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PRSA MD 2021 President’s Welcome Message

Happy New Year and welcome to the 2021 programming year. I trust that your holiday celebrations were great and that you and your families are well and are staying safe.

David Marshall
PRSA MD President

Thank you for being a member of PRSA MD. We so appreciate you engaging in our great profession by maintaining your membership. Check out our welcome message for the year.

I would like to thank our rock star team for its service on the 2021 Board. Board members are already hard at work to bring value to your membership.

Tuesday, January 19, the board will meet for the first time to start planning for our 2021 programming. It is our hope that by the fourth quarter we may be able to have some safe in-person events, but we will have to wait for health experts to give us guidance. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, we will program the “old-fashioned way” on Zoom, still looking out for some hybrid opportunities along the way.

I want to express our gratitude to our Immediate Past President Lisa Brusio Coster for her amazing leadership of the 2020 Board. She guided us with grace and precision through a very tough year. We owe her a big debt of gratitude. Hats off to the other members of the 2020 Board. Thank you for setting up the organization for success this new year.

Last week, we solicited your advice for the new year via a start-up survey. We appreciate those who responded. Please find the survey results here.

One thing for sure, we already know that we want to highlight more of your activities in 2021. If you would like us to profile you or if you would like to share some of your amazing work that we could all learn from, please let us know by emailing info@prsamd.org.

Of course, we welcome your expertise to volunteer on committees. There is room for you right now.
Thanks again for being a member of PRSA MD. Best of luck in 2021 to you, your clients, and your teams.


David Marshall
PRSA MD President

PRSA Public Affairs and Government Section’s first webinar of 2021

Building Bridges

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. 

Webinar presenters:

  • 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



Take the first step to earning your APR: Spring online study course begins Tuesday, 1/26/21

APRPREP is a professional development program designed to prepare professionals for Accreditation in Public Relations. Orientation for the Spring 2021 semester of the online study course is scheduled for Tuesday, 1/26/21 at 8 p.m. EST.

The course is self-paced and includes 10 modules focused on the KSAs — Knowledge Skills and Abilities — required to pass the 4-hour proctored APR examination. In addition, participants may join free weekly webcasts hosted by APR facilitators. During each weekly session, APR facilitators will review participants’ work, provide feedback and share study strategies in an informal and effective virtual learning environment.

The APR is a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice and who are selected based on broad knowledge, strategic perspective, and sound professional judgement. PRSA members may enroll at the member price of $195, and group discounts are available for 5 or more.

The Spring 2021 schedule and enrollment link is here: APRPREPSchedule.pdf (online2learn.net)

More info on the online study course is here: APRPREP – APR Online Study Course (online2learn.net)

For additional questions, please contact Dianna Fornaro, APR Manager, at dfornaro@ceiwc.com.

Statement from PRSA 2021 National Chair Michelle Olson, APR: There Is Strength In Our Unity

Statement from PRSA 2021 National Chair Michelle Olson, APR: There Is Strength In Our Unity

Dear Member:

As communications professionals, we take pride in our ability to know what to say, and when and how to say it. But my head and heart are hurting today and I’m searching to find the right words as I try to make sense of the unfathomable chaos that took place yesterday, and the precarious place we find ourselves in as a country.

Never did I imagine my second communication to our membership would come in response to an assault on our republic and an attempt to delegitimize the election of the President and Vice President of the United States.

No matter what one’s political leanings are, we must all, as PRSA members and as citizens of this great country, join together to help restore faith in our democracy, and continue to model the importance of behaving civilly, peacefully and ethically. The world is watching, and our employers, clients and associates are relying on our guidance and example.

We are all in a unique position, one that is more important than ever, to demonstrate leadership and serve as steady voices at a time of great imbalance. Timely, accurate and truthful information – in context – is the foundation of our role as communicators.  Yesterday’s actions show what can happen when the channels of communication are compromised with mis/disinformation.

And we must thank and support our counterparts in the media who so bravely reported from inside and outside the United States Capitol, risking their own safety to help tell the story as the day’s events unfolded.

It is also crucial for us to consider our PRSSA students, how strange and scary this must be for all of them, but also how eager they are to get involved and find solutions to problems. We must resolve to serve as strong advisors and mentors, and help guide them as they search for their own ways, and use their own voices, to help make a difference in society.

Yesterday, long-intensifying frustrations and helplessness reached an ugly boiling point. We must all take a long hard look at how to create and sustain the pillars of community and fellowship that are at the core of our democracy.

We all know that mob mentality is never the right answer and is dangerous, destructive, and, tragically, sometimes deadly. Yesterday’s horror must not be repeated, and I know that we can all come together in our collective determination to make things better. 


Michelle Olson, APR
PRSA 2021 Chair

Maryland Chapter of Public Relations Society of America Announces 2021 Board of Directors

BALTIMORE (12/17/2020)— The Public Relations Society of America Maryland Chapter (PRSA Maryland), the leading organization serving communications and public relations professionals in central Maryland, has announced its 2021 president, executive committee, and board of directors.

