National Capital Chapter

Candidates Announced for 2021 PRSA NCC Chapter Officers and Board

PRSA NCC is pleased to announce the following candidates for the chapter’s 2021 Board of Directors.

Voting opens on Thursday, October 1 and closes at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21 and is limited to PRSA NCC members in good standing. Eligible members will receive an e-mail with information about casting a vote.

Lauren Lawson-Zilai, the current president-elect, will automatically become chapter president in January 2021.

NOTE: PRSA NCC is providing each candidate’s bio and platform as it was submitted to the chapter, which may include typographical and grammatical errors.

President-Elect

Robert Krueger

Executive Communications Manager, Gensler

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertkrueger/

Robert is the Executive Communications Manager for Gensler, the world’s largest architecture and design firm. In this firmwide role, he works directly with the Co-CEOs to promote Gensler while developing strategic content and managing the external brand positioning of the Co-CEOs.

Robert also serves as a Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter (PRSA NCC) as well as both the chapter’s Programming Chair and co-lead for the Professional Development committee. He also serves on the board’s Financial review committee.

Additionally, he has taught both undergraduate and graduate-level communication courses since 2008, having previously served as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida, George Mason University, Park University, among other universities.

Robert is the founder of Comm(s) Fest and has an MA in Communication and an MA in History from George Mason University. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

I am an advocate of not only recruiting a greater diversity of communications professionals to serve on the board and as speakers at events, but also in volunteer positions. None of the Board’s work means anything unless you have a healthy system of volunteers that bring a diversity of fresh ideas for our chapter’s activities. Our events set the tone for not only PRSA, but all communications sector activities in the DC area. I am committed to identifying and recruiting enthusiastic diverse professionals for both volunteer committees and committee chair positions, in addition to Board and event speaking roles.

Two-Year Vice President

Vickie Gogo, APR

Partner, Multicultural Communications, ICF Next

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vickiegogo/

Vickie Gogo, MA, APR is a Partner, Multicultural Communications, at ICF Next, a global communications and PR agency. She brings 20 years of experience in public health communications with a demonstrated specialty in developing and executing national health education campaigns focused on addressing health disparities, health equity and reaching multicultural communities, particularly African Americans. She is a sought-after national speaker on multicultural communications, as well as diversity and inclusion in public relations. Prior to working at ICF Next, Vickie worked at Campbell & Company, Ogilvy, Reingold and Georgetown University. Vickie is a current member of the PRSA NCC Board of Directors, and throughout her nearly 20 years of membership in PRSA NCC, she has supported the accreditation, diversity & inclusion, and professional development committees. She has been a Thoths judge for more than 10 years. Vickie is a graduate of Hampton University, where she earned her BA in Mass Media Arts. She earned her MA in Humanities from Old Dominion University.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

Survey members about what they want/need in terms of programming – particularly to support diverse members. Partner with local orgs (Color Comm, BPRS, NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA, etc.) and independent consultancies headed by diverse professionals to conduct a series of PD events. Include in Thoth a D&I Champion award category. In addition to the pro bono client work, plan and conduct one-time PR training for local nonprofits (focus on specific tasks like media training, web redesign, comms plan development, etc.). Conduct routine monitoring and reporting of inclusion of diverse professionals in PD and NCC events and on the website and social media to ensure course corrections, if needed. Promote and actively recruit board members, committee leads for positions have had little turnover over the past 5 yrs to incorporate new and diverse thinking and involvement. Incorporate transparency and reporting about D&I reporting.

One-Year Vice President

Rhianna Taniguchi

Account Manager, iQ 360

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhiannataniguchi

Rhianna is an account manager at iQ 360, an integrated communications agency. She develops digital advertising strategies and delivers strategic earned media coverage for her clients. Rhianna helps clients communicate with their prospects on a personal level, at scale, while delivering on business objectives. Her PR and media relations work has been recognized by the Hawaii Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She is currently on the Diversity & Inclusion committee of the PRSA Nation’s Capital Chapter.

