Meet The Social Ape Team

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April Smith

Founder & President

April has been working in marketing for 9 years and founded Social Ape Marketing in 2012. She created the business 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 April founded Social Ape, she 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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Jerome Simeon

Social Media Specialist

Jerome Simeon is a North Carolina native and graduate from UNC-Charlotte. Growing up, he was never away from a computer. Jerome praises technology for his keen eye for detail and energetic approach to social media. He loves the versatility of social media platforms and the dynamic industry of online marketing. 

For Social Ape Marketing, Jerome specializes in social media marketing and graphic design, providing clients with unique content to reach target audiences and boost business success. He strives for his work to be in whole-part a reflection of what Social Ape Marketing encompasses: helping businesses grow in an ever-changing market by creating loyal fans and customers for the lifetime of your business

When he's not out feasting at new Charlotte restaurants, Jerome enjoys being outdoors with his silver lab Luna, photography, sports, craft beer and video games. 


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 (willingly, of course) into the marketing world and never looked back. She’s bopped around between both Savannah and Atlanta, GA, and even Hilton Head Island, SC before making her way back to Charlotte, NC. After roughly two and half years in marketing for 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, taking a stroll in Freedom Park, binge-watching Parks and Recreation, or spending time with her three boys (husband, rescue mutt Remy and baby boy, Lukas).


Anna Rich

Communications Specialist

Anna Rich was born and raised in Charlotte 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 looks forward to 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.


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 both journalists and clients and her favorite feeling might just be when she receives a press hit 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, Digital Trends and more. After almost two years working with startups, Paxton joined the Social Ape team, specializing in public relations.

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 and spending time with her dog, Pippa.