Washington PR Woman of the Year Awards

Honoring Outstanding Leaders in Communications

WWPR proudly announced on Friday, October 27 Alisa Valudes Whyte, CEO and Senior Partner at Merritt Group, as the distinguished recipient of the 2023 Woman of the Year award. This prestigious accolade, established in 1990, celebrates trailblazers in the field of communications who have not only set high standards but have also paved the way for the profession’s future.

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

“We are delighted to crown Alisa as WWPR’s 2023 Woman of the Year, celebrating her remarkable accomplishments and illustrious career,” said Zorie Valchev, President of WWPR, and Elynsey Price, President of WWPR. “WWPR takes immense pride in acknowledging the achievements of all three finalists—Alisa, Susan, and Lori. Their remarkable accomplishments, leadership, and contributions have left an indelible mark on our industry and the broader community.”

The announcement of the Woman of the Year honoree took place during a luncheon held at The Eaton in Washington, D.C., marking the second in-person return of the signature event since 2019.

The event featured an engaging fireside chat with Emily Teitelbaum, Chief Communications Officer of Libra Group, moderated by Gemma Puglisi, the 2022 Woman of the Year and Assistant Professor at American University. Their conversation provided valuable insights into today’s dynamic communications landscape.

For more information, please visit the full press release here.

The finalists for WWPR’s 2023 Woman of the Year Award were:

Over the past three decades, WWPR has provided a forum to come together and honor nearly 100 women leaders in the Washington, D.C. area through our annual PR Woman of the Year award. For the past 33 years, this award has existed to recognize the trailblazers who have raised the bar in our field and paved the way for the future of the profession. We look forward to once again honoring the dynamic and strong leaders who have shown up in major ways professionally and personally, day in and day out throughout their careers.

If you have any questions, please email Jessica Brown and Emma Gresser, WWPR board members and Woman of the Year Co-chairs, at woy@wwpr.org.

  • The nominee must be a professional woman with a minimum of 20 years of experience in the public relations field, at least five of which have been in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area (she must also currently reside in this area).
  • The nominee does not have to be a member of WWPR.
  • Nominations from previous years who were not named Woman of the Year are encouraged.
  • Nominations must include (1) PDF resume (up to two pages) and (1) PDF recommendation (up to two pages) to be considered.

Nominations are now closed. For more information contact woy@wwpr.org by 

  •  Nominee’s demonstrated abilities should include, but are not limited to, creativity, management skills and contributions to the growth of her organization, unique or prestigious job held, and major accomplishments.
  • Nominee exemplifies true characteristics of a leader in PR — a visionary, standout representative of her company or organization, has the perseverance to face any challenge and can strategically link a program to lasting results.
  • Nominees make it a priority to devote her time to community causes and activities.
  • Nominee’s community contributions may include, but are not limited to, board positions, volunteer work, activities that promote professional advancement of women.
  • Nominee is actively involved in leading industry membership associations and has greatly contributed to those associations through board leadership or mentoring.Nominee has received acknowledgement or previous awards for her contributions to the public relations industry or other related work.

More about WWPR Woman of the Year Awards:


The finalists for WWPR’s 2022 Woman of the Year Award were:

  • Gemma Puglisi, Assistant Professor of Public Communication, American University
  • Gloria Rodriguez, President and CEO, RF Comunicad; EVP, Ruder Finn Group
  • Anne Woodbury, CEO and Founder, CURA Strategies

    Learn more about the finalists.


Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) named Gemma Puglisi, Assistant Professor of Public Communication at American University, the 2022 Woman of the Year. Established in 1990, this award program recognizes individuals who have raised the bar in the communications field and paved the way for the future of the profession. Read more on Gemma’s accomplishments in the full press release. 



Join us for the 33rd WWPR Woman of the Year Awards

Join us for the 34th Washington Women in Public Relations Woman of the Year Awards Luncheon on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023 at The Eaton in downtown Washington, DC. The Eaton embraces hospitality as a conduit for fostering a sense of community, unleashing creativity, and celebrating culture. Nestled in downtown DC it welcomes like-minded individuals, locals, and explorers to come together, cooperate, and engender new creations. Learn more about the event and register today!