Her diverse experience includes five years in the Army National Guard and a stint at the Denver Post, where she developed omni-channel advertising campaigns for recruitment and real estate. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychological sciences from Oregon State University and is currently an MBA candidate at Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.
  • Provide board training on D&I best practices
  • Hold media roundtables: Address the growing ethnic media by dedicating one of your media roundtable programs exclusively to Spanish-language media, African-American publications, Chinese-American outlets and Arab-American media among others. Remember to include ethnic radio, LGBTQ+ magazines, etc.
  • Partner with diverse chambers: Deliver a program to a local chamber of commerce that reaches diverse members.
  • Diversity and the human resources department: Work with the local HR organization (Society for Human Resource Management has a number of Chapters throughout the nation) to create a program to discuss employee communications and communicating with diverse professionals.
  • Host a training on accessible communications (example: How communications professionals can reach target audiences of individuals with disabilities with inclusive communications; what does accessible communications mean, and how can PR and communications professionals use people-first language).
  • Encourage the placement of interns and co-op students who are members of diverse groups.
  • Establish formal relationships with colleges and high schools that have diversity in their student bodies. Support communications programming at the schools by offering speakers and inviting students and faculty to PRSA events and to apply for internships.
  • When using a panel, make sure that it is culturally diverse to minimize potential bias.
  • Launch a diversity category in the 2021 Thoth Awards.

Pattie Yu

Principal, theYucrew llc

https://www.linkedin.com/in/pattie-yu-abb15b12/

A nationally recognized communications counselor, Pattie held leadership positions at Porter Novelli, Fleishman Hillard before launching GYMR, a top 10 independent ranked agency. theYucrew is a virtual agency focused on social change; earned Silver Anvils, ASAE’s Overall Gold Circle; PRSA Maryland’s Best of Show. Inducted into the PRSA NCC Hall of Fame and PRSA Maryland’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

The agency’s youngest VP at Porter Novelli, she managed health campaigns, launched travel practice; multicultural projects; corporate wide training, internships. Recruited to Fleishman to build social marketing/health and association practices; diversity and alliance building.

Named a leading minority PR practitioner, she has shared her experiences at universities, federal agencies, IABC, ASAE, GWSAE, PRSSA and PRSA Maryland. Pattie has judged PRSA national/chapter awards; sits on WWPR’s Advisory Council.

Quals: fearless and faithful; collaborative and creative; builds from ground up, leads from the heart.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

Instead of asking what recommendations do you have… perhaps we would be better served if we first asked what the value is that we are striving for? Why are we trying to add it? Is it to do something overt to assuage a need to do anything deeper, more painful, more pervasive?

Give ourselves a chance to truly listen to understand. We must be authentic in our outreach to our colleagues of color or age or lifestyle whatever makes us/them unique – whether mentoring beyond a cursory call to pairing up diverse partners for the year; or recruiting a diverse panel of judges to proactively seeking not scrambling to recruit diversity to all levels of leadership from our members to our speakers to our board. Perhaps it’s teaming with a sister chapter to do an honest assessment of our current PRSA NCC DI program.

We don’t absolve our call to be curious, courageous, compassionate and collaborative by writing a check, announcing a promotion, featuring a speaker, hiring a diversity consultant just because.

We must create authentic experiences, build a culture that’s willing to do the hard work — our diverse colleagues’ lived experience unfiltered may make some uncomfortable but necessary. It may make us more vulnerable but we’ll all emerge more compassionate, collaborative, more whole than divided in the end – not only as individuals, but as professionals, as united communities, as one society.

Secretary

Carley Brierre

Account Executive, Charles Ryan Associates

https://www.linkedin.com/in/carleybrierre/

I’ve been an active member of PRSA ever since my college years in PRSSA. My career started in corporate communications at Altria, which then led me to an internal communications job at one of their operating companies, Philip Morris USA. At the time I was also getting my Master’s in Strategic Public Relations at VCU, which opened my eyes to opportunities that I hadn’t consider before, ones where I could really refine my craft and work across different industries. I decided then I wanted to work for an agency. But to do so, I needed more hands-on experience and samples for my portfolio. I then took a huge leap of faith (and a pay-cut) for a marketing specialist job at a trade association, where I produced all their print, digital and social content. After only 10 months, my portfolio was much more robust and I was finally getting agency interviews. I landed at Charles Ryan Associates as an account executive and have been there ever since. Today I manage the agency’s third-largest account, a transportation company, where I serve as their communications manager and spokesperson. My services for other clients include project management, public relations strategy, media relations strategy, and content strategy. I’m also a member of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association and serve on a steering committee for The Salisbury School, my high school alma mater.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

