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Dana Vickers Shelley Named 2017 Educator of the Year

Morgan State University Faculty Member Honored With Best In Maryland Award

Public Relations Society of America Maryland Board of Directors announced its selection of Dana Vickers Shelley as its 2017 Public Relations Educator of the Year. A strategic communication faculty member at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication since 2014, Shelley will be formally recognized at PRSA Maryland’s “Best In Maryland” awards program on December 6.

“We are delighted to recognize Dana Vickers Shelley for preparing the next generation of public relations practitioners and industry leaders,” said Claudia Ciolfi, President of PRSA Maryland and Manager of Public Relations and Strategic Communications at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Company. “Her efforts this year resulted in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) authorizing Morgan State University’s first Chapter, and underscore Dana’s commitment to guiding students from academic to professional success.”

Prior to Morgan State University, Shelley was director of public affairs for Southern Poverty Law Center, director of strategic communications at Annie E. Casey Foundation, and senior vice president at Fenton Communications and Edelman. Shelley has advised CEOs and senior leaders at Maryland-based organizations including Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by my colleagues in Maryland’s public relations industry with this award,” said Shelley. “Developing communicators whose advice and expertise will contribute to the success of enterprises and organizations in the future is most rewarding.”

Shelley holds an MPA in Executive Leadership from American University and a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a member of PRSA-Maryland, American Association of University Women, National Association of Black Journalists, and Native American Journalists Association.

Also to be honored are Daniel Dunne, APR, as Lifetime Achievement recipient; Nancy Sherman, Caroline Center, as the inaugural recipient of the Paul E. Welsh Award; Molly Dressel, Abel Communications, as Rising Star; Maryland Auto Insurance Marketing and Communications Team as PR Team of the Year; and Coyle Studios as Partner of Distinction. Click here for more information on all our honorees. 

Awards will be presented at the PRSA Maryland 2017 Best in Maryland Gala on December 6 at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court. The evening will also include awards presentations for excellence in public relations campaigns in 24 categories culminating in the reveal of Best in Show. Click here for more information and to register. 


Announcing our 2017 ‘Best in Maryland’ Professional Award Honorees

The votes are in. And we’re gearing up to salute four individuals and two teams at the 2017 Best in Maryland Gala on December 6 at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court in Baltimore. Join us in congratulating our 2017 Honorees …

Daniel R. Dunne, APR, a highly regarded leader and mentor in the competitive public relations and communication field, will receive this year’s top honors as Lifetime Achievement recipient. Dan’s civil service and private sector careers have been marked by a passion to serve others in ways that help achieve key organizational goals and objectives and inspire innovation.

Nancy Sherman, director of marketing and communications at Caroline Center, is the inaugural recipient of the Paul E. Welsh Award and will be honored for her work in public relations and communications, which she describes as having “deep Baltimore roots.”

Dana Vickers Shelley, lecturer and PRSSA faculty advisor, Department of Strategic Communication at Morgan State University will receive the Educator of the Year for her commitment to the professional practice of public relations; the positive and inspirational effect she has on each student she encounters; and, for establishing the first PRSSA Chapter at Morgan State University.

Molly Dressel of Abel Communications is the 2017 Rising Star. Molly will be honored for her impressive early accomplishments, her ardent spirit for volunteering, and for the promise she continues to show as a new public relations professional.

Maryland Auto Insurance Marketing and Communications Team is the 2017 PR Team of the Year. This amazing team of professionals will be recognized for successfully leading the 40-year-old organization through a complete corporate re-brand.

Coyle Studios will be recognized as this year’s Partner of Distinction. The talented creative team will be honored for their ongoing support of PRSA Maryland and for the many ways they are helping shape the face of the public relations industry throughout Baltimore.

Click here for more information on all our honorees. 

The evening will include the Best in Maryland Awards ceremony where awards will be presented for excellence in public relations in 24 categories culminating in the reveal of Best in Show. Click here for more information and to register. 

Veronica (Ronnie) Gunnerson named Educator of the Year

Honored for her excellence as a public relations professional and instructor as well as her commitment to higher education.

Devoted and highly acclaimed professor … dependable and exuberant colleague … standout public relations practitioner … a confident and caring leader … a remarkable mentor.

These are just a few of the phrases used to describe Veronica (Ronnie) Gunnerson, M.A., affiliate assistant professor, Communication Department, at Loyola University Maryland; and why she has been named PRSA Maryland Chapter’s 2016 Educator of the Year.

“Professor Gunnerson exemplifies all elements of the PRSA as well as the IABC Codes of Ethics,” says Tania Cantrell Rosas-Moreno, Ph.D., associate professor, Loyola University Maryland. “She is phenomenal in her PR walk and talk, whether as a practicing professional or professor.”

Elliot King, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Communication at Loyola, also cites her devotion to her students as her greatest contribution. “Her faculty evaluations are very strong and the student work produced in her class is of the highest caliber,” said Dr. King. “She is very generous with her time and is always willing to offer guidance and advice to the students about their studies, their careers and life in general. She epitomizes the strengths that an experienced professional can bring to PR education.”

Gunnerson brings more than 30 years of experience in journalism and public relations to her position at Loyola University Maryland, where she began teaching in 2006. In addition to her teaching, she served as PRSSA faculty advisor from 2009-2010 and is credited with building the vibrant chapter that exists today. From 2013 to 2015, she served as director of operations for the communication department’s first master of arts program, the online M.A. in Emerging Media Program. In 2015, she returned to her first passion – teaching – at Loyola.

Outside of academia, Gunnerson served as executive director of ALS Association (DC/MD/VA Chapter) from 2010-2013 where she successfully established a social media presence and raised $1.2 million annually in ALS walk programs.

Before joining Loyola in 2006, Gunnerson worked for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) from 2003-2006 where, as the founding executive director of the PBS Foundation, she secured four grants totaling $13 million for the foundation within the first two years. From 1993-1997, Gunnerson was senior vice president of the home entertainment division Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., overseeing public relations for multiple departments such as licensing, home video, new media, education, international distribution, and publishing. In 1997, she was promoted to vice president of corporate affairs and became senior vice president two years later. In that role, she oversaw the company’s corporate media relations, local and state government relations, employee communications, community relations and corporate contributions.  She served on several community boards, received a Women Making a Mark Award from Atlanta Magazine and was named one of 10 Women of Achievement by the Atlanta YWCA.

Prior to her career in public relations, Gunnerson was a journalist and editor in the early years of the personal computer industry and then in the home video industry, where she managed one of the first virtual editorial organizations in the country. As a freelance journalist, her articles have appeared in Newsweek, Parade, Billboard, Working Woman and PC World.

Gunnerson holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Long Beach, and a master’s degree in public relations from the University of Southern California.

About the Award:

Each year, PRSA Maryland honors a public relations/communications professor who has proven to be an excellent instructor and education leader in their schools and communities, and who has demonstrated a commitment to the advancement of students within public relations and communications.

Please join us on December 8 at the 2016 Best in Maryland Gala as we honor Ronnie Gunnerson. The evening will also honor the Lifetime Achievement recipient Louise Lake Hayman, APR, Fellow PRSA, recognize a PRSSA chapter, reveal the PR Team of the Year and present awards for excellence in public relations in 24 categories. The featured keynote will be Susan Goldberg, editor in chief of National Geographic.



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Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors