Dana Vickers Shelley Named 2017 Educator of the Year

Morgan State University Faculty Member Honored With Best In Maryland Award

Public Relations Society of America Maryland Board of Directors announced its selection of Dana Vickers Shelley as its 2017 Public Relations Educator of the Year. A strategic communication faculty member at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication since 2014, Shelley will be formally recognized at PRSA Maryland’s “Best In Maryland” awards program on December 6.

“We are delighted to recognize Dana Vickers Shelley for preparing the next generation of public relations practitioners and industry leaders,” said Claudia Ciolfi, President of PRSA Maryland and Manager of Public Relations and Strategic Communications at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Company. “Her efforts this year resulted in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) authorizing Morgan State University’s first Chapter, and underscore Dana’s commitment to guiding students from academic to professional success.”

Prior to Morgan State University, Shelley was director of public affairs for Southern Poverty Law Center, director of strategic communications at Annie E. Casey Foundation, and senior vice president at Fenton Communications and Edelman. Shelley has advised CEOs and senior leaders at Maryland-based organizations including Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by my colleagues in Maryland’s public relations industry with this award,” said Shelley. “Developing communicators whose advice and expertise will contribute to the success of enterprises and organizations in the future is most rewarding.”

Shelley holds an MPA in Executive Leadership from American University and a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a member of PRSA-Maryland, American Association of University Women, National Association of Black Journalists, and Native American Journalists Association.

Also to be honored are Daniel Dunne, APR, as Lifetime Achievement recipient; Nancy Sherman, Caroline Center, as the inaugural recipient of the Paul E. Welsh Award; Molly Dressel, Abel Communications, as Rising Star; Maryland Auto Insurance Marketing and Communications Team as PR Team of the Year; and Coyle Studios as Partner of Distinction. Click here for more information on all our honorees. 

Awards will be presented at the PRSA Maryland 2017 Best in Maryland Gala on December 6 at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court. The evening will also include awards presentations for excellence in public relations campaigns in 24 categories culminating in the reveal of Best in Show. Click here for more information and to register. 


Congratulations to our “Best in Maryland” 2017 Nominees!

The Results are in! It is with great pleasure that we announce the following submissions have been nominated for a Best in Maryland Award!




U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration – National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week – A. Bright Idea Advertising and Public Relations

MRIS’ Most Expensive Homes Sold – Abel Communications

200 Years of Moving Smart Energy Forward – BGE with Weber Shandwick

myBWI – BWI Marshall Airport with Weber Shandwick

Carroll Hospice Campaign – Carroll Hospital and Devaney & Associates

Carroll Hospital’s A Healthy Dose Magazine – Carroll Hospital and Devaney & Associates

2016 Chase Brexton Health Care Annual Report – Chase Brexton and Devaney & Associates

Chesapeake Brand Stand – Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

Forum News – Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

Protecting Every Workday – 2015 Annual Report – Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

What Employers Should Know about Opioids and Injured Workers – Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

Coldwell Banker’s Play it Forward Campaign – Clapp Communications

Howard County OAI 50+EXPO – Coster Communications

“Victories for Veterans” – Crosby Marketing Communications

Driving Organ Donation Awareness Through Video Content – Crosby Marketing Communications

Invasive Species “Mark Trail” Comic Strip – Crosby Marketing Communications

Thank A Vet App and Social Engagement Program – Crosby Marketing Communications

National Aquarium Dolphin Sanctuary Announcement – Golin

Zika Preparedness Efforts – Johns Hopkins Medicine

JHU Press Journals Podcasts – Johns Hopkins University Press

Leadership Maryland finds “The Strength Within” – Leadership Maryland and Devaney & Associates

How Ethiopia Can Overcome the Worst Drought in 50 Years – Lutheran World Relief

The 2017 Early Warning Forecast – Lutheran World Relief

Honoring Veterans – Lyons PR

It’s a Great School Year! – Lyons PR

Mutually Beneficial Volunteerism – Mariner Management & Whorton Marketing & Research

Maryland Auto Monthly – Maryland Auto Insurance

“MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans” Initiative – Maryland Public Television

Reflections – “MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans” – Maryland Public Television

“MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans” Video – Maryland Public Television

E-Road Ready – Maryland State Highway Administration

In Your Hands – Maryland State Highway Administration

Ocean City Walk Smart – Maryland State Highway Administration

Work Zone Safety – Maryland State Highway Administration

Stress Experienced around the 2016 Election – American Psychological Association & News Generation

Route One Apparel Becomes the Face of Maryland Pride – Route One Apparel and Devaney & Associates

University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Online Giving Day – University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

Ingleside at King Farm – Van Eperen

Launch Podcast: Stories About Start-Ups – Van Eperen

Maryland Municipal League:Time to Talk – Van Eperen


Winners will be announced on December 6 at the 2017 Best in Maryland Gala in the beautiful Royal Sonesta Harbor Court. Join us as we celebrate another successful year in Maryland PR and Communications. We’ll also honor two specially nominated individuals with the Lifetime Achievement and Paul E. Welsh Awards, and award the Educator of the Year, Rising Star and Partner of Distinction. Our grand finale is the reveal of the BEST IN SHOW! Click here for details and registration information.

A special thank you to our judging team from Central California which did an awesome job (they were tough!).

Announcing our 2017 ‘Best in Maryland’ Professional Award Honorees

The votes are in. And we’re gearing up to salute four individuals and two teams at the 2017 Best in Maryland Gala on December 6 at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court in Baltimore. Join us in congratulating our 2017 Honorees …

Daniel R. Dunne, APR, a highly regarded leader and mentor in the competitive public relations and communication field, will receive this year’s top honors as Lifetime Achievement recipient. Dan’s civil service and private sector careers have been marked by a passion to serve others in ways that help achieve key organizational goals and objectives and inspire innovation.

