With more than two decades of experience, Reyne Telles is Cooksey’s go-to public-sector communicator. As vice president and Public Sector Practice leader, Reyne guides Cooksey’s governmental clients through in-depth communications audits, institutional planning and execution of engagement approaches that target and reach key stakeholders.
Before Cooksey, Reyne spent six years as the executive director of communications and community engagement for one of the largest school districts in the country. At the Austin Independent School District (Austin ISD), he led marketing, stakeholder and communications efforts that supported 130 schools and 81,000 students. The 40+ member department staff he managed included a Lone Star Emmy-nominated, 24/7 public access television station, as well as the team responsible for the outreach and messaging behind a successful $1.1 billion bond (the largest in Central Texas history by any public sector entity at the time). He honed his skills in public perception and mass communication campaigns by guiding Austin ISD to be among the first large, urban districts to launch an empirically based, publicly funded multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to recruit and retain students.
Reyne’s professional experience also includes a six-year tenure with the City of Austin, the 11th-largest municipality in the country. As the City’s manager of media relations, he earned recognition from the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers for Best Media Relations and Best Social Media multiple times. He has also served as the director of communications for Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, building an executive-level communications plan and securing an appearance for the mayor on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
He received his bachelor’s degree in communication and political science from Eastern New Mexico University and his master’s degree from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.
What inspires you?
Success. Whether the accomplishment is realized individually or as a group, is professional or personal, the goal small or large – I am inspired when the yummy juice was worth the squeeze!
What are your favorite hobbies?
I really enjoy keeping up with and discussing current events. Wait, is that a hobby? I’m going to say it is since I spend time doing it! I have experience as a television news executive producer and political reporter, and I find that I am a big “news junkie.” I like recognizing what stories media outlets cover, as well as the way they are presented.
What can’t you do without?
The arts. I find joy in being able to experience a concert (especially if it is by a personal fave), an awesome painting or portrait, the theater, a poetry slam, etc. Years ago, I had the chance to serve two terms as an appointed grant evaluation panelist for the Texas Commission on the Arts. That experience helped me more realize how rich Texas is in the cultural arts. From a funk band to folklórico, you can often find me taking in the talent.
Why are you passionate about public relations?
I believe that a large part of public relations is public perception. It never ceases to amaze me what an individual or organization can accomplish when they hit the bullseye regarding positive perception. I’m enthusiastic about creating messaging that leads to or expands positive perception. I’m also particularly passionate about how message creation can improve communication to those who are often left out of the communication and feedback loop.