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2014 Best In MD Gala … Yes, it really is all about you!

Submitted by David Harrison, co-chair, BIM Committee

We cordially invite you to the 2014 Best in Maryland Gala on December 4, 2014, 6-10 pm at the Hilton Baltimore.

Once again this year, we will recognize the best communications campaigns in Maryland – in traditional and in new campaigns focused on media placements, blogs and social media.

The Best in Maryland gala is one of the most popular nights on the PRSA Maryland calendar. It’s a night when some will take home a coveted trophy and when all will have the opportunity to catch up with peers as we near the holiday season.

Terence O'Hara

Terence O’Hara

The evening will also feature a keynote address by former Baltimore and Washington, DC journalist, Terence O’Hara currently vice president of communications at UnitedHealthcare. He will speak about the changing nature of corporate communications in a social media world, navigating a career in journalism and public relations, and what he believes are the most important communications strategies to follow in a digital world.

And the fun part of the night will be the awards themselves. We will be presenting more than 50 Best in Maryland awards, Awards of Excellence and the coveted Best in Show. If you are a nominee, we certainly hope you will be there to take home your trophy in person.

Bonnie K Heneson

Bonnie K Heneson

We will be honoring our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and we will be proud to celebrate with Bonnie Heneson, founder of Bonnie Heneson Communications.

Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus

Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus

We will also be honoring Stevenson University’s Dr. Leeanne M. Bell McManus as Educator of the Year along with the New Professional of the Year (have to come to know who!) and our Partner of Distinction, Hack|Stone Film Group.

We look forward to celebrating the great work our community creates!

 Click here for more information and to register!

*VIP tables are selling fast, so we urge you to act quickly if you would like to take advantage of this option.


PRSA-Maryland Recognizes Excellence in Public Relations in 2013 ‘Best In Maryland’ Awards Gala

PRSA-MD saluted the state’s top PR professionals on Thursday (Dec. 5) at a special gala at the Monaco Hotel Baltimore.

This year’s Best In Maryland award winners were chosen in 25 categories.  Top honors went to two leading communications experts – Helen Szablya, a nationally recognized Baltimore communications professional, who received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award; and Lester R. Potter, an accredited business communicator and senior lecturer at Towson University, who was named PR Educator of the Year.

Jessica McKay, public affairs manager for Erickson Living, was named New Professional of the Year.

The PRSA-Maryland Lifetime Achievement Award honors a public relations professional whose career spans 15 years or more and who has exhibited extraordinary achievements, demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of public relations and upholds the PRSA Code of Ethics. The PR Educator of the Year Award recognizes a PRSA member who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of public relations education through college or university teaching.

“At PRSA, we believe our members should be recognized for their hard work and major contributions in public relations,” said PRSA-Maryland President Nneka Jenkins.  “Our Best in Maryland awards are presented annually to PR practitioners who, in the judgment of their peers, have successfully addressed a communications challenge with exemplary professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness.  It is with great joy that we salute this year’s honorees.”

Click here for a full list of winners. 

Announcing the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient…

The PRSA-MD Board of Directors and the 2013 Best In Maryland Committee are pleased to announce that Helen Szablya has been named the  2013 PRSA-MD Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

Helen Szablya

Helen Szablya

Ms. Szablya is a nationally recognized Baltimore communications professional with more than 30 years of experience include key management positions at The Enterprise Foundation, The Fannie Mae Foundation, Baltimore City Mayor’s Office in Baltimore City, several agencies in the state of Maryland and US Treasury. She is currently in private practice providing communications and marketing services to socially invested organizations. Current and past clients include Cleaner, Greener Baltimore; Baltimore Sustainability Commission; East Baltimore Development Inc.; Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore; and the Baltimore Community Foundation.

Ms. Szablya was a member of PRSA for more than 20 years, five of them as a member of both the Chesapeake and DC chapter where she served on the Government and International committees for the DC chapter.

“Helen Szablya is one of Maryland’s top public relations professionals,” said Jacqueline Lampell, a friend and former colleague. “Helen is known for strategic communications planning efforts during her storied career in government as well as the private sector. She has continued to give back to the community in a multitude of ways and her legacy is one of service.”

