In this issue:

President’s Letter
WOY Finalists Announced
WWPR Seeking New Pro Bono Client
Media Roundtable: Oct Professional Development
Engaging Industry
Member Spotlight
Articles of Interest
Upcoming Events
Membership News
Sponsor Spotlight


President’s Letter

Dear WWPR Members,

Fall is here! This autumn, we are busy making WWPR the best organization to serve your professional needs. This month we have some exciting updates with more to come!

Professional Development — we have been “under construction” recently as we take our programs under review to ensure that all professional development events next year are top-notch, serving all of our members with new and exciting topics. More updates to come — this month join us for the annual Media Roundtable event on October 26th at 12pm at the National Press Club.  The event includes a catered lunch and an opportunity to hear from five members of the media from the Washington Post, Huffington Post, NBC 4, Washingtonian and more!

Our signature event — the 23rd Annual Woman of the Year event will honor three amazing women leaders in our local community featuring a keynote address from former Undersecretary of State and CEO of Ogilvy, Charlotte Beers, on November 15th — — get your tickets now!

WWPR has opened its search for our next Pro Bono client — if you know of a great nonprofit serving woman and children in need of PR guidance, please visit here for more information:

WWPR also has its first affiliate organization — Atlanta Women in Public Relations (AWPR) just formed under the WWPR family and will be starting to offer programs later this year. Stay tuned for further updates on AWPR!

And finally, WWPR is opening its call for 2013 board members. If you are interested in furthering our mission by serving on the WWPR board, please email to request an application.


Washington PR Woman of the Year Finalists Announced

WWPR is proud to announce our three finalists for the upcoming Woman of the Year Award. This year’s finalists include a corporate communications executive and former news anchor; an agency owner who was press secretary for Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s first successful congressional campaign; and a counselor who recently headed the public relations efforts for The AIDS Memorial Quilt’s 25th anniversary and its triumphant return to Washington for the first time in 16 years.

The Woman of the Year ceremony, WWPR’s signature event, recognizes three finalists who have reached a pinnacle in the public relations profession and selects one to become Washington Woman of the Year.

The Woman of the Year finalists are:

  • Debbi Jarvis — Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility for Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI), a Fortune 500 energy holding company that serves the Mid-Atlantic region.  Jarvis, a former NBC4-TV news anchor and reporter, has volunteered as emcee for more than 200 non-profit events during the past 10 years.  At PHI, she is responsible for developing strategies around corporate goodwill in the communities served by the company.  Jarvis led teams at PHI that launched the company’s social media and created the tagline, “Your life. Plugged in.”  In 2008-2009, Jarvis chaired the United Way National Capital Area’s giving campaign.  In 2009, she was recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of 25 Women Who Mean Business. She currently is chapter president of the International Association of Business Communicators DC/Metro.
  • Gwen McKinney — President and founder of McKinney & Associates, the first African-American and woman-owned public relations firm in the nation’s capital focused on social advocacy.  A former journalist, McKinney was press secretary for the 1990 congressional campaign of U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). A longtime civil rights advocate, McKinney helped promote former South African President Nelson Mandela’s first state visit.  More recently, she took charge of a union’s crisis communications in 2009 in the aftermath of Metro’s Red Line crash that left 9 people dead and 80 injured.  McKinney’s strategy helped focus on the tragedy’s cause and helped turn Metrorail operator Jeanice McMillan from scapegoat to hero when it was discovered the circuitry controlling the train’s brakes had failed — McMillan had stayed at her post, applying the brakes, never giving up trying to prevent the crash.
  • Stephenie Fu — Principal, SLF Strategies, which provides strategic counsel for cause-related efforts to impact consumer behaviors.  Fu, formerly senior counsel at Ketchum, uses the power of persuasive communication to enhance the public’s health.  Fu worked with Hannaford Bros. Co. grocery chain in 2006 to develop its lauded Guiding Stars nutrition ranking system.  She also worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPyramid and MyPyramid for Kids national food guidance system.  More recently, she helped develop USDA’s new MyPlate symbol, launched with First Lady Michelle Obama to replace the 20-year-old Food Pyramid.  This summer, Fu managed communications for the return of the AIDS Memorial Quilt to Washington for the first time in 16 years. Working with the Atlanta-based NAMES Project Foundation on logistics and promotion, she helped bring to DC 48,000 quilt panels honoring those who had lost their lives to AIDS.

The 23rd annual WWPR Washington Woman of the Year Luncheon will be held on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt, 1000 H St. NW, Washington, D.C. The keynote speaker is advertising icon Charlotte Beers, former CEO of Ogilvey & Mather Worldwide, whose book I’d Rather Be in Charge gives women advice on how to advance in their careers all the way to the C-Suite.

Registration is now open!  Please join us for this celebratory occasion.   Register Today!


WWPR Seeking New Pro Bono Client

WWPR’s Pro Bono Committee is seeking a new pro bono client for 2013-14!  Please share this opportunity with your networks, and let us know if there is a particular organization you would like to see WWPR partner with for its next pro bono term. Get more information or download an application today!  Deadline to apply is October 16. Please contact co-chairs Kate Barrett and Maria Ibañez at with any questions.


October Professional Development: Media Roundtable

Ever wonder why your pitches sometimes get a bite and sometimes fall short? The annual WWPR Media Roundtable is your chance to learn directly from the media, listen to their stories and pick their brains over lunch! Register Today.