Over the past three months I have worked endlessly with clients at companies who have this same exact priority right now. We need to listen and we need to act. We need to talk less and do more. It needs to be a part of every initiative the organization puts forth. There are several strategies and tactics I’ve recommend to clients. I would love the opportunity to share, listen, and be a part of the conversation.

Michelle (Mischa) Sindyukov

 Consultant, APCO Worldwide

https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-sindyukov/

I work on APCO Worldwide’s Advocacy and Campaigns practice group where I specialize in media relations, public affairs campaigns, international new business, events and corporate communications for global corporations. I assist clients across several regions, including Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. Previously, I was on APCO’s Global Marketing team, where I helped lead internal communications and create programming for 700+ employees across 30+ offices around the world.

In my capacity as PRSA NCC’s MarComm Committee Co-Chair, I spent the past year working hard to make sure that we were increasing our visibility in the DMV area by working with our volunteers. I helped increase engagement on our social pages, restart the Facebook group, create digital campaigns, and create and launch Meet the Members, an initiative which aims to highlight and bring together PRSA members. Before this role, I co-chaired the International Committee and organized a successful event with four different embassies.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

I think there’s a lot we can do to improve our D&I. Here are some of my ideas:

  • Partner with different universities (especially with HBCUs) to create a pipeline of new members
  • Create a mentorship program that will have a strong focus on making sure that members feel that they have the needed to support to grow in their communications career
  • Empower our current members to be more involved by highlighting volunteer opportunities
  • Work with diverse organizations for our pro bono efforts

Treasurer

Meredith Williams

Senior Principal, Atlas Research

https://www.linkedin.com/in/meredith-williams-mph-72411611/

Meredith Williams, MPH, has 25 years of experience managing national health education initiatives and public awareness campaigns on issues such as substance abuse, mental health, HIV, healthcare provider outreach, cardiovascular health, childhood education and health services, and veterans’ health for multiple federal agencies. Her work includes designing results-oriented communication strategies, message platforms, branding programs, content development for multimedia platforms including social media channels, community and partnership engagement, media outreach, campaign analytics, and managing online communities to support information exchange and dissemination. Meredith has produced award-winning TV and radio PSA campaigns, digital marketing and content management, promotional products including infographics, factsheets, policy briefs, and journal publications.

Meredith holds an MPH from George Washington University and a BA from Purdue University. She served as an adjunct professor teaching health communication and marketing coursework at the George Washington University Milken School of Public Health.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.
  • Member of Executive Committee
  • Strategic Planning specific objectives & measurable outcomes; commit chapter funds
  • Partner with 1-2 local, professional organizations or universities to support a grant or internship program/workforce development in PR

Two-Year Directors (three positions available)

Diti Bhasin  

Director of Digital Strategies & Equity Programs, Flexability

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ditibhasin

 

My background in marketing and communications spans seven years. I have direct experience working within communications for a trade association, additionally, I’ve led brand development for nonprofits in three of my previous roles. I’ve served as a board member for PRSA NCC during the 2020 year and been involved with the D&I Committee for the last two. My educational background is also in communications, and I am currently pursuing my MBA at George Washington University.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

The first step to genuinely changing dynamics within PRSA NCC in regards to D&I is to educate. Once people understand DEI and how systems uphold inequities and biases, only then can we fix reoccurring challenges the chapter has been facing in regards to DEI.

Additionally, we cannot put the accountability on the D&I committee if we want sustainable changes. D&I is not an oversight committee; I would recommend that all committee review and analyze their practices & policies to address gaps or barriers present in creating a truly inclusion chapter.

