In This Issue
SAVE THE DATE: WOY November 13th 

Judy Smith: Washington Woman in PR First, Olivia Pope Second

WWPR Media Roundtable

Trends of the Trade

PR In Focus

PR in Politics

Tips from Campus

Member Spotlight

Articles of Interest

Upcoming Events



Sponsor Spotlight


SAVE THE DATE!  Register now for WWPR’s 2013 Washington PR Woman of the Year Award Luncheon on November 13th

To celebrate the accomplishments of women who are raising the bar in public relations, WWPR will host its 24th annual Washington PR Woman of the Year Award Luncheonon Wednesday, November 13, 2013, at the W Hotel from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  The Woman of the Year luncheon, established in 1990, is WWPR’s signature event and has honored the most talented women in the public relations profession.  It is an annual experience fostering camaraderie among women in public relations, culminating in a must-attend event that honors the achievements of those who have reached a pinnacle in the profession.

The event will also feature keynote speaker Judy Smith, leading strategic and crisis communications advisor, published author and inspiration for the ABC hit series,SCANDAL.

WWPR’s 2013 Washington PR Woman of the Year Award Luncheon

11:30 a.m.-noon (registration, networking & raffle); 2:00-2:30 p.m. (book signing with Judy smith)

W Hotel, Great Room

515 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
Click here to register

For more information please contact Avelyn Austin or Mara Vandlik, Woman of the Year co-chairs, at

**The 2013 finalists will be announced shortly.


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Judy Smith: Washington Woman in PR first, Olivia Pope second

Working and living in Washington, DC makes most of us pretty numb to crisis situations. Our politicians hop from one scandal to the next.  The government seems to be in a constant state of impending doom.  Navigating some type of crisis is as much a part of our days as our morning coffee.  And when it comes to crisis communications, there are certain people you always want in your corner. One of them is our keynote speaker for this year’s PR Woman of the Year luncheon: Judy Smith, President of Smith & Co., published author, and co-Executive Producer of Scandal.

As the inspiration behind the Emmy-award winning drama series Scandal, Judy Smith has rapidly become a household name. While the general public might categorize her as the “real-life Olivia Pope,” Smith was a force to be reckoned with in the crisis communications world far before Scandal had us glued to our screens every week.

Smith started her career as a writer and public affairs specialist before branching out into the legal arena after graduating from American University’s Washington College of Law. In her twenty-five years as a strategist, she has worked behind the scenes on some of the most historic and sensational events of our time, including the Iran Contra investigation, the prosecution of former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, the 1991 Gulf War, the Los Angeles riots, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas, the President Clinton scandal involving Monica Lewinsky, the congressional inquiry of Enron, and the United Nations Foundation and World Health Organization response to the SARS epidemic.



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Professional Development: WWPR Media Roundtable

Receive tips for PR pitching from the other side of the fence!  Ever wonder why sometimes your PR pitch gets a bite and sometimes it falls short?  Hear directly from members of the media at the annual  WWPR Media Roundtable on Tuesday, October 22nd, 12:00 noon-1:30 p.m at the American Chemical Society, 1155 16th St., NW, Washington, D.C.  This year’s program will have a broadcast focus and the panel of reporters, producers and editors will be moderated by a member of Strauss Media Strategies.  Take advantage of the chance to meet members of the press, hear their stories and pick their brains over lunch!  A catered lunch will be provided.  The cost is $15 for WWPR members; $30 for nonmembers.  Registration is open.

If you have a suggestion for a future program topic, please email PD Co-Chairs, Melanie Jordan and Erica Hiar at


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Trends of the Trade: Is Your Message Reaching Mobile Users?

Trends of the Trade is a monthly column written by WWPR member Cory Churches exploring, well, trends in PR.Follow her @Coricita or reach her at

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations

Are you reading this on a mobile device? Chances are that you, like millions of others, access information mostly via a mobile device.

