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2018 PRSA Maryland Annual Conference: The Rise of Influencer Communications

2018 PRSA Maryland Annual Conference: The Rise of Influencer Communications

*Online registration is closed. Please register onsite.

Plan to Attend Maryland’s Premier Public Relations & Communications Industry Event on June 12, 2018, at the Sheraton Baltimore North in Towson for a brain-friendly, action-packed day. Featuring keynote by Edwin (“Ed”) Bodensiek, Chief Client Experience Officer, Miles & Stockbridge.

Click here for program details.

Investment (includes continental breakfast, break & lunch. Plus free parking)
PRSA Member: $219.00
Non-Member: $269.00 
Student: $75.00 
*Includes $20 late fee        


Want to showcase your brand in front of Maryland PR pros? Sign up to be a Conference sponsor. Several levels available. These companies already have!










Claudia Ciolfi Elected Board President of PRSA Maryland


2017 Board of Directors Installed

Claudia Ciolfi

Claudia Ciolfi

The Maryland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Maryland) is pleased to announce that Claudia Ciolfi, Manager of Public Relations and Strategic Communications at Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company, has been elected president of the chapter’s board of directors effective January 1, 2017.

Claudia has been a member of PRSA since 1999. Most recently, she served as a member of the board and chairperson of the chapter’s Communications Committee. Ms. Ciolfi has been involved with the Maryland chapter in multiple leadership capacities over the years, including chairing the annual Chesapeake Conference Committee, the Communications Committee, and participating as a PRSA Bronze Anvil judge. She also served on the chapter’s board from 2008 – 2010.

“I look forward to working with the new board of directors and committees to continue to move the chapter forward by offering members at all stages of their career quality learning and networking opportunities,” said Ms. Ciolfi. “There are exciting improvements on the horizon that will benefit our members and encourage new professionals to join our vibrant chapter.”

Ms. Ciolfi succeeds Dan Dunne, APR, Director of Communications at Erickson Living, as president. Mr. Dunne completed his one-year term as president on December 31, 2016. In 2017, Mr. Dunne will serve as an assembly delegate for the chapter.

“I would like to acknowledge Dan’s exceptional leadership skills and dedication to PRSA Maryland,” said Ms. Ciolfi. “His vision and guidance has, and continues to, motivate the board and committees to work together as a cohesive unit to make PRSA Maryland a resource for networking and education for area communications professionals.”

The 2017 PRSA Maryland Board of Directors consists of:

Claudia Ciolfi, Chesapeake Employers Insurance

Kelly Stoll, AECOM

Courtney Benhoff, Abel Communications
Jeff Davis, APR, Van Eperen
Dianna Fornaro, Chesapeake Employers Insurance
David Harrison, Harrison Communications
Caitlin Haskins, Imre
Jennifer Kellar, APR, AECOM
Emily McDermott, Nevins & Assoc.
Debra Shindler, MedStar Health
Lauren Walbert, Sandy Hillman Communications

Assembly Delegates
Jeff Davis, APR, Van Eperen
Dan Dunne, APR, Erickson Living
Ken Smith, APR, The Boeing Company

Click here for full bios.

About PRSA Maryland
The Maryland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Maryland) helps public relations and communications professionals stay connected professionally and personally. As part of the nation’s largest and foremost organization of communication professionals, PRSA Maryland offers networking, training, resources and support to assist members in practicing public relations at the speed of communication.

The Vision Pulls You

Daniel Dunne

Daniel Dunne

One of my takeaways from a recent Erickson Living leadership meeting was a quote from Steve Jobs: “If you’re working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”

I thought about this statement a great deal prior to the Feb. 26 PRSA-MD board meeting. The quote reinforced for me the importance of establishing attractive programming and networking events that not only help build membership, but also encourage ongoing member support, such as volunteering to serve on chapter committees.

As this year’s events and activities are announced, I think you will agree that there is much to be excited about. We will offer high-quality training sessions, professional development and mentoring opportunities, accreditation instruction, social events and much more. There is no doubt that when meaningful opportunities exist for us to come together to learn, grow, serve and become industry leaders, we not only drive optimum membership value but also stimulate chapter growth.

Some of the specific board goals for 2016 include increasing membership as well as hosting networking and educational events. The pathway to success in these areas includes having monthly events and activities, such as educational workshops, media tours, the “Coffee With” series, multiple happy hours, several informal virtual conference calls, the 2016 PRSA Maryland Conference (formerly called the Chessie Conference) in June, and the “Best in Maryland” celebration in early December. Our greatest need now is for members to see our vision for success in 2016 and let it pull them into helping make one or more of these events a reality. Board members have already started reaching out to those who have expressed an interest in volunteering this year.

