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Washington Women in Public Relations’ 2021 Emerging Leaders Awards (ELA) ceremony took place Thursday, May 20. Five women from varying communications backgrounds were recognized and awarded for their accomplishments and leadership in the industry.

The night kicked off with a virtual networking event with Partying With Plants where attendees had the opportunity to relax and connect while creating their very own terrarium! It was so fun to see the different plants and decorating styles that everyone came up with. After building our terrariums, we joined smaller breakout rooms to meet and chat with other WWPR members and industry colleagues.

Up next was the big event: the announcement of the 2021 Emerging Leaders Awards winners. The ceremony started with an inspiring keynote address from Dr. LeMia Jenkins Thompson, Global Head of Communications for Pinterest. LeMia spoke from experience, giving advice every PR professional can use: go where your growth is supported. 

This lesson came at the perfect time, as we heard from our 15 honorees who have hit their stride in the PR world. While each of their journeys differ, their career advice and insights on how they got to where they are today were beyond helpful to everyone in the “room.” Having a mentor and leader who is in your corner and will encourage you to try new things, take on more challenges and allow you to grow is invaluable. 

A distinguished panel of judges selected this year’s winners for their impressive career accomplishments, leadership skills, and strong contributions to society. 

Written by Kiersten Hizak, WWPR Content Committee Member,
Senior Account Manager, Digital, Curley Company


Congratulations to the 2021 WWPR Emerging Leaders Awards winners:

  • Small/Boutique Agency: Stefani Alexander, Vice President, Curley Company
  • Mid to Large-Sized Agency: Rosemary Girard, Senior Account Supervisor, Corporate Affairs, Edelman
  • Government: Rachel Stephens, Press Secretary, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Non-Profit: Maggie McClain, Senior Director of Communications, Food Allergy Research & Education 
  • In-House: Emily Newman, Senior Speechwriter, National Association of REALTORS®

Thanks to everyone who was involved with this year’s virtual event, especially our ELA Committee for making it all happen, and congrats to all of our finalists! See the full list here.