Meet The Social Ape Team

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April Smith

Founder & President

April has worked in marketing for over 10 years and founded Social Ape Marketing in 2012. She created the company when she realized that many small and medium-sized businesses were struggling to understand social media marketing and how it could benefit their businesses. Social Ape Marketing has helped to grow dozens of businesses in the Carolinas region over the last seven years by creating unique campaigns including social media marketing, public relations, influencer marketing and much more.

Before founding Social Ape, April received her big break at ESPNU where she worked as the Social Media Manager, creating content and interacting with avid sports fans via social media on a daily basis.

Originally from Richmond, VA, April graduated from Radford University and has lived in Charlotte, NC since 2007. April has also actively been involved in giving back to the community, as well as serving as a connector to those around her. She has served on the Social Media Charlotte board and is extremely passionate about marketing and business.

When April isn't glued to her computer or phone, she's most likely doing hot yoga, hanging with her dog Frank, visiting the newest restaurants or traveling.


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Melissa Nemec

Director of Operations

Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Elon University and had every intention of being a news reporter after graduation. Yes, she’s proud of her “anchor voice” and she’ll do it on command.

Post-grad, she stumbled into the marketing world and never looked back. Various roles took her through Savannah, Atlanta and Hilton Head Island before she made her way back to Charlotte. Following a whirlwind journey with a tech-education startup, Melissa joined the Social Ape crew specializing in social media marketing, social strategy and public relations

If you happen to catch Melissa without her phone in her hand, she’s more than likely feasting on macaroni and cheese, having a dance-off with her two-year-old son, headed to the beach with her family and rescue pup, binge-watching New Girl or deeply invested in a true-crime podcast.


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Anna Rich

Communications Specialist

Anna was born and raised in Charlotte (yes, really!) and received a BA in History from Wake Forest University. After graduation, she moved outside of North Carolina for the first time to Washington, D.C. where her love of writing led her to work in the PR industry.

During her five years in D.C., Anna worked at three different PR agencies of all sizes. She primarily handled public sector specific PR for B2B technology companies. From covering protests at the White House to staffing a Today show segment for a client specializing in identity solutions, Anna enjoyed her uniquely D.C. experience in our nation's Capitol. She has enjoyed being back in Charlotte and continuing to hone her writing, media outreach, and social media content development skills with the amazing team at Social Ape Marketing.

Most weekends you can find Anna enjoying football or the Food Network and exploring Charlotte and the surrounding area with her husband, Graham, and their chocolate lab, Nola.


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Paxton Shaw

Communications Specialist

Paxton is a North Carolina native with a degree in Communications - Public Relations from Appalachian State University (go ‘Neers!). She loves building relationships with journalists, influencers and clients and her favorite feeling might just be when she receives coverage for a client. Seriously, she might just shriek with joy.

Post-grad, Paxton worked in crowdfunding PR for a variety of products in the technology, outdoor and fashion spaces on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. While working in crowdfunding, she secured coverage for her clients in Mashable, INC., PopSugar, Buzzfeed, Bustle, Digital Trends and more. After almost two years working with startups, Paxton enthusiastically joined the Social Ape team, specializing in public relations.

Known as the office pop culture expert, when Paxton isn’t talking about visiting Charlotte’s newest restaurants, you can find her watching Bravo (her guilty pleasure is The Real Housewives franchise), shopping at Target on a weekly basis and spending time with her rescue dog, Pippa.