Maria Rodriguez, president and co-founder of D.C.-based Vanguard Communications, has been inducted into the PRNEWS Hall of Fame.  She was honored, December 12, during the PRNEWS’ PR People Awards Luncheon at the Georgetown Marriott in Washington, D.C.

In 1987, Rodriguez co-founded Vanguard Communications, a public relations and social marketing firm committed to the marketing and promotion of social issues. Today, states a release,  she is the sole owner and president of the award-winning firm and leads a team of communicators working to advance change in public health, mental health, education, diversity and inclusion, environmental protection, and sustainable agriculture.

“I am incredibly honored to be recognized by PRNEWS with the induction into their Hall of Fame,” said Rodriguez. “When I started Vanguard, it was my vision to create a communications firm that would fill the gap for working on issues that could bring about real, meaningful change. More than 30 years later, I’m proud to say that our mission remains unchanged, and I’m inspired every day by the people I work with and the work we do.”

The PRNEWS’ PR People Awards Luncheon celebrated individuals who set benchmarks of excellence in public relations and showcases the passionate professionals and budding PR leaders who are making communications matter in the marketplace day in and day out. Alongside Rodriguez, ESPN Vice President of Corporate Communications Katina Arnold, MSNBC Senior Vice President of Communications Errol Cockfield, and Bank of America Global Corporate Communications and Public Policy Executive James Mahoney also were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

A native Washingtonian, Rodriguez is a first-generation American whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Venezuela. Their motivation to find a better life sparked a passion in Rodriguez to focus her life’s work on championing social issues — a unique and risky PR model at the time. She co-founded Vanguard at the age of 27 to use communications to advance social issues and ensure all voices within a community are heard.

In 2017, Maria established the Comunicadores for the Future program with the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute at her alma mater, The George Washington University. Through this program, she wanted to increase diversity in the PR and communications field by matching first-generation Latinx students with high-profile nonprofit organizations for paid internships — an experience that will fuel their future careers and personal growth.

Rodriguez shares her time and talent with numerous boards across the D.C. area. She is the board chair of the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and participates on the board of Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital. She is on the Advisory Council for La Clínica del Pueblo, a bilingual, bicultural community health center in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the National Press Club and the Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2020.

Rodriguez has been profiled in Capitol Communicator’s Up Close and Personal series and you can see her profile here.

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