Member Profile: Brynn Devereaux, Ringmaster, Coyle Studios

Even a cursory look at Coyle Studios’ website will convince you that this creative and talented professional photography team has you covered, no matter the challenges you think your assignment may present. From aerial photography to portraiture, from fine art images to the nuances of art restoration and everything in between, Coyle Studios specializes in “making companies compelling and interesting.”

Enter Brynn Devereaux. Coyle Studios’ Ringmaster. Well, let’s just say that Brynn’s day-to-day work is not dull. Far from it. For starters, she’s the company’s chief client advocate, marketing guru, and field photography magician. But, to see what Brynn’s really up to, you’ll want to go one click beyond this member profile and pay her (and Coyle) a visit at www.coylestudios.com.

What is your hometown? Scranton, Pennsylvania, now; but, I grew up in Waverly, Pennsylvania – a small town about 15 minutes outside of Scranton.

Where did you go to college?  Towson University

How would you say your PRSA membership is of benefit to you? My PRSA membership has allowed me to learn from and work with some of the best PR professionals in the area. I like being part of an organization that encourages its members to make meaningful connections and hosts events with practical educational components. 

Do you have any personal or professional role models? I’ve always looked up to female swimming athletes like Natalie Coughlin and Janet Evans. You need a tremendous amount of physical and emotional strength and tenacity to be a swimmer, and those are skills that easily translate to the business world – especially a small business.

What are some of your interests/passions? I am passionate about all things swimming and reading. I used to teach swimming lessons, and it was so rewarding (and fun) to watch “my” kids grow. I also enjoy baking and binging shows on Netflix.

How can PRSA Maryland members connect with you? Email is best at brynn@coylestudios.com. It’s probably the most reliable way to get in touch with me. I hardly ever check my messages on LinkedIn .  .  .  .

 

Member Profile: Cathy Nyce

This month, we talked with Cathy Nyce, director of marketing and communications for Maryland Automobile Insurance, where she led the complete re-branding of the 40-year-old agency. Cathy also served on the 2017 PRSA Maryland Conference Committee helping to create a highly successful program.

What is your hometown? Macon, Georgia

Where did you go to college/university? 

Georgia College, B.A. in Journalism
University of Baltimore, M.A. in Legal and Ethical Studies

How would you say your PRSA membership is of benefit to you?

The educational programs are excellent and always provide learning that I can apply immediately in my role as director of communications, which benefits my team, as well as me. The networking opportunities have been great – I’ve made some key connections with communications directors in similar organizations that have led to mutually beneficial collaborations. As we launched a complete rebrand of Maryland Auto, I found strong resources and guidance through PRSA members. And, I’ve met fun people! Finally, the Best in Maryland Awards provided well-deserved recognition for my entire team and concrete results we could share with our executive team and board.

Do you have any personal or professional role models?

Katharine Hepburn and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

What are some of your interests and/or passions?

I am passionate about leadership and recently completed the Transformational Leadership program at Georgetown University. I am also passionate about mentoring and encouraging young women to participate in the political process – I serve on the Running Start Advisory Board. I love the beach, reading and paddle-boarding with my two rescue puppies onboard with me. And, I am a bit obsessed with my Peloton bike and Pure Barre classes.

How can PRSA Maryland members connect with you? You can email me at cnyce@marylandauto.net

Member Profile: Nancy Sherman, PRSA Maryland Communications Committee Chair

Nancy Sherman is director of marketing and communications at Caroline Center, where she manages the organization’s brand, external communications, community and media relations, print and social media, and special events. She also writes and posts in “The Breakroom,” Caroline Center’s official blog site.

Nancy’s hometown
I grew up in southeast Washington, DC, in the Anacostia neighborhood, where I remember walking to school each day except when the snow got taller than I was and luxuriously long summers – hot afternoons and lazy time spent on the front porch glider reading books that I had to have a parent’s note to borrow from the neighborhood public library. Eventually, I found my way to Baltimore where I live and work on the east side. The summers are no longer so long and luxurious; but I still manage to carve out a little lazy time, and I still read whatever I want – no permission required.

