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November 20, 2017 — Washington, DC — Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) named Amy DeMaria, senior vice president of communications at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the 2017 PR Woman of the Year.

DeMaria was announced as this year’s awardee at the 28th annual Washington PR Woman of the Year Award Luncheon on Friday, November 17, 2017, at the Fairmont Hotel.

The event, hosted in partnership with lead sponsor AARP, honored three finalists who have reached a pinnacle in the profession. This year’s finalists included DeMaria; Kathy Baird, managing director of content and social, North America, Ogilvy & Mather; and Samantha Villegas, president, SaVi PR, LLC.

“Each year, we are overwhelmed by the impressive talent our Woman of the Year event highlights,” said WWPR President Kelly Mack. “All of these women are examples of excellence in communications and we are thrilled to have Amy, a woman who uses her gifts to passionately advocate for others, as our 2017 PR Woman of the Year.”

“Woman Up,” WWPR’s 2017 theme for the luncheon, was woven throughout the event. Keynote speaker Evan Ryan, executive vice president of Axios, centered her remarks on a call to action for all women to “Woman Up” and support each other—whether in solidarity against a culture of sexual harassment or in joining forces to empower emerging leaders.

2016 Woman of the Year and AARP’s Executive Vice President and Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Martha Boudreau applauded the accomplishments of the three finalists and passed the baton on to DeMaria.

“I am beyond honored to receive this award, and it’s especially humbling in Washington, DC, home to some of the world’s most talented and accomplished women,” said DeMaria. “The award recognizes not only my work, but also the contributions of my talented team, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the people whose lives are affected by this disease every day.” 

The Woman of the Year luncheon, established in 1990, is one of WWPR’s signature events. It is an annual experience fostering camaraderie among women in public relations and honoring the most talented women in the field. The event also highlights the organization’s commitment to serving the surrounding community with proceeds from the annual raffle going to WWPR’s pro bono client. This year’s raffle proceeds went to support 2017 pro bono client Bright Beginnings, Inc.

In the wake of the devastating hurricane and wildfire season this year, WWPR also presented a $1,000 donation to the American Red Cross. The donation was accepted at the luncheon by American Red Cross’ Vice President of Communications Elizabeth Penniman who shared some of the relief efforts that the organization has led and continues to lead in communities across the country.

Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) is a member-based professional society cultivating and inspiring female communicators to reach their full potential in the DC market and beyond. The organization is committed to providing leadership opportunities, professional development, mentorship, and industry networking.

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