Dr. Karla S. Mastracchio is a Community Manager and expert in Strategic Communications and Outreach for the Florida office of SecureSet, a cybersecurity company with locations in Denver, Tampa, and Colorado Springs. At SecureSet, Karla is responsible for all outreach and regional communications strategies, social media, and strategic partnerships. She also serves as spokesperson and represents SecureSet in media engagements and public facing projects.
Karla comes to SecureSet from U.S. Central Command, where she served as the Media Operations Cell Team Chief, supervising a team of analysts that provide media analysis and public affairs support to the USCENTCOM Commander and other senior leaders. She has built a successful career straddling government and industry, holding positions in the intelligence community, academia, and communication consulting. She is a trained rhetorician, specializing in helping clients and stakeholders understand what words work, what words don’t, and why.
She has appeared as a featured expert in numerous television segments to include News Channel 8, Channel 10 News, Fox 13, ABC Action News, and Bay News 9, and in print for publications that include The Tampa Tribune, Tampa Bay Times, and Fortune Magazine where she specializes in political communication, presidential communication, gender and politics, and pop culture.
Karla began her work with the federal government serving The Defense Intelligence Agency as the Analytic Outreach and Strategic Engagements Director. She developed and implemented the first Outreach program at U.S. Central Command. designed to create a collaborative space between the IC and academia, think-tanks, and NGOs. She also oversaw Strategic Outreach efforts to increase the visibility of DIA capabilities, operations, and activities.
Utilizing her academic background and government experience, Karla led communication and engagement efforts at The University of South Florida where she served the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President as an executive communication strategist. During that time, she also served as a Visiting Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences
She is a graduate of The University of South Florida where she earned undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Communication Studies. She earned a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from The University of Iowa with a concentration in environmental communication and Public Advocacy. Karla also holds a graduate certificate from the Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry, a unique interdisciplinary think-tank that trains researchers to think, write, and speak across disciplines and industries.
With a specific focus on environmental language, she is an expert in understanding the relationship between public policy, popular culture, and national and international politics. She also specializes in the relationship between politics and environmentalism. As an example, she is currently working on an academic research project that analyzes language within presidential public address from 1980-2000 and reconsidering environmental political rhetoric’s implications for shaping contemporary relationships between community, policy, and collective identity.
As as a 5th generation Floridian, Karla is deeply invested in strengthening her local community. She serves on the David A. Straz Center’s Taste the Best of Tampa Bay Committee, holds leadership positions in The Junior League of Tampa, and is an active member of USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy. Karla also sits on the Imagine Gala committee benefiting the Joshua House and serves on the Public Relations Committee. She is a member of the Alpha Delta Pi Alumnae Association, the National Communication Association, the University of Iowa Alumni Association, and is a life-member of the University of South Florida Alumni Association. Karla has also been the recipient of several top academic paper awards and a seasoned presenter at academic and non academic conferences. She was a finalist for the Business Buddies Leadership Award in 2012 and named an Up and Comer by the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2013. She was nominated for Tampa Bay Business Woman of the Year and nominated for the Best of Tampa Bay Awards in the Mover and Shaker and Networking categories in 2017. This fall, she is a featured presenter at the 2017 Florida Diversity Council Summit and the 2017 Working Women of Tampa Bay Florida Leadership Conference.