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 .  .  .  .

 

More tips for submitting to Best in Maryland

We have more tips from past winners on how to make sure you take home that award.

#5: Research and evaluation determine the winner.

“All creative being equal, the research and evaluation portions of an award entry determine the winner.” Claudia Ciolfi, Chesapeake Employers Insurance

#6: Hold your entry to the same standards as your other communications products.

“The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Communications Department is laser focused on producing high-quality products in support of the CF community. Naturally, when we created our PRSA BIM Blog submission, we held it to the same high standard as any other communications product. We carefully reviewed application criteria and provided thoughtful answers, which were backed up by data. For those considering applying for this year’s PRSA BIM award(s), if you do one thing, remember that quality always matters, so create a best in class submission – one that answers all questions precisely and comprehensively, demonstrates creativity, and shows that you listened well to your audience.” Amanda Sobanet, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

#7: Don’t disqualify yourself before you even try.

“I think the judges understand every project is unique and has limitations, often in terms of budget and/or client flexibility. I would urge those thinking about entering BIM not to overly worry about these things and not to disqualify themselves before they have even tried. We were very excited to win and it meant a lot.” Adam Shapiro, ASPR

#8: Follow directions!

“It sounds so simple, but follow the directions in the call for entries. You don’t want your entry to be disqualified for a reason not at all related to your work. Make sure you include all of the required components, and submit it exactly as it’s requested. It’s worth it to spend the time putting together a thoughtful, complete entry.” Kelsey Pospisil O’Planick, News Generation, Inc.

Click here for tips #1-4

Click here to get started …

Call for Nominations for Professional Awards is Open!

The Best in Maryland Awards program is not just about the call for entries. The Professional Awards are a major part of the program, honoring new and seasoned PR pros for their individual contributions and successes. You can be part of this by submitting a nomination in one or more of the following categories …

Lifetime Achievement – PRSA Maryland’s top award recognizes long-time PR pros who have exhibited extraordinary achievements and demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field. Past LT winners include Louise Lake Hayman, APR, Fellow PRSA; Ralph Crosby; Bonnie K. Heneson; Helen Szablya; Jody Aud, and more. Help us continue this tradition by submitting your choice for this top honor.

PR Team Award – We all know that most great PR programs are a team effort. This is a chance to honor your high-performing communications team for its outstanding support of your clients’ and your organization’s communications objectives. New last year, it was a tough competition with Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company taking home the honor. Nominate your team and be the second to receive this award.

Rising Star (formerly New Professional of the Year) – This award is like a jump start to those just starting out in PR or communications by honoring their dedication and commitment to being the best. This year, we’ve extended the requirement from three or fewer years to five or fewer years, which should make it even more competitive. This category heats up so don’t delay.

Educator of the Year – Educators are an integral part of our industry building strong public relations/communications programs and inspiring PR pros of tomorrow. This award is for those teachers/professors who go above and beyond that task. Past recipients include educators from Loyola University Maryland, Towson University and Stevenson University. There are many more great programs out there; nominate your favorite teacher.

Partner of Distinction – Let’s not forget another important team member – our vendors. This award honors those organizations which through their services have shown overwhelming support of a public relations/communications program or the profession as a whole. They go above and beyond to make your program a success. Let us know who they are by submitting a nomination.

And our newest award named in honor of past Chapter president and long-time PRSA member …

Paul E. Welsh Award – We can’t forget our colleagues that are mid-career stars. This award honors PR pros who are successful in the field with at least 10 years’ experience. Paul E Welsh is credited with creating our state’s nickname, “America in Miniature.” What better way to honor the past and the present.

Click here for more information and nomination forms!

 


Sponsorship Opportunities … 

Want to show your support of these awards while getting in front of the Maryland PR community?  Become a PROFESSIONAL AWARDS HOST. Not only will you be featured on the PRSA Maryland Web site and in 2017 BIM magazine (new this year), you’ll also present the awards during the 2017 Best in Maryland Gala on December 6 at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court.

Not interested in being an awards host? We also plenty of other sponsorship and advertising opportunities. Click here for a full list.

Best in Maryland Sponsors to date …

 

DESIGN

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

Tips for Submitting to Best in Maryland

Are you starting to think about what to submit to this year’s Best in Maryland awards competition? Or have you started working on your entries? Either way, here are a few tips from past winners on how to make sure you take home that award …

#1: Start early!

“The biggest piece of advice we can give is to start early. You may be surprised by the amount of time it takes to craft a solid, compelling entry – it isn’t something you want to rush!” Kendall Blair, Vitamin

#2: Find your “best fit.”

“Carefully review all of the award categories to determine what would be a “best fit” for any nomination you might be planning to submit. Also, having previously served as an award judge, I recommend that nominations be as concise as possible; having clearly stated measurable objectives and results.” Dan Dunne, Erickson Living.

#3: Have a sound strategy and measure!

