WASHINGTON D.C — Debra Silimeo, senior vice president, Hager Sharp was named the 2010 “Washington PR Woman of the Year” by Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) at its awards ceremony, today at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Each year, WWPR presents the prestigious award to a senior-level Washington area female PR practitioner as a means to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of PR women and expand awareness of their contributions to the industry. This year’s luncheon marked the 21st anniversary of the PR Woman of the Year (WOY) event.

Silimeo was selected from a panel of judges who nominated three final honorees based on their exceptional leadership and integrity to their fields, as well as their community involvement. Selected as honorees were Donna Vincent Roa, PhD, ABC, CSR-P, managing partner and chief strategist, Vincent Roa Group LLC, and Johanna Schneider, executive director-external relations, Business Roundtable.

Silimeo brings more than 25 years of experience in journalism, public relations, government and social marketing communications to her position at Hager Sharp. She is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, designs and manages national public affairs efforts and provides strategic communications counsel to the firm’s clients including the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress—widely known as “The Nation’s Report Card”—and the U.S. Fire Administration. At Hager Sharp, she also directs the firm’s Education and Public Safety Practices, is an award-winning creative director and serves as the firm’s senior media counselor. An active WWPR member, she participates in the Girl Scout’s National Capital Region’s Camp CEO to connect Girl Scouts to women business and community leaders, served as a judge of the National Women’s Political Caucus’ annual EMMA awards, and is a Montgomery County precinct chair.

The event also featured a keynote address by Dee Dee Myers, former White House Press Secretary, who recently joined The Glover Park Group as managing director of its Public Affairs practice. Myers served as White House Press Secretary for two years under the Clinton administration, from 1993 to 1994, and is the first woman and second-youngest to hold that position. A raffle was held to benefit WWPR’s pro bono client, the Children’s Law Center, the largest legal services organization in the District and the only organization that provides comprehensive free legal representation specifically for children who have been abused and neglected, have special education or health care needs.

A list of previous recipients of this distinguished award is available at www.wwpr.org.