Managing director, Carmichael Lynch Spong, 37
For six years at Carmichael Lynch Spong, Julie Batliner has built strong client relationships and campaigns with, as one colleague says, a Midas touch.
She implemented a client-relationship management program that streamlines practices to attract and retain clients, which resulted in the agency's highest client satisfaction scores. She has also helmed campaigns that pioneered new product categories, such as nutritional supplement company Martek Biosciences' campaign for DHA omega-3, which took the fatty acid's health benefits mainstream.
Named MD last May, Batliner leads day-to-day operations in the Minneapolis, New York, and Chicago offices.
EVP, corporate practice; associate US director, crisis and issues management, Edelman (Atlanta), 37
Steve Behm brings 10-plus years' of political campaign and public affairs experience to Edelman's Atlanta office, where he leads teams responsible for managing clients' reputations through crises.
In 2008, after an explosion at an Imperial Sugar refinery killed and injured many workers, Behm took over communications management for the company. Within months, the facility's production resumed and Imperial's stock grew.
Behm also helped launch Edelman's pro bono "Dear John" campaign, which aimed to end the commercial sexual exploitation of Atlanta children and resulted in tougher penalties for offenders.
SVP, consumer practice, Cohn & Wolfe, 33
Steve Bonsignore is a PR professional who pitches and plays like he's in the major leagues. And he is.
At Cohn & Wolfe, his business home for nearly 12 years, Bonsignore established the agency's sports marketing practice. He now manages the sports efforts, advises clients about their relationships with athletes, sports leagues, and personalities, and counsels brands aiming to connect with fans.
He also steps up to the plate for non-sports clients, such as Valvoline, 3M's Car Care Center, Intel, Sony Ericsson, Rémy Martin, and Olive Garden – and, characteristically, hits it out of the park for them, too.
Senior director, North America corporate communications, Teva Pharmaceuticals, 39
Since joining Teva Pharmaceuticals as director of communications and community relations in 2006, Denise Bradley has in five short years transformed the company's communications strategy.
Before Bradley, the modus operandi of this maker of generic and branded drugs was not to proactively engage with the media. However, she changed all that and has since elevated the reputation of the corporate brand and its efforts in CSR and created clear messaging internally between Teva's divisions.
Bradley's next mission is to launch the company's social media platforms.
Partner, Brunswick Group, 39
The shelves in Joe Carberry's office bear a number of industry awards, but those are just hints of his accomplishments and innovative thinking.
While at Visa for nine years, Carberry, now a partner at Brunswick in San Francisco, stayed ahead of the curve by promoting financial literacy before the fiscal crisis and addressing data security before high-profile cyber-hackings became a daily news story.
At Brunswick, Carberry has been instrumental in developing strategy and growing US operations. His ear-to-the-track thinking could be due to having worked for politicians or to the fact that he's simply a smart, hardworking, creative professional. Either way, his firm and clients win.
SVP, co-director, healthcare (West Coast), Hill & Knowlton, 39
While working for pharma company Allergan in 2002, Christine Cassiano engineered Botox's global communications launch, garnering enormous media attention, including the front page of The New York Times and Newsweek's cover.
Since 2007, Cassiano has been at Hill & Knowlton, where as SVP and co-director, healthcare (West Coast), she leads campaigns for sector clients, including global engagement for Amgen's osteoporosis drug Prolia.
Cassiano also takes her knowledge on the road. In June, she spent three weeks in Uganda volunteering for Global Support Mission, a charity that helps build medical clinics and vocational schools.
Manager, multicultural communications and community relations, Verizon Wireless, 31
Since joining Verizon seven years ago, Cameka Crawford has woven past experience into the present in a way that helps her excel. She has designed a one-stop website to educate staff about Verizon's products and services, managed communications for a program that generated $40 million in revenue, and led communications and nominating for the Verizon Excellence Awards in the Western region, made up of 16,000 employees in 16 states.
As an undergrad, the energetic Crawford promoted an anti-tobacco campaign to college kids at her alma mater Texas Tech University as president of a student-run PR organization.
Jennifer Jones Davis
Director, global small and medium business communications, Dell, 39
Think global, then think Jennifer Jones Davis. At Dell, where she's worked for 10-plus years, she's now in charge of a global operations team for small and medium businesses, which includes internal team members and agency partners in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, and Western Europe. In June, she was in Brazil for the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network.
When not juggling time zones and language differences, Davis manages the challenging tasks of being a mom to three young sons, youth team soccer coach, and administrator for a family run scholarship for graduating seniors with juvenile diabetes.