“One piece of advice for someone entering this year’s BIM awards is to focus on 2 things: sound strategy and measurement early and often.  The digital landscape allows us to have access to more data than we know how to handle – showing that you used some type of data insight to develop your campaign will position you well. And get creative with measurement. The number of free tools at your disposal allows us to measure PR impact better than ever before, and even more creatively than ever with the use of free infographic tools and dashboards.” Caitlin Wolf, Planit.

#4: Use this as a PR exercise.

“Have a good product. Don’t enter because you want to win an award. Enter because it is a PR exercise. You get recognition from an established group and brand exposure. Our team was very proud of our win – and our teamwork.” Brooks Paternotte, Irvine Nature Center

Read tips #5-8 here.

Click here to get started …

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

Get the Most Bang for Your Buck: Public Relations on a Limited Budget

By Malissa Carroll

Five tips to help your company or organization “do more with less” when executing your PR plan.

The benefits that organizations can reap when they dedicate the necessary time, effort, and resources into developing and implementing a comprehensive public relations plan will often outweigh any financial commitments associated with executing the plan. However, at a time when budget uncertainty continues to plague small and large businesses alike and organizations begin to look for new ways to “do more with less,” it serves us well to remember that, as public relations professionals, there are steps we can take to ensure that our work continues to have the greatest impact even when budgets have been stretched paper thin.

Know Your Audience
The importance of knowing your organization’s audience can seem obvious to the seasoned public relations professional. However, it is worth restating, as any PR efforts that do not target those audiences will almost certainly waste time and resources – neither of which PR professionals on a shoestring budget can afford. Understand the needs of your organization’s audiences and focus your efforts on channels that will drive those individuals to your business, such as garnering attention from niche publications focused on your specific industry.

Build Relationships
While especially important for PR professionals who work with members of the media, relationship building can extend beyond networking with local journalists and influencers. Establishing a strong presence on social media – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – is inexpensive and can be an invaluable way to engage with your audiences. Dedicate the time to regularly post content that demonstrates the value that your organization brings to others, not just an occasional news story.

Treat Content as King
Never underestimate the value that well-crafted, versatile content can add to your PR plan. For professionals on a limited budget, this content can easily be developed in-house, without hiring a professional copywriter. You can also review materials from previous campaigns to see if there is content that you can repurpose with minimal to no updating. Once your content has been finalized, share it across all platforms at your disposal to achieve maximum impact with your audiences.

Integrate Communications
Integrating communications can be an excellent way for PR professionals on a limited budget to extend the reach of their efforts. Did your organization recently invest in the production of a new print publication? Think about how you might be able to adapt pieces from that publication for your organization’s website or social media platforms. This practice will not only help extend the reach of your content, but also ensure that your organization is sharing a consistent message across all media.

Leverage Your PRSA Membership
As PRSA members, there are numerous resources that you can take advantage of to remain on the cutting-edge of the profession – many of which are available at no cost. Attend a networking event hosted by your local chapter to see how other PR professionals are maximizing their efforts on a limited budget. Register for a free webinar or read a recent white paper to learn new skills that you can bring in-house to reduce the costs associated with hiring outside agencies. Your PRSA membership comes with many benefits. Do not overlook them.

A strong public relations plan can bring immeasurable value to an organization’s brand and reputation. By adhering to the tips above and investing the necessary time and effort, you can not only demonstrate your ability to “do more with less,” but also ensure the success of your PR plan and, consequently, your organization.

2017 Best in Maryland Call for Entries is here!

What makes a winner “Best in Maryland”?

 

Best (adj): of the most excellent or desirable type or quality.

Best in Maryland winner (noun): a superior PR professional that nailed it!

Does this sound like you? Then you’ll be happy to hear that the 2017 Best in Maryland Call for Entries is now open!

The Best in Maryland awards celebrates the diverse and unique work in our area. PR professionals who have creatively navigated a communications challenge with precision and ingenuity are encouraged to enter any number of categories including:

  • Community Relations
  • Crisis Communications
  • Integrated Communications
  • Pro Bono
  • Public Service
  • Social Media
  • And so, so much more!

Click here for more information!

Who will be the “Best in Maryland?” That’s for the judges – the members of PRSA Central California Chapter – to decide. Let’s show them what the Best in Maryland can do.

We are also accepting nominations for our Professional Awards! Categories include …

  • Lifetime Achievement
  • Rising Star
  • PR Team Award
  • Educator of the Year
  • Partner of Distinction

And our newest award for PR pros with a minimum of 10 years experience …

  • Paul E. Welsh (NEW)

Nominate someone today! Click here for more information.

And be sure to mark your calendar for December 6 and join us for the party of the year – Best in Maryland Awards Gala. This year, we’re headed to the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court in Baltimore.

Early bird prices end on August 29th. Final deadline is September 12th

A Special Thanks to our Sponsors…

Design – Devaney & Associates

Photography – Coyle Studios

 

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.