Woman of the Year recognizes the leading women who have been visionaries in our field paving the way for the future of our profession

Gemma Puglisi, 2022 WWPR Woman of the Year Winner

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 4, 2022 —  Today, Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) named Gemma Puglisi, Assistant Professor of Public Communication at American University, the 2022 Woman of the Year. Established in 1990, this award program recognizes individuals who have raised the bar in the communications field and paved the way for the future of the profession.

Gemma Puglisi is a Native Washingtonian, an award-winning media strategist, a former journalist, an author and a practitioner with more than 25 years of experience. Her career spans across broadcast news including NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, MSNBC, The TODAY Show and FOX News, as well as public relations agencies including Edelman and Powell Tate. Puglisi’s experience also includes the entertainment world where she worked at the MEW Talent Agency and Vincent Cirrincione Management. In addition, she worked in the financial sector as a market reporter/publicist for The Nasdaq Stock Market.

In her current role, Puglisi has taught both graduate and undergraduate students as well as high school students in the Discover the World communication summer program for nearly 20 years. Her School of Communication (SOC) classes have received recognition from The Washington Post, the Washington Times, the former Mayor of D.C., the D.C. Mystics and other organizations. 

“We are so pleased to name Gemma as WWPR’s 2022 Woman of the Year and honor her dynamic and strong leadership as she works tirelessly to create a network of people who elevate the communications world by helping one another,” said Jacqueline Wilson, WWPR President. “WWPR is proud to recognize the achievements of Gemma and the other finalists – their accomplishments, leadership and contributions have made a meaningful impact on our industry and set a high standard for our community.”

Gloria Rodriguez, President and CEO of RF Comunicad; EVP of Ruder Finn Group, and Anne
, CEO and Founder of CURA Strategies, were also honored as 2022 Woman of the Year finalists.

A distinguished panel of judges selected the winner based on her record of excellence and accomplishments in her careers thus far, as well leadership qualities and ethical standards. The 2022 judges included Jennifer Curley, Sukhi Sahni, Daneille Veira and Susan Waldman

The Woman of the Year winner was announced at a luncheon held today at The Hamilton Live in Washington, D.C. in the signature event’s first return to an in-person format since 2019. 

In a special tribute at the annual event, WWPR unveiled a new lifetime achievement award to Kate Perrin, who has dedicated 35 years of remarkable service and commitment to the organization. The inaugural Kate Perrin Service Award, named in honor of its first recipient, recognizes those who demonstrate significant commitment to WWPR through their time, actions, talents and years of service to the organization. 

The event featured a fireside chat with Eleanor Hawkins, author of the weekly Axios Communicators newsletter. Moderated by Sukhi Sahni, WWPR Advisory Council member and Senior Vice President, Head of Brand, DEI, Technology and Innovation Communications at Wells Fargo, the conversation provided insights into the biggest trends in communications today. The event also highlighted WWPR’s commitment to serving the DC-area community with funds raised for the organization’s pro bono client, New Endeavors by Women (NEW), a DC-area non-profit organization that provides supportive services and housing to local women and children.



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. Visit us at wwpr.org connect with us on LinkedIn and Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @WWPR  and on Instagram @WWPRDC.