The chapter elected David Marshall, Ph.D., APR as 2021 President. Marshall is professor and chair of The Department of Strategic Communication at Morgan State University. Since joining the board of directors this year he served as nominations chair and coordinator of awards judging for a sister PRSA chapter competition. He also recruited and onboarded the chapter’s first diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) co-chairs whose roles have since been elevated to board level positions.

In 2019, PRSA Maryland named Marshall Educator of The Year at the annual Best in Maryland competition. He has been active with PRSA National and The PR Council on plans to create diverse pipelines of talent by encouraging agencies to increase their recruitment efforts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

“I am very honored to serve in this role,” said Marshall. “We have an incredible opportunity in 2021 to help inform major issues facing our sector from COVID-19 business recovery to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. I am excited to work with this incredibly talented board and explore ways to strengthen our members so they can continue to provide high-level outcomes for their clients and companies.”

The 2021 PRSA Maryland board of directors consists of:

Executive Committee

President: David Marshall, Ph.D., APR, Professor and Chair, Department of Strategic Communication, Morgan State University

Vice President: Emily McDermott, Director, Van Eperen

Secretary: Tracy Imm, M.S., M.B.A., Founder Tracy Imm Worldwide, LLC

Treasurer: Renata Allen, M.B.A., Director, Scheduling & Events, Baltimore City Community College

Immediate Past President: Lisa Brusio Coster, M.A., President, Coster Communications, Ltd.


Nikki Bracy, M.S.M., PR & Social Media Supervisor, Planit

Jeffrey A. Davis, APR, Principal, J. Davis Public Relations, LLC

Laurie Farrell, President and Owner, Mission Street Communications

Melanie Formentin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Public Relations, Towson University

Dianna Fornaro, M.A, APR, Senior Communications Specialist, Chesapeake Employers’

Insurance Company

Kaletha Henry, M.F.A., Owner/Director, Be Local Go Global

Lisa Lance, M.A., Director of Communications and Marketing, Accreditation Board for

Engineering and Technology (ABET)

Tia Malloy, M.S., Communication Strategist, Applied Development LLC

Mary Miles, PR & Digital Strategist, Weinberg Harris & Associates

Anthony Naglieri, M.P.A., Chief of Staff & Head of Communications, Petal

Phillip Yerby, Group Manager, Weber Shandwick

Assembly Delegates serve as the chapter’s representatives at PRSA Leadership Assembly, and the liaison between the Society and Chapter:

Cathy E. Nyce, M.A., Director, Marketing and Communications, Maryland Auto Insurance

Kenneth R. Smith, APR, Director, Global Sales and Strategy Communications, Boeing

In 2021, PRSA Maryland will continue to offer its well-received professional development programs, in addition to its signature events: The annual Maryland Conference and The Best in Maryland Awards.

PRSA Maryland Bestows 47 Awards at First Virtual ‘Best in Maryland’ Gala

The Public Relations Society of America Maryland Chapter bestowed 47 Best in Maryland (BIM) awards in 26 categories, including a new COVID-19 category, as well as five professional awards during a virtual gala and awards show held on December 10, 2020.

For the second year in a row, the Best in Show award was presented to Sandy Hillman Communications, this year for “Apollo 11 50th Anniversary at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.”

Maryland Auto Insurance won the most BIM awards (seven), followed by Crosby Marketing Communications with six.

BIM 2020 award submissions were judged by the PRSA Hoosier Chapter. The event was emceed by Tia Malloy, following an introduction by outgoing chapter President Lisa Brusio Coster. Following is a list of all awardees:

Professional Awards
Lifetime Achievement (20+ years) – Kenneth R. Smith, APR
Paul E. Welsh (10+ years) – Courtney Benhoff, Erickson Living
Partner of Distinction – Beyond Definition
Educator of the Year – Melanie Formentin, Towson University
PR Team of the Year – Abel Communications
Kathleen Kelly Scholarship – Faith Schanck, Hofstra University

Best in Maryland Award Winners
Best in Maryland: HASA Partners with BOPA as “Access and Inclusion Partner” – Abel Communications
Award of Excellence: Community Comes First in West Baltimore Hospital Acquisition – LifeBridge Health

Best in Maryland: Promoting COVID-19 Relief Fund to Support America’s Veterans – DAV and Crosby Marketing
Award of Excellence: Helping the Military Community Navigate the Impacts of COVID-19 – Military OneSource and Crosby Marketing
Award of Excellence: United Way of Central Maryland’s COVID-19 Communications – Sandy Hillman Communications

Best in Maryland / Best in Show: Apollo 11 50th Anniversary at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – Sandy Hillman Communications
Award of Excellence: Project Sanctuary Comes to Maryland – Devaney & Associates, Inc.
Award of Excellence: St. John Properties $10M Bonus Announcement – Planit

Best in Maryland: Made Possible By Viewers Like You: Celebrating 50 Years of MPT – Maryland Public Television
Award of Excellence: Work Zone Safety – Maryland State Highway Administration

Best in Maryland: DAV Victories for Veterans PSA Campaign – Crosby Marketing and DAV
Award of Excellence: “Designed by Moms” Family Birthplace Campaign – Devaney & Associates, Inc.

