Social Media Icon Awards: Social Media MVPs

David Armano, Global Strategy Director, Edelman Digital – As one of Edelman’s first “social” hires, David consulted with Edelman’s clients, re-launched, and partnered with the firm’s digital chair to set the strategy for the practice, which grew from 250 to over 1,000 since 2009. This group currently represents 20% of Edelman’s total business. David is now recognized as an active practitioner and influential authority in digital marketing, social media, and business strategy with an organic following on social channels exceeding 85,0000.

Danielle Brigida, Senior Manager of Social Strategy and Integration, National Wildlife Federation – Danielle built National Wildlife Federation's social strategy from the ground up, developing the organization’s presence beyond that of being a page for people to “like,” to instead be a brand that is a recognized value to its community. By incorporating basic relationship principles and tenets of how PR can influence behavior and perception, Danielle established NWF as a nonprofit leader in building engaged communities. Through presentations, webinars, articles, classes and one-on-one conversations over coffee, she has helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people understand the potential their brand or selves should seek with social media.

LaSandra Brill, Senior Director, Paid & Earned Media, Symantec – LaSandra’s role at Symantec makes her responsible for defining the social strategy and paid media strategy for the company. She also pays close attention to the way the company listens and participates in relevant conversations, consistently delivering on its brand value and purpose. She is considered a digital marketing visionary and leader by her peers and is a frequent speaker on industry topics.

Amelia Burke-Garcia, Director, Center for Digital Strategy & Research, Westat – Amelia brings more than ten years of experience to this space. She has provided digital media technical assistance to campaigns across the country. She is also the author of the Socialibriumm Experiment blog and sits on the editorial board for the Social Marketing Quarterly journal.

Erica Campbell Byrum, Director of Social Media, For Rent Media Solutions and - Erica effortlessly integrates public relations and social media into everyday life at and as she is constantly on the lookout for the latest press releases and news to incorporate into the daily social media schedule to arm the online community with the most information possible.

Kevin Dando, Senior Director, Digital Marketing and Communications, PBS – Kevin brings nearly 20 years of experience in communications at the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization with more than 350 member stations. With the advent of social media, Kevin led the charge on the creation and expansion of all social media at PBS, which now reaches an audience of over 8 million people across more than 10 social media platforms. Understanding the importance of public relations and social media integration, Kevin continuously leverages planned and unforeseen opportunities, including tune-in, brand and crisis initiatives, to the benefit of the organization.

Jim Delaney, President, Activate Sports & Entertainment - Jim Delaney is a veteran sports and entertainment PR executive who has developed numerous highly successful communications campaigns over the years. His communications campaigns are proof that success doesn’t require huge marketing/PR budgets, but that large-scale PR effectiveness and ‘moving the needle’ on business objectives can still be achieved through innovative thinking and creative social media strategies.

Scott DeYager, Social Media & Strategic Communications Manager, Toyota Motor Sales USA – Scott oversees earned social strategy and communications for the auto manufacturer. In his many years with Toyota, Scott has come to see social media as a team sport, requiring not only great writing and storytelling but a knack for team building.

Frank Eliason, Director of Global Social Media, Citibank – Frank’s experience and goals have always been centered around creating the right experience for customers, and utilizing a variety of channels to reach them. He has used new technologies to understand and assist organizations to ensure and improve customer satisfaction.

Sam Ford, Director of Audience Engagement, Peppercomm – In his role at Peppercomm, Sam consults with companies about how to better serve their audiences through their communications strategies. He focuses on aiding organizations in developing relationships with and providing content for their customers. His work includes consulting with clients and helping them build communications and marketing strategies. Ford tells PR News, "The one tactic you can use in your daily work, and particularly in social media, is the practice of empathy. Pay close attention to what your audiences are saying the 99.9% of the time they aren’t talking about your organization. Bring that knowledge back to bear on your organization."

Joy Hays, Director of Digital and Social Media, AT&T – Joy has over 15 years experience in social media, digital/integrated marketing, product management and business development in the U.S. and overseas. She has a solid track record of measurable results in technology start-ups and Fortune 200 companies. She has led departments in several organizations developing websites, intranets and social media campaigns.

