2017 Best in Maryland Awards Gala

2017 Best in Maryland Awards Gala

Join us as we celebrate another successful year in Maryland PR and Communications. We’ll start with a networking reception where you can greet old friends and make new ones. We’ll adjourn to the ballroom for dinner followed by our awards ceremony where we’ll present awards in 27 categories and honor our professional awards winners.

Tickets (Includes reception and dinner. Cash bar available.)

  • Members/Finalists: $110
  • Individual Tickets for Non-members – $150
  • VIP TABLE – $1,250. Just need special attention the night of the event? This level includes priority location, special signage, listing in 2017 BIM Magazine, and two bottles of wine served exclusively to your guests. Ticket includes dinner for eight (8). Two more seats can be added at the regular event price.

Registration opening soon!



A special thanks to our Best in Maryland sponsors …




Devaney & Associates




Coyle Studios


Best in Maryland Magazine


HBP, Inc.


Take this opportunity to sponsor the Best in Maryland (BIM) Awards Gala. Be a Networking Host, Welcome Host, Professional Awards Host! All levels include space in 2017 BIM Magazine (new this year!). Single advertising opportunities also available. Click here for more information.


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 …

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 …

News Generation and American Bankers Association Honored at PRSA Maryland’s Best In Maryland Awards Gala


Here’s a peek into News Generation, Inc.‘s winning campaign in Media Relations – Assoc/Nonprofit/Govt category: Educating and Empowering Americans with Financial Literacy. 

Finances. It is a frequent, sometimes difficult, but necessary topic of conversation between spouses, parents and children, and adults and their parents. The American Bankers Association (ABA) works to make this necessary conversation and subsequent action and preparedness as seamless and easy to understand as possible. Representing banks across the United States, the ABA works to educate, inform and empower people to take control of their finances, or those of family members in their care. To leverage the newsworthy and timely resources, tools and information it offers, ABA engaged a media strategy heavily focused on earned radio outreach. ABA partnered with News Generation, a broadcast media relations firm based in Bethesda, to develop, pitch and implement an effective media relations outreach campaign.

Together they launched a cohesive campaign of six messages, and six resulting radio media tours, working toward the goal of educating the public on the role hometown banks play in helping economic growth and empowering Americans with financial literacy. Sixty radio interviews were secured, with highlights including interviews that aired nationally on NBC News Radio (formerly 24/7 News Source at the time), Bloomberg Network, Compass Media Networks, and American Urban Radio Network. As well as airings on statewide or metro-area interviews with 16 different networks, and airings on the top news and top news-talk stations in Atlanta, Detroit, San Antonio, Fargo-Valley City, and Rapid City, as ranked by Nielsen.

The radio media tours reached a total of 74,754,470 listeners, almost 25 percent above the initial goal set out by the collaborating teams. The campaign delivered an incredible cost per point (CPP) of $.00037, or less than four one-hundredths of one penny, to reach each listener. The American Bankers Association saw engagement in the areas the radio media tours focused on, largely contributing to the advancement and awareness of the association, its focus and multi-faceted expertise.

According to Nielsen, the leading company on global information and media measurement, 93 percent of people 12 years of age and older listen to the radio each week. In addition, radio interviews allow reporters to engage the spokesperson, seeking clarity from experts and steering content towards their anticipated audience needs.

News Generation compiled the most relevant and newsworthy information into the media pitch. The pitching team extensively researched the most appropriate national and statewide networks, as ranked by Nielsen, as well as media markets in which the most relevant coverage would best represent its largest news or news-talk station. News Generation personally pitched each reporter, host and producer via telephone and email to secure the most relevant interviews based on top listenership and market rank. This all earned-media strategic approach focused on securing quality interviews with highly-ranked networks and stations to maximize on-air time for ABA.

News Generation, Inc. received an Award of Excellence for its work with ABA. Click here for a list of all 2016 Best in Maryland winners.

A. Bright Idea Wins PRSA Maryland Best of Show for Army Recruitment Campaign

by Jeff Davis
Originally appeared in Capitol Communicator (updated 12/12/2016)

A. Bright Idea wins Best in Show

A. Bright Idea wins Best in Show

A recruitment program for the Army National Guard by A. Bright Idea took top honors as “Best in Show” at the Public Relations Society of America’s Maryland Chapter “Best in Maryland” gala while Crosby Marketing Communications won the most awards – seven – at the Dec. 8 event in Baltimore.

A. Bright Idea, headquartered in Bel Air with offices on both coasts and headed by CEO Anita Brightman, APR, Fellow PRSA, executed the national Action Events program through school-based event management, media relations, social media execution, creative development and promotional items. This initiative included BMX stunt performances across the country, placing recruiters in front of high school students to share messaging about core values. The campaign doubled the quality level of leads for the client.

At the event held at the Belvedere in Baltimore marking the chapter’s 55th anniversary, more than 150 turned out to acknowledge tactical and program entries from across the state.

Crosby Marketing Communications, a Capitol Communicator sponsor, walked away with seven awards, while other agencies collecting multiple trophies included Abel Communications (six), Planit (five) and Clapp Communications (four).

Others that were recognized with awards included:

ASPR; Baltimore Gas & Electric; Bonnie Heneson Communications, Inc.; Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company; Comcast; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; and Devaney & Associates, Inc.; Erickson Living; Golin; Irvine Nature Center; Johns Hopkins University Press; and LifeBridge Health.

Also, Lutheran World Relief; Maryland Lottery and Gaming; Maryland Port Administration; and News Generation, Inc.; The Baltimore Life Companies; University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and Vitamin. See the PRSA Maryland website for the full list.

The Professional honorees were Lifetime Achievement – Louise Lake Hayman, APR, Fellow PRSA; Veronica Gunnerson of Loyola University Maryland as Educator of the Year; and Lauren Michelotti of AECOM, New Professional of the Year.

Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company was acknowledged as PR Team of the Year, including members Donna Wilson, SVP communications and strategic planning; Jim Taylor, communications director; Claudia Ciolfi, manager of PR and strategic communications; Carolyn Gutermuth, manager of community relations; Dianna Fornaro, communications specialist; Archie Johnson, communications specialist; and Meaghan Yurek, communications associate and graphic designer.

A highlight of the evening was the keynote address by Susan Goldberg, editor of National Geographic.

Sponsors included Clapp Communications; VitaminVan EperenHarry Bosk PR and Photography; PCA – An RR Donnelley Company; Flowers & Fancies and Erickson Living.

In the photo, left to right, are: Leanne Eck, interactive designer, A. Bright Idea; Kevin Hess, communications events specialist, A. Bright Idea; and Daniel Dunne, APR, PRSA President and Director of Communications, Erickson Living.

Photo Credit: Harry Bosk PR and Photography

Chapter Sponsors

Chapter Sponsors