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Every year, we seek out new and seasoned PR pros to honor for their individual contributions and successes. We are proud to present our Honorees for 2017 …


Daniel Dunne, APR

Director of External Communications, Erickson Living
About Dan

Dan’s civil service and private sector careers have been marked by a never-ending passion to serve others in a way that helps achieve key organizational goals and objectives, as well as leads to increased innovations. Based on his extensive strategic communication experiences, and by achieving accreditation with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Universal Accreditation Board, he is regarded as a leader and mentor in the competitive public relations and communication field. In 2018, he will be an official applicant for acceptance into PRSA’s College of Fellows — the gold standard of the world’s largest association of public relations professionals.

Throughout his 28-year Federal law enforcement career with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), nearly two years operating his own public relations consulting business, as well as 11-year career with Erickson Living, Dan has served in multiple professional communicator roles. The diverse experience gained has afforded him the unique opportunity to serve as national spokesperson, oversee a national and regional team of communication professionals, teach Public and Media Relations classes and workshops, author several public relations articles, establish public relations internship programs, develop successful local and national public relations campaigns and policies, spearhead crisis communications and social media strategies, as well as serve as the PRSA, Maryland (MD) Chapter President (2016).

Dan continues to serve as a PRSA MD Board member (including as chair of the new professionals’ committee), and represent the chapter each year as an Assembly Delegate at the PRSA International Conference. In his PRSA MD leadership role, Dan has also helped strengthen PRSA MD’s relationships with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Loyola University Maryland and PRSSA Towson University chapters.


Nancy Sherman

Director of Communications & Marketing, Caroline Center
About Nancy

Nancy’s career in public relations – which she describes as “the most fun anyone could possibly have at work” – has deep roots in Baltimore, where she has helped to advance the work of nonprofit, board-driven agencies and organizations that are focused on education, health and human services, and workforce development.Her leadership roles with local agencies and organizations include – Family & Children’s Services of Central Maryland; Baltimore City Commission for Women; United Way of Central Maryland; The Associated – Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore; St. Timothy’s School; and, The Bryn Mawr School.

These roles, Nancy says, have all been “the cake” – that have provided a most-fitting foundation for the “icing” that she so thoroughly enjoys now in her role at Caroline Center. Caroline Center prepares women, who have great capacity and potential and limited resources, for meaningful careers as certified nursing assistants and certified pharmacy technicians. The tuition-free program offers women a comprehensive education; a host of wrap-around services; mentoring and career coaching; professional externships, and more – so that every woman can become her best self as she realizes success at work and in life. Nancy supports the mission of Caroline Center by managing the brand; executing strategic marketing & communications initiatives; hosting creative special events; building community partnerships and networks; managing media, social media, and publications; and, authoring “The Breakroom,” Caroline Center’s official blogsite.

Nancy is also an active community volunteer and has served on a number of nonprofit boards and committees in Baltimore. Over the years, Nancy’s work has helped to garner an array of awards for her agencies and organizations, including: A Best in Maryland Award & 3 Awards of Excellence – from PRSA Maryland; Two Platinum & 2 Gold Awards – from Hermes International Awards; Four Addy Awards; Two Gold & 1 Silver Award – from CASE; A Silver Effie Award; and, An International CLIO Award.

In striving to do her best – to think clearly and strategically; to act honestly and ethically; and, to write well – Nancy hopes that she also has managed to educate and bring creative and effective solutions to some of the real challenges that nonprofit organizations face. 

If you asked her, Nancy would probably tell you that every job she’s had in Baltimore – for one reason or another – has been “the best” – and, about Caroline Center, this would be the absolute truth. One should always tell the truth, and one should never lie – especially to a School Sister of Notre Dame – and, most especially to Sr. Pat, Nancy’s boss at Caroline Center, who says nice things about her, like: “Nancy’s attention to the power of words makes every message she sends meaningful and impactful. And, Nancy is an extraordinary communicator because she brings not just her mind and her skills to each task but, most importantly, she brings her heart.”Nancy is a longtime member of PRSA. She is also an active volunteer with PRSA Maryland – serving the chapter in many ways, including on the Best in Maryland Awards Committee and on the Communications Committee, which she currently chairs. 

Nancy has a master’s degree in English from the University of Virginia and a dual bachelor’s degree, in English and Philosophy, from the University of Maryland. Her husband, Lee; daughter, Jordan; and, son, Josh – are all committed to nonprofit work and are, according to their individual interests, passionate advocates for social justice. 


Dana Vickers Shelley, MPA

Lecturer, Department of Strategic Communication and Faculty Advisor PRSSA Chapter, Morgan State University

About Dana

Dana Vickers Shelley has advised CEOs and senior leaders, and led multi-generational, multi-cultural teams in conducting strategic communications, policy advocacy, and community outreach for more than two decades. Currently on the faculty of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Baltimore’s Morgan State University, she serves as Faculty Advisor to the University’s first Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter.

Dana’s professional expertise has been integral to: influencing policymakers to support youth aging out of foster care; mobilizing public support for voter registration and voting protections for marginalized communities; expanding visibility of litigation to address discrimination against black and Latinx children, and the LGBTQ community; and raising awareness among teenagers on the importance of safe sex through community events hosted by basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

She has advised a wide range of foundations, NGOs, businesses and social-impact organizations including: Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks, 2016 Democratic National Convention Committee, Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, Knight Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, NAACP National Voter Fund, Nike, and Ruth’s List Florida, among others.

