Yesterday, about 300 guests gathered at the W Hotel in downtown Washington, DC to fete three outstanding honorees and hear “Scandal” inspiration, crisis PR expert Judy Smith deliver the keynote.
I was lucky to be guest of gold sponsor PRofessional Solutions, LLC, a Fletcher Prince client. I also lucked out by winning seasons 1-5 of Mad Men on DVD at the raffle.
Fletcher Prince supported the event by purchasing a full page ad in the event program.
2013 Honoree Pam Jenkins, president of the public affairs firm, Powell Tate, was named Washington PR Woman of the Year. She spoke movingly about her career and balancing the needs of her family, and recommended involving children in a mother’s work life. She also emphasized how important it was to leave work behind and foster other interests.
Judy Smith, President of Smith & Company, has written a new book about managing the impact of crises on one’s personal brand. She has worked for clients ranging from Paula Deen to Monica Lewinsky to the family of Chandra Levy, among many other newsmakers. Ms. Smith said she was guided by three principles in her professional life: power, persistence, and preparation. She fielded some questions from the guests in attendance and provided general advice on PR challenges.
Last week’s Washington Women in Public Relations annual event, the Washington PR Woman of the Year luncheon, was an outstanding and well-organized success, with the largest ever attendance yet, and a line-up of inspirational speakers. I was very pleased to be included as a guest of my clients, Melanie Jordan and Kate Perrin of PRofessional Solutions, LLC.
Following a lunch of salad, chicken, pasta, and German chocolate cake, the keynote speaker addressed the audience.
Charlotte Beers had words of wisdom to share with the audience of WWPR members and communicators. The author of I’d Rather Be In Charge has had an illustrious career in advertising, including a position as the CEO of Ogilvy. She also served as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Bush administration.
She didn’t pull any punches in relating some of the challenges she faced at the top. Ms. Beers told stories about accomplishments, but also of sexual discrimination and harassment, including being attacked by a client. She stressed how important it was to make alliances with other women in male-dominated workplaces, and to refuse to allow people to diminish ideas and contributions.
She encouraged the audience to make the effort to understand themselves so they could take advantage of their strengths and compensate for their shortcomings. “Know what you are made of, so when you are challenged, you know about the traits.” These qualities, she explained, reveal why you are “great at one job and lousy at another.”
She also cautioned against putting too much stock in what others say about you. “You can be way too influenced by what other people tell you about yourself.”
Ms. Beers expounded on what she called the qualities of an “artful communicator.” Artful communication, she said, involves clarity, memorability, and persuasiveness. “Think in terms of not what you want to say but the response you want to evoke.”
To be persuasive, Ms. Beers said you have to show that you have “skin in the game.” The message you want to convey is that “I’m committed and I’m not turning back.”
Ms. Beers was an inspirational and entertaining speaker and was a tremendous addition to the event this year.
Following Ms. Beers’ presentation was a short speech by Heathere Evans-Keenan, last year’s Washington PR Woman of the Year. The independent public relations practitioner talked about how winning the award increased her confidence in professional contexts. She then announced the winner from the three honoree finalists.
A clearly elated Stephanie Fu accepted the award and gave a short speech. Principal of the local PR firm SLF Strategies, the new Washington PR Woman of the Year asked the audience to consider two things: their inspiration and their aspiration.
She then presented a tribute to her parents — her inspiration — who were in attendance. Ms. Fu has a pedigree of success — her mother was a medical researcher who helped identify the dangers of lead poisoning and advocated for its removal from household products. Her father was one of the genius engineers behind GPS technology.
Her story of aspiration was quite touching. She told the story of how her young daughter was told to draw a picture in school of someone she looked up to. The daughter drew a picture of her mother that was full of symbols about Ms. Fu’s best qualities. Ms. Fu said this is the image of the person she now aspires to be.
In 2008, I served as co-chair of the Washington PR Woman of the Year Award, so I know first-hand how difficult it can be to plan this high-profile event, even with a corps of dedicated volunteers. But, each year, the event gets better and better, as does the organization. And this year, the event was brilliant.
If you work in public relations in the Washington, DC area, whether you are a man or a woman, it’s a smart move to become involved with Washington Women in Public Relations.
Who inspires you in the field of public relations? Now is the time to recognize her contributions! Nominate your favorite public relations professional for WWPR’s Washington PR Woman of the Year Award.
For the 23rd year, Washington Women in Public Relations will honor an outstanding professional as Washington PR Woman of the Year, this year on November 15 , 2012 at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, DC.
The professional organization is now accepting nominations for this prestigious honor. Last year, Fletcher Prince client Heathere Evans Keenan won the award.
