Woman of the Year recognizes the leading women who have been visionaries in our field paving the way for
the future of our profession

Washington, D.C., Oct. 30, 2023 – On Friday, October 27, 2023, Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) recognized Alisa Valudes Whyte, CEO and Senior Partner at Merritt Group, as its 2023 Woman of the Year. Established in 1990, the Woman of the Year program recognizes individuals who have raised the bar in the communications field and raised the bar for the future of the profession.

Alisa Valudes Whyte joined Merritt Group in 1997 and helped to build and shape the agency since its founding. She led award-winning campaigns for clients in technology, healthcare and government that leverage the right mix of modern marketing, communications and PR strategies to move their businesses forward. In addition to launching dozens of technology and healthcare start-ups over the years, she also helped to reshape a number of established brands.

In 2019, Alisa was honored with a Silver Award for Female Executive of the Year in the annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. In 2015 and 2016, she was named a finalist for DC Inno’s “50 on Fire” and, in 2016, a finalist in Women In Technology’s (WIT) Annual Leadership Awards. Alisa is a champion of Merritt Group’s culture, recognized as a “Great Place to Work” by both Washingtonian and Washington Business Journal. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations, including the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Neighborhood Health, and the Democratic Business Council of Northern Virginia.

Susan Matthews Apgood, Executive Vice President, Client Engagement and Founder of News Generation Inc., and Lori Russo, President of Stanton Communications were also honored and recognized for their achievements. 2023 Emerging Leader honoree Jalisa Washington-Price formally presented the award.

“We are thrilled to name Alisa as WWPR’s 2023 Woman of the Year and honor her impressive background and accomplishments,” said Zorie Valchev, President, WWPR and Elynsey Price, President, WWPR. “WWPR is proud to recognize the achievements of all three finalists- Alisa, Susan and Lori. Their impressive accomplishments, leadership and contributions have made a meaningful impact on our industry and community at-large.”

The Woman of the Year honoree was announced at a luncheon held at The Eaton in Washington, D.C., the signature event’s second return to in-person format since 2019.

The event featured a fireside chat with Emily Teitelbaum, Chief Communications Officer of Libra Group.  Moderated by Gemma Puglisi, 2022 Woman of the Year and Assistant Professor at American University, their conversation highlighted important insights around today’s communications landscape. The event also highlighted WWPR’s commitment to serving the DC-area community with funds raised for the organization’s pro bono client, New Endeavors by Women (NEW), a DC-area non-profit organization that provides supportive services and housing to local women and children.


Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) is a member-based professional society cultivating and inspiring female communicators to reach their full potential in the DC market and beyond. The organization is committed to providing leadership opportunities, professional development, mentorship, and industry networking. Visit us at wwpr.org connect with us on LinkedIn and Facebook, and follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @WWPR and on Instagram @WWPRDC.

Media Contact: Jessica Brown