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National Leadership Recruitment

Michelle Olson, APR, Elected 2021 PRSA National Chair

Mosaic Headshots Panel representing the 2020  National Leadership nominees

PRSA, the nation’s leading professional organization serving the communications community, announced the individuals elected to its 2020 Board of Directors at the 2019 PRSA Leadership Assembly in San Diego.

A public relations veteran with more than 30 years of experience, Michelle Olson, APR, was elected as chair of PRSA for 2021. Olson, who runs the Scottsdale, Arizona office of Fingerpaint, a New York-based integrated marketing firm with offices in four states, will serve as chair-elect in 2020. She has served as a director representing the Western District since 2017.

The below candidates were elected to the following board positions:

Officers (one-year term):

  • Chair-elect – Michelle Olson, APR, General Manager, Fingerpaint (currently serves as director representing Western District)
  • Treasurer – Michelle Egan, APR, Fellow PRSA, chief communications officer, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company (currently serves as director representing North Pacific District)
  • Secretary – Amy Coward, APR, Fellow PRSA, vice president, public relations, Prisma Health Midlands Foundation (currently serves as director representing Southeast District)

Directors – District Representatives 
(two-year term):

  • Midwest District – Jacqueline K. Clark, MPA, APR, Fellow PRSA, regional manager of government and public affairs, LafargeHolcim North America
  • North Pacific District – Scott Trotter, APR, senior director of communications, Utah Valley University
  • Southeast District – Denise Hill, Ph.D., APR, assistant professor of strategic communications, School of Communications, Elon University
  • Southwest District – Heide Harrell, APR, director of marketing and business development, Rose Law Firm
  • Sunshine District – Angela Walters Eveillard, APR, strategic communications officer, Hillsborough Community College

Directors At-Large (two-year term):

  • Jorge Francisco D’Garay, president & CEO, MXUS Public Relations

They join incumbent board members returning for 2020:

  • Chair – T. Garland Stansell, APR, chief communications officer, Children’s Hospital of Alabama
  • Immediate Past Chair – Debra D. Peterson, APR, president, Comm365
  • Director, East Central District – Rick Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA, executive director, marketing and communications, YMCA of Greater Cleveland
  • Director, Mid-Atlantic District – Samantha Villegas, APR, senior consultant, Raftelis
  • Director, Northeast District – Jane Law, APR, director of communications/communications manager, New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority
  • Director At-Large – Errol Cockfield, senior vice president, communications, MSNBC and NBC News
  • Director At-Large – Ana Toro, APR, Fellow PRSA, public affairs officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Western District Position

On Oct. 19, Michelle Olson, APR, was elected by the PRSA Leadership Assembly as 2020 Chair-elect. Because there is one year remaining on her two-year Western District position, the PRSA Board of Directors is soliciting applications from qualified members in the Western District to complete the balance of her term, which runs Jan. 1, 2020 - Dec. 31, 2020.

The PRSA Bylaws address mid-term vacancies by empowering the board to fill the post for the balance of the unexpired term, as set forth in Article IV, Section 4. Qualified candidates from the Western District are invited to apply for the position. After the Executive Committee of the board reviews the applications that are submitted, the Committee will recommend a candidate to be considered for approval by the full board.

PRSA accepts electronic applications no later than 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, in the time zone in which the petitioner resides. Eligible applicants have the option of submitting letters of support for their candidacy. Letters of support should be no longer than 300 words and emailed to exec@prsa.org by the application deadline.

Video interviews with candidates are tentatively scheduled for Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. After reviewing applications of qualified applicants and conducting video interviews, the Executive Committee will recommend a candidate to be approved by a vote of the board. All applicants will be contacted within 24 hours of the board’s decision.

View Applicants

2019 Leadership Assembly


Following Assembly elections, successful candidates joined these incumbent members on the 2020 board:

East Central District

Rick Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA, Executive Director,
Marketing and Communications, YMCA of Greater Cleveland

Mid-Atlantic District
Samantha Villegas, APR,
Senior Consultant, Raftelis

Northeast District
Jane Law, APR,

Director of Communications/Communications Manager,  New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority

Western District

When Michelle Olson, APR, was voted chair-elect, the Western District position became vacant for 2020. Per the bylaws, the unexpired term may be filled by the board. A call for nominations from members who hold their APR and reside in the Western District is open until December 10, 2019."

Director At-Large
Errol Cockfield,
Senior Vice President, Communications, MSNBC and NBC News

Director At-Large
Ana Toro, APR, Fellow PRSA,
Independent Consultant, A. Toro Business Relations

Please contact Susan Belanich at susan.belanich@prsa.org or call (212) 460-1403 with any questions