The Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter (PRSA NCC) announced three new inductees who will join the National Capital Public Relations Hall of Fame this fall as members of the class of 2022. Communications industry leaders Susan Matthews Apgood, Lisa Matthews and Melissa Skolfield will be honored at a special cocktail reception at the National Press Club on November 17.
“This elite class of individuals have pushed the boundaries and have established themselves as three of the most influential communicators for our region,” said Robert Krueger, PRSA NCC’s president. “The Washington region is a top market for communications and this year’s inductees have made countless contributions to the industry throughout their careers. They have helped grow our industry, and receiving this honor will cement their impact for years to come.”
Apgood, left in photo, is EVP of Client Relations and founder of News Generation, an issue-driven public-relations-services company specializing in using broadcast-media techniques, which she founded in 1997 and sold in 2020. Apgood is also an adjunct professor in the Kogod School of Business at American University, where she teaches Women in Organizational Leadership and Introduction to Business. In August of 2022, she and her colleague, Anjali Varma, won the Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award for best course design of their class Women in Organizational Leadership. She is a longtime volunteer, committee chair, board member, and sponsor of numerous public relations associations, including PRSA NCC and Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR). During her time in leadership roles with PRSA NCC, she spearheaded numerous chapter initiatives, served as treasurer, and co-chaired the Professional Development Committee, where she organized over 80 percent of the chapter’s annual programming. In 2014, she was one of three finalists for Washington Women in PR’s Woman of the Year award. From 2015 to 2020, Apgood served as a board member for JUST TRYAN IT, a non-profit working to positively impact the lives of families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer. She earned her MBA in finance from American University and BA in economics from George Washington University.
Matthews, center in photo, a 20-year veteran of the Associated Press (AP), is the first active journalist to have ever been inducted into the Hall of Fame. She currently serves as the Assignment Manager of U.S. Video for the AP. In this role, Matthews implements video newsgathering efforts nationally, including coverage of the White House, Congress, and Cabinet Agencies. Previously, Matthews served as the 114th President of the National Press Club. During her time in this position, she led the Club’s first-ever all-woman leadership team. She expanded its outreach to historically black colleges and universities, offering journalism and communications graduates free one-year memberships. Before her current AP role, Matthews worked in public relations. From 2014 to 2017, she served as vice president at Hager Sharp, where she developed media strategies. With a lifetime commitment to combating misinformation and mistrust of the media, her work helped Matthews earn two Edward R. Murrow Awards – one in 2002 for outstanding coverage of the events on September 11, 2001, and her second in 2010 for Video Continuing Coverage of the Economy. Matthews received her BA in communications from James Madison University.
Skolfield, right in photo, is the executive vice president for external affairs at The Pew Charitable Trusts. In this role, she works to advance Pew’s goals by overseeing communications, partnership activities, and government relations. Before her time at Pew, Skolfield served as vice president for communications at the Brookings Institution, where she managed the think tank’s website and annual reports, and coordinated over 200 public events each year. Before Brookings, she served as communications counsel to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi following her time at Golin Harris International, where she launched a healthcare public affairs practice. Earlier in her career, Skolfield was the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She also worked as a press secretary for Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas and Congressman Mike Andrews of Texas. She received her BA in economics and behavioral science from Rice University and a MA in public affairs from George Washington University.
2022 National Capital Public Relations Hall of Fame jury members included Rachelina Bonacci, public information officer, Maryland Stadium Authority; Patricia Hernandez, Ph.D., communication assistant program director, Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Programs; and Jamie Perez, vice president of digital strategy, Center for American Progress.
Now in its 24th year, the National Capital Public Relations Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made distinguished contributions to the communications field. Members include a diverse group of communicators from agency heads, White House and Capitol Hill press secretaries, Pentagon spokespeople, business leaders, government officials, international experts, social activists, labor leaders and educators.
To view the list of Hall of Fame members, visit prsancc.org/national-capital-public-relations-hall-of-fame.