Does your communications and marketing strategy include a plan for reaching your audience via mobile devices? If not, you’re likely missing out on a huge audience.

According to a December 2012 article in Forbes, 5 Eye-Opening Stats That Show The World Is Going Mobile,venture capitalist Mary Meeker presents trends in mobile usage and global penetration of mobile access. One of her top observations is that global mobile traffic now represents roughly 13% of Internet traffic.

That means that merely pushing existing web content to customers through social media sites, leading users back to your non-mobile website isn’t sufficient in the age of mobile device proliferation. Mobile devices are ubiquitous and are in many cases replacing desktop computers, laptops, and more traditional communication channels.



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PR In Focus: Back to School

PR in Focus is a monthly column written by WWPR member Jessica Williams exploring a wide range of topics and current events from a public relations perspective

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations

This past summer, thanks to the public relations efforts of my alma mater, American University, I learned about their alumni mentor program.  Inspired in part by the School of International Service’s long-standing commitment to public service and finally feeling like I had the time to give back, I decided to apply and eagerly waited to hear about my application.

To my delight, I was accepted and paired up with a first-year graduate student in the same degree program, International Communication.  I recently met her at a welcome reception at the beginning of the fall semester and was struck by the realization that it was my first time back on campus since graduating.  Working full-time while pursuing my Masters degree meant that I took all of my classes at night and didn’t spend much time on campus outside of class.  As a commuter/part-time student, I didn’t get too involved in campus matters or the broader issues about the university or my degree program.  As an alumni though, I find myself with the time and inclination to contribute towards making the AU student experience a rewarding one.

As the old adage goes, one never stops learning and my operating philosophy in life is that no matter what situation you find yourself in, there’s always a lesson to be learned.  Although my mentor-mentee relationship is just beginning, I have no doubt that I’ll learn just as much, if not more, from her than the other way around.

Some lessons are best taught and learned in the classroom, but many occur outside those walls including how one navigates through life and how to develop a successful and satisfying career.  In reflecting upon what I would have wanted to learn had I been in a similar mentor program as an undergraduate or graduate student, I think these pieces of advice would have been helpful:



Jessica Williams is Vice President at C.Fox Communications, a mission-driven strategic communications agency with offices in Silver Spring, MD and Washington, DC.  Follow her on Twitter:

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Public Relations in Politics

The Role of Public Relations in Politics

The Role of Public Relations in Politics is a monthly column written by WWPR member Margaret Mulvihill, examining the role of PR in politics from a historical and present-day vantage point.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations

Public Relations and Politics have always gone hand in hand. We know for sure since Roman times, and possibly dating as far back as Ancient Bablyon in 1800 BC.  In Ancient Greece and Rome, the art of rhetoric was taught, with much emphasis on “persuasive speaking.”


Andrew Jackson, who served as the seventh President of the United States from 1829 to 1837, famously used a former newspaper editor, Amos Kendall, as a close advisor.  Many of the practices pu tin place by Kendall are still in use today – polls, speech writing, and article reprints for hand-outs.  President Grover Cleveland, a New Jerseyan who was both our 22nd President (1885-1889) and our 24th President (1893 – 1897), availed himself of the services of another newspaper journalist, George F. Parker, to manage his public image to craft and hone his message.  Parker was one of the first to circulate Presidential speeches in advance, which earned for Cleveland increased media share and higher approval ratings.

However, it was not until 1900, when The Publicity Bureau was founded, that Public Relations became a formal career option.


Political messaging takes form and takes shape with the aid of a good public relations team.  The role of public relations in politics has changed greatly since the 1990’s, when there was a phenomenal growth spurt in the field.  Agencies have consolidated now to become more professional, with constantly evolving, ever improved messaging. This in turn has led to a more sophisticated end-product – the ultimate example being our current President, Barack Obama.

