In this Issue:
Annual Speed Networking Event Recap
Member Spotlight
Membership News
Pro Bono Committee News
Professional Development Committee Update
Employment Opportunities

Have you wanted to get more involved with WWPR? Being on the WWPR board is a rewarding endeavor! If you are interested in serving on the WWPR’s 2011 Board of Directors or if you would like to nominate someone, we have positions available. For qualifications, position descriptions and nominations contact WWPR President, Debbie Friez,

The Board of Directors is a group of WWPR members in good standing who are elected for a one-year term. All directors serve without compensation and are responsible for the duties of running the organization. A current list of the WWPR Board of Directors is available at

WWPR’s Annual Speed Networking Event Was A Success!

Held at Bar Louie, the WWPR 2010 Speed Networking event was a huge success as attendees enjoyed drinks, snacks and excellent networking opportunities.



Member Spotlight: Debra Silimeo

by Meghan Sager


Debra Silimeo is the newly honored Washington PR Woman of the Year and a great role model for new and seasoned PR professionals. Debra is the Senior Vice President at Hager Sharp, where she recently celebrated 10 years at “one of the best communications firms in the country”.

One of Hager Sharp’s mottos is: communications that make a difference. Through their health, safety and education practices, they help people live healthier, safer, smarter lives. Above and beyond the great clients she services, Debra loves her team. They make a difference beyond their client work and, as she points out, “are just a great group of people.” As a former reporter, Debra enjoys the media work in PR, but she really cares about being part of efforts that really do help people live better lives.  She says “sometimes it is not immediately tangible, but you know you’re planting seeds of change. You can focus on the big picture and not get too distracted by the challenges along the way.”

Debra shared that every position she has ever held was a result of making connections. Her first internship at WIP Radio in Philadelphia resulted in a referral that turned into her job at AP Radio in Washington, D.C. Obviously, networking and solid relationships are one of the many reasons for her continued success.

When Debra was in grade school, she knew that she loved writing, talking and telling the news. “I wrote a neighborhood newsletter, gathering news and gossip from people who lived on my block. When my dad went to Alaska on business, I wrote a special edition about Alaska and sold it for five cents,” she shared. After becoming a PR practitioner, she notes that Susan Hager (former PR Woman of the Year) was an outstanding role model, mentor and friend. One day, when the story of her life is told, Debra hopes that it is titled: “Seeking Zen: A Newsbabe’s Story”.

**Thank you to our Member Spotlight in November, Laura Cilmi, not Laura Climi. We regret the error**

Membership News

New Student Members

– Samantha Bolduc, University of Maryland Student

– Maria James, Ogilvy Washington, Assistant Account Executive

New Members

– Amber Cashwellm Weber Shandwick, Senior Account Executive

– Erin Connors, American Psychiatric Association,  Communications Specialist

– Tracey A. Halliday, American Beverage Association, Vice President of Communications

– Pamela Hughes, Weber Shandwick, Senior Account Executive

– Meredith Kablick, BELL Architects PC, Marketing Coordinator

– Kathleen Manzo, The Hatcher Group, Director of Education Policy and Outreach

– Kathy Mathers, The Fertilizer Institute, Vice President Public Affairs

– Sujata Mitra, Allison & Partners, Account Manager

– Lacey Pittman, Powell Tate | Weber Shandwick, Account Executive

– Richard Strauss, Strauss Radio Strategies, President

– Kathy Zufall, PR Newswire, Account Manager

Returning Members

– Heathere Evans-Keenan, Keenan PR Inc., President

– Debbie Hodges, CS Committee on Publication, Regional Media Manager

– Erica Hurtt, Financial Services Forum, Senior Vice President for Communications

– Lauren Lawson-Zilai, Goodwill Industries International, Media Relations Manager

– Patricia S. McNally, Marketing and Communications Consultant

– Maria Romero, GWU Student

– Meghan Sager, New Media Strategies, Project Manager

– Kirsten Suto-Seckler, Special Olympics, Vice President, Branding and Communications

Membership has its benefits! Members do not pay for most WWPR monthly professional development brown bag lunches. To learn more, please contact Caitlin Douglas, membership chair, at

Pro Bono Committee News

Volunteers Needed! The WWPR pro bono committee is looking for committed volunteers for a brand new pro bono client starting in January 2011. E-mail if you want to participate (current and new members)! We will be holding a kick-off meeting in January.

New Pro Bono Client! WWPR has selected its new pro bono client for the 2011-2012 term. It will be officially announced at the annual luncheon in January (details to come) – hope to see you there!

Professional Development Committee Update

WWPR’s professional development committee would like to thank their venue partners,presenters, committee members, and volunteers for an extraordinary year! We look forward to working with you again in 2011. If you wish to partner with professional development next year, please email us at

Employment Opportunities

Communications Associate, National Headstart Association

Publicist, Caroline Jhingory

Director of Communcations, Office of the Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia

Digital Public Affairs, Edelman

Mid-Level Healthcare, Fleishman Hillard