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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
550M Ritchie Highway, #271
Severna Park,  MD 21146
Phone: 443-283-8060
Email: info@prsamd.org
Fax: 410-544-4640

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.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS


Presenting the 2021 Board of Directors (effective 1/1/2021).

Click here to view list of past presidents.

President

Dr. David Marshall​, Ph.D., APR

Professor and Chair, Department of Strategic Communication, Morgan State University

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Dr. David Marshall is Professor and Chair of the Department of Strategic Communication in the ACEJMC nationally accredited School of Global Journalism & Communication (SGJC) at Morgan State University. By trade, Dave is a journalist who spent two decades working as a television news anchor, reporter, producer and writer having worked in New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore. He has served in a variety of capacities in academic life including as a professor, department chair, dean, academic vice president and college president. He has been responsible for communications functions at the executive level throughout his career.

Dave serves on the board of PRSA Maryland where he has shepherded several projects. He recruited and established the chapter’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chairs. He coordinated PRSA MD’s chapter judging of the PRSA SE Wisconsin Paragon Awards. He was also selected as PRSA MD’s Educator of the Year. Last year earned his APR last year as well. Dave is working as an advisor to PRSA National on DEI issues, specifically the recruiting pipeline of public relations students attending HBCUs. He is also an advisor to The PR Council on DEI projects.

A native of Baltimore, Dave is a graduate of Morgan State University and earned a Master of Journalism and Ph.D. in Mass Media and Communication both from Temple University.

Vice President

Emily McDermott

Senior Account Director, Abel Communications

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A public relations practitioner with more than 16 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. 

As senior account director at Abel Communications, Emily guides client strategy, oversees teams, and contributes to the firm’s marketing and business development efforts.  Over her career, she has worked for both PR agencies and non-profit organizations in both Baltimore and Atlanta.

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.

Secretary

Tracy Imm, MS, M.B.A.

Founder, Tracy Imm Worldwide, LLC

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Tracy Imm, ABC, APR is a business communications executive and leadership coach who has led global and national public relations teams for companies like BGE/Constellation Energy, ITT, Erickson Living and Northrop Grumman. Before launching her small business, she led the public affairs team at the Maryland Insurance Administration. A Maryland native, she’s an alumni of McDaniel College, the University of Baltimore and Stevenson University. She has been a member of PRSA since 2004. In her spare time, she’s also the host of the Brave Girls with Tracy Imm podcast where she uses storytelling to inspire and motivate women to lead with purpose. Her show has been downloaded in 54 countries and includes interviews with some of the world’s leading female entrepreneurs and corporate executives. You can learn more at tracyimm.com.

Treasurer

Renata Allen, M.B.A.

Director, Scheduling & Events, Baltimore City Community College

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Renata Allen currently serves as the Director of Scheduling & Events for Baltimore City Community College (BCCC). In this capacity, she is integral to all internal and external campus events. Prior to joining BCCC, she served as the Operations Director at the American Small Business Alliance and served at the Baltimore Convention Center in several capacities. In both roles Renata has managed various corporate, non-profit and government events from inception to completion.

She has managed event planners, sales departments as well as marketing and graphic design teams to ensure successful events. She actively led a team through brand redesign for HBCU Career Development Marketplace. She also oversaw the successful HBCU Career Development Marketplace conference that received sponsorships from several Fortune 500 companies such as Home Depot, AETNA and Goldman Sachs.

Renata is action-oriented with a strong ability to communicate effectively with all levels of teams and stakeholders. She is a results-oriented, client-focused, high performing professional with 15+ years in the event planning and project management industry; servicing events with up to 30,000 attendees.

A native of Baltimore City, Renata received her Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from Morgan State University and Masters of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from the University of Baltimore.

Renata enjoys travelling, taking walks outdoors, watching movies and spending time with her family.

Immediate Past President

Lisa Brusio Coster, M.A.

President, Coster Communications, Ltd.

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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.

DIRECTORS


 

Nikki Bracy, Director

PR and Social Media Supervisor, Planit
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Nikki is the Social Media Manager at Pandora Jewelry. She has more than a decade of experience leading social media, public relations, influencer relations and integrated marketing efforts for clients in a variety of industries including fashion, food & beverage, home design, healthcare, transportation, finance, and commercial real estate. From running creative influencer campaigns to leading guerrilla marketing activations to managing online contests, Nikki has extensive experience in developing and executing custom social campaigns that drive tangible results for clients. She earned a Masters in Management from Wake Forest University and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Theatre from Penn State University.

Jeffrey A. Davis, APR, Director

Principal, J. Davis Public Relations, LLC
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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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.

Laurie Farrell, Director

Owner and President, Mission Street Communications
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Laurie is a seasoned PR professional with more than 15 years of experience in the field. Her practice offers public relations counsel for a select number of clients across a variety of industries, including nonprofits and trade associations, construction, healthcare, government agency, advocacy groups and small businesses. Services include communication plans, executive communications, brand positioning and messaging, writing and editing, media relations, social media, special events, content strategy, and issue/reputation management.

Laurie has been active with PRSA MD during her career most recently being the program chair of the highly successful PRSA Maryland Virtual Conference, “Navigating the Next Normal” in September.

Melanie Formentin, Ph.D., Director

Associate Professor of Public Relations, Towson University
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Melanie Formentin, Ph.D. is an associate professor of public relations in the Department of Mass
Communication at Towson University (TU). Dr. Formentin earned her Ph.D. in Mass
Communications at Penn State University (2014). At the University of South Florida, she earned
her master’s in strategic communication (2010) and bachelor’s degrees in both public relations
and psychology (2006). Prior to teaching at Towson University, she worked for the NHL’s
Tampa Bay Lightning and University of South Florida Humanities Institute. Dr. Formentin
emphasizes experiential learning in her classrooms, where she focuses on providing students
hands-on experience through service-learning projects and guest speaking engagements. Through
her public relations campaigns capstone, Dr. Formentin has built multiple relationships with on-
campus groups and local nonprofits; students research and present proposed communication
plans for their clients each semester. In 2019, Dr. Formentin won TU’s Outstanding Service-
Learning Faculty Member award.