Education
University of Maryland, College Park, BA in English and Philosophy
University of Virginia, MA in English Literature

How would you say that your PRSA membership is of benefit to you?
My involvement in PRSA is a wonderful way to connect with colleagues and to share resources, knowledge, and experiences that help to strengthen and sharpen my own practice. Working in a small nonprofit organization, such as Caroline Center, is often very hands-on and keenly focused on mission. Belonging to PRSA helps me stay connected to the diverse and highly nuanced elements of the profession – parts of the work that I may not get to touch on a daily basis. As Communications Committee chair, I enjoy working with professionals at varying levels in their careers and learning from their experiences and fresh perspectives.

Do you have any personal/professional role models?
There are so many people whom I personally admire, not because they are saints, but because they have an uncanny ability to live fully, out-loud, honestly, imperfectly, unabashedly, and genuinely. Mostly, they are artists and poets and prophets and writers – folks of every stripe whose avocations and callings require them to live and speak their truths and to speak truth to power. The list is long because the well is deep.

My parents were certainly significant role models for me. They gave me an unwavering sense of the real merit of having strong personal values; and, they were always resourceful, creative, resilient, and positive even under the toughest circumstances.

Professionally, I learned so much and learned it so joyfully from my friends and mentors at the United Way of Central Maryland – Alan S. Cooper and Julie Mercer – who showed me, by example, how to lead and manage well; how to see and seize upon good opportunities when they presented themselves; and, how to build and nurture workplace and community relationships. Patricia McLaughlin, SSND, the executive director and my boss at Caroline Center, shows me every day how deeply rewarding strong commitment and passion for your work can be and that the best work one can ever do comes from a near-perfect alignment of the mind, heart, and spirit.

What are some of your interests and passions?
I like to say that I dabble in people. People have stories; but, more importantly, people are stories. I’ve found that if you give a person respect, an open mind and heart, and generous amounts of space and time, you will be rewarded with stories.

I love jazz, street art, black and white photography, theater, dinosaurs, astrophysics for lay people, Italian food, eating with chopsticks, trying to play the hammered dulcimer, writing, books with deckle-edged pages, poetry, and all manifestations of the brilliant use of words and of visual language.

I hope it goes without saying that I love my family and the wide circle of friends they bring to my life – not because they are saints, but because they remind me to keep living fully, out-loud, honestly, imperfectly, unabashedly, and genuinely.

You can connect with Nancy on social media, but to really get her attention, give her a call, send her an email, or stop by and see her at Caroline Center. Let’s see … that would be: 410-563-1303 x25; nsherman@caroline-center.org; and 900 Somerset Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202.

 

Member Profile: Christine Barnhart, APR

 

Submitted by Nancy Sherman, Communications Chair

Christine Barnhart, APR

Christine Barnhart, APR

Past PRSA Maryland Chapter President Christine Barnhart, APR, oversees the marketing program for public and emerging markets in business at Magellan Health. One might say that Christine comes by her interest in marketing and public relations naturally – her father was also a marketing professional. Even so, Christine readily admits that her involvement in PRSA “has been invaluable” and the benefits of her membership more far-ranging than one might imagine. Find out why.

Christine’s hometown:

Even though I’m not from a military family – my father was in marketing – I grew up in several different states – Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas. My family and I live in Mt. Airy, Maryland now.

Education:

Bachelor of Arts in communications, La Salle University
Master of Science in communications management, Towson University

How has your PRSA membership benefitted you?

My involvement in PRSA, especially early in my career, was invaluable. I joined PRSA right after graduating from college when I took my first marketing position. I immediately began volunteering on various committees, including what was then called the Chesapeake Conference Planning Committee. A few years later, I served as the conference chair, and following that I was invited to serve on the board of PRSA Maryland. In 2007, I was elected president of the Maryland chapter; and, in the same year, I earned my accreditation in public relations (APR). While all of this early experience continues to be a major benefit to my professional career and an asset in resume building, I also have developed many personal and professional relationships with my fellow PRSA Maryland colleagues that I treasure.

Do you have any personal/professional role models?

Yes. I can think of a few. First, my mom. She is a strong, educated, successful woman, who is not afraid to speak up for what’s important. Additionally, there is Gene Bracken. Gene was my first manager when I was a new public relations associate right out of college. He taught me so many important lessons about public relations, communications, and the working world, in general – and, so supportive. We have stayed in touch over the years and, even today, he continues to encourage me to challenge myself and to strive to meet my full potential as a professional. Lastly, I have to give a shout-out to all of the amazing professionals I have the pleasure of working with through PRSA. You are great advocates and supporters!

Tell us about some of your interests and passions.