VP, corporate affairs, Americas, Western Union, 35
By the time Daniel Diaz was 31, he was an experienced global corporate and consumer communications pro for companies in the Dow 30 and Fortune 10. That's no surprise for this over-achiever, who by 22 had earned both graduate and undergraduate degrees.
At Western Union, Diaz oversees external and internal communications supporting the Americas business in 49 countries and territories and the company's initiatives with prepaid cards, key accounts, and consumer-bill payments.
He also stops to smell the roses. He balances work with family, is well read and well traveled, and respects cultural differences. In short, he's a global citizen at a global brand.
SVP, senior partner, global digital practice co-chair, head of digital/WOM/social in Southwest region, Fleishman-Hillard, 34
Matt Dickman's hybrid qualities justify his lengthy title. His technical background, deep understanding of PR, social media smarts, and leadership skills impress both established and prospective agency clients.
He started at Fleishman-Hillard as digital marketing director in 2008. His current job is to develop strategies and manage client projects from idea to completion, coordinate new media trends with client goals, and drive new business.
Prior to Fleishman, Dickman worked as the marketing strategist at DigiKnow. Outside work, his personal marketing blog, Techno/Marketer, keeps him busy.
Director, corporate communications, GE, 35
Leigh Farris' skill at articulating GE's programs, such as Healthymagination and Ecomagination, undoubtedly was advanced by her experience in TV, where she honed her communications talents.
Her posts included four years at CBS as director, news communications, for the CBS Evening News With Katie Couric and other programs.
At GE since 2009, Farris has also led the launch of the Ecomagination Challenge, a $200 million global innovation initiative; the company's largest consumer-targeted campaign during the Winter Olympics; and cross-business PR strategies, events and executive communications for GE's CMO Beth Comstock.
Director, global communications, HTC, 36
In a wireless world, Jason Gordon is all about connections. Over the past decade, he has been key to many major mobile technology launches.
He worked at Text 100 on the Palm Pilot, at Microsoft where he worked on the early roll out of the PocketPCs, and at Motorola for its consumer-focused handsets. Gordon landed at HTC five years ago, where he was the agency's first PR hire.
At HTC, he has staffed and now leads a 12-person global PR team.
Gordon's connections to the outdoors around Seattle run deep, too: He could be camping with the family, driving his motorcycle around Mount Rainier, or attending a fly-fishing exhibition.
Director, global corporate communications, Athenahealth, 33
With big changes afoot for the nation's medical system, any healthcare company communications director must be agile. Enter John Hallock, who since 2006 has worked at Athenahealth, one of the US' leading providers of Web-based business services for medical professionals.
He juggles programs on M&A activity, national physician advocacy initiatives, and IR strategies. He led communications for the company's IPO in 2007 and more recently his team launched the industry's first cloud-based clinical platform with Microsoft.
Prior to Athenahealth, Hallock worked for Weber Shandwick Worldwide, Schwartz Communications, and Brodeur Worldwide.
Staff director, digital and social media engagement, FedEx, 39
Renee Horne's path at FedEx from financial analyst in 1996 to staff director, digital and social media 10 years later has given her a rare and invaluable perspective on the company and a depth that helps her comprehend business goals and meld them with PR.
Her diverse experience led Horne in her current post. She has also changed the way customers look at FedEx by telling stories around topics such as energy-efficient fleets and disaster relief to a diverse audience, including shareholders and analysts, through social media. Horne championed "I am FedEx," a digital worldwide channel for employees via an external destination site.
VP, APCO Worldwide, 32
In seven years, Ewa Hübner has scaled the corporate ladder at APCO. She started in London, went to Brussels, then Warsaw, and helped set up the agency's Eastern European push, launching APCO's office in Poland.
She currently manages the firm's work for Mars, among other clients, in Latin America, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.
Prior to APCO, Hübner worked in various governmental functions. To prepare her for the international life, Hübner received training at the UN and Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Off-hours, Hübner has been a board member for a charity she cofounded, dedicated to educating underprivileged kids.
SVP, creative director, GolinHarris, 37
James Kelly had an auspicious beginning at GolinHarris: Within two months of joining the agency as SVP, creative director, he had landed Sargento, his first multimillion-dollar account. His encore? In his first year, new business conversion doubled.
Before Kelly was shaking things up at Golin, he was creative director, UK and Ireland, at Weber Shandwick. He had started at Porter Novelli as an AE, then went on to MS&L, where he served as an account group supervisor.
Kelly possesses stellar professional traits, his colleagues say, but they are quick to add, tongue in cheek, that he is a "smart dresser" with a "style all his own."