Nancy Sherman, director of marketing and communications at Caroline Center, is the inaugural recipient of the Paul E. Welsh Award and will be honored for her work in public relations and communications, which she describes as having “deep Baltimore roots.”

Dana Vickers Shelley, lecturer and PRSSA faculty advisor, Department of Strategic Communication at Morgan State University will receive the Educator of the Year for her commitment to the professional practice of public relations; the positive and inspirational effect she has on each student she encounters; and, for establishing the first PRSSA Chapter at Morgan State University.

Molly Dressel of Abel Communications is the 2017 Rising Star. Molly will be honored for her impressive early accomplishments, her ardent spirit for volunteering, and for the promise she continues to show as a new public relations professional.

Maryland Auto Insurance Marketing and Communications Team is the 2017 PR Team of the Year. This amazing team of professionals will be recognized for successfully leading the 40-year-old organization through a complete corporate re-brand.

Coyle Studios will be recognized as this year’s Partner of Distinction. The talented creative team will be honored for their ongoing support of PRSA Maryland and for the many ways they are helping shape the face of the public relations industry throughout Baltimore.

Click here for more information on all our honorees. 

The evening will include the Best in Maryland Awards ceremony where awards will be presented for excellence in public relations in 24 categories culminating in the reveal of Best in Show. Click here for more information and to register. 

Crisis Communication Workshop Attracts Sell-Out Crowd

If there’s one topic that communicators want to stay current with, it’s crisis communication. PRSA Maryland’s workshop on crisis communication, which was held at Baltimore Research on September 22, 2017, attracted pros from near and far. We packed the house with PRSA members and non-members from as far away as Harrisburg, PA.

Speakers included Jeff Davis, APR, Van Eperen, and Dan Dunne, APR, Erickson Living. They shared their expertise on the topic and provided real-life examples of crises they managed for their organizations. Attendees walked away with proven strategies, tips, and recommendations they could implement for their companies’ crisis communications plans. 

One workshop attendee said, “I learned tangible strategies and tactics to include in my crisis communications plans plus best practices for counseling clients through a crisis.”

Jeff Davis, APR, Van Eperen

Dan Dunne, APR, Erickson Living

Learning Never Ends: The Value of Continuing Education for Public Relations Professionals

Learn how staying on top of the latest trends can help practitioners in one of the most dynamic professions continue to advance their careers.
By Malissa Carroll 

As someone who works in a health professions school, I have become familiar with the value that continuing education holds for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals. In addition to the mandated continuing education requirements to which they must adhere to remain in practice, these practitioners are always searching for new opportunities to expand their knowledge and skillsets, allowing them to better serve their patients and practice at the top of their licensure. While health care and public relations are two vastly different fields, my experience has shown me that, in the area of continuing education, there might be some lessons that we can share.

To Learn is to Lead

Similar to health care, which has witnessed an incredible evolution in recent years, advances in technology have helped public relations become one of the most dynamic professions in which individuals can pursue a career. The constant advent of new mediums and platforms through which brands can share their messages – from smart phones to social media – challenges public relations professionals to keep up with ever-changing trends, contributing to the need for continuing education to help us acquire the skills necessary to incorporate these advancements into existing plans, strategies, and tactics.

Fortunately, we as public relations professionals do not need to look too far for opportunities to build on our existing knowledge and skills to ensure that our work makes the greatest impact for our clients. Whether you are an early career professional who is interested in obtaining an advanced degree or an experienced practitioner who wants hone his or her skills on a new platform, there are numerous options available to help you meet your personal and professional education goals.

Attend a Conference

One way for working professionals to gain new knowledge or acquire new skills is to attend conferences focused on their field or area of interest. These events often feature distinguished speakers who are leaders in the profession and from whose experiences everyone in attendance can learn. In addition to the national conferences and workshops offered through the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), you can find a number of local and regional events through PRSA-MD, which can offer insight into how peer organizations are staying on top of the changing industry.

Complete an Advanced Degree

Colleges and universities are becoming increasingly sensitive to the needs of working professionals who are looking to advance their careers with a master’s or other professional degree. Many institutions now offer students the option to complete their degrees entirely online, while others provide evening and weekend courses that seamlessly fit into working professionals’ busy schedules. The University of Maryland University College, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Georgetown University, and New York University are just a few of the institutions that offer advanced degree programs for public relations professionals. A quick Internet search will lead you to many more results – at least one of which is sure to meet your unique needs.

Pursue a Certification

Obtaining a professional certification is another way to demonstrate your proficiency as a public relations practitioner. As the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community, PRSA offers a range of certifications for new and experienced professionals to demonstrate drive, dedication, and values in the field of public relations, including the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential. The APR credential certifies a public relations practitioner’s drive, professionalism, and principals, setting that individual apart from peers and positioning him or her as a leader and mentor in the public relations field.

Register for a Webinar

For public relations practitioners who do not have much time to spare, webinars provide an excellent opportunity to pursue continuing education. These one- to two-hour events are designed for professionals who want to keep abreast of current trends in the field, but who might not have the time available to earn a formal certification or degree. PRSA offers a wide range of webinars – many available at no cost to members – that aim to help practitioners understand new concepts or tools, as well as refine their existing skills.

Abigail Adams once said, “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” Whether on the frontlines of patient care or behind-the-scenes bringing awareness to a brand, the value that continuing education can have on an individual’s career cannot be understated. If you have one hour, one week, or one year or more to spare, there are continuing education options available that will help you stay on top of current trends to ensure that you can continue providing the best service for your clients.

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