Dr. Formentin’s research primarily focuses on ethical corporate social responsibility (CSR)
practices and the need to evaluate CSR and advocacy efforts from the perspective of those who
receive support. Her research about ethical CSR, crisis communication in professional sport,
public relations in Scientology, and mentoring programs is published in leading public relations
journals and edited books and is regularly presented at national conferences.
Through service, Dr. Formentin balances her teaching and research priorities. Her interest in
CSR and diversity issues informed her involvement with the AEJMC Public Relations Division’s
(PRD) Professional Freedom and Responsibility committee, where she helped launch the PRD
Giveback program in 2020. Formentin is also highly involved in both student- and faculty-
centered mentoring programs; she previously ran the PRD’s mentoring program; is an active
member of Towson’s faculty-focused community of practice; is a transfer student mentor; and
regularly mentors public relations students through advising, internship supervision, and PRSSA-
driven opportunities. In 2020 she helped spearhead her department’s development of a DE&I
Action Plan and permanent committee. She is also active in assessment at all university levels.

Dianna Fornaro, M.A., APR, AINS, Director

Senior Communications Specialist, Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

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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.

Kaletha Henry, Director

Owner and founder, Be Local Go Global™
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Kaletha 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.

She has more than a decade of industry experience. Kaletha earned a BS in Advertising and Master of Fine Arts in Mass Communication/Media Studies , both from New York Institute of Technology.

Lisa Lance, M.A., Director

Director of Communications and Marketing , Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
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With nearly 20 years of experience in communications and marketing, Lisa Lance has developed
and executed public relations plans, messaging guidelines, digital marketing initiatives, social
media campaigns and content marketing strategies for a variety of organizations, from local
nonprofits to global corporations.

As a PR professional, she has secured coverage in print and broadcast outlets around the world,
including The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC World Service, The Guardian, Inc.,
Entrepreneur, The Baltimore Sun, NPR, American Theatre, ARCHITECT and others. She has also
written speeches for CEOs, planned international press conferences, conducted media training
and created crisis communications plans.

Lisa is currently the Director of Communications and Marketing for ABET, a global nonprofit
organization based in Baltimore that accredits college and university programs in applied and
natural sciences, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

She earned a B.A. in Communications from Purdue University and an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. She has written articles and essays published by The Toast, Engineering.com, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore City Paper, National Parks Traveler, BmoreArt and more. She spent four
years as an editor for The Baltimore Review literary journal and two years on the Board of
Directors for CityLit Project, a nonprofit that promotes the literary arts in Baltimore and
beyond. Lisa is also the founder of Take Time Dragonfly, a newsletter and digital platform to
provide inspiration and resources for moving forward after divorce.

Mary Miles, Director

Senior Account Manager, Weinberg Harris & Associates
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Mary 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 strategic 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. An enthusiastic problem solver, Mary enjoys taking on new challenges and developing creative, out-of-the-box strategies to achieve results on behalf of her clients.

Mary is passionate about the value of mentorship and speaks regularly on local high school and college campuses in order to help students prepare for their future careers. Additionally, she has been proud to volunteer on the Advisory Board of the Women of the World Festival at Notre Dame of Maryland and on Susan G. Komen Maryland’s Public Relations Committee.

Mary is a graduate of Towson University and is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in Digital Communications from the University of Baltimore.

Anthony Naglieri, M.P.A., Director

Chief of Staff & Head of Communications, Petal
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Anthony Naglieri is a mission-driven MarComm professional with 15-plus years of PR, public
administration, and people-management experience. Anthony currently serves the Chief of Staff and Head of Communications at Petal, a new, high-tech consumer goods company.

Over the course of his career, he has amassed a proven track record for identifying, developing,
and publicizing stories of impact that build affinity and catalyze action. Anthony has stewarded
and supported integrated communications for a diverse set of institutions – spanning everything
from a major U.S. military academy to higher education institutions and some of the nation's
largest charities and internationally-focused causes.

Prior to his current role, Anthony oversaw external affairs and marketing for U.S. and
international markets at Cultural Vistas. There, his work received laurels from multiple national
outlets, including the Web Marketing Association, PR News, and PR Daily, among others.
Anthony cut his teeth in collegiate athletics and sports PR and has served as a member of the
gameday public relations staff with the Baltimore Ravens and U.S. Naval Academy's football
team for over a decade. He has also assisted operations for several NCAA championships and
high-profile national sporting events, including the annual Army-Navy Game.
Anthony received his BS in Business Management and Master's in Public Administration from
Binghamton University. He is an em dash evangelist, soccer nut, and proud father of two cats
and a toddler.

Cathy Nyce, Assembly Delegate

Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Maryland Auto Insurance
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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.

Ken Smith, APR, Assembly Delegate 

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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.

Phillip Yerby, Director

Group Manager, Weber Shandwick
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Phill Yerby is a communications professional based in Weber Shandwick’s Baltimore office. Since he joined Weber Shandwick in 2011, he has provided account management, project management and media relations support for corporate, technology, travel, energy and government clients.

Over the course of his career, Phill has led or supported various projects for BGE, Ericsson, Verizon, Bank of America, Samsung, Celgene, and Baltimore Gas and Electric Company.

Phill has a bachelor’s degree in communications with concentration in public relations and a minor in political science from Hood College. He is on the board of directors for the Maryland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and serves as the president of the Hood College Alumni Executive Board.

–Industry News