Join your fellow Section members on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. EST for the Public Affairs and Government Section’s first webinar of 2021, Why Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Matter: The Human Capital and Public Affairs Connection to Building the Best Organization.
Hear leading Public Affairs and Human Capital (previously known as Human Resources) professionals discuss programs to build bridges between their offices and how they communicate their efforts.
During this webinar, you will explore:
- Ways to identify who owns the DE&I program in your organization and what is the current plan/program.
- What is the relationship between PA, HC and EEO offices in organizations?
- What are the roles and responsibilities of each?
- How can the three collaborate in implementing the plan?
- How does PA work with HC/EEO to make everyone DEI savvy in the organization?
- Identify the best practices and/or gaps in your organization’s DE&I plans/programs.
Going forward, PAG Section members will consult their organizations for current DE&I plans and best practices in order to provide data that will be shared in a report compiled by the Section.
- Moderator: Felicia Blow, APR, Associate Vice President for Development, Hampton University
- Kermit Howard, Division Director, Human Capital Division, Department of Interior
- Marta Lugo, External Affairs Officer-Racial Equity, D&I, Civic Engagement, Santa Clara Valley Water
- Cyrus A. Salazar, Director, Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Department of Defense
For the November issue of WebNotes, we met Laurie Farrell, PRSA Maryland board member and volunteer. Laurie is the owner and president of her own freelance firm, Mission Street Communications, and was the chair of the PRSA Maryland Conference this year.
How long have you been a member of PRSA and why did you join?
I have been involved with PRSA Maryland since 2004. I’ve always been excited to learn new skills, meet new people and make connections, and PRSA has helped me do that.
What did you enjoy most about being the conference chair for the 2020 PRSA Maryland Conference?
I also chaired last year’s conference and at first, I thought that this year’s conference might not be as much work because it was virtual. But it became a challenge as we had to figure out what was going to resonate with people and what would keep viewers engaged when so many have “Zoom fatigue.” This led us to get to work with some awesome speakers from all over the country, who we would not ordinarily be available for an in-person event. We brought in a producer, Laurie Reuben, who was great to collaborate with. Overall, I love creating content and experiences as a team, rising to the occasion when there’s a challenge and collaborating with others.
What is your current position?
The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been an easy time for anyone. I was part of a layoff due to budget cuts as a newer employee. This provided me with a bit of a break to focus on the conference and my family, and allowed me to gain clarity on what I want to do next. I also have my own freelance business called Mission Street Communications, which I’m starting to do more for. My goal is to land with a mission-based organization where I can be part of a team and help them reach their goals and make some meaningful contributions while also continuing to learn and grow.
What do you love most about the PR field?
The essence of PR is cultivating and growing mutually beneficial relationships, which I’m all about. I also love the strategy that goes into it, collaborating with organizations to solve problems and provide solutions that make an impact. So much has changed and developed over time, but the fundamentals are always going to be the same. You always have to think about reputation management and crisis communications, hone your writing skills, and strategize about how to engage different audiences. It’s fast-paced and always changing, which makes this profession so interesting and fun.
How do you define success?
First, just giving back, participating in my community and being a good human being. Our measures for success tend to change over time as we travel along in life. For me, success is making the time to do the things I truly enjoy, either on my own or with the people I enjoy most. And then, making sure to be very present for it. You can accomplish all kinds of things, but you need to ask yourself “how am I making the most of the time I have?” There’s so much joy in everyday, ordinary moments – like seeing a cool leaf or savoring the first sip of a hot cup of tea or skipping with my granddaughter. Really recognizing the value of those simple moments makes for a great life.
Who inspires you?
Anyone who is doing good things in the world, taking risks, and stretching themselves. All three of my daughters inspire me when I see the people they have become. Now that my kids are older, I get to continue to share in their lives, and they inspire me a lot.
What is one thing – either industry-related or not – you learned in the last month?
Going back to the conference, the different ways and tools to provide engaging content for people virtually. There’s so much more you can do now. I think when we’re back in person, these lessons I learned are important to remember as well. Keep it interesting and keep it relevant.
What is something about you (a fun fact) that many people may not know?
I make amazing playlists. I like to create playlists based on how I want to feel the next day, or what I want my mood to be. I have magic powers to transform my day with playlists, and it absolutely works!
What is a podcast you would recommend?
“How I Built This.” It’s an NPR podcast where Guy Raz interviews innovators, entrepreneurs, and those who have started successful businesses. Guy is such an excellent interviewer and the stories are interesting and inspiring. Guests include the founders of Ben & Jerry’s, Airbnb, Warby Parker, Canva and Bobbi Brown.
Where did you grow up and where would you like to retire?
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and grew up in Pasadena, Maryland. I like to think about retiring in New England, like Massachusetts, or Beaufort, North Carolina.
If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Gluten-free pancakes with maple syrup (and maybe some bacon). For obvious reasons, that’s not a good idea. So, I’ll replace that with one of my super healthy (and delicious) soup recipes.
Ad Agency Leader Ashlene Larson Named One of Maryland’s 2020 Leading Women
The Daily Record Recognizes the Next Generation of Maryland’s Women Leaders
Baltimore, Md., (October 15, 2020) — The Daily Record selected Ashlene Larson, director of public relations and social media for the award-winning, Baltimore-based advertising agency, Planit, to receive one of its 2020 Leading Women awards.