In addition to being a creative and thoughtful problem solver, Dana is a skilled facilitator and public speaker. She has been invited to present on strategic communications, civil rights, leadership development, and the role of communications in political advocacy to Netroots Nation, Fulbright International Scholars Program, Independent Sector, Progressive Communicators of Washington, DC, SPIN Academy, and Yale Law School’s Arthur Liman Public Interest Program.

Dana holds a Master of Public Administration degree from American University’s Key Executive Leadership Program, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a member of American Association of University Women, National Black Public Relations Society, National Association of Black Journalists, Native American Journalists Association, and Public Relations Society of America.


Maryland Auto Insurance Marketing and Communications Team 

About the Team

In the short time since the Marketing and Communications team at Maryland Auto was formed, this small but talented group has led their 40 year old organization through a complete corporate rebrand that increased awareness and improved brand perception among consumers and agents. This award winning rebrand effort was followed by a consumer awareness campaign around important new insurance laws in the state. Each of these initiatives was executed with the passion and commitment to mission that drives the team every day.

In 2014 the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, known as “MAIF,” was struggling with negative brand perception among consumers as well as agents. The organization lacked an overall communication strategy, as well as the tools, creative assets and effective website needed to execute a strategy. At a time when the company was relocating its headquarters for the first time in decades and introducing a new Executive Director, addressing these public relations issues was critical.

The company recruited a team of experienced communications professionals who immediately identified the need for a comprehensive rebrand. After an RFP process, the team selected Planit agency as a partner and began conducting primary and secondary research. Simultaneously with the research phase, the new MarCom team led the organization through a Brand Summit which produced a Brand Essence statement that allowed the organization, for the first time in its four decades of existence, to clearly state its mission. This was followed by a Strategic Blueprint and Messaging Matrix which formed the foundation for all creative assets. Desired measurable results included increased insurance quoting activity, increased online traffic to a newly designed website, an increase in engagement among agents, and increased awareness of Maryland Auto’s unique public mission. Creatively, the goal was to develop messaging that was non-competitive (as required by statute) and also reflected the organization’s dedication to treating our target audience with dignity and respect. Click here to read more on this incredible achievement. 

Maryland Auto’s Marketing and Communications team has been recognized for the successful rebrand effort through five Best in Maryland awards from PRSA, three Addy awards and Best Overall Campaign by the AMA.


Molly Dressel

Senior Account Executive. Abel Communications

About Molly

Joining Abel Communications in 2016 as an Account Executive, Molly currently holds the role of Senior Account Executive. Molly quickly established herself as a top performer at Abel among her peers. Molly’s clients are consistently praising her for her passion, creativity, ability to achieve results and strategic thinking as evidenced by the two client letters included with this nomination.

Molly leads PR strategy and execution for Civic Works, Maryland Film Festival, Loyola University Maryland School of Education, Power Plant Live! and manages projects including Tribeca Films’ STEP Documentary and the UnitedHealthcare Community Care Award contest. She has secured numerous placements in every local and regional outlet as well as high-profile national outlets such as The Washington Post, Architectural Digest, The New Yorker and The Atlantic.

Abel Communications empowers employees to “own” areas of interests and help cultivate and develop them at the company. Molly works with the Director of Operations to lead the “culture” committee. Her involvement includes setting up team outings, finding volunteer opportunities for staff and evaluating services, products and other ideas that make Abel an enjoyable place to work.

Prior to working with Abel, Molly worked at Himmelrich PR as a full-time Account Associate where she managed media relations for events such as the Baltimore Boat Show, Sugarloaf Festival and Maryland Home & Garden Shows. Molly also led ongoing PR programs for clients such as the Maryland Science Center and La Cuchara. She quickly made a name for herself in the Baltimore PR scene and was promoted to Account Coordinator during the two years she worked at the firm.

Molly also gives back to the community volunteering with the Girls Scouts of Central Maryland for three years and currently serves as the Service Unit Cookie Manager for Area #607. 

Molly is a Baltimore native and Loyola University Maryland graduate (2014). During her four years at Loyola, Molly worked for WLOY Loyola Radio, Julio Fine Arts Gallery and Apprentice House, was an active member of PRSSA and interned with the Maryland Wineries Association.



Coyle Studios


About 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.”

As photographers, the team at Coyle Studios has been working with and supporting public relations professionals since 1996. Coyle recognizes that excellent imagery can make or break a story, and it is their goal to help their partners to always look exceptional. Many of Coyle’s clients and referral partners are members of PRSA Maryland – Chesapeake Employers Insurance Company, Erickson Living, MedStar Health, and many solopreneurs.

Since 2015, our studio has been a partner of PRSA Maryland by providing in-kind sponsorships. Our photographs not only effectively cover the event, but they provide dynamic images for future marketing purposes. To this date, we have provided over $4,000 of services to PRSA by photographing the 2015 Best in Maryland Awards Gala, the 2016 Annual Maryland Conference, and the 2017 Best Maryland Awards Gala, as well as providing usage of a Coyle Studios fine art image of the Baltimore Inner Harbor.

As well as being an active member, Ringmaster Brynn Devereaux is a volunteer on the 2017 Best in Maryland Awards Gala. Through my role as a publicity volunteer, I have been able to promote the event in creative ways. Mary Lou and John Coyle have been very supportive of my commitment and are excited to be a part of this year’s event.

Meet the Team by clicking here. 


Our Professional Award recipients were honored on December 6 at the 2017 Best in Maryland Gala in the beautiful Royal Sonesta Harbor Court. Click here for more information on our Professional Awards. 

–Industry News