Her commitment to social change spurs her extensive volunteer work for organizations such as  the Red Cross of Central Maryland, Central Baltimore Partnership, Citizens Planning and Housing Association and Maryland Family Network.  As a survivor of peritoneal carcinomatosis,  for the past four years she has served on the steering committee of the “Heat It To Beat It” walk launched in 2009 to raise money and awareness for research at Mercy Medical Center.

Ms. Szablya will be honored at the Best In Maryland Gala on December 5 at the Hotel Monaco Baltimore. We will also honor the Maryland PR Educator of the Year, reveal the New PR Professional of The Year, and present awards for excellence in public relations campaigns in 24 categories. The evening will include a keynote address from Gerry Sandusky, voice of the Baltimore Ravens and sports director of WBAL TV.

Please join us in honoring Helen Szablya.

For more information on the Gala including nominees and ticket information, click here.

2011 PRSA MD Best In Maryland a resounding success!

This year’s Best In Maryland reception was held at the 1840s Ballroom, a beautiful venue with outstanding service. Guest entered through a gated courtyard where staff directed them upstairs to the 1840s Carroll Salon. The evening started off with a chance to networking and dig into some delicious food and drink catered by Hunt Valley Catering.

The Best in Maryland awards portion was opened with a few words from Katie Mercado, our vice president and Best In Maryland co-chair, who welcomed everyone reminding us that this is the 50th anniversary of Best In Maryland. She gave us a quick recap of what Best In Maryland means to our chapter, and thanked the board of directors and the BIM committee for their hard work in planning this year’s reception. She also acknowledged Dave Imre of IMRE for his continuing support of PRSA Maryland, and our go-to photographer Bob Stockfield of Stockfield Photography. (Check out our photos of who came at Gallery of faces and who won at Gallery of awards photos.)

The awards were presented by Reagan Warfield of the Mix 106.5 Morning Show, who did a great job announcing the winners while delighting the crowd with his charm, and Katie Mercado, who handed out the awards to each winner (Katie got her picture taken quite a bit that night!). During the ceremony, Reagan pointed out that this year we added new categories and streamlined others making the competition tougher—and more interesting—than ever. Several of our categories had a large number of entries with Story Placement leading in number received. For a detailed list of all winners, go to 2011 Best In Maryland Award Winners!.

We then turned to the New Professional of the Year award. Eleni Polites from Weber Shandwick took this honor, a complete surprise for Eleni who had no idea she was even nominated. It was fun watching her realize she was the recipient as Reagan read her bio. And it was even better when she discovered we had been hiding her family in the corner where they waited eagerly for her chance to shine.

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented by Gene Bracken (the 2010 recipient) to Jacqueline Lampell of Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.  Jacqui was nominated by her co-workers for her professionalism and dedication to excellence within her field. Her nomination was lauded by other seasoned professionals, especially Gene who was honored to present her with the award.

The final two awards of the evening were announced last. The Best Representation of Theme is presented to the entry that best exemplifies the current theme, and this year’s went to Baltimore Gas and Electric’s  for BGE Smart Energy Savers Program Marketing.

The Best In Show is presented to the most outstanding entry in the Program category. This year, the honor went to Catholic Relief Services for their The Haiti Earthquake: Catholic Relief Services Responds to a Major Disaster. The crowd erupted into cheers when the announcement was made. John Rivera accepted the award on behalf of his staff, lauding their continuing dedication to the CRS mission.

After the awards presentation, the evening continued with an array of yummy desserts and the chance to continue the celebration.

Finally, we’d be negligent if we didn’t thank our judges—the Rochester Chapter of PRSA—who said they were impressed by quality of the entries. We thank them sincerely for their hard work.

Winners: Additional awards may be ordered by clicking here. All orders must be received by COB Wednesday July 6, 2011.

Congratulations 2010 Best in MD Awards Winners: Your Hard Work Has Paid Off

This year, the 2010 Best in MD Awards was held as a luncheon as part of the 2010 Chessie Awards.  There were many excellent entries, but the entries from the awards winners truly stood out from the pack.  They deserve all the accolades they received, and we again heartily congratulate all of the winners.  Your hard work has paid off! 

Here are the highlights of the afternoon: 

2010 Best in Show
Maryland Lottery for American Classics 

2010 Best Representation Theme Award
Crosby Marketing For PANDORA’s Introduction

2010 Lifetime Achievement Award
Gene Bracken

2010 New Professional Award
Bridget Forney 

We also have a complete listing of 2010 Best in MD Awards winners on prsamd.org.

–Industry News