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We’re moving ahead and celebrating our successes!

Best in Maryland Call for Entries is now open! Early deadline is August 31, 2020; final deadline is September 15, 2020.

Remember a time before the pandemic when you completed an award-worthy project, campaign or single tactic that wasn’t tied to COVID-19? And, can you believe you have produced more incredible work because of coronavirus?

We want to celebrate all of those accomplishments with the 2020 Best in Maryland Awards. This year’s program will feature two new awards recognizing how PR and Communications Professionals have stepped up to the challenges brought to us by this year’s pandemic and the racial justice movement.

  • COVID-19 COMMUNICATIONS (Campaign Award) – 2020 has been particularly crisis-oriented as the entire world continues to deal with a global pandemic. This new category includes programs designed to address issues resulting directly from the novel coronavirus and its effects on industry throughout the world. Entries can entail any work done to address COVID-19-related issues through the time of the award deadline. Given the circumstances of this pandemic, leniency will be employed when considering supporting documents, research, and results.
  • DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (Professional Award) – PRSA Maryland is committed to building consciousness by increasing visibility of D&I standards, resources and best practices for racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, and gender differences, as well as diverse skill sets, mindsets and cultures at all levels of the organization. This award recognizes PR firms and organizations that have developed strategies, established more diverse workplace environments, and have established management programs to help minority groups and LGBT practitioners move up the employment ladder.

We will celebrate virtually and creatively in December, toasting to the achievements of our colleagues and friends.  Details TBA.

Best in Maryland also honors those who have made great contributions to our profession and provides a communications student with a scholarship!

Click here for categories, guidelines and more!

PRSA MD Volunteers Deliver Big for Sister Chapter

A small army of The Public Relations Society of America Maryland Chapter collaborated on a project to help colleagues six states away have their big moment in the sun.

Twenty-eight volunteers from PRSA Maryland judged The Public Relations Society of America Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter’s annual Paragon Awards, the highest professional salute that chapter gives.

“This was just an amazing team of colleagues to work with,” said PRSA MD Board member Dr. David Marshall, APR, who coordinated the judging this year for PRSA MD. “As soon as the call went out for help, people responded right away and worked tirelessly to give each entry a very thorough review. Our members completed the process with distinction and on time.”

The judging took place in April over 22 days. Leaders from PRSA SE Wisconsin announced the winners last month.

“This was the first time I have participated in a PRSA MD offering. Serving as a judge not only was rewarding, but it provided me with some terrific ideas that I was immediately able to bring back to my own work,” said Anthony Naglieri, Senior Director of External Affairs at Cultural Vistas.

“It was awesome to see this come together,” said Kaletha Henry, Owner and Director of Be Local Go Global. “I was very excited for the opportunity to participate as a judge and review each agency’s submission. I learned a lot. It’s certainly an exciting time to be in Public Relations.”

There were 46 entries across a number of categories covering tactics and programs. Each submission was reviewed by two judges on a 0-50 point scale. Judges considered research, clear objectives and target audiences, comprehensive planning and budgeting, creativity and execution, and evaluation against the stated objectives.

“I absolutely love serving as a judge of PRSA National and Chapter awards,” said Dan Dunne, APR, Director of External Communications for Erickson Living, and PRSA College of Fellows member. “It affords a perfect opportunity to learn from today’s exceptional communication professionals who share accomplishments that inspire me to always seek creative and innovative ways to serve others.”

The magic in this year’s judging may have been the result of the diversity of the judging panel according to Marshall. Based on the list of judges, they represented every segment of chapter membership from first-time judges to more seasoned practitioners, APRs, a College of Fellows member, academics, and a number of professional award winners. Some judges teamed up with old colleagues. Others expanded their professional network by collaborating with someone new.

I appreciated the opportunity and am grateful for being asked. I really enjoyed doing this. I hope the feedback I provided was good and that I’ll be considered for this type of service again in the future,” said Dr. Melanie Formentin, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at Towson University.

Each year PRSA Chapters around the country coordinate to determine which chapters will judge each other’s entries. The chapter that will judge The PRSA MD 2020 Best in Maryland Awards in December has not been named yet.

You can read more about the Paragon Awards below:

2020 Paragon Winners

 

This year’s panel of judges included:

Ragina C. Ali
Manager, Public & Government Affairs
AAA Mid-Atlantic

Linda Anderson
Advisor, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications
Office of Communications
Social Security Administration

Dani Baldassare
Regional Communications Manager
Erickson Living

Nikki Bracy
Social Media Supervisor
Planit

Berry Brady
Director, Media Relations
Full Tilt Consulting

Claudia Ciolfi, WCP®
Senior Manager of Public Relations and Communications
Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

Duane A. Carey
President
IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations.

Tyanna L. Collins, MBA
Marketing Specialist
ChristianaCare, Union Hospital

Kendall Dougherty
PR & Social Media Manager
Planit

Molly Dressel
Account Manager
Abel Communications

Jana Duckett, MA
Assistant Professor
Strategic Communication
Morgan State University

Daniel R. Dunne, APR, PRSA College of Fellows
Director of External Communications
Erickson Living

Melanie Formentin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Mass Communication
Towson University

Dianna N. Fornaro, M.A., APR, AINS
Senior Communications Specialist
Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

Christine Frey, APR
Senior Corporate Communications & Patient Education Manager
American Urological Association

Kaletha Henry
Owner/Director
Be Local Go Global

David Marshall, Ph.D., APR
Professor and Chair
Department of Strategic Communication
School of Global Journalism & Communication
Morgan State University

Michael MacFee
Grant Writer
Maryland Public Television

Greta McNally
Corporate Communications Trainee
Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