Best in Maryland: I’m Dedicated to my C.R.A.F.T. – Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

Best in Maryland: FineFix – Maryland Auto Insurance
Award of Excellence: BGE Fairy Tale Campaign – Baltimore Gas & Electric
Award of Excellence: Maryland 529 Marketing Campaign – The Hatcher Group

Best in Maryland: FineFix – Maryland Auto Insurance

Best in Maryland: #StopScammersSunday – BGE
Award of Excellence: Active Shooter Preparedness Seminars – Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company
Award of Excellence: MD Move Over Campaign – Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

Best in Maryland: FineFix – Maryland Auto Insurance

Best in Maryland: Tuerk House 2018-2019 Annual Report – Devaney & Associates, Inc.

Best in Maryland: FineFix – Maryland Auto Insurance

Best in Maryland: E-ZPass Maryland: The Broulder – Van Eperen
Award of Excellence: MD Move Over Pamphlet – Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

CREATIVE TACTICS – Assoc/Nonprofit/Govt
Best in Maryland: E-ZPass Maryland on Wheels – Van Eperen
Award of Excellence: Washington Dulles International Airport Takeover – Kaiser Permanente and Crosby Marketing

Best in Maryland: Conrad Siegel’s “Investment Committee Meeting in a Box” – Abel Communications

Award of Excellence: State Highway Administrator Appeals to Drivers Approaching Work Zones – Maryland State Highway Administration

Best in Maryland: United Way of Central Maryland’s FISH Project – Sandy Hillman Communications

Best in Maryland: Photo Solutions – Coyle Studios

MEDIA RELATIONS – Assoc/Nonprofit/Govt
Best in Maryland: Reading Partners – Collins + Co.
Award of Excellence: Ingenuity Project Media Relations Campaign – Devaney & Associates, Inc.
Award of Excellence: NAA’s Rent Control & Housing Affordability Media Relations Campaign – Abel Communications

Award of Excellence: Live! Casino & Hotel’s Chef Ed Competes on Chopped – Stanton Communications, and Live! Casino & Hotel

Best in Maryland: DAV Victories for Veterans — Bobby & Carmen PSA – Crosby Marketing and DAV
Award of Excellence: The Good In You PSA – Crosby Marketing and HRSA

Best in Maryland: 2020 Scholarly Journals Catalog – Johns Hopkins University Press

Best in Maryland: FineFix – Maryland Auto Insurance

SOCIAL MEDIA – Assoc/Nonprofit/Govt
Best in Maryland: FineFix – Maryland Auto Insurance
Award of Excellence: MilSpouse Appreciation Day – Crosby Marketing and Military OneSource
Award of Excellence: Move Over Law Safety Campaign – Maryland State Highway Administration

Best in Maryland: Afya Video – The Hatcher Group
Award of Excellence: Virtual Ribbon Cutting for Watkins Mill Interchange – Maryland State Highway Administration

Best in Maryland: Secom, LLC Website Redesign – IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations
Award of Excellence: FineFix – Maryland Auto Insurance
Award of Excellence: New Project Portal Explains Highway Construction – Maryland State Highway Administration

BIM 20 sponsors included Abel Communications; Bay Media, Inc.; Pixilated; Researchscape; The Hatcher Group; HBP; and Dr. David Marshall, APR, and PRSA-MD president-elect.

The Maryland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America was established in 1961 to help public relations and communications professionals stay connected professionally and personally. As part of the nation’s largest organization of communication professionals, PRSA Maryland offers networking, training, resources and support to help members in their practice of public relations.

The results are in: Congratulations to 2020 Best in Maryland Finalists!

The following organizations will win a Best in Maryland or Award of Excellence.

Attend the gala on December 10, 2020, for the reveal.

Now it is time to celebrate. Please join us on December 10, 6:00 – 7:30 PM for our 2020 Virtual Best in Maryland (BIM) Awards Gala! During the evening, we will announce winners in 26 categories. We will also honor our professional award recipients including Lifetime Achievement, Paul E. Welsh, Educator of the Year, Rising Star, Partner of Distinction, and PR Team of the Year. And the top prize, Best in Show, will round out our night, so stay seated even after your first win!

The event is free so bring the whole team. Register today. All you need to do is BYOB, find a comfy chair and let the celebration begin! We will host a bartender, games, polls, virtual sponsor booths, and giveaways. Have a question? Contact us at info@prsamd.org or 443-283-8060.

Support the event while increasing your organization’s visibility!

We have unique sponsorship opportunities available.

–Industry News