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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 2019 …



Barb Clapp

Barb Clapp Advertising & Marketing, LLC

About Barb

Barb Clapp, founder and CEO of Clapp Communications, brings more than 30 years of advertising, marketing and business development expertise to her agency. She opened the agency in October 2001 with her first account being Comcast Corporation. She was responsible for all public relations and events that took place surrounding the merger of Comcast and AT&T, into the Washington, DC, and South Florida markets. The agency grew immediately with the addition of several national accounts including the retail chain Water, Water, Everywhere and the health care company FutureHealth Corporation. In 2018, Barb sold Clapp Communications and acts as the Director of Client Relations & Strategy.

Barb acts as lead project manager for all Clapp Communications accounts and her expertise spans executive and media coaching, marketing strategy, reputation management, branding and messaging, creative conceptualization, public relations strategy, public and government affairs, media planning and buying, advertising and branding campaigns, product launches, and event management.

Barb graduated from Loyola University Maryland and began her career in advertising sales with the Times Publishing Group and went on to spend ten successful years with Watersprout Publishing. Her position at Watersprout reached beyond the advertising sales that she handled for the Baltimore Jewish Times and Style magazine. She helped found the Palm Beach Jewish Times and consulted for the Atlanta and Detroit papers as well.

Much of Barb’s knowledge of the advertising industry came while handling hundreds of clients and industries. She developed strong relationships with her clients and became a trusted advisor to them on all aspects of their media, marketing, and advertising plans. It was those advisory relationships that led to Barb’s idea of founding an agency that treated clients the way she thought they should be treated. Barb believes that public relations, event management, advertising, and marketing plans should have great creative, but also be business development and sales driven. She believes that clients come first and the team should deliver what is promised, innovatively, within budget and on time.

Barb has received awards and recognition for her CEO leadership over the years which include, most recently, CEO Report’s Mid-Atlantic Women’s Leadership Award, The Daily Record’s Most Influential Marylander, Most Admired CEO and induction into the Circle of Leadership. She also serves on the board of the Signal 13 Foundation, Maryland SPCA, Humane Society of the United States Council, and was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation.

Past volunteer services include Secretary of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Board, Chair of the Maryland SPCA’s March for the Animals, MD Humanities Council, American Diabetes Association CEOs for Stopping Diabetes, and dancing at the 2016 Alzheimer’s Association Memory Ball.

Barb has extensive experience and success providing strategic communications counsel to numerous high-visibility clients and has been the team lead on every high-profile account at our agency. In addition to earning accolades for her work over the course of her career, Barb is a coveted crisis communications speaker. Her record of success is reflected by our ability to help our clients achieve their goals, elevate their profile, and develop a long-term strategy for communications success. As a result, our client relationships have lasted at least seven years on average. Most clients are referred to Clapp Communications so Barb relies on current and past client goodwill.

Clapp Communications has also won a multitude of industry awards and recognition, with Barb most recently being invited to be the keynote speaker at the FOP national conference where her talk centered around the theme, “Crisis Communications, Reputation Management in Policing.” She also speaks about other critical issues such as women’s leadership development, mentoring, and how to be resilient when overcoming difficult circumstances. As an expert in her field, Barb in the last few years has appeared in the Brave Girls with Tracy Imm podcast, a public relations blog series by the American Marketing Association of Baltimore, April Force Pardoe’s Aspirational Chat blog, The Daily Record Women’s Leadership Summit, and Baltimore Business Journal Bizwomen Mentoring Monday.


Emily McDermott

Account Supervisor/Project Manager
Van Eperen

About Emily

Emily McDermott is a public relations practitioner with more than 10 years of experience. She joined Van Eperen in 2017. Previously she worked with Nevins & Associates, a bottom-line oriented public relations firm based in Towson, Maryland. She is experienced in both business-to-business and consumer public relations. Previously, she worked as the communications manager at The Atlanta Opera. In addition, Emily directed media relations, board of director relations, and special events for the Young Audiences Division of Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center. She began her career at William Mills Agency, a financial public relations firm.

She is a communications executive practiced in tactical execution and strategic planning for clients, with an emphasis on public and media relations, brand messaging, consumer marketing, business development and social media strategy. Emily has served on and led numerous organizations’ committees including the Public Relations Society of America, Georgia Chapter; The Junior League of Atlanta; and Cathedral of Christ the King Hispanic Ministry’s English and Spanish as a Se cond Language Programs. She has also been a guest speaker at Girl Talk’s summer camp.

Emily is a proud graduate of Appalachian State University in North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in psychology. She is a graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School. Emily is a member of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and is the chairperson of the Programming Committee for the PRSA Maryland.


David Marshall, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Strategic Communication
Morgan State University

About David
Dr. David Marshall is the tenured Professor and Chair of The Department of Strategic Communication in The School of Global Journalism & Communication (SGJC) at Morgan State University. By trade, Dr. Marshall is a journalist who spent two decades working as a television news anchor, reporter, producer and writer. He worked in New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore among other cities. Dr. Marshall also has experience working on strategic messaging and fundraising campaigns for universities.
He has served in a variety of capacities in academic life including as an adjunct professor, professor, department chair, dean, academic vice president,and college president.  His teaching focuses on helping students to use multimedia and social media to advance the causes and missions of non-profit organizations. Currently his students are working on a number of branding and story-telling projects about Baltimore.
Dr. Marshall has also has extensive experience in the area of assessment and accreditation. He is widely sought out as a speaker and consultant in documentation of teaching and learning practices. He serves as the assessment coordinator for SGJC.
Dr. Marshall is a 1987 graduate of Morgan State University (Religious Studies). He earned his Master of Journalism (2001) and Ph.D. in Mass Media and Communication (2003), both from Temple University.


Lorianne Walker

Senior Account Executive
Abel Communications

About Lorianne

At Abel, Lorianne supports content creation, social strategy and thought leadership programs for the firm’s consumer, healthcare and financial services clients. She is also passionate about mentoring students and young, aspiring PR professionals. She frequently speaks at local schools about public relations, including her alma mater, Towson University, and helps to lead Abel’s competitive post-graduate internship program. Prior to joining Abel, Lorianne gained experience at another Baltimore PR firm and internally at Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake. Lorianne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Towson University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.



Christina Perry, Ashlene Larson, Nikki Bracy, Jennifer Donahoe, Harry Hammel, Kendall Dougherty

About The Team

​The Planit PR team comprises of six strategists of various levels of experience, operating as a cohesive unit within an agency of more than 75 employees. Top client accounts include Sheetz, Royal Building Products, McCain Foods, UBS Financial, Preen, AMES, Burke & Herbert Bank, Enviroscent and Utz Quality Foods. The team also handles all of the PR for Planit, as well as Order & Chaos, Planit’s consumer-facing coffee shop.

In addition to their professional successes, The Planit PR team gives back to the PR community as a team through speaking engagements with the PRSA  and various local colleges, award submissions and judging, board participation (AAFB) and regular industry event attendance at PRSA, PR Council of Baltimore, BBJ and Baltimore Sun events. Founder Matthew Doud credits the Team for consistently having a positive impact on Planit’s reputation and voice in the community, through ongoing management of the agency’s PR and social channels, as well as the Planit Watercooler (blog).


Our Professional Award recipients will be honored on December 4 at the 2019 Best in Maryland Gala. Click here for event details

Click here to see 2018 honorees!


–Industry News