves as a Brand and Marketing Strategist. Katie shapes fundamental brand elements to evolve a brand from its current position to its highest potential, always sensitive to her client’s unique identity and needs. She loves to gain a deep understanding of her client’s target audience, from their make-up and preferences to their passion for the brands they allow to become part of their lives.

Katie has over 12 years of experience as a brand marketer for brands such as Quicken, QuickBooks, Wal-Mart private label personalized jewelry, and Yucatan Guacamole. She co-founded ApartmentRatings.com in 2000, a top 5 apartment hunting website (sold to Internet Brands), and founded AutoimmuneMom.com in 2012.

Katie graduated from Santa Clara University with a BS in Economics and earned a MBA from University of Texas McCombs School of Business with a specialization in marketing.

Angi Menell

Director of Finance

As a consultant to Milkshake, Angi provides accounting and finance services. Angi began her career in finance in Amarillo, Texas, in 1992, as the youngest employee ever hired by Bank One. She then transferred to Austin where she worked for Wells Fargo Bank. Angi was a VP when Silicon Valley Bank, a commercial bank specializing in lending to technology startups, offered her a position in the Austin office to head up Client Relations. In a short time, she was promoted to manage the cash management operations for the southwest region of Silicon Valley Bank. After four years at SVB, Angi returned to personal finance and became a VP at TruWest Credit Union.

Since then, Angi has taken on bigger challenges, using her understanding of customer service, emerging growth companies, and finance to specialize in providing businesses with the crucial finance component that many companies either can’t afford or don’t acknowledge.

Angi holds a BS in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin.

Tina Baker

Office Manager

Tina is the heart and soul behind the friendly, organized command center of the Milkshake office. Before starting at Milkshake, Tina was working as an Account Manager at Aquent, a creative and marketing staffing agency. She worked with multiple advertising agencies and managed the Schawk Retail Marketing account in Chicago. Tina also provided the office with administrative support and helped with office management duties. Tina comes from a recruiting background, and has enjoyed working with advertising agencies though Aquent.

A graduate from University of Illinois, Tina has a BS in Sociology. Tina received her Professional in Human Resources certification.