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Meet Board Member and Volunteer Laurie Farrell

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.

Meet Chapter Member Kelsey Harman

For the September Issue of Web Notes, we talked to Maryland Chapter member and volunteer Kelsey Harman. Kelsey is an Account Manager at Cision, and has been an active volunteer on the PRSA Maryland Communications Committee since 2019.

How long have you been a member of PRSA and why did you join?

While in college at the University of Tampa, I was a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). After graduating in 2018, I became a New Professionals Committee Member and last year I joined the Communications Committee as a social media volunteer. I knew I wanted to be a part of a community specifically in my industry that allowed me to grow and network.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

I like having the ability to develop social media content. It allows me to be creative.

What is your current position at Cision?

I have been working at Cision, a leading global provider of earned media software and services since 2018. I am currently an Account Manager.

What do you love most about the PR field?

I love how diverse the PR field is. People assume that if you work in the public relations field you must work at an agency. That is not the case. There are many different roles. There is a lot of flexibility in this industry.

How do you define success?

For me, success is knowing the work I am doing is making a positive impact. Eventually, I want to take the non-profit route. I want to wake up knowing my work is improving someone’s life for the better.

Who inspires you?

My mom and all the women in my family in general. I have some strong and hardworking female influences in my family, which I am grateful for. Quite a few of them work in the communications industry, including my cousin, who is the Vice President of Public Relations for an agency in Baltimore.

What is one thing – either industry-related or not – you learned in the last month?

I was recently promoted. At first, I was doing my old job, while also trying to learn my new job. It was overwhelming. I had to learn to reflect on my accomplishments instead of focusing on all the things I didn’t get done. I had to give myself some lead way and learn how to relax and unwind.

What is something about you (a fun fact) that many people may not know?

I love to travel. I have been on an airplane every month since 2018. I love exploring new places and visiting friends. Although I can’t travel right now, I still have a lot of places I want to visit after the pandemic.

What is the last book you read?

1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz.

Where did you grow up and where would you like to retire?

I grew up in Annapolis, Maryland but I currently live in Austin, Texas. I am not sure of the exact location but I want to retire somewhere warm in a laid-back environment. It could be within the United States, Italy or maybe an island.

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Pizza or Tacos.

PRSA Maryland announces appointment of Diversity & Inclusion co-chairs

Kaletha Henry

Mary Miles

The Board of Directors for PRSA Maryland has announced Kaletha Henry and Mary Miles will co-chair the new Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Chapter President Lisa Coster confirmed the appointments today.

“We’re excited to have two new volunteers lead our D&I initiative,” said Coster. “The board is grateful Mary and Kaletha have filled these most important seats.”

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.

“As the daughter of two forward-thinking educators, I was raised to expect the best from those assigned to teach and prepare me for the road ahead. Instead, my career became a jagged path of twists and turns that exposed me to various levels of discrimination and privilege inside classrooms and boardrooms,” said Henry. “Through these encounters and experiences, I have a heightened awareness and perspective on disparities affecting marginalized groups of people in schools and companies within the United States and abroad. As such, I am determined to help make a difference to equip and empower current and future generations.”

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.

“Diversity and inclusion are more than talking points or trends, but an essential journey to acknowledge the differences of human experience and address inequity and injustice wherever possible,” said Miles. “As professional communicators, it is our duty to do the work to unlearn our own biases, educate our leaders and stakeholders on these important issues, and commit to making change. I hope that PRSA-MD’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee will be a resource for members of our industry to learn how to make our profession more inclusive and to influence others to make a commitment to equity, both personally and professionally.”

Henry and Miles will be reaching out to chapter members over the next month to get ideas about how to develop the D & I plan which will be framed around PRSA National D&I Strategic Plan 2020–2022 released in May following nationwide protests around racial inequality.

In June, The Board of Directors for PRSA Maryland issued its own statement about racial injustice following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. The statement outlined four immediate action items for PRSA Maryland. The appointment of Henry and Miles realize one part of this important action plan.

If you would like to participate on the D and I committee, please write us at info@prsamd.org. Your input is welcomed and appreciated.

 

 

 

Presenting the 2020 Board of Directors Slate

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 2020 board of directors for your review. Click here for full bios.

 

President

  • Lisa Brusio Coster, M.A., President, Coster Communications

Treasurer

  • Ken Smith, APR

Directors              

  • Christine P. Barnhart, M.S., APR
  • Jeffrey A. Davis, APR, Managing Partner, Van Eperen
  • Dianna Fornaro, APR, Senior Communications Specialist, Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company
  • Dr. David Marshall​, Professor and Chair, Department of Strategic Communication, Morgan State University
  • Emily McDermott, Account Supervisor/Project Manager, Van Eperen
  • Debra Schindler, Regional Director of Media and Public Relations, MedStar Health
  • Lauren Walbert, Vice President, Sandy Hillman Communications
  • Phillip Yerby, Group Manager, Weber Shandwick

Assembly Delegates serve as 1) the Chapter’s representatives at PRSA Leadership Assembly, and 2) liaison between the Society and Chapter.

  • Cathy E. Nyce, Director, Marketing and Communications, Maryland Auto Insurance
  • Kenneth Smith, APR

PRSA Maryland Chapter members: Voting for the 2020 board of directors will commence on November 25 via Survey Monkey. Please watch your inbox for your chance to vote.

We continue to accept nominations for the board of directors, specifically a vice president and president-elect. This is a great opportunity to steer the Chapter into the future.  If you are interested in holding a leadership position within PRSA Maryland, please contact Lisa Brusio Coster at lbcoster@costercommunications.com.

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.

 

Brush up on Leadership Skills with Quick Start Training – Free Registration for the First to Respond

Aspiring chapter leaders are cordially invited to this year’s PRSA Mid-Atlantic District (MAD) “Quick Start” leadership program, taking place on Saturday, November 2, in Towson. The program – registration link here – is designed to help strengthen emerging and upcoming Chapter leaders through meaningful, practical content.  And, Quick Start enables unique networking experiences with fellow leaders from around the region.  Meet your peers, offer advice and take home some fresh, winning ideas to your Chapter.

Agenda & Featured Speaker

The day of “Quick Start” is full of only useful content, including roundtable discussions about how to turn some of the challenges we all face into opportunities.  Attendees will have the chance to share and receive thoughtful feedback on just about any PRSA-related topic, from successful programming approaches, to recruiting committee members, to leading a volunteer board. 

The event’s featured speaker is Ken Jacobs, a long-time PRSA ICON and PRSA Counselors Academy speaker who focuses on leadership and empowering team members – including those in a volunteer setting. His column on leadership appears regularly in PRSA’s Strategy & Tactics, and he has written on leadership development, executive coaching and agency management for PR News. Ken has coached and helped leaders, from C-suite executives to managers, achieve and surpass their goals.  We’re lucky to have him at the 2019 Quick Start.

Event Location & Details

The event will be held, November 2, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Sheraton Baltimore North, 903 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, 21204

Free Registration

Each chapter receives one complimentary registration to the event (including lunch).  Registration for additional attendees is $20.  For more information, contact Mike Gross at 856-866-0411, ext. 117,  Mike@AKCGfirm.com or visit the Quick Start website.

 

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors