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WWPR has honored 31 outstanding and accomplished women with the Woman of the Year Award. That’s three decades of recognizing the best in the fields of public relations in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

In honor of the past 31 years and in the lead up to WWPR’s 32nd Annual Woman of the Year awards in 2021, we sat down with three past Woman of the Year Award winners across three decades to get their best life and career advice.

Beverly Silverberg, Founder, Beverly R Silverberg Communications Inc (1996 Woman of the Year)

What moment in your career are you most proud of?
Being selected to be Metropolitan Washington Transit Authority’s spokesperson and representing the agency and its people to the best of my ability.

In honor of 31 past Woman of the Year awardees, what advice would you give yourself at 31?
I would tell myself that you learn more with your ears open and your mouth shut.

From when you first got into communications to now, what has changed the most and what has stayed the same?
Social media is the single biggest change I’ve witnessed! The ability to instantly spread information (and sadly misinformation) has changed the landscape of America and how public relations is practiced. What has changed the least is the passion of PR practitioners to help their clients get their message across.

Jennifer Wayman, MHS, President & CEO, Hager Sharp (2007 Woman of the Year)

What did it mean to you when you were selected as a WWPR Woman of the Year?
I was truly shocked and very honored to be included in such a renowned group of leaders.

What is your best piece of advice for balancing your career and family/friends?
Take ALL of your vacation time, and truly use it to unplug. Also, you don’t have to do it all. Slow down a bit and enjoy things.

From when you first got into communications to now, what has changed the most and what has stayed the same?
Much has changed. In my first internship, we FAXED news releases to journalists, email wasn’t used regularly, and social media didn’t exist. What hasn’t changed is the importance of relationships, becoming an expert on your clients’ business, and the art of crafting a compelling message.

Wendy Hagen, President, Hagen inc (2018 Woman of the Year)

What moment in your career did you learn the most from?
I transitioned from a scrappy, creative, and entrepreneurial advertising agency to the national corporate communications team at Lockheed Martin. I had to quickly adapt to an entirely different corporate culture, learn an entirely new and complex industry, and figure out how to build consensus and drive change in a highly conservative (and at times comms-averse) organization.

In honor of 31 past Woman of the Year awardees, what advice would you give yourself at 31?
When I was 31, I was a VP at a large agency, juggling a full client load and also running a new business. Oh, and I was pregnant with my first child. Looking back, I would say, “Give yourself some grace!”

What did it mean to you when you were selected as a WWPR Woman of the Year?
I was surprised that WWPR selected a non-traditional candidate like me—someone with a varied background in advertising and PR agencies, corporate communications, branding, and strategic planning. To my absolute delight, I learned how inclusive and welcoming the WWPR community is, and I’m so proud to be included among the amazing PR leaders and badass women who came before (and after) me.

Meet WWPR’s newest Woman of the Year honoree at the virtual 2021 WWPR Woman of the Year Awards Ceremony on November 18!