I think spending time with my husband, our young sons (ages 9 and 5), our family and friends tops the list of my favorite things to do. We really enjoy spending time exploring new places and being outdoors.

You can connect with Christine Barnhart, APR, on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/christinepbarnhart and on Twitter @BarnhartC1

Member Profile – Tia Malloy

 

Tia Malloy

Tia Malloy

As a corporate communications consultant, Tia Malloy often tells her clients that her job is to tell the story of their business. From day to day, Tia’s responsibilities range from serving as a spokesperson, to authoring social media white papers to advising C-suite executives on strategy. At Engility Corporation, Tia leads the internal communications effort for a federal program, as well as managing external relationships with industry, academia, and government.

My alma maters:
Morgan State University, B.S. in communications
The Johns Hopkins University, Carey School of Business, M.S. in marketing

What attracted you to a career in communications?
I entered college as a communications major, focusing on radio. A mentor introduced me to public relations. I switched my concentration and have worked in the industry ever since.

How has being a member of PRSA benefited you?
PRSA membership is rich with diverse experts who represent the breadth of public relations. I was able to learn about the profession in a supportive environment. I have sought advice, commiserated with, and been inspired by my PRSA colleagues.

Who is your role model and why?
The first is my mother. She earned a bachelor’s degree in her 60s. She instilled in me a thirst for knowledge. The second is Tracy Baskerville, communications director at the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts. She took me under her wing and introduced me to different facets of public relations. I’ve imitated her management style throughout my career.

What are your passions, interests, and hobbies?
I’m a musicophile, globetrotter, epicurean – I love all things music, travel, and food.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Say “yes” and figure the rest out later. And, don’t miss an opportunity, because you don’t have all of the needed information. If you have the core skills to address the problem, determine the specifics later.

Connect with Tia Malloy on LinkedIn.

Member Focus: Lisa Coster, Coster Communications, Ltd.

 

Lisa Brusio Coster

Lisa Brusio Coster

WebNotes turns the spotlight on member Lisa Coster, president of Coster Communications, Ltd.

As president of a communications firm she founded, which serves a wide range of businesses, nonprofits, and governmental agencies in the Baltimore-Washington, DC, metropolitan area, Lisa recently shared with PRSA Maryland why her role models are strong women and how a simple piece of advice from a graduate school professor has been a guiding principle throughout her professional practice. Lisa is the recipient of numerous PRSA awards and honors, and she is a certified member of the Equal Opportunity Business Program in Howard County.

Day-to-Day: As president of Coster Communications, I serve as a consultant, providing strategic communications plans and implementing proposed strategies and tactics for governmental agencies and NGO’s along the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., corridor. Our primary focus is on overall communications management, event planning, media relations, and documents and publications writing, ranging from grants to articles, annual reports, and training materials.

Where’s Home: Baltimore is my home. Currently, I live in Marriottsville, Maryland.

My Education: I graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Journalism; and I have an M.A. in Public Communication from American University.

Do You Have Any Role Models: Well, no one person, specifically. And, no one truly famous. I think I would say that my role models are strong and organized women of age who have become successful in all facets of their lives and who have achieved their success on their own merit. I admire educated women who have meaningful careers that they enjoy; families that they love and care for; a deep faith that inspires and guides them; and, volunteer work that keeps them grounded.

What Inspired You to Choose PR as a Profession: Well, I was a good writer who loved to read, and I was graced with the gift of gab. I thought these qualities, combined with my longtime interest in history and politics, would make me a good reporter. After several layoffs in radio broadcasting, however, I decided to “jump the fence” into PR.

Tell Us About Your Interests & Passions: I love to exercise – everything from weight lifting to cycling, skiing, power-walking, and dancing. I also enjoy entertaining family and friends at home; volunteering at my church, for local political clubs, and with PRSA. When I have time, I also like to travel with my husband and son – in the U.S. and abroad.

What Do You Value Most About PRSA: I value PRSA’s networking and informational and educational events. As a sole proprietor, PRSA has kept me up-to-date with public relations trends and industry news. PRSA also has given me many opportunities to meet professionals with whom I have formed rewarding personal and professional relationships.

Best Advice: One of my professors in graduate school summed up the art and science of communication in these two words – “persuade ethically.” This advice has been a guidepost in my professional career.