Patricia Nicastri

Account Supervisor, Hager Sharp

https://www.linkedin.com/in/pnicastri/

Patty Nicastri is an account supervisor at Hager Sharp and has more than seven years of experience managing digital strategy for clients. She excels in developing engaging content across platforms that reach a variety of audiences and is well-versed in leveraging digital tactics, including website promotion, social media content development, and media buy strategy and planning across social, display, search, video, and more. She also has extensive experience as a project manager and leads a team on media relations topics and has overseen the work of more than six social media writers developing more than 150 messages per month. She is also co-chair of the PRSA NCC Programming Committee. Patty earned a BA in media arts & design as well as anthropology from James Madison University. She received a n MS in public relations from Syracuse University.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

It will be important for PRSA NCC to ensure that D&I remains a priority—starting by ensuring that not only is the board diverse, but speakers and panelists for all events are diverse as well. PRSA NCC must also continue to create a culture of inclusivity where members are supported and provided with leadership opportunities within PRSA NCC regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, etc.

Anne Prince

Communications Manager, NRECA

https://www.linkedin.com/in/anne-prince-6280186/

Anne Prince is a public relations/public affairs executive with more than 25 years of communications experience providing strategic counsel, positioning and messaging guidance for non-profit, association and government clients. At NRECA, Anne manages a national training program for new communicators. Anne developed communication and crisis preparedness toolkits and resources to engage the consumer-members of NRECA’s 900+ electric cooperatives. She writes articles and leadership columns for a monthly content resource for more than 5,000 communicators and managed the electric co-op industry’s communication award program. Having worked for large international public relations firms and boutique public affairs shops, Anne has developed public affairs and communication plans and program launches. She won PRWeek’s Non-Profit Campaign of the Year. Anne is currently a member of Toastmasters and was a member of the Cooperative Communicators Association. She is a creative thinker and believes in the power of collaboration and brings positive energy to every engagement.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

I would recommend that the local chapter communicate with transparency about the programs, events and activities that it hosts. In addition, to ensure that PRSA events and activities reflect the diversity of the Washington metro area, I would suggest that any planning committee for PRSA events and activities are reflective of the region.

Robyn Rudish-Laning

Senior Associate, Digital Strategy, Pew Charitable Trusts

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robynmrl/

Robyn Rudish-Laning is a digital communications professional and active PRSA member. Since joining PRSA, Robyn has volunteered both nationally for PRSA’s New Professionals Section and locally for the chapters she’s been a member of, including PRSA NCC, SCPRSA, and PRSA Pittsburgh.

A native of southern New Jersey, Robyn moved to the D.C. area in 2017. She currently manages digital strategy for health projects at the Pew Charitable Trusts. Before joining Pew, she managed external and digital communications for Airports Council International-North America. Robyn holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a master’s degree in media arts and technology, with a focus on creative media practices, both from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. She enjoys learning and has completed communications certification courses with PRSA, HubSpot and Hootsuite.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

I think that if we continue to develop leadership and programs with inclusion front-of-mind, we will be able to successfully build a chapter that is representative of our diverse membership. Making sure that all groups have a voice in decision-making and empowering members to speak up about important issues and ideas they have can help foster an inclusive atmosphere. Putting out a call to our membership to understand what different members can bring to the table and what they’re looking for from PRSA can help us to build a robust catalog of programming to serve our members better.

Another way that we can help ensure our chapter is an inclusive environment for professionals is by connecting with local students and young professionals. We have a diverse group of students from our local PRSSA chapters and communications programs, as well as young professionals from a variety of backgrounds who move to the area to build a career. If we connect with them, encourage active participation in the chapter and provide support to help them grow professionally, we will not only improve our chapter today, but we build a strong, diverse leadership pipeline to lead us into the future.

