We’ve had a terrific #WomanUp year, culminating in celebrating three accomplished 2017 Woman of the Year Finalists on November 17:

  • Kathy Baird – Managing Director of Content and Social, North America, Ogilvy & Mather  
  • Amy DeMaria – Senior Vice President of Communications, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Samantha Villegas – President, SaVi PR, LLC

These women embody the heart of #WomanUp, of being bold, courageous, and persevering through even the most difficult challenges in both work and life.

Congratulations to Amy DeMaria for being named 2017 Woman of the Year Honoree! Thanks for inspiring all of us!

One of the things I most enjoy is the invigoration and inspiration I take away from Woman of the Year. I always leave the room having heard words I needed to hear, like “open your own door” to help yourself in your career. Don’t wait for someone else to help you or rescue you–be your own heroine.

This year keynote speaker Evan Ryan, Executive Vice President of Axios, shared empowering words about women leaders and confronting workplace harassment. Her message encouraged all of us to fight this pernicious problem and noted the recent strides made on this issue.

She also tied her remarks into the #WomanUp theme. As WWPR has explored what it means to #WomanUp, we have celebrated bold, courageous, and resilient women who make a difference every day in both their professional careers and personal lives. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and how we persevere through even the most difficult challenges.

We’ve learned about being bold and creative, maintaining our confidence, taking risks, and acting despite fears or uncertainty, and persisting through difficulties and even failures. We’ve learned that #WomanUp doesn’t mean perfection or easy achievement, but instead means enduring, learning, and growing.

The last question left to explore: why do we #WomanUp? When we look around our community–we can see many answers. We do it to make the world better; to improve our communities. We do it to support our families. We do it for causes great and small. We do it to solve problems or because we see something that needs to be done. We do it because we are ambitious. We do it because that is just who we are as women leaders.

So thanks to all of you for all that you do to #WomanUp! Keep up this great and hard work–and know that WWPR supports you.

Thanks to Mary McGinty and Elise Perkins, our co-chairs for Woman of the Year, for putting on a gorgeous and memorable event! Thank you all to the Fairmont Hotel for being terrific venue hosts. Thanks to premiere event sponsor AARP and our other supporting event sponsors. And deepest thanks to WWPR’s annual sponsors for making this and all of our events possible.

We hope to see you for our final WWPR event–the annual Holiday Party on December 19th at Mission!






Kelly Mack, 2017 WWPR President