Emerging Leaders Awards


Celebrating young women who challenge the status quo and break down barriers in the rapidly changing public relations and communications landscape. 

Every year, the WWPR Emerging Leaders Awards ceremony recognizes outstanding young women in public relations who are making a significant impact early in their careers. 


Nominations are now closed. Finalists in the following categories were announced on May 31, 2024. 

  • Global & Large Agencies
  • Small, Boutique and Mid-Sized Agencies
  • Government, Corporate, Trade Association and Non-Profit Organizations


CELEBRATE: This year’s event honoring our finalists will be held on June 18, 2024 at 6 pm EDT on the rooftop at 1000 Maine Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 

We will be joined by renowned D.C. journalist and keynote speaker, Kirstin Garriss, who will share her communications story, how communications pros can effectively engage with journalists and more! 

Kirstin Garriss is an award winning journalist based in Washington D.C. Currently, she’s a correspondent for Cox Media Group where she covers the White House, Congress, Supreme Court and national politics for more than a dozen local TV and radio stations nationwide. During her time in the bureau, she has interviewed several federal officials including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and former Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. Previously, Kirstin was an investigative reporter at FOX13 Memphis where her reporting about the city’s history of redlining won a Salute to Excellence award from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). 

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This year’s finalists represent the top three candidates in each of the seven categories, as determined by a distinguished panel of judges. The 2024 ELA finalists are:

Small/Boutique Agency:

  • Anne Keeney, vice president, Glen Echo Group
  • Erin Berst, vice president, CURA Strategies
  • Shannon Bishop Green, vice president, McCabe Message Partners

Mid-Sized Agency:

  • Caleigh Bourgeois, senior account director, Antenna Group
  • Jenny Wang, senior vice president, Susan Davis International
  • Sarina Nunes, manager, social media, Hotwire

Large/Global Agency:

  • McKenzie Wax, vice president, social and emerging platform strategy, Weber Shandwick

  • Remi Lederman, associate director, APCO Worldwide

  • Tara Bauer, senior account supervisor, corporate digital, Edelman


  • Jennifer J. Min, director of digital media, United States Department of Defense 

  • Maya Valentine, communications director, United States House of Representatives 

  • Wellesley Michael, digital director, House Democratic Caucus 


  • Destany Story, program director, Women Empowering Nations

  • Morgan Elwell, media relations manager, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

  • Valeria Sabaté, senior media and public affairs manager, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)


  • Brooklyn Bass, senior public affairs associate, JPMorgan Chase 

  • Courtney Bailey, global public sector marketing lead, Meta Platforms, Inc. 

  • Michelle Byamugisha, senior manager, communications, PwC

Trade Association:

  • Grace Venes-Escaffi, specialist, CES and industry communications, Consumer Technology Association 

  • Jen Bristol, senior director of communications, Solar Energy Industries Association

  • Laura Ambrosio, manager, policy communications, Consumer Technology Association

Congratulations to our phenomenal 21 finalists! Be sure to join us on June 18 to celebrate them and honor the winners from each category.

For more information, contact: Charmaine Riley and Ranata Reeder, WWPR Emerging Leaders Awards Co-Chairs ela@wwpr.org

More About our Emerging Leaders Awards

The ELAs recognize rising stars in the communications industry, and showcase the field’s most talented young women (ages 25-35) for their professional accomplishments. These honorees implement innovative communications strategies that go above and beyond – achieving impressive and extraordinary results.

The ELAs were created in 2010 as a special accolade for young women active within the communications field that were making a significant impact on the industry but were not being recognized due to age or years of experience. The Emerging Leaders Awards ceremony is an opportunity to hear from these up-and-coming leaders that will inspire and educate, and celebrate the value of public relations. The honorees will be promoted in WWPR materials and on the website. Honorees will be named at the awards ceremony based on their contributions as well as their potential to contribute to the industry for many years to come, making them truly emerging leaders.

The honorees will span from different industries and will be honored in the following categories: boutique agency ELA honoree, mid-sized agency ELA honoree, lage/global agency ELA honoree, nonprofit ELA honoree, corporate ELA honoree, association ELA honoree, and government ELA honoree.

Eligibility requirements and nomination instructions are detailed below. Please direct questions about nominations to Charmaine Riley and Ranata Reeder, WWPR board members and Emerging Leaders Awards co-chairs, at ela@wwpr.org.

Nominate a friend, a mentee, a mentor or a colleague today by April 19, 2024.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Nominee must be no younger than age 25 and no older than age 35 on June 18, 2024 and reside in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
  • Nominees must work in one of the following disciplines: media relations, crisis communications, event planning, social media, digital media, website communications, strategic communications, community relations, internal communications, speech writing, public affairs, public relations, marketing communications, government communications, investor relations communications, consumer/lifestyle communications, branding, and writing/editing.
  • Nominee cannot be a current WWPR board member.
  • Nominee must have demonstrated leadership, including contributions to the field, post-college.

Wondering where you or your nominee fit in? Here’s a breakdown of each category:

Boutique Agency: A public relations/communications professional who is employed at an agency with less than 50 full time employees

Mid-size Agency: A public relations/communications professional who is employed at an agency with 50 to 250 full time employees

Large/Global Agency: A public relations/communications professional who is employed at an agency with more than 250 full time employees

Government: A public relations/communications professional who is employed by a local, state, federal, or tribal government entity, or any other public employer, such as a school district or transportation agency

Corporate: A public relations/communications professional who is employed by a corporation or entity with the purpose of operating for a profit, that is not considered a nonprofit or government agency

Trade Association: A public relations/communications professional who is employed by a trade association made up of a collection of companies and/or individuals with common interests or who work in the same industry

Non-Profit: A public relations/communications professional who is employed by a nonprofit organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status by the IRS because its mission and purpose are to further a social cause and provide a public benefit

Nomination Instructions

The nomination period for the 2024 Emerging Leaders Awards is now closed. Check back early 2025 for 2025 ELAs nomination information.

You can also register now for the Awards Ceremony and be sure to reserve your spot to network with your colleagues beforehand and honor them for their contribution to the public relations and related fields

Read the Recap of the 2023 Event