Elizabeth Thiel Mather, APR

Executive Director of Communications, University of Virginia School of Engineering

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ethielmather/

After a 20-year career as a reporter, editor and television producer for Landmark Communications, Inc., owner of The Virginian-Pilot newspaper and Local News on Cable, I transitioned to leadership in public relations and communications in the public sector. I served for six years as director of communications for Norfolk Public Schools, and then transitioned in 2015 to the University of Virginia School of Engineering, where I was hired as director of communications and later promoted to executive director. I have experience in many facets of strategic communications, including advertising, public relations, internal communications, FOIA law, media relations, and crisis communications. Prior to my transition to higher education, I served as secretary, treasurer, president-elect and president of the Chesapeake Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association. I earned my Accreditation in Public Relations in 2015.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

At UVA Engineering, diversity and engagement have been huge strategic priorities for our communications and public relations program, because of the significant national challenges to recruit women and people from other backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, such as Black and Hispanic students and first-generation college students. By aligning our communications program with a strategic priority for diversity and inclusion, we have significantly increased the representation of women and other underrepresented groups among the faculty and students at UVA Engineering. We are now the top public engineering school in the nation for women earning engineering degrees, and among the top 10 for women earning computer science degrees. We also are the top public engineering school in the United States for graduation rates for all students and for Black and Hispanic students. Many, many communications activities have supported these results, however the two most important are these: We have clearly articulated our vision for diversity as excellence, and we have engaged in deep conversations with prospective members of our community about the positive impact they can have on the world. Before committing to being a part of a particular institution, people want to know their lived experiences, talents and expertise can contribute to making the world a better place. I believe that if the PRSA NCC continues to focus on articulating the positive impact a diverse community of communicators can make on our nation and world, we can make a strong case for PRSA NCC as a diverse, welcoming and inclusive chapter.

Josh Wilson 

Director, Strategic Communications, Children’s National Hospital

www.linkedin.com/in/joshwilsonmba

Josh Wilson is the director of strategic communications for Children’s National Hospital, one of the nation’s top 10 children’s hospitals by “U.S. News & World Report”.

In this role, he leads the teams responsible for public relations, internal communications, executive communications and social media.

Prior to coming to Children’s National, Josh was the director of public relations for Nemours Children’s Health System, where he led all communications planning of the system’s new, $400 million campus in Orlando, the first independent children’s hospital to open in more than 40 years.

Josh began his career as a reporter and anchor, working for TV stations in Mississippi, Kentucky and Florida. His investigations sent a state senator, sheriff and police chief to jail. He also led communications for a mayoral campaign and led external relations for FEMA in Florida following the busy 2004/2005 hurricane seasons.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

I’m a big believer in mentorship. A previous employer had what were called, ‘standards of behavior’ and one of them was that you should dedicate half of your time developing others. I’m not sure I ever hit that amount of time but I did try to embrace the spirt of supporting younger, up-and-coming professionals.

As the country has examined the toll of structural racism, we have all been forced to explore how we can contribute to an environment that creates opportunity for everyone. I think that mentorship can and should be an important part of that effort and that PRSA could be an important channel to establish mentorships with people from diverse backgrounds.

One-Year Directors (three positions available)

Laura Ambrosio 

Communications, Consumer Technology Association

I have more than eight years of professional experience in public relations. I have a master’s degree in strategic communication. I am currently serving as the Chair of the PRSA NCC University Relations Committee.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

I look forward to being able to help the chapter with its activities to engage more diverse membership and programming.

Anne Duffy  

Owner and Principal, The Right Duff Coaching, LLC

https://www.linkedin.com/in/anne-duffy-cpcc-acc-84b412/ 

Anne Duffy has fifteen years professional experience in corporate communications, public relations, and teaching/training. Her expertise is gained across industries including aerospace, humanitarian aid, technology, travel and food service. In these industries, she has worked in corporate in-house, agency, non-profit, and international environments.

Anne has prepared and trained executives and company leaders for media interviews, developed key messaging, written promotional and strategy material, and worked together with journalists to craft compelling stories.

She is also fluent in French and German.

Today, she is the owner and principal of leadership coaching and mentoring business: The Right Duff Coaching LLC. She is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coach Federation.

In her business, Anne coaches and mentors mid-career professionals to figure out “what fills their cup.” She also conducts workshops and speaking engagements.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter. 

I’d first ask what the current initiatives are, and what the outcomes/impact of those have been. What is the definition of “success”? And has that vision of success been wholly or partly fulfilled?

Secondly, I’d ask: for the target audience(s) of this(ese) initiative(s), are they useful? Are they serving their purpose?

And if so, what are some success stories (and also negative outcomes) that we can both build on, and also learn from?