Senior director, PR, PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division, 38
Nearly everyone has had to deal with constricted budgets during the last few years, but Chris Kuechenmeister, senior director of PR for PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division, worked around the tight dollars and elevated the role of PR across the portfolio.
In less than three years, he transformed PR by reshaping the planning process and emphasizing the use of advanced insights and analytics to drive strategy. For instance, Tostitos' 16-year Fiesta Bowl sponsorship went from a three-minute halftime program to a four-month PR-driven campaign. Such successes beg the question: What will he accomplish in flush times?
Manager, global brand PR and consumer engagement, The Hershey Company, 30
Some may say Anna Lingeris has a delicious job leading global brand PR and consumer engagement for Hershey. Last year, she drove its PR campaigns up to exceed the industry average, wracking up 1.5 billion total impressions.
After just eight months on the job, Lingeris grew the company's PR spend by nearly 65%. She developed the first PR and social media strategies and led the first global consumer product PR campaign for the introduction of Hershey's Kisses in Japan.
When not setting records at work, Lingeris is a triathlete, cyclist, and spinning instructor – pursuits worthy of at least one or two Kisses, right?
Senior digital strategist, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Washington, 33
Betsy Lowther, long a fashionista, may now be called a "PR-ista," according to her colleagues at Ogilvy Washington, where she is senior digital strategist.
In her first and only year in PR, she has led myriad clients through some challenging reputation issues and helped them come out on top. Prior to jumping into PR, Lowther worked at a number of publications, including Working Mother and Harper's Bazaar. She then traveled extensively through Asia, contributing to publications including Women's Wear Daily, Vogue, and Elle.
In addition, Lowther also maintains a successful fashion blog, FashionisSpinach.com.
Senior director of PR, new media, and digital networks, CNN, 33
Handling PR for a news organization has particular challenges. Colleagues of Jennifer Martin, CNN's senior director of PR, new media, and digital networks, say she "skillfully translates complex new media concepts to a wide-ranging audience." Her purview includes CNN.com, CNN Mobile, and participatory news community CNN iReport.
Since joining CNN in 2005, Martin led communications around initiatives such as the CNN/YouTube Presidential Debates (summer 2007) and CNN App for iPad (December 2010).
Before CNN, she worked at GCI Group, CipherTrust, Weber Shandwick, and Edelman. A true Atlanta devotee, she volunteers for environmental group the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.
Martin left CNN and joined Apple's PR team in late June.
SVP, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, 35
If you called Mark Martin a Windows man, you'd be right. As the leader of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide's Windows client team, he is responsible for the development and execution of integrated communications campaigns for Microsoft's Windows and Internet Explorer brands.
Prior to handling Microsoft's marquee brands, he led the agency's account teams for the tech giant's cloud computing and platform strategy.
When off the clock, Martin is all about what's new: He volunteers by consulting with emerging businesses on marketing strategies and new ventures and he explores some of Oregon's fledgling wineries.
Director of communications, Sara Lee Corporation, 36
Sara Matheu, a key player behind Sara Lee's North American PR strategy, has helped modernize the reputations of brands such as Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farms, Ball Park Franks, and Sara Lee through social media and traditional PR tools to aid in delivering higher revenues and new customers.
For instance, after her team targeted teenage boys to adopt Ball Park Franks as a "cool brand," it achieved a 22% market share in that group.
In her free time, Matheu is involved with the Lookingglass Theater, which promotes arts for everyone in Chicago, and Gilda's Club, for people affected by cancer.
Director, corporate communications, Cisco, 39
David McCulloch, Cisco's corporate communications director since 2009, has helped transform it from a major networking player to a diversified tech enterprise, which today competes with industry giants. More recently, he successfully elevated Cisco's presence in the video networking products and devices business.
McCulloch joined Cisco in 2007 as director of corporate communications after six years at Text 100. To this day, he works with the agency as one of the firms he and his 16-member team rely on for PR efforts.
Outside work, McCulloch is an aspiring novelist, avid photographer, and die-hard soccer fan.
SVP, director of strategic planning, Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, 29
Karina Meckel is so highly regarded at Euro RSCG Worldwide PR that the firm mandates she be consulted on all new business pitches – or they don't get funding. Because following the directive has meant a wave of new business, including Ford's Warriors in Pink and the Clio Awards, everyone complies.
Meckel also spearheads the Sisterhood, the firm's initiative targeting teenage girls with social and traditional media.
An association with Marian Salzman, the agency's CEO of PR operations, when Meckel was a child in elementary school brought her into the business early. And she has never looked back.