Messaging, also understood as the creation of a consistent story, is essential in the world of politics today, as he and his public relations team showed during both of his presidential election campaigns, in 2008 and again in 2012.  Mr. Obama’s public relations team used a wide variety of mechanisms and social media platforms not only to disseminate his message, but also to engage with potential voters.

The team identified its target audience early in the process – a very basic technique employed in everyday public relations, inside and outside of politics.  They then tailored or segmented the message to appeal to a very broad demographic.  Potential voters before long became major stakeholders, who were in turn deployed to get the message out in an ever widening circle, in a successful effort at garnering votes.



Margaret Mulvihill is Director of Communications at Lawson Mulvihill in Washington, DC.  Follow her on Twitter:

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Tips from Campus: From Knoxville, with love

Tips from Campus is a monthly column written by WWPR member Jordan DeJarnette exploring a wide range of topics from a student’s perspective including guidance to young PR professionals beginning their careers in public relations.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations

How to make connections in a different city

Many twenty-something soon-to-be college grads have the dream of leaving behind their small college towns and moving into the hustle and bustle of our nation’s Capitol after graduation. The problem many, including myself, face is the task of securing a job in a place that’s hundreds of miles away. This is where the art that it is online networking comes in. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and even your good ole’ Gmail account have made connecting across state lines easier than ever. However, in order to be successful in online networking you have to follow one major rule — Keep. It. Personal.

“But how do I personalize a message to a person I’ve never met?” you ask. My first tip is to network within your network. Reach out to old professors, mentors and other professional contacts to see if they know anyone in the place that you’re interested in. Chances are, if they don’t know someone they’ll be able to connect you to someone who will.  Contacting someone through means of a mutual connection normally has a much better chance of getting a response.  My second tip is take advantage of what you’re involved in.  For instance, I am a member of Delta Gamma, a Fraternity that has hundreds of chapters nation-wide. Through research, I was able to plug into the DG DC alum group through Facebook. This page has given me access to dozens of women in the public relations field that are more than willing to help me because of our shared DG sisterhood.  Lastly, make sure to take advantage of the gold mine — LinkedIn.  Search companies that you’re interested in and see if you have any degree of connection to a current employee.  If so, ask your connection if they would mind introducing you and take it from there.

As daunting as reaching out to someone you’ve never met before can be, always remember —  the worst they can say is no!
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Member Spotlight

By Kimberly Brown of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and WWPR Emerging Leaders Awards Committee Member

On July 18, three Emerging Leaders Awards honorees were named at WWPR’s signature event that celebrates young women (ages 23-30) who have significantly impacted the communications field and show the potential to make their mark on the industry as a whole for many years to come.  This month’s Member Spotlight features ELA honoree Lauren Wesley Wilson, MSL Group, @ColorCommntwk.


1. Congrats on being an ELA honoree. What does it mean to you to be honored by your peers in Washington?

Thank you. I am truly appreciative and humbled by this honor.  It means so much to me to be recognized by my peers, colleagues, and friends within this industry.  To be honest, it says a lot! This industry is tough to navigate and those who are in this industry truly understand what each other goes through to serve our clients and our companies.

2. What made you choose the PR/Comm field and what makes you stay? How long have you been in the field?

During my college years, I majored in Political Science.  In my family there was always a running joke that what I really majored in was “talking on the phone.”  I love communications, the art of building relationships, executing campaigns, and the process of securing high level and highly visible media placements.  I’ve been in this field since 2007.  It hasn’t been an easy road, but what has made me stay are the bigger goals that I have for myself.

3. What kind of projects do you get excited about? When have you been most proud?

I get excited about working on projects that have a real impact on the everyday person.  I constantly think about how can I help influence, impact, or enhance someone’s life.  I’m truly proud of creating ColorComm: Women of Color in Communications. It’s more than a networking organization; it’s a movement to help strengthen the voices of those who are often underrepresented in the overall business and political discourse.

4. In your ELA video intro you said you’re most proud of your organization, ColorComm. What inspired you to develop this organization?

