ABOUT PRSA MARYLAND CHAPTER
The Maryland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America helps public relations and communications professionals stay connected professionally and personally. As part of the nation’s largest and foremost organization of communication professionals, PRSA Maryland offers networking, training, resources and support that help our members practice public relations at the speed of communication.
Being part of a national organization of more than 21,000 professional and student members from all practice areas enhances your local connection. Members include individual practitioners and communication professionals from private businesses, nonprofits, PR/ad agencies and government.
PRSA Maryland’s Mission and Vision Statement:
Mission: To make communications professionals in the central Maryland area smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their career.
Vision: PRSA Maryland provides a meaningful member experience that educates, inspires, guides, and galvanizes a diverse community of ethical, strategic communications professionals.
Lisa Brusio Coster is an award-winning public relations consultant with three decades experience working with non-profit, government and small- business clients in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area. Her expertise falls into the areas of strategic communications planning, media relations, writing, and event coordination.
In her capacity as a communications expert, Ms. Brusio Coster has led campaigns for non-profits and orchestrated annual fundraising galas and awareness events. She has developed deliverables that move targeted audiences to action, including program brochures, contributed articles, conference materials, public service announcements, and e-newsletters. She has produced a cable television business talk show, scripted and voiced training videos, and placed clients on major media venues. Her tenacity, combined with her communications skills and knowledge, lend themselves well to clients in need of creating awareness of their organizations.
Ms. Brusio Coster earned her M.A. in Public Communication from The American University and her B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Maryland. She is a current PRSA Maryland board member, a past president of the Independent Public Relations Collaborative, and the 2017 PRSA Maryland “Best in Maryland” annual awards committee chair.
She started her own company, Coster Communications, in 1997, and was recognized for its 20th anniversary by the State of Maryland Department of Commerce on April 20, 2017, in MD Biz News, “Celebrating Company Milestones in Maryland.”
Ms. Brusio Coster resides in western Howard County, MD, with her husband, Bryan, and their son, when he is home on college breaks.
Kenneth R. Smith, APR, is manager of internal and CEO communications for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. He earned his professional accreditation in 2000 and joined the PRSA Maryland board of directors in 2004. He served as treasurer from 2005 through 2011 and remains a director through his role as one of the chapter’s delegates to the PRSA assembly.
He has served on the Maryland chapter’s accreditation committee and was the 2007 recipient of the PRSA Maryland President’s Award for his volunteer service to the profession.
Jeff Davis is principal of JD/PR, a public relations, crisis communications and social media consultancy based in Baltimore.
Jeff has more than 25 years of news media and national public relations experience following a career as a daily newspaper reporter.
As a social media early adopter, Jeff started using Facebook, Twitter (and MySpace!) for clients in 2007 and the next year the Washington Business Journal wrote about Jeff’s innovative use of Twitter for public relations. He is now a nationally recognized expert in social media, particularly how organizations can successfully integrate social media platforms into traditional communications and crisis management programs. Jeff returns to the chapter’s leadership team after serving for three years as president (1998, 1999 and 2015).
A Silver Anvil and Best in Maryland award winner, he holds a degree in journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University and was a reporter for daily newspapers in Ohio, New Jersey and Maryland before he entered public relations. He also serves as Baltimore editor for the Capitol Communicator and is co-host of Practically Social, a podcast about the use of social media in PR campaigns.
Dianna Fornaro is a Senior Communications Specialist with Towson-based Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance. She has worked in corporate communications for many years, primarily in the insurance and financial services industry. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of PRSA’s Maryland Chapter and also serves as the group’s Accreditation Manager.
Dianna has a B.S. in Journalism and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an M.A. in Integrated Design from the University of Baltimore. She also possesses the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and the Associate in General Insurance (AINS) designations.
Dianna is also a certified yoga and Pilates instructor in Carroll and Howard counties and an avid artist who participates in several local painting clubs.
As account supervisor and project manager at Van Eperen, Emily McDermott guides client strategy, oversees teams, and contributes to the communications firm’s marketing and business development. A public relations practitioner with more than 14 years of experience, Emily’s expertise in public and media relations, marketing, branding, and social media strategy lends to her passion of providing integrity-based, topnotch service to clients. She enjoys interpreting complex issues for internal and external audiences with the goal of fostering understanding of and building support for clients’ priorities and missions.
Prior to joining Van Eperen in 2017, Emily managed corporate and consumer clients across a variety of industries at Nevins & Associates. She was the communications manager at The Atlanta Opera and, before that, she directed media relations, board of directors relations, and special events for the Young Audiences division of Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center. Emily began her career at William Mills Agency, a financial public relations firm.
Emily is a proud graduate of Appalachian State University in North Carolina having earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She is a graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School. Emily serves on the board of directors for Public Relations Society of America, Maryland Chapter (PRSA MD), is a member of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and volunteers with Thread, Inc. in Baltimore.
Phill Yerby is a group manager on Weber Shandwick’s Client Experience team. Since joining Weber Shandwick in 2011, he has managed public relations, advertising and digital campaigns for local and national clients.
Phill is a graduate of Hood College with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in political science.
Cathy Nyce is Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Maryland Auto Insurance where she recently led the complete rebrand of the 40 year-old organization. The rebrand campaign has been recognized with several Addy awards and PRSA Best in Maryland awards, and was named AMA Campaign of the Year. Most recently, Cathy’s team at Maryland Auto was named PR Team of the Year by PRSA.
Previously Cathy enjoyed a 25-year career at State Farm Insurance where she served as Marketing Manager for the Eastern Market Area, Communications Strategist, and Federal Affairs Liaison in Washington, DC. Cathy is passionate about leadership and holds an Executive Certificate in Transformational Leadership from Georgetown University. She serves of the Advisory Board of Running Start, an organization dedicated to bringing young women to politics. She helped launch the Baltimore AMA Chapter’s mentoring program and served on the planning committee for 2017 PRSA Conference. Cathy loves her two rescue pups, George and Jack, paddle boarding, barre classes and her Peloton bike.
Henry is the owner and founder of Be Local Go Global™ – a travel marketing and creative services firm providing communications and public relations to tourism and hospitality boards, destinations and brands. As a veteran in the communications and public relations industry, Henry helps companies, small businesses, and individuals find their voice, tell their stories, generate awareness, build their image and create opportunities to stand apart.
Miles is a Senior Account Manager at Weinberg Harris & Associates, a public relations and communications agency located in historic Hampden. In her role at WHA, Mary oversees day-to-day marketing operations for clients in the retail, real estate, and entertainment sectors and her expertise includes media relations, digital media, event planning, and community partnership development.