15 D.C.-area female communicators will be recognized on May 20 at the 11th annual awards ceremony;
Five winners will be announced during the awards ceremony which runs from 6:30-7:30 pm

Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR), a professional development and networking resource for female communicators in the nation’s capital, announced the finalists for the 11th Annual Emerging Leaders Awards (ELAs).

The ELAs honor outstanding young women, ages 18-35, in the D.C. area who have excelled in public relations and related fields. The 15 finalists are grouped into the following categories: Small/Boutique Agency, Mid- to Large-Sized Agency, Government, Non-Profit and In-House. One honoree from each category will be revealed on May 20 at the annual awards ceremony.

This year’s finalists represent the top-three candidates in each of the five categories, as determined by a panel of judges. The 2021 ELA finalists are:

Small/Boutique Agency:

Stefani Alexander, Vice President, Curley Company
Sinead Casey, Vice President, CRAFT Media | Digital
Brittany Vanderpool, MPS, PMED, Account Supervisor, Vanguard Communications

Mid- to Large-Sized Agency:

Akeia Blue, Senior Account Executive, JPA Health
Rosemary Girard, Senior Account Supervisor, Corporate Affairs, Edelman
Kate Urbach, Managing Account Supervisor, Ketchum


Luz Martinez, Communications Director, Office of Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, Council of the District of Columbia
Rachel Stephens, Press Secretary, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives
Paige Waltz, Digital Director, Office of Senator Mitt Romney, U.S. Senate


Jennifer Arnold, Associate Vice President, Marketing & Communications, U.S. Soccer Foundation
Maggie McClain, Senior Director of Communications, Food Allergy Research & Education
Shannon McClendon, Public Relations Manager, American Nurses Association


Merone Hailemeskel, Digital & Communications Associate, The Office of Barack and Michelle Obama
Emily Newman, Senior Speechwriter, National Association of REALTORS
Jessica Pumphrey, Principal Communications Associate, Capital One

“The 2021 Emerging Leaders Awards mark the work of young women who have accomplished great things and are on a trajectory to be future PR leaders in the Washington, DC, metro area. Through the unique challenges we all faced in 2020, these women’s contributions to their organizations, communities and the PR field really brought a sense of hope and excitement for the years to come,” said Christina Francisco, WWPR President. “I am proud of the diverse set of voices represented in the nominations this year. WWPR is proud to celebrate these changemakers and we look forward to congratulating our finalists on their accomplishments.”

Dr. LeMia Jenkins Thompson, Global Head of Communications for Pinterest, is the keynote speaker for the ceremony. 

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