Where to Reach Me: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Email

 

Member Focus: Amanda Karfakis, Vitamin

 

Post by Nicole Cieslak

Amanda Kafakis

Amanda Kafakis

WebNotes turns the spotlight on member Amanda Karfakis, president and CEO of Vitamin, the boutique web and public relations agency located in Baltimore. Amanda discusses leading her own agency, why she chose PR as a career, and how being a PRSA member has benefited her over the years.

Brief job description: I’m mostly responsible for steering Vitamin’s long-term strategic vision and overseeing our agency’s PR team, which encompasses much more than traditional PR, including social media, media buying, advertising, project management and more.

I’m also heavily focused on recruiting new PR and project management professionals, as well as continuously strengthening our collaborative agency culture.

Hometown: Ithaca, NY
Currently reside: Catonsville, Md. area

Education: Aside from earning an honorary degree in “trial by fire” public relations when I was a young professional, I earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a marketing concentration (and minor in Spanish) from Towson University.

Why did you choose a career in Communications/PR? My career really chose me. I always thought I’d be in business management or international business. But when I was a student I discovered the agency world and landed an internship in the PR department of a top 100 interactive agency after being courted by them for a couple of years. I fell in love with the agency world – it was so much fun, the work was dynamic and the people were smart. I spent months reading about PR and teaching myself everything I needed to know about the profession. It wasn’t long before I had worked my way up the ranks and became Director of Public relations at the age of 23.

How has being a member of PRSA benefited you? Early on in my career PRSA gave me a great education. I’ll never forget the media training session I attended at the Chesapeake Conference in the early 2000s. It helped me set the foundation for how I run media trainings today. Now that I’m much further along in my career PRSA has given me the opportunity to make many valuable connections. Whether it’s connecting with other PR professionals or prospective partners, I’m able to interact with a good and diverse group of people.

Passions/interests/hobbies? My family is my passion. I love learning about different cultures, refining my Greek language skills and cooking. I also really enjoy fitness and exploring the outdoors.

Best piece of advice received: I’ve received a lot of good advice over the years, but there is one piece of advice that really stands out because as PR professionals we are often pulled in multiple directions. Acting on this advice is not always possible and it can’t be taken literally in all instances, but it’s a mantra I’ve repeated to myself in the past to help me manage my day with more ease, fluidity and happiness:

“Control your day – don’t let others control it for you.”

Anything else you’d like to share with readers:  Vitamin is growing. As part of our growth we’re building out our PR team. We’re looking for rock star account executives who are strong writers with energetic personalities and 3-7 years of experience in PR. Highly motivated, quick learners and good collaborators are encouraged to apply! More details here.

You can find Vitamin online at www.vitaminisgood.com (it’s new!) and on Instagram

You can connect with Amanda on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and by email. Connect with the Vitamin team at on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

PRSA Maryland Member Focus: Kelly Stoll

Post written by Blaine Dunford

Kelly Stoll

Kelly Stoll

WebNotes turns the spotlight on member Kelly Stoll, a Senior Strategic Communications Specialist for AECOM. Kelly discusses her role at AECOM (www.aecom.com) and why she decided to work in public relations.

Learn more about Kelly through this Member Focus.

Your job title and brief job description: Senior Strategic Communications Specialist at AECOM. AECOM is an engineering firm that designs, builds, finances, operates and manages projects around the world. A group of communicators, most with agency backgrounds, functions as a boutique PR firm within the larger corporation making highly technical information easily understandable to communities and stakeholders.

Hometown: Timonium, MD

Currently reside: Manchester, PA

Education: West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in journalism. My concentrations were news editorial and public relations.

Why did you choose a career in communications/PR? I started as a business major in college and after my first accounting class, I was certain I was not going to do well working on spreadsheets for a living. I was fortunate enough to have talked to family friends and work associates of my parents. That is when I discovered public relations.

How has being a member of PRSA benefited you? Because of career and geography, my participation in the chapter has fluctuated. However, I’m always able to get back the relationships I’ve built through the chapter. I learn from others and am always able to take something away from one of the education opportunities we offer.

Who is your role model and why? That’s a tough one. I admire so many qualities about a variety of different people. My parents are the ones who instilled my work ethic and commitment to honoring my word. I also look at many everyday people and see perseverance. I also look to the creative people, like Walt Disney, who dare us to dream big.

Passions/interests/hobbies? I am involved with bulldog rescue. I also volunteer in the fall/winter for the local Toys for Tots campaign. In addition, I let my creative side out by doing craft projects and photography.

Best piece of advice received: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.