“This year’s Leading Women are professionally accomplished, involved in their communities and committed to making a difference and inspiring change,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, group publisher of The Daily Record. “They are the next generation of leaders in Maryland, and The Daily Record is pleased to recognize their achievements.”
The Daily Record’s Leading Women awards honor women who are 40 years of age or younger for the accomplishments they have made so far in their careers. A panel of previous Top 100 Women and Leading Women winners selected the honorees based on their professional experience, community involvement and commitment to inspiring change.
“We are thrilled, but not surprised, that Ashlene was named to this year’s Leading Women honorees,” said Matt Doud, president and co-founder of Planit. “While she certainly brings a unique and critical perspective to the field of public relations, resulting in worldwide news stories for our clients, it is her passion – her commitment – to mentoring the next generation of PR professionals and her never-ending crusade to elevate working moms that make her an invaluable leader. Ashlene has helped architect policies for the betterment of all employees at Planit while simultaneously serving as a changemaker, a mentor, and an unstoppable force in our industry.”
Larson moved to Baltimore from Canada in 2009 during a recession, continuing a career in PR where she immediately had to assimilate to an entirely different country, American culture, and the PR/media market. Ten years later, Larson leads an award-winning PR team at Planit. Due to her strategic leadership and vision, Planit’s PR & Social Team won the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Maryland’s 2019 PR Team of the Year.
Larson is an active pillar in the community. She is a volunteer within the PR and advertising agency, but also within the community via Girl Scouts and St. Vincent de Paul. She currently serves on the Board of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) of Baltimore, a position held since 2015, where she also chairs the PR Committee and is the current Second Vice President. Through this volunteerism, she has traveled to Annapolis on behalf of the Federation’s members and the advertising community to oppose a digital tax, which was recently voted down. Larson is a published thought leader featured in WYPR, the Baltimore Business Journal, the Baltimore Sun, and more. She also gives back to the industry through speaking engagements with Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Maryland and the AAF on the topics of crisis communications and PR, and by serving as a judge for the PRSA Maryland ARC Awards in 2019.
To view The Daily Record’s complete list of Maryland’s 2020 Leading Women, visit https://thedailyrecord.com/leading-women/winners/.
We’re Planit. A strategic, digitally-minded agency that leads revolutions for national and global clients. Whether that’s through a variety of media channels, PR, social, or the “next big thing”—if it isn’t bold, creative, and smart, we’re not doing our job. That’s why clients including Royal Building Products, Kiddie Academy, Sheetz, Barclays US, and The AMES Companies trust Planit. And that’s why we continue to receive stellar industry recognition, including being named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur 360™ List, winning the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award, and Advertising Age’s Small Agency of the Year.
Each year, PRSA Maryland Chapter installs a new board of directors and member volunteers who work together to ensure the Chapter achieves its mission, plans professional programs, and grows membership. Today, the Chapter is pleased to present you with the slate for the 2021 board of directors for your review.
Click here for full bios.
David Marshall, Ph.D., APR
Professor and ChairDepartment of Strategic Communication
Morgan State University
Tracy Imm, M.S., M.B.A.
Founder Tracy Imm Worldwide, LLC
Renata Allen, M.B.A.
Director, Scheduling & Events
Baltimore City Community College
Immediate Past President
Lisa Brusio Coster, MA.
Coster Communications, Ltd.
Nikki Bracy, M.S.M.
PR & Social Media Supervisor
Area of Board Responsibility: Communications
Jeffrey A. Davis, APR
J. Davis Public Relations, LLC
Area of Board Responsibility: Communications
President and Owner
Mission Street Communications
Area of Board Responsibility: Sponsorships
Melanie Formentin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Public Relations
Areas of Board Responsibility: PRSSA Liaison
Dianna Fornaro, M.A, APR
Senior Communications Specialist
Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company
Area of Board Leadership: Accreditation (APR)
Kaletha Henry, M.F.A.
Be Local Go Global
Area of Board Leadership; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Lisa Lance, M.A.
Director of Communications and Marketing
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
Area of Board Leadership: Membership
Tia Malloy, M.S.
Applied Development LLC
Area of Board Leadership: Professional Development and Programming
PR & Digital Strategist
Weinberg Harris & Associates
Area of Board Leadership: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Anthony Naglieri, M.P.A
Chief of Staff & Head of Communications
Area of Board Leadership: Community Service and Engagement
Area of Board Leadership: Membership
Assembly Delegates serve as
1) the Chapter’s representatives at PRSA Leadership Assembly, and
2) liaison between the Society and Chapter.
Cathy E. Nyce, M.A.
Marketing and Communications, Maryland Auto Insurance
Kenneth R. Smith, APR
Global Sales and Strategy Communications
PRSA Maryland Chapter members:
Voting for the 2021 board of directors will commence on November 9 via Survey Monkey. Please watch your inbox for your chance to vote.
If you are interested in holding a leadership position within PRSA Maryland or running for any of the board seats above, please contact info@PRSAMD.org within the next 30 days.
We are also seeking volunteers to chair or be part of a committee. Not sure why you should volunteer? Finding your place in PRSA Maryland will answer a few of your questions. You can also click here to take a simple poll.