Brett Holland, Manager, Interactive Communications and Marketing, Pepco Holdings, Inc. – When Brett joined Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI) in 2012, PHI subsidiary, Pepco, had been named “Most Hated Company in America.” Brett’s contributions led to a 12 percent improvement in overall PHI customer satisfaction – 23 percentage points for Pepco – from summer 2011 to the end of 2013. Within his first year with PHI, website traffic increased 26 percent, Facebook likes nearly 300 percent, Twitter followers nearly 140 percent, and YouTube views nearly 150 percent.

Bob Jacobs, Deputy Associate Administrator for Communications, NASA - As an Emmy, Webby and Shorty Award winning strategic communicator, Bob's career and academic studies include extensive experience in leadership, organizational change, government relations, social media development, and crisis communications. His innovative work incorporates emerging technologies into NASA’s communications efforts to better share the agency’s compelling story. He launched and moderates many of the agency's award-winning social media and multimedia initiatives, and is responsible for NASA's popular Internet homepage and NASA Television.

 He has earned four agency medals for exceptional achievement, exceptional service, and outstanding leadership, and is known as a collaborative team player who knows how to motivate others to achieve success.

Leanne Jakubowski, Walt Disney World Resort - As part of the PR team at Disney Parks, Leanne established Disney’s presence in social media through creating their multiple Twitter accounts, Pinterest, and the Disney Parks blogs. Her leadership in social media was so recognized by Disney that she became the first social media executive in Disney’s history.

Evan Kraus, Executive Vice President, APCO Worldwide - Evan is a strong advocate for PR as the ideal lens through which to shape and implement social media strategies. He has long promoted an approach to social media that centers on leveraging influencers as key catalysts and driving messages into social passion centers to spark movements. Evan has also worked extensively to build the social media discipline up within the PR industry, having sat on working groups for the Public Affairs Council and now chairing a digital leadership group for the Council of PR Firms.

Stacy Martinet, Chief Marketing Officer, Mashable - Since joining Mashable in 2010, Stacy has helped the company grow significantly in size and in reach. Now boasting 35 Million Unique Visitors and 16 Million followers across social platforms, Mashable has become a leading publisher of digital content. Under Stacy’s leadership, Mashable’s social media presence has thrived: three Mashable articles are shared on social media every second.

Christi McNeill, Social and Digital Strategy, Patron Spirits Company – Christi is a key player in the social media space, aiding companies in using it as a means of reaching out to customers and establishing relationships. Her social media work for Southwest Airlines was recognized throughout the industry and became key to the company’s corporate strategy.

Kristin Montalbano, Digital Publicity and Media Relations, National Geographic Channel – Kristin has developed a reputation for driving innovation and delivering results in an increasingly competitive and crowded cable landscape. In a few short years since creating NGC’s Instagram account, Kristin has achieved tremendous success in driving awareness and changing the perception of the network by developing and executing consumer digital PR strategies for National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD.

Christopher S. Penn, Vice President of Marketing Technology, SHIFT Communications – In his role at SHIFT, Christopher helps clients in different fields understand how earned media and public relations impacts their marketing. He also teaches Advanced Social Media and Internet Marketing and co-hosts a marketing podcast.

Patrick R. Riccards, Partner, Collaborative Communications – Patrick works with organizations to improve their public voice in the education sector so that they may engage policymakers, parents and educators. He has worked with a wide variety of educational organizations, focusing on content development, media relations and social media.

Jennifer Stalzer, Vice President, Global Digital Communications, MasterCard - Jennifer has been an advocate of social media and a change agent for MasterCard's worldwide communications team. Leveraging digital/social media, Jennifer has transformed the way the company creates news and shares perspectives. Jennifer believes that every piece of content is an opportunity to tell a story. She introduced brand publishing to MasterCard, set global guidelines, introduced new content types and global storytelling campaigns.

Lt. Stephanie M. Young, Public Affairs Officer, social media division, United States Coast Guard – Lt. Young has written extensively on the topic of social media and how the changes that have taken place in some of the major platforms have impacted communications for the Coast Guard. She is the lead content editor for the Coast Guard’s social media team and she also serves as a Military Social Aide to the President.

Albe Zakes, Global Vice President, Communication, TerraCycle - Albe Zakes rose from marketing department intern to become global vice president of communications, for TerraCycle, the world’s foremost post-consumer packaging recycling company. He has been integral in the transformation of the company from a small start-up into a successful and highly visible business operating in 23 countries on four continents and counting Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay, L’Oreal, 3M, Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo among its partners. He has secured appearances for his CEO on several high profile television programs and he has placed feature articles in numerous magazines and newspapers.