Heather VacLav Hooper
Heather has been trailblazing most of her life, so it’s fitting that within weeks of her move to Dallas she became our first marketing and business development guru there. She brings an impressive combination of professional and life experiences to the role and navigates relationships with regional, national and global brands.
Before joining Jackson Spalding in Dallas, Heather was Managing Director of Public Relations and Digital Media for Starnes Media in Birmingham, Ala. Her career also includes business development and finance management in the automotive industry and a previous stint running public relations and social media service lines for an advertising agency.
Heather, a lifelong baseball fan and former softball player, knew at an early age that when life throws you curveballs, you have to learn to see them coming and swing early. Fittingly, Heather’s first pitch was pitching herself as a 15-year-old reporter to her hometown radio station in Youngstown, Ohio. Her persistence paid off, earning an iHeartRadio high school internship and job as a classic rock DJ through college.
During her junior year at Kent State University, Heather was recruited to KTVA (CBS) in Anchorage, Alaska as a weekday reporter and weekend news anchor and producer. She demonstrated grit by rappelling down skyscrapers and covering Japan’s 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, causing her star to rise alongside the station’s ratings. A year later she relocated to Montgomery, Ala. to anchor the news, direct the weekend news team and serve as a breaking news and political reporter for WAKA (CBS). Heather earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a concentration in Mass Communication-Broadcasting from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Heather is a champion for heart health, volunteering and speaking nationally with the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women for a decade. Her passion for prevention is fueled by her own heart survivor journey, a story she shares to educate others on the risks of heart disease and stroke. Heather served for seven years on the AHA’s Alabama Advocacy Board and Birmingham’s Circle of Red. She continues this work in Dallas, serving on the North Texas Circle of Red, and across the country as a spokesperson. As a professional speaker, Heather is known to facilitate conferences, workshops and executive meetings, such as serving as the emcee for the Dallas Regional Chamber Women in Business Conference.
An adventurer and storyteller at heart, Heather loves to travel and embrace cultures through cuisine, including her own Czech-Italian heritage. As an avid supporter of music and the arts, she also sings in her church chancel choir, performs in local theatre, has an insatiable curiosity and holds a propensity to learn new things regardless of the subject. Business development fits her like a (pitcher’s) glove.