Our Team

  • Ryder Todd Smith
    Ryder Todd Smith
    President
  • Nicole D. Smith, CPA
    Nicole D. Smith, CPA
    Chief Financial Officer
  • Katherine Griffiths
    Katherine Griffiths
    Director of Operations
  • Jon Barilone
    Jon Barilone
    Director
  • Courtney Miller
    Courtney Miller
    Senior Business Analyst
  • Cameron Grimm
    Cameron Grimm
    Senior Business Analyst
  • Kjerstin Nichter
    Kjerstin Nichter
    Graphic Designer
  • Melanie James
    Melanie James
    Business Analyst
  • Bria Balliet
    Bria Balliet
    Business Analyst
  • Sara Scarbo
    Sara Scarbo
    Junior Business Analyst
  • Caroline Lee
    Caroline Lee
    Junior Business Analyst
  • Karen Villaseñor
    Karen Villaseñor
    Junior Business Analyst
  • Saara Lampwalla
    Saara Lampwalla
    Junior Business Analyst
  • Vanessa Thomas
    Vanessa Thomas
    Junior Business Analyst
Ryder Todd Smith
President

Ryder has over 20 years of experience in the information technology, marketing and public affairs fields. He has helped build Tripepi Smith into a statewide public affairs firm with over fifty public agencies, private and non-profits clients.

His industry experience includes: local government, defense, mortgage, insurance and e-commerce. Ryder’s partnership with local government professionals has been recognized and awarded by the California City Management Foundation and the Municipal Management Association of Northern California.

Ryder graduated from Claremont McKenna College and served as President of the 10,000 member Alumni Association from 2008 – 2010. He now serves as the Vice Chair of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College and is a former Planning Commissioner in the City of Tustin where he resides with his wife and daughter.

Fun fact: Ryder is the son of a fisherman and spent several summers throughout the State of Alaska working on the boat with his father. Thousands of halibut gave their lives up to pay for a collection of Lego, Ryder’s first car and his college education.

Nicole D. Smith, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Nicole has over two decades of experience in public accounting, human resources and marketing. In 2002, she co-founded Tripepi Smith and has helped build it into a statewide public affairs firm with over fifty public agencies, and private and non-profit clients.

Prior to launching Tripepi Smith, Nicole worked in PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Business Assurance group, where she focused primarily on the real estate market. She later served as the Assistant Corporate Controller and Financial Analyst for a publicly-traded homebuilder located in Orange County, and then worked for multiple clients in the real estate and services industries as an independent accountant. She now serves as the CFO and HR Manager of Tripepi Smith.

Nicole’s alma matter is Claremont McKenna College, where she graduated cum laude with a degree in Economics-Accounting.

Currently, Nicole is on the board of the Vista Irvine chapter of National Charity League and serves as the Vice President of Ways and Means. She is a resident of the City of Tustin, where she lives with her husband and daughter. She enjoys running and cooking.

Nicole is a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor.

Nicole is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional

Fun Fact: Nicole grew up in local government, as her father is a former California city manager

Katherine Griffiths
Director of Operations

With more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit advancement, Katherine’s proficiencies include both written and verbal communication. As the former Director of Creative Services at Claremont McKenna College, she brings an innovative approach to communications and professional dedication. Her background includes consulting for higher education clients including Pomona College and the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She is an alumna of Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

Katherine also serves as Council Trustee: Communications for Delta Gamma Fraternity and as Communications Chair for the Claremont Educational Foundation.

Jon Barilone
Director

Jon has a wide-ranging knowledge and skill set from years of Internet marketing and marketing communications work in a variety of industry verticals. Jon’s professional background includes search engine optimization and advertising, website content management, content writing and editing, product marketing management, and significant experience with social media marketing and community management. Jon graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature.

Jon is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Courtney Miller
Senior Business Analyst

Courtney is an alumna of CSU Sacramento, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government and a minor in French. Courtney began her career at a political fundraising firm in Northern California where she supported lead staff with fundraising activities for state and local candidates. She later transitioned her career to focus on communications, government relations and constituent advocacy. Courtney has experience working as a communications director in the capitol, educating elected officials, candidates and political treasurers on the Political Reform Act, and creating advocacy strategy for leadership volunteers at a statewide non-profit organization that focuses on education reform in California.