Join WWPR at the National Press Club on Friday, October 26 to listen to a panel esteemed media from broadcast, newspapers, magazines, trade publications and more!  Learn the inside scoop directly from them.  Floor will be open to ask all of your burning questions!

Featured members of the panel:

  • Amanda Terkel, Senior Political Reporter and Politics Managing Editor, The Huffington Post
  • Melissa Romero, Staff Writer for Washingtonian, as well as health and wellness writer for the Washingtonian’s blog Well+Being
  • Molly Walker, Editor, for trade publication FierceMarkets‘ Enterprise IT group, writing regularly for FierceMobileGovernment, FierceGovernmentIT and FierceContentManagement
  • Amy Harder, Energy and Environment Correspondent, National Journal
  • Soon to be announced:
    • Washington Post
    • NBC

A catered lunch will be served.  The program runs from 12pm to 2pm with the panel commencing at 12:30pm. Register Now!


Engaging Industry

By Karin Bloomquist

Engaging Industry is a monthly column written by Karin Bloomquist covering the impact of public relations in the corporate, education, government, and non-profit sectors.  It dives into industry trends and issues related to the development of public relations professionals.

As an avid lover of photography, I find that visual communication and the emerging trends in visual marketing are an effective tool for engaging audiences. Many thought leaders in the field cite a 2012 study by ROI Research, demonstrating correlations between participant behavior and social engagement on social networking sites. The study shows that forty-four percent of individuals are more likely to be engaged with posts online when they consist of some type of visual media, like photos.

With the rise of smartphones and on-the-go image sharing, visual communication is a primary turning point for transforming consumers into active participants that can directly interact with the brands they utilize on a daily basis. The combination of words and images has an influential effect on communicating ideas and messages, and social media can provide this information in a concise manner. This helps to define brands and develop an emotional connection with consumers. Photos help cut through the clutter of text-based social media.

A great example of visual communication in the consumer market is Starbucks. Stanley Hainsworth, former vice president of global creative at Starbucks, said, “Every brand has a story, whether it’s the founder’s story or the brand’s reason for being. Some brands have never told their story well, or have lost their story.” The company successfully developed a social media campaign with Instagram integrating lifestyle choices and multichannel marketing as a way for consumers to feel socially and emotionally connected to the Starbucks brand.

Transforming social media presence to visual-based marketing will increase social engagement. As the social media landscape shifts to using more photography, industry should continually adapt to visual methods of communicating with consumers. As this latest approach to the profession is considered, we should remember the basics by asking who is our audience, what story we are trying to tell, and how can we better connect with consumers on an emotional level? As more consumers engage with photos on social media, companies without a visual presence on the web risk being left behind.

Member Spotlight

By Beth Stewart

In July, WWPR held its 2012 Emerging Leaders Awards.  This month’s newsletter features one of the three ELA winners, Jennifer Myers of Edelman Berland.  Stay tuned for future issues highlighting the other ELA award recipients.

As an undergrad, Myers started laying the groundwork for a career in law by majoring in political science. But throughout her studies at Nebraska Wesleyan University and master’s program at George Washington University, Myers realized she wanted to marry a career between politics and communications.

Myers now serves as the research director at Edelman Berland where she is responsible for generating evidenced-based communications strategies for international corporations, non-profits and government agencies through opinion research.
In addition to her day job, Myers also serves as adjunct professor of political science for students participating in the Capitol Hill Internship Program. But Myers’ teaching duties don’t end there. She also teaches fitness classes which she says serves as a reminder that great networking opportunities can happen anywhere.

“I think people need to think larger than we currently do. [Public relations and communications] is not just about pitching the reporter; it’s not just about pitching an event. The future of the industry is looking to other areas. It’s about research, it’s about digital; it’s about engaging people where they are,” said Myers.


Articles of Interest


Upcoming Events

For the latest information about our exciting events and programs, please visit our Events page.

WWPR members receive member rates for PRSA-NCC and AWC events.


WWPR Job Board

In the market for a new job? Visit the WWPR job board to help you find your dream position!

View More Positions

To post an open position for free visit Contact with questions.


Membership News

September New Members:

Andrea Koslow, American Red Cross
Olivia Doherty – The Hatcher Group
Jennifer Myers – StrategyOne
Lorelei Harloe – Ascend Communication, LLC
Liz Ritonia – Waggener Edstrom
Suzanne Struglinski – Self employed
Eva Fowler – MSL Washington DC

September Member Renewals:

Cynthia Martinez, ZGS Communications
Lauren Wesley Wilson – United States House of Reps
Jackie Dilworth – YMCA of Metropolitan Washington
Dana Korsen – Environics Communications
Debra Silimeo – Hager Sharp

Interested in joining or renewed your membership? Simply complete the online membership form.

To learn more, please contact Leslie Rutledge, Membership Chair, at


Sponsor Spotlight:

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zcomm offers strategic planning, audio, video and digital services in English and Spanish, and the latest social media and mobile tactics to clients in a variety of industries: consumer goods and services, healthcare, corporate, government, associations and non-profit organizations. A certified Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), the Company is ranked as one of the top 15 PR firms in Washington, DC and has received numerous accolades including a Silver Anvil and Platinum MarCom Award.

Visit to learn more or contact Risë Birnbaum, CEO, at