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Whitney M. Faison
Digital Marketing and Communications Manager, Meals on Wheels America
WWPR Pro Bono Committee member

Ask any communications professional what her pearls of wisdom are, and she will be able to list several with ease. It’s evident that WWPR members are a dynamic breed of professionals, pushing themselves to grow within their careers, continuously learning and taking the lead.

That’s why Washington Women in Public Relations celebrates the industries rising stars each year during one of its signature events: The Emerging Leaders Awards. The awards honor women who have excelled in public relations and related fields and who have given back to the industry by contributing their skills and talents to innovative initiatives and projects.

The WWPR network in conjunction with the broader communications community gathered on June 18 for a reception and ceremony with beautiful views of the DC cityscape. WWPR President Amanda Cate, Associate Director, Political & Governmental Outreach at the American Society of Anesthesiologists graciously thanked members and guests and began the evening with remarks on the significance of the ELA nominations and the overarching sentiment that every woman working in this industry should be proud of their contributions.

Elynsey Price, ELA Committee Co-Chair went on to introduce the evening’s keynote speaker Kathy Baird. As Managing Director at Ogilvy’s DC offices, Baird is without a doubt a leading professional in communications and PR and is an inspiration to so many emerging leaders. Kathy shared her pearls of wisdom from her own professional experiences and reminded those in attendance that the path to leadership is not linear; rather the recipe for success involves many detours and unexpected moments. We wish the best of luck to Kathy in her recently accepted new role at Nike as the Senior Director of Editorial and Experiences in the global employee communications team.

Before the honorees were announced, the committee debuted a short video featuring the 18 finalists, sharing professional pearls of wisdom that they’ve learned over time. Such a unique blend of answers and insights from a fantastic group of women.

For the final portion of the night, we recognized the amazing 2019 ELA honorees—a major accomplishment for those early in their career. We were thrilled to receive the most nominations this year in the history of the Emerging Leaders Awards. The ELA Committee Co-Chair Elynsey Price and WWPR President Amanda Cate announced the following winners in each category.

  • Small/Boutique Agency: Thy-Ann Nguyen, CURA Strategies
  • Mid-Sized Agency: Jennifer Heilman, Stratacomm
  • Global & Large Agency: Jackeline Stewart, Edelman
  • Government: Courtney Cochran, Deputy Chief of Staff for Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman
  • Non-Profit: Jackie Marks, Marine Stewardship Council
  • In-House: Laura Ransone, Interel US- Women in Government Relations

Smiles and congratulations were shared between those present during the night’s celebration. The joyful atmosphere along with the celebration of honorees is a testament to the power of WWPR and the benefit of the network for professional women through the region. Many thanks to the ELA Committee for their tireless efforts, once again executing a spectacular event.