Courtney is Constant Contact certified and a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Cameron Grimm
Senior Business Analyst

After a passion for storytelling compelled her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Scripps College, Cameron went on to study video editing and production at the Los Angeles Film School. This education led her to acquire 10 years of experience in video production and she later expanded her career into other areas of marketing communications. Her most recent role as Director of Creative Services at Claremont McKenna College allowed her to manage print communication pieces and social media in addition to video work. Cameron’s background includes experience in a variety of industries including higher education, entertainment and the nonprofit sector.

Cameron is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

 

Kjerstin Nichter
Graphic Designer

Kjerstin is a Graphic Designer with Tripepi Smith. After studying Business Administration at both the Ecole Supérieure Libre Des Sciences Commerciales Appliquéesis in Paris and Concordia University in Irvine, Kjerstin went on to receive her Advanced Production Certificate in Graphic Design from Golden West College in Huntington Beach. Kjerstin began working as a freelance graphic designer in 2012 and joined the Tripepi Smith staff in 2015.

Melanie James
Business Analyst

Melanie is a Business Analyst and Graphic Designer with Tripepi Smith. After studying Anthropology at California State University, Long Beach, Melanie went on to receive her Digital Arts Degree from Golden West College in Huntington Beach. She has experience with website design, graphic design and WordPress CMS. Melanie began working as a freelance graphic designer in 2015 and joined the Tripepi Smith staff in 2016.

Melanie is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Bria Balliet
Business Analyst

Bria is an alumna of UC San Diego, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and honed her writing skills as an editor for several on-campus publications. Following earning her B.A., she was hired by a publishing company in Orange County that specialized in creating custom magazines for cities, private communities, and the hospitality industry. In her most recent role with a university, Bria created content to span multiple channels including feature stories for the web and print, social media posts, and newsletters. She also assisted with graphic design needs as well as portrait and event photography. She is a passionate storyteller and utilizes her skill set to communicate her client’s stories in engaging and effective ways.

Bria is certified in Constant Contact and a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

 

 

Sara Scarbo
Junior Business Analyst

Sara provides day-to-day operational support for the entire Tripepi Smith team. She provides primary support for WordPress website content management and executes project support roles across various initiatives including video production, publishing, marketing logistics and event planning. Additionally, Sara serves as the lead writer for Civic Business Journal, a website focused on telling the success stories of private companies partnering with government agencies to deliver efficient and effective solutions for communities. Sara graduated from Chapman University where she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in Finance and Financial Management Services and a Minor in Law & Public Policy.

Caroline Lee
Junior Business Analyst

Caroline is a Junior Business Analyst. After studying Comparative Literature at University of California, Irvine and earning her Bachelor’s Degree with two minors in French and Classical Civilization, her background in writing was honed through experience as the primary editor for a previous company. Familiar with both technical writing and creative prose, she helps our clients tell their stories, developing their ideas into comprehensive and captivating narratives. Caroline utilizes her skills to support the Tripepi Smith team and its various clientele throughout the state.

Caroline is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Karen Villaseñor
Junior Business Analyst

Karen brings unique local government experience and insight to the Tripepi Smith team. Having delivered both in-depth research and hands-on work for various public agencies and organizations over the past few years, she assists clients in leveraging their social media to connect with their communities. Additionally, backed by first-hand experience in working with city managers and city staff, she is passionate about shaping positive and transparent relationships between local government agencies and the residents they serve.

Karen received her Bachelor of Science in Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations, from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Karen is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional and Facebook Blueprint certified Planning Professional. She is also certified in Google Analytics.

Saara Lampwalla
Junior Business Analyst

Saara is an alumna of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations as well as minors in Marketing Management, Journalism, and Philosophy. After honing her writing skills as a staff writer for Cal Poly Pomona’s newspaper, she went on to act as a brand ambassador for a university organization, communications intern for one of California’s largest utility companies, and marketing communications coordinator for a private school. Saara has garnered an array of skills and knowledge that have expanded her scope of thinking so she can provide optimum support for Tripepi Smith and its clients.

Saara is certified in Constant Contact, Hootsuite Social Marketing and Hubspot Inbound.

Vanessa Thomas
Junior Business Analyst

Vanessa is an alumna of Western Washington University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in News Editorial Journalism as well as minors in Communication Studies and Political Science. Vanessa’s work has been published in magazines and newspapers, including the Bellingham Herald  and the Whatcom Watch. After completing her education, Vanessa interned for the City of Renton, where she focused on enhancing the City’s social media. Her work extended to generating content including posts, videos, and photography marketing the City.