Director, global communications, Aveda Corporation (an Estée Lauder Companies brand), 28
Evan Miller brought beauty- products company Aveda into the digital age by creating and implementing the brand's first digital and social communications strategy, which included Twitter. It was Miller who introduced the press to the company's history through trips to ingredient-sourcing locations. And, yes, it was Miller who developed and unveiled the first consumer bottle-cap recycling program that has earned millions of media impressions.
Higher-ups at Aveda applaud his leadership, storytelling, and skill at selling a product, while keeping up with the latest social and technological trends. To Miller, it all seems to come naturally.
Associate director, product communications, Novo Nordisk, 34
Getting the word out around the constraints of the FDA is tough for any PR pro, but Ambre Morley worked with Novo Nordisk's regulatory and legal team to satisfy requirements. She created a process that allowed brand spokesperson Charlie Kimball, a racecar driver with Type 1 diabetes, to tweet branded messages, a first in the world of pharma, according to her employer.
That wouldn't have been possible had Morley not convinced the company's marketing team to use Kimball in the first place as a spokesman for three of its products. The result? Media coverage beyond expectations, leading to a much-expanded 2011 program.
Director of communications, Groupon, 29
When Julie Mossler started at the deal-of-the-day website in 2009, she constituted the PR department. Since then, she has been responsible for PR strategy and execution and currently supports 550 markets and 40 countries.
The team has grown to three, but Mossler has plans to hire 15 to 20 new people in the next few months.
It was Mossler's brainchild to launch Live Off Groupon, in which one customer survived for a year on Groupon offers. While both PRWeek and Mashable gave the campaign high praise, in the candid style of Mossler, she called this her "favorite accomplishment, a shameless PR stunt."
Partner and director, New York corporate practice, Ketchum, 39
Tamara Norman, a 16-year Ketchum veteran, recently became a partner – one of the youngest in the firm's history.
It makes sense for many reasons: Norman has been on several teams that have garnered industry awards; she has been the driver behind making FedEx one of Ketchum's largest clients and she led communications campaigns around the delivery company's acquisition of Kinko's and RPS; and she oversees the work of 30 communications consultants and more than a dozen accounts.
In 2009, Norman helped the firm secure a major new business win in Applied Materials, which has become one of Ketchum's largest clients.
SVP, partner-in-charge, Airfoil California, Airfoil Public Relations, 38
Retention is part of Tracey Parry's story; retention of clients and staffers at Airfoil, where she is SVP, partner-in-charge for Airfoil California, and a founding member.
As the leader of the Silicon Valley office, Parry is especially proud that consumer-to-consumer website eBay has stayed with Airfoil and that the account has grown.
Other marquee clients drawn in by Parry are Best Buy, Starbucks, and QVC. However, it's working with startups and midsize companies that gets her PR juices flowing. Lucky for Airfoil, Parry works in start-up heaven, where there are also thousands of chances for retention.
Senior manager, global consumer PR, Starbucks, 33
In five years, Lisa Passé has quickly risen in the ranks to become senior manager, global consumer PR, at Starbucks, where managers use words like "strategic driver," "shining star," and "true bench strength" to describe her.
Passé has been part of a number of important initiatives at the company, including playing a key role in Starbucks' 40th anniversary campaign, the launch of the founder's book, and the global month of service in April, the company's largest community-service effort ever.
Along the way, Passé accomplished one more thing: She became a certified Starbucks coffee master. Pass the cream, please.
VP, digital media, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, 37
Controversial topics, such as coal's role in the energy mix, test even the most skilled PR pros. Few think of coal in a positive light. Yet Bianca Prade, VP of digital media for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, has obviously embraced that dialogue to give all concerned a fresh look at the fossil fuel.
Two years on the job, she has used digital venues to field inquiries from the press, regulators, researchers, policymakers, and politicians. But then, handling divergent interests might be Prade's calling: When at NavigationArts, she juggled the accounts of Marriott, NASDAQ, Sallie Mae, and the US State Department.
National VP, PR, UnitedHealthcare Employer and Individual (a UnitedHealth Group business), 36
Daryl Richard's résumé is a good read. It includes reporter for Time, PR pro at Weber Shandwick, and now national VP, PR, UnitedHealthcare. He brings editorial chops and media relations experience to help form the company's public image.
Richard was key to landing UnitedHealthcare's number-one ranking on Fortune's 2010 list of Most Admired Companies in health insurance and managed care.
When not at work, Richard teaches a communications and PR course at his alma mater, Marist College, mentors undergrads, and does pro bono PR for his high school in Manchester, CT.
Laura Lubin Rossi
PR director, Chase Card Services, 37
Laura Lubin Rossi is driven, enthusiastic, and efficient. She believes in speaking with customers, to customers, and always putting them first.
