BALTIMORE, Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The results are in. And, the Public Relations Society of America Maryland Chapter is gearing up to salute its 2013 Best In Maryland award winners in a special gala on Dec. 5 at the Monaco Hotel-Baltimore.
This year's top honors go to two leading communications experts – Helen Szablya, a nationally recognized Baltimore communications professional, who will receive the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award; and Lester R. Potter, an accredited business communicator and senior lecturer at Towson University, who will be named PR Educator of the Year.
The PRSA-Maryland Lifetime Achievement Award honors a public relations professional whose career spans 15 years or more and who has exhibited extraordinary achievements, demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of public relations and upholds the PRSA Code of Ethics.
"Helen Szablya is one of Maryland's top public relations professionals," said Jacqueline Lampell, a friend and former colleague. "Helen is known for strategic communications planning efforts during her storied career in government as well as the private sector. She has continued to give back to the community in a multitude of ways and her legacy is one of service."
Szablya is currently in private practice providing communications and marketing services to socially invested organizations. Current and past clients include Cleaner, Greener Baltimore; Baltimore Sustainability Commission; East Baltimore Development Inc.; Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore; and the Baltimore Community Foundation. Her more than 30 years of experience include key management positions at The Enterprise Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation, Baltimore City Mayor's Office, various state of Maryland agencies and the U.S. Treasury Department.
Her commitment to social change spurs her extensive volunteer work for organizations such as the Red Cross of Central Maryland, Central Baltimore Partnership, Citizens Planning and Housing Association and Maryland Family Network. As a survivor of peritoneal carcinomatosis, Szablya has served on the steering committee of the "Heat It To Beat It" walk since it launched in 2009 to help raise money and awareness for research at Mercy Medical Center.
At the Best In Maryland gala, PRSA-Maryland also will honor Potter as the Maryland PR Educator of the Year. Potter, who works in Towson University's Department of Mass Communication and Communications Studies, teaches public relations writing, organizational communication, strategic public relations planning and management, and public relations for nonprofit organizations. He has served as a faculty advisor to the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter for 10 years.
Prior to beginning his academic career, Potter was president and founder of Les Potter Incorporated, an international consultancy that helped organizations worldwide use communications as a strategic management tool to boost organizational effectiveness. For over 30 years, he improved business operations with innovative, results-oriented interventions. To solve clients' problems, Potter draws on successful experience in organizational communication, strategic and marketing planning, and human resources and project management gained from work with a wide variety of organizations and industries.
The New PR Professional of the Year also will be named during the Best In Maryland gala and awards will be presented for excellence in public relations campaigns in 24 categories.
The evening will include a keynote address from Gerry Sandusky, the voice of the Baltimore Ravens and sports director of WBAL-TV 11 (NBC). Gala tickets are available online at www.prsamd.org (click on event) or by calling 888-868-7772. For details, visit http://bit.ly/1aP6Td7.