There are a number of things that have inspired me to start this organization and I’ll speak bluntly on one aspect.  Prior to starting ColorComm, when I looked around at panel discussions, conferences, networking events, etc., I did not see a balance of multicultural executives being incorporated into speaking engagements.  Some of the feedback that I kept hearing was that organizers didn’t know where to find executive level women of color in this field.  ColorComm brings these women together and works with our members to increase their own visibility, helps our members receive industry recognition, and points our members in the right direction to gain uncovered opportunities.

5. This year, you were named one of PR Week’s 40 under 40- and were the youngest person on the list! Can you share with us your experience in being recognized at a national level?

All I can say is that when I found out, I was doing back flips and the cabbage patch!  I am overjoyed to be recognized by PR Week (our industry’s bible!). I’m so grateful and honored that a publication that has the power to influence our industry, thinks enough of me to be recognized in this capacity.  I am looking forward to presenting on diversity at PR Week’s Conference in September and moderating a panel at the Blogalicious Conference in Atlanta in October.


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Articles of Interest


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Upcoming Events

-10/22/13 — 12:00 noon-2:00 p.m.: Media Rountable

-11/13/13 — 11:30 a.m. Washington PR Woman of the Year

-11/14/13 — Are You On?  The Social Media Experience (WWPR members save 10%.  Enter discount code SME10)


If you have a suggestion for a future program topic, please contact the Professional Development Committee at


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Public Relations Manager, Goodwill Industries International

Media Specialist, Sociologists for Women in Society

PR Intern, ZCOMM PR & Marketing

Public Relations Account Executive, ZCOMM PR & Marketing

Communications Coordinator, Concepts, Inc.

Public Relations Intern, U.S. News & World Report

Staff Writer and Editor, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Senior Account Executive, GolinHarris

Senior Account Executive, Racepoint Group

Administrative Assistant, Charles Koch Institute

Policy Analyst and Research Fellow, Charles Koch Institute


Post a Job


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September New Members 

-Carly Whiteside, JPA Health Communications

-KC Sledd, Wolly Mammoth Theatre Company

-Jasmine Nesi,TogoRun

-Dziko Crews, PCI

-Brittany Feinson, Fleishman Hillard

-Kristine Coratti, The Washington Post

-Corey Petree, Story Store Media

-Maria Brazda, Story Store Media

-Courtney O’Neal, National Urban League

-Shaquanna Shields

-Benae Mosby, WAMU 88.5

-Mary Manyahilhal, GEICO

-Maya Calabrese, Isom Global Strategies

-Melanie Durian, Communications Strategy Group


September Renewals

-Elizabeth Stuckle, Consultant

-Jackie Dilworth, YMCA of Metropolitan Washington

-Lorelei Harloe, Ascend Communications, LLC

-Kerry Turner, Campaign for High School Equity

-Lauren Condoluci, Ernst & Young LLP

-Dana Korsen, Environics Communications

-Danielle Veira, Nahigan Strategies, LLC

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Sponsor Spotlight

Hager Sharp is an employee-owned firm that embraces one ideal: developing and delivering communications that improve health, safety, and education for all.

Walk our halls and you’ll find experts in communication, social marketing, media relations, and digital strategy working alongside former reporters, public health experts, teachers, and researchers.  These close collaborations result in insightful counsel, creative solutions, and measurable results-giving us the ability to translate even the most complex topics into powerful, actionable communications.

Some recent ways we’ve made a difference:

  • Helping girls build strong bones by engaging them — and the people and organizations who influence them — through friendship and fun activities, including dancing with the First Lady on the White House lawn.
  • Increasing high school student participation in a voluntary academic assessment by 13% in one year.
  • Transforming diabetes from a silent killer to a cover story.  In 1997, 8% of Americans thought diabetes was a serious disease; a decade later, nearly 90% did. Now we focus on giving people the tools they need to prevent or control it.

Hager Sharp: Helping our clients make a difference since 1973.