Larry Parnell

George Washington University

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lawrence-j-parnell-4586a74/

As an experienced practitioner (30 years in gov’t, corporate and agency settings) and an educator (12 years at GW as Associate Professor and Program Director) I feel I have a lot to offer the chapter and PRSA overall.

I am a long time member nationally and locally and we (GW) have been a major chapter and national sponsor for several years. As such, I have a perspective and point of view to share about programming, chapter activities and how to engage young AND experienced professionals in the chapter and furthering the mission of PRSA NCC. I am also very active in speaking to PRSSA chapters nationally and at the National Conference.

Many PRSA NCC and National PRSA leaders, current and former, know me and my dedication to the profession and PRSA. I encourage you to reach out to them for feedback on my qualifications.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

In my view, one of the most effective ways to improve Diversity and Inclusion is to begin at the college/university level teaching young people (as we do at GW) about the important role played by many women and minorities in the history of our profession.

We find that when we provide perspective and role models for young people everyone benefits. People of color and young women see someone they can relate to and be inspired by; white students learn there is more to the growth of the PR business than “old white men” (e.g. Bernays, Page and Lee) and LGBTQ studetns find common canuse with activists who have preceded them and paved the way for more acceptance and inclusion.

The chapter should consider pairing with educational institutions — especially HBCUs like Howard (right here in the DMV) — to share these stories through workshops, webinars and celebrations on a year ’round basis.

Beyond that, the Chapter (and PRSA National) should expand its workshops and hands on session for resume preparation, interview skills, mentors and career coaching. As well, more case studies, career success stories and spotlighting of DMV employers (including the Federal and local Government) who are making real progress at entry and senior level hiring would help as well.

This effort will take time and commitment – but in the end the profession will be better off for the effort.

Katy Stofko

Director of Marketing and Communications, Centurion

https://www.linkedin.com/in/katystofko/

After a long stint in business development and marketing, I am in a corporate communications role drawing on my experience gained during Public Relations undergraduate degree. I have been tasked with growing and steering the communications for a $1B healthcare company whose parent company is on the Global Fortune 500 list. Activities include creating policies and procedures to protect the company and guide our 9,000 employees, media relations, SEO and online reputation management, and agency partnerships.

I highly value professional development and continuing education. To bolster and refresh my PR skills, I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University. I am a firm believer that everyone, and organization, should continue to evolve and learn!

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

D&I experience will continue to be a hot item to include on members’ resumes. I would continue to have continuing education opportunities geared toward teaching how to communicate with diverse audiences and also offer a training on how to recognize their own unconscious bias. Perhaps there is value by offering those recorded session for free online and then marketing that.

Carol Wilkerson

Press Director, US Small Business Administration

https://www.linkedin.com/in/carol-wilkerson-b914b1b

As the SBA’s Press Director, Carol is responsible for managing and executing the Agency’s external and internal communications.

Prior to her current position, Carol served as the Deputy Press Director/Team Lead where she coordinated the Agency’s internal communications. Carol’s partnership with SBA began in 2001 where she served as Chicago Regional Communications Director where she managed marketing and media relations for the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Before joining SBA, Carol coordinated marketing and outreach efforts throughout the Midwest for the Peace Corps’ Chicago Regional Recruiting Office. Carol was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean from 1995-1997 where she consulted non-profit organizations and government agencies on media strategies on the island of Nevis.

Carol received her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Hampton University.

Carol currently chairs the Pro Bono Committee for the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and the Public Relations Committee for the Northern Virginia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain a priority for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter. In 250 words or less, please share any recommendations you have to further embed D&I into our chapter.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is critical for any organization to thrive and succeed, particularly in the public relations/public affairs industry. We need ideas of all human beings regardless of race, sex or national origin to make all voices heard. When an organization does not recognize D&I, they miss out on elevating their mission and achieving any desired creativity and innovation for a major project or event. I recommend that PRSA NCC invest in programs and routine conversations around this topic. I also encourage having a collaboration with area communications schools housed at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, having a frequent dialogue with minority chambers of commerce, area city councils, and connecting with the minority media personalities and outlets.