Joonwoo Moon, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Strategic Communication
School of Global Journalism & Communication

Anthony Naglieri
Sr. Director of External Affairs
Cultural Vistas

Christina Perry
Public Relations Supervisor
Planit

Janice E. Smith, Ph.D., APR
Assistant Professor and Director, The Strategy Shop
Department of Strategic Communication
School of Global Journalism & Communication
Morgan State University

Kelly A. Stoll, APR
Senior Strategic Communications Specialist
Strategic Communications Services
AECOM

Jim Taylor
Communications Director
Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company

Pattie Yu
The Yu Crew and PRSA Maryland Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Lorianne Walker
Account Manager
Abel Communications

Tom Williams, APR
Managing Director, Communications
Maryland Public Television

2020 Best in Maryland Awards – To be or not to be? That isn’t the only question!

As 2020 is fast becoming the year on pause, the PRSA Maryland Board of Directors is looking ahead to this year’s Best in Maryland Awards Gala, which is annually held in December. Will members feel safe enough to attend? Will stay at home orders be in effect? Will award submissions still be in the budget? The board doesn’t have a crystal ball, but luckily it can ask its members to gain insight and perspective.

Please take five minutes to respond to our quick 5-question poll. Your responses will help guide this year’s decision to move forward with the 2020 Best in Maryland Awards or hold a combined event and make it extra fabulous next year.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond. Looking forward to your feedback!

Call for Award Judges! Can You Help?

We are looking for a few (or many) PR pros to serve as judges for the PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter’s Paragon Awards. Judging is expected to begin April 10 and last approximately three weeks.

As a judge, you will have the opportunity to review the entries and gain some insider knowledge. And, since you will be joining a team, judging provides an opportunity to connect with other Maryland Chapter members and to share ideas.

Are you an APR? You can get continuing education credits for judging.

What skills are required to be a judge? A firm understanding of effective public relations practice, and experience in the profession. Your time commitment can be as little as two to three hours to judge a complete category or more if you wish to judge additional categories.

Where does this take place? You will receive the entries electronically so you can judge from right from your office, home or wherever you are comfortable. If you’re part of a team, feel free to connect online via Skype, Zoom etc. Don’t have a team? Just let us know and we will do some match-making.

Sound interesting? Get more information and sign up via this short survey by Friday, April 3. If you have a team – your staff, department employees or a group of peers – just inform us via the survey and provide the key contact. If you do not have a team, we will find a partner for you.

Finally, we welcome as many judges as possible (the more judges, the less categories each team has to review) so feel free to recruit a colleague or two to be part of your team. Simply share this link and we will do the rest.

Questions? Give us a call at PRSA Maryland Chapter office at 301-725-2508 or email info@prsamd.org.

A Maryland PR Pro’s ‘America in Miniature’ Slogan Offers a Better Idea for Election Diversity

by Jeffrey Davis, APR

Originally printed in Capitol Communicator 2/13/2020. Reprinted with permission. 

The Iowa caucus digital disaster prompted many of us to question the confusing and not-so-reliable system. Neighbors gathering in churches and libraries to convince each other to huddle under a sign for their candidate? Then it takes over a week to tabulate the results?

Not only is there a crisis communications lesson in how (not) to launch a simple but untested app, but it reminds us how a Maryland PR pro might have tipped us off to a better approach many decades ago.

Born in Western Maryland, the late Paul E. Welsh had an impressive public relations career in Baltimore, working as a reporter for The Sun from 1940 to 1955, and then PR for the new team in town, the Baltimore Orioles. He retired in 1978 after 21 years in public affairs at McCormick & Co.

Each year the Maryland Chapter of PRSA marks his legacy with the Paul E. Welsh Award, recognizing a PR pro who exemplifies his creative talent. In 2019, Van Eperen’s own Emily McDermott was honored with the prestigious award.

Welsh’s most enduring brainstorm came in 1939 when he created the slogan, “Maryland — America in Miniature.”

Picture yourself high above the mountains of Western Maryland near Welsh’s birthplace in Cumberland, Md., then heading past acres of farmland and rural communities. Then over the parks, row homes and office buildings of Baltimore, toward the Inner Harbor. Then it’s off to Annapolis, across the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers and marshland of the Eastern Shore and down to the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.

That’s the Maryland version of “sea to shining sea,” and the people of Maryland are just as diverse as the terrain. Much more than the 90% white Iowa and 93% white New Hampshire. About a third of Maryland’s population is African American, 10% are Hispanic, and 7% are Asian, according to a census study by Wallet Hub showing that half of Maryland is white. Gaithersburg is the most diverse municipality in Maryland, followed by Hyattsville, Rockville, College Park and Greenbelt, which are among the top seven in the U.S. according to that study.

For that Iowa feel, candidates can meet with the farmers and visit the rural communities of the Eastern Shore and the northern counties. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties next to Washington, D.C. will test the views of the suburban voter, and of course there’s Baltimore and the complexities that come with an urban center.

Multiple media markets offer candidates a television presence for those campaign ads, including Salisbury and Hagerstown, and of course Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

And Maryland is compact, meaning more efficient travel and less exhaust and gasoline consumption for those campaign SUVs and buses. The food’s not bad either, so candidates can skip the staged diner interviews for something with more variety.

Let the Iowans gather in the gymnasiums and caucus all they want but imagine how the political landscape would change if Maryland voted first, allowing for a more accurate reveal of what a cross-section of Americans sees in the candidates.

Jeffrey Davis is managing partner with Van Eperen, a Board Member of PRSA Maryland, and  Baltimore editor of Capitol Communicator.

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors