The National Restaurant Association (NRA) announced the hiring of a new media relations manager in its communications department, as well as the creation of a new position dedicated to research communications and marketing.

Christin Fernandez joins the NRA as manager of media relations and public affairs, responsible for developing and maintaining proactive communications strategies for a broad range of public policy goals, products and services, research, and the overall image of the Association and restaurant industry. 

“Christin’s experience in public affairs communications, as well as the news side of the business, gives her highly valuable skills as an effective communicator on behalf of the National Restaurant Association and the entire restaurant industry,” says Katie Laning Niebaum, director, communications and media relations for the NRA.

Prior to joining the Association, Fernandez was vice president of the Washington-based communications, public affairs, and lobbying consulting firm HDMK. She began her career in communications working on Fox News Channel’s foreign, national, and political breaking news desks.

She covered major news stories, including the 2008 presidential election cycle and the Democratic National Convention. Fernandez also coordinated news coverage and guest appearances for Fox’s 17 owned and operated affiliates across the United States.

Fernandez came to Washington as a planning producer with WTTG Fox 5 and worked later as a bureau producer with Fox News Channel, covering Washington news of the day.

Fernandez holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

In addition, Annika Stensson is now serving as senior manager of research communications, responsible for raising the profile of the organization’s multifaceted research on the $660 billion restaurant industry and directing cohesive research communications in support of programs and initiatives across the organization. 

Her responsibilities will include turning statistics, analysis, and trends data into strategic communications for reports and publications, digital and social media, and resources for association members and news media. She will also serve as an expert spokesperson on restaurant trends.

Stensson will collaborate with the research department on consumer poll and operator survey content and new research opportunities. She will also develop communications and marketing strategies for all the NRA’s research products, including the Restaurant Industry Forecast, What’s Hot survey, Restaurant Industry Operations Report, Restaurant Performance Index, and Restaurant TrendMapper.

“Annika has worked closely with the National Restaurant Association’s research department for more than a dozen years, serving as a tremendous asset as we look for opportunities to further promote the great work being done by our research team and enhance the Association’s role as the leading source of restaurant industry information,” says Sue Hensley, SVP, public affairs and communications for the NRA.

Previously, Stensson was senior manager of media relations and has held various positions in the communications department since joining the NRA in 1999. A native of Eskilstuna, Sweden, she holds a journalism degree from the University of Maryland.