I am inviting anyone who has ideas or suggestions for chapter programming to email me at dan.dunne@erickson.com. I value your input and it will go a long way in helping to provide relevant programming and networking opportunities for members.

Special thanks to PRSA-MD board members and others who attended this year’s first board meeting. It is a joy for me to be a part of this talented and dedicated group of communication professionals as we commit to making PRSA-MD all it can be in 2016.

Last but not least, for the past two months, Jennifer Kellar, APR, chair of the Accreditation Committee, has been mentoring a group of chapter members who are pursuing their Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2016. Having obtained my APR last year, I’m familiar with the time and effort needed to make this study group a reality. Jennifer’s efforts are truly noteworthy and reflective of the unique value our chapter brings to Baltimore’s communication professionals.


Daniel R. Dunne, APR
PRSA Maryland Chapter



A Powerful Day of PR and Social Media at PRSA Maryland’s Chesapeake Conference

Submitted by Jeff Davis, APR
Originally appeared in Capitol Communicator June 9, 2015

*Photos courtesy of Harry Bosk PR & Photography*

General Session

General Session

At the 38th Annual Chesapeake Conference by the Maryland Chapter of PRSA held last week at the John Erickson Conference Center at Charlestown in Catonsville, Md., attendees heard the latest in PR and social media from expert presenters and industry leaders.

Sherry Llewellyn

Sherry Llewellyn

Communicators started the day hearing from Sherry Llewellyn, director of public affairs for the Howard County Police Department. Llewellyn discussed the changing face of media; benefits and obstacles in social media; using social media in a crisis such as the Columbia Mall shooting; the value of Twitter as a primary news source in a crisis; and how to integrate social media into a traditional media strategy. (See separate post on Llewellyn.)

John Trybus

John Trybus

An inspiring luncheon session addressed the power of strategic storytelling by John Trybus, APR, deputy director of the Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University, who was joined by colleague Bridget Pooley, program manager. (See separate post on Trybus.)

Chad Steele

Chad Steele

The conference ended with a keynote from Michelle Andres, vice president of digital media & broadcasting, and Chad Steele, vice president of public relations, both with the Baltimore Ravens, who talked about the use of social media and online marketing to engage their vast fan base. Their talk addressed traditional public relations activities and the challenges teams face with new tools such as Periscope, and real-time pitfalls to watch out for with social media.

In between, attendees had the choice of a range of topics including social media strategies, brand awareness, marketing and storytelling.

Conference co-chairs were Courtney Benhoff of Abel Communications and Kelly Stoll of AECOM. Capitol Communicator was the media sponsor. For insights and reactions from attendees, search the event hashtag, #Chessie15.

Click here for more information on the conference and copies of presentations.

Bonnie K. Heneson Named 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Submitted by Sandra Arnette, APR, Communications Chair

Bonnie K Heneson professional photo to USE

Honored for Longstanding Commitment to Business In the Baltimore-Washington Region, Philanthropic Efforts

With over 30 years of proven public relations experience and a commitment to give back to the community, Bonnie K. Heneson has been selected as the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient by the Public Relations Society of America Maryland Chapter (PRSA-MD). Heneson will be honored at the association’s Best in Maryland gala on December 4 at the Hilton Baltimore overlooking Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

“Bonnie is the driving force behind Bonnie Heneson Communications (BHC),” said BHC Executive Vice President Kyri Jacobs. “Her energy, enthusiasm and altruistic spirit are boundless. And, her go-getter attitude was certainly the impetus more than 20 years ago for starting her own business, which today has grown to a thriving full-service communications agency.

“But, her involvement does not stop in the board room,” Jacobs added. “Donating time, efforts and talents to worthwhile causes is something that Bonnie is also personally passionate about and has translated into her business and her employees.”

PRSA-MD’s 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.

Heneson leads a full-service agency providing marketing and communications services to a wide spectrum of businesses and organizations throughout the Baltimore-Washington corridor as well as national and international organizations. Her clients have ranged from health systems, hospitals, nursing homes and physician practices to schools and universities, nonprofit organizations, religious communities and professional service companies. The key to her longevity in this industry is ensuring she is meeting, if not exceeding, client needs and instilling in her employees the importance of quality integrated marketing and communications.

Join us as we honor Ms. Heneson at the 2014 Best in Maryland Gala. We will also honor the Educator of the Year and Partner of Distinction, reveal the New PR Professional of the Year, and present awards for excellence in public relations campaigns. The evening will include a keynote address from Terence O’Hara, vice president of communications for UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement.

For more information on the Gala including all our nominees, click here!

–Industry News