Emerging Leaders Awards

Bold. Fearless. Empowered.

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

This year, we are thrilled to recognize six exceptional rising stars, aged 25-35, who have demonstrated excellence in the field of public relations and made significant contributions to the industry through their innovative initiatives and projects.The winners were selected from a record number of nominations, showcasing the exceptional talent within our industry.

The outstanding winners of the 2023 WWPR Emerging Leaders Awards:

Corporate: Jordun Lawrence, PayPal

Trade Association: Elleni Almandrez, Children’s Hospital Association

Non-Profit: Kelsey N. Nelson, National Foster Youth Institute

Mid- to Large-Sized Agency: Jalisa Washington-Price, Kivvit

Small/Boutique Agency: Falen Petros, CURA Strategies  

Government: Alaina Gertz, Metropolitan Police Department

These six remarkable women have been recognized for their outstanding accomplishments, leadership qualities, and ethical standards. A distinguished panel of judges, comprising industry experts and WWPR Advisory Board members, carefully selected the winners based on their impressive records of excellence and contributions to their respective fields.

  • Tina Anthony, Curley Company
  • Susan Apgood, 4media Group; WWPR Advisory Board Member
  • Sukhi Sahni, Wells Fargo; WWPR Advisory Board Member
  • Hillarie Turner, SpireCommunications; WWPR Advisory Board Member
  • Danielle Veira, Minerva’s Legacy Consulting Group, LLC; WWPR Advisory Board Member
  • Jacqueline Wilson, Stratacomm; WWPR Past President
  • Anne Woodbury, CURA Strategies; 2022 WWPR Woman of the Year Finalist

The winners were honored at a special awards reception held at LiUNA’s Rooftop in Black Lives Matter Plaza on Thursday, June 15. Devi Thomas, a non-profit go-to-market leader at Microsoft Philanthropies, delivered an inspiring keynote address. The event also provided an opportunity for attendees to support WWPR’s pro bono client, New Endeavours for Women (NEW). The complete list of 2023 WWPR Emerging Leaders Awards finalists can be found here: Washington Women in Public Relations Announces 2023 Emerging Leaders Finalists

Read the full press release: Washington Women in Public Relations Announces 2023 Emerging Leaders Awards


For more information, contact: Colleen Gallagher and Charmaine Riley, 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, mid-sized agency ELA, lage/global agency ELA, 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 Colleen Gallagher and Charmaine Riley, 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 21, 2023.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Nominee must be no younger than age 25 and no older than age 35 on June 15, 2023 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 2023 Emerging Leaders Awards is now open.  Submit your nominations by April 21, 2023.  

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. Special early-bird pricing is in effect until April 28, 2023. 


Meet the 2022 Emerging Leaders Awards Finalists and Honorees. Meet the finalists.


Our 2022 Emerging Leaders Award Winners.  Find out who they are.