She has convinced bank executives of the value of a new medium for the message – specifically that a blogger's reach is as important and influential as that of the lead banking reporter for The New York Times.
Prior to Chase, Rossi was at ING Direct, where she developed and executed strategy for product launches and campaigns to 5 million customers and conceived and developed orangekids.com, a financial literacy website for kids that was named "best of the Web" by USA Today and Forbes.com.
Executive director, head of corporate communications and IR, Delek US, 33
Noel Ryan knows where the money is. For Delek US, part of one of the largest publicly traded conglomerates in Israel, which generated net sales here of more than $3.7 billion, he helped generate significant investor interest. On an annual basis, he has arranged meetings with 200-plus institutional investors and analysts and increased conference and marketing trips to more than 20.
As a result of his outreach initiatives, average daily trading volume at Delek increased by more than 200% between 2010 and YTD 2011. And Delek US stock has soared by nearly 90% since Ryan began leading IR in mid-2008. Impressed? So are shareholders.
VP, Publicis Consultants USA, 35
Numbers tell Diana Steeble's story. Since she has been on the United Soybean Board account, billing has grown by 200%, making it one of the agency's largest.
When trans-fat regulations and consumer backlash threatened to hurt the business of some 350,000 US soybean farmers, Steeble unveiled a campaign touting the legume's cholesterol-lowering properties.
Since 2007, the account, led by Steeble, has won or been nominated for 20 awards.
In her 11 years at Publicis Consultants, Steeble has risen from account coordinator to VP. She is also on the board of directors for the Atlantic Street Center, a group serving low-income children in Seattle.
VP, corporate communications, LinkedIn, 36
If you know about LinkedIn's IPO in May, you may thank Shannon Stubo for getting the information out. The networking website's CEO Jeff Weiner handpicked Stubo, a veteran of online companies Intuit, Yahoo, eBay, and OpenTable, as the company was preparing to go public.
Stubo, in fact, had already been through an IPO. In 2009, she ran media and investor communications at OpenTable during its IPO, making it one of the few successful tech IPOs that year.
During her tenure at eBay, Stubo relocated to Zurich where she built and ran the company's European communications function and oversaw a team of 30.
VP, director of digital strategy, Weber Shandwick, 30
Greg Swan started working at 17 and grasped the value of social media early. At Weber Shandwick, he leads a team of 16 people managing the social media strategy for the US Army recruiting account, among others. Swan helped the Army launch its first soldier blog, Army Strong Stories, which now boasts more than 600 soldiers and 2,000 posts.
Based in Minneapolis, Swan's digital savvy has helped land new accounts such as Verizon and Polaroid. He has planned and executed media strategies for clients such as Chevrolet and DuPont.
Outside the office, Swan started a statewide art newspaper, Art Scene, and a music blog, Perfect Porridge, with a national following.
PR manager, Disney Store North America, Disney Consumer Products, 38
Think about 220 stores nationwide, product rollouts, and the launch of a new store design and you'll begin to understand what's on Shawn Turner's plate as PR manager for Disney Store North America, the retail division of Disney Consumer Products.
She began at Disney as a PR associate with the consumer products division, where she led outreach to African-Americans.
Before joining Disney, Turner worked with big accounts such as Wells Fargo, Texas Instruments, and Toyota at Rogers & Cowan. Turner also serves as the director of marketing and communications for the UCLA Black Alumni Association.
PR director, NetApp, 36
In the high-stakes world of IT, Roger Villareal has pushed NetApp to the top through his vision, connections, and right-on assessment of the competition and what customers need. In five years, he has risen from manager of emerging products to head of global PR, overseeing a network of 22 agencies.
Villareal knows PR must be practiced in concert with a company's business goals. As such, he has encouraged his team to think big and broad when they talk, write, or send messages about NetApp.
Realizing his wisdom, senior management enlisted Villareal to head an integrated cross-functional communications team when it bought external-storage system Engenio, the company's largest acquisition.
Managing partner, Catalyst Public Relations, 39
After rising to managing partner within nine years at Alan Taylor Communications, Bret Werner and five other partners initiated an employee buyout from CEO and founder Alan Taylor to create Catalyst Public Relations, which has quickly become a leading sports and entertainment firm.
Under Werner's leadership, Catalyst has not only increased revenue each year – up to an estimated $5.5 million in 2011 – it has also cemented its place as a key partner to big brands such as Subway, Under Armour, and Vitaminwater.
Werner and the Catalyst team were named PRWeek's Boutique Agency of the Year in 2010.