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A new year means new chances to network, engage, and uplift fellow women in PR! The 2021 WWPR Annual Meeting also meant a chance to reflect on how 2020 has changed what programming and membership looks like for our members and embrace these changes for the better this coming year.

Despite the challenges of the last year and a new virtual format, WWPR members were able to network over Zoom and hear from outgoing WWPR President Sarah Beth Cloar, incoming WWPR President Christina Francisco, and our 2020 Woman of the Year Jennifer Curley, president and CEO of Curley Company, about their thoughts on the coming year.

Sarah Beth kicked us off with her opening remarks by introducing how WWPR tackled the challenges of 2020. She outlined how the organization pivoted quickly during the pandemic to host more than 16 in-depth webinars, honor amazing leaders, and even name a 2020 Woman of the Year during a virtual celebration.

Next up, this year’s WWPR President, Christina Francisco, described how her experience with WWPR and its membership helped shape her choosing to serve as president after four years serving on the board. She shared her first story of WWPR, seeing her former co-worker and another WWPR past president Danielle Veira dedicate her time and energy after work to the professional development of others.

“Small little moments have a lasting impact on where you’ll be down the road.” – Christina Francisco, 2021 WWPR President

Christina expressed how proud she is of the changes WWPR made in 2020 and how grateful she is for what 2021 will bring. She was especially excited about WWPR’s commitment this year to elevate diverse voices, including adding a Diversity Chair to the WWPR Board of Directors. She thanked current and past board members, the WWPR Advisory Board, pro bono client Academy of Hope, and WWPR’s sponsors for all their efforts to shape the organization.

She then kicked it over to Jennifer Curley for her keynote as WWPR’s 2020 Woman of the Year.

The theme of Jennifer’s keynote speech centered around the proverbial table in our personal and professional lives. As someone at the head of the table, Jennifer has thought a lot about what’s next and how she wants to use her voice and agency to support women in areas of leadership. In particular, she shared how important it is to lead with your values and prioritize them.

She shared a recent example of being an authentic through a crisis. After the attack on the Capitol building earlier this month, she, like all of us, was shocked to her core. Instead of considering only herself, she made sure to give staff support and positivity during the time of crisis, and she showed up.

Jennifer also expounded on how important it is to reach across the table. Inviting those who may not be asked or feel it is their place to take their seat at the table. In particular, the racial unrest and recent movements have really made it very clear that who is at the table is of the utmost importance. The ability to reach across the table and support one another is one of the reasons she loves WWPR.

“Reach across the table when you can and help other women get ahead.” – WWPR Woman of the Year Jennifer Curley, President and CEO of Curley Company

She also answered questions during a Q&A, from advice to her younger self (pro tip: enjoy the journey) to how to create a values culture at your organization.  See the highlights of their conversation in this short video segment.

WWPR members in good standing also approved the new WWPR Board of Directors the coming year and the inclusion of a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair (K. Kim Atterbury) and Creative Direction/Design Chair (Amber Lopez).

The WWPR board looks forward to interacting with our members and providing new content and programming this new year!