There are many ways to support the event, including sponsorship packages. In 2010, we donated a video production package and makeup kit for the raffle. In 2008, I served as co-chair for the Mayflower Hotel awards event, and Fletcher Prince provided pro bono graphic design services and signed on as a Gold-level sponsor to support the event.
To be eligible for consideration as Washington PR Woman of the Year, nominees should live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and have ten or more years of public relations work experience, with at least three of those years employed in the Washington, DC area.
The nomination requires submission of a resume; three examples of career accomplishments; a 500-word nominating essay; description of memberships, certificates, and professional affiliations; list of awards received; and a description of community service and activities.
Nomination packets and instructions are available online at WWPR.org and are due no later than midnight, August 31, 2012.
As you know, Washington Women in Public Relations is presenting the Washington PR Woman of the Year Award on Wednesday, November 10, a must-attend event for DC-area communicators, and one of the highlights of the year.
We’re donating a prize for the event’s benefit raffle. A portion of the proceeds from the raffle will be donated to D.C.’s Children’s Law Center. So, purchase lots of raffle tickets next week and keep your fingers crossed that you win the Fletcher Prince gift set! It includes
- Fletcher Prince Video Survival Kit – a train case filled with makeup essentials appropriate for any complexion, selected for video appearances…
- * to help you make the most of marketing and public relations opportunities associated with branded YouTube Channels… consultation
- Video recording session* with Fletcher Prince. How fun is that?
Here’s a sneak peek at what’s inside the kit…
- Revlon PhotoReady Translucent Powder – this is also good for men on video
- L’Oreal Studio Secrets Primer – reduces shine and helps makeup stay on longer
- Sonia Kashuk Concealer Palette – a variety of colors for all complexions
- Sonia Kashuk Brow Kit – a variety of tones for all complexions
- Maybelline Great Lash Mascara – the #1 rated mascara of makeup pros
- N.Y.C. Kiss Gloss – to bring just a little attention to the mouth
- Two lipsticks, two blushes, two nail polish colors, and six eyeshadows
- Makeup remover wipes
- Frizz Ease Hair Spray
- Nexxus Volumnizing Mousse
- Assorted makeup brushes, including large powder brush
- Foam wedges and cotton swabs – for perfectly even foundation application
- Eyelash curler and eyebrow tweezers
- Comb and Brush
- Lint Roller
- Chocolate Kisses – a little magic trick that helps dispel pre-video jitters
Here’s a terrific makeup application video from Sonia Kashuk
And here’s my video, talking about what’s in the kit, and how to use it…
*Please contact Mary Fletcher Jones (571) 269-7559 to redeem your non-transferable prizes of complimentary consultation and video recording sessions by the expiration date of December 31, 2010.
Every year, Washington Women in Public Relations honors three women and awards one female public relations professional the prestigious Washington PR Woman of the Year Award. It is always an inspiring event for me, and I’m sure, for all the attendees.
The awards luncheon is taking place Wednesday, November 10 at the fabulous Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC, and I am thrilled that both David Hyson and I will be attending (we’re also donating a gift for the benefit raffle, but more about that later this week). If you want to go — and of course, you do! you can learn all the details and register here.
Thinking about this award got me to pondering this week: what does excellence in public relations mean to you? I decided to ask some female public relations professionals I know (they also happen to be Fletcher Prince clients).
Heathere Evans-Keenan, President of Keenan PR, Inc., an award winning public relations and marketing firm based in the Greater Washington D.C. area, was honored by Washington Women in Public Relations and had this to say on the subject of excellence in the practice of public relations —
“Too often practitioners forget to do the upfront research and “listening” required to develop truly excellent campaigns. Best practices in public relations always begins first with listening to the market and finding out what problem you are trying to solve with your public relations program. Once you have either uncovered or validated the true issue(s) at hand, following up with a solid plan that can be implemented and evaluated at key intervals is the recipe for success.”
Susan Rink of Rink Strategic Communications (also the incoming 2011 IPRA President) specializes in employee communications. She offered this wisdom:
“In the world of employee communications, excellence is less about flash and dazzle and is defined by authenticity. Employee communicators look for ways to help employees form an emotional connection with their company.
So, the best employee communications create a reaction, and drive employees to take action to benefit their company.
Tone and voice are also very important when communicating to employees, and companies that find ways to infuse their employee communications with the voice of their brand and culture are most likely to create an environment of brand ambassadors within their workforce.”
Do you work in public relations? Or do you work with people who work in public relations? If you do, I would love to hear what your thoughts are about excellence in the practice of public relations. Feel free to leave your comments below.