Clairemont CEO Named PRSA’s Counselors Academy Chair

By Posted in - Counselors Academy & Raleigh PR Agency on February 21st, 2018

Dana Phelps Hughens Named Chair of PRSA’s Counselors Academy

Fanelli, Finley and McCormick named as new members on 2018 executive committee

NEW YORK  — The members of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Counselors Academy have elected Dana Phelps Hughens, CEO of Clairemont Communications in Raleigh, N.C., as its 2018 chair. In addition, Filomena Fanelli of Impact PR & Communications and Kate Finley of Belle Communications have joined the Counselors Academy executive committee for three-year terms, and Gary McCormick of GMc Communications as an ex-officio member for a one-year term.

Counselors Academy is the national professional interest section of PRSA that focuses on the business of agency PR. Its entrepreneurial members are owners or senior managers of leading independent firms in the U.S. and Canada. Counselors Academy’s programs foster networking, mentoring and learning, and the executive committee consists of 15 senior-level public relations professionals from across the country.

As CEO of Clairemont Communications, Hughens leads the agency to devise public relations and marketing strategies that have been recognized with 175 industry awards since opening in 2010. She is a Silver Anvil award winner and has been honored by the Triangle Business Journal with Women in Business and Forty Under Forty awards. Previously, Hughens was Senior Vice President and Global Consumer Practice Group Co-Chair of Fleishman-Hillard.

“As the owner of an independent agency, one of my first decisions was to join PRSA Counselors Academy,” said Hughens. “It is an essential resource in building and managing a business and has allowed me to build close relationships with other public relations professionals who I know I can trust.”

Hughens added, “As a long-term member of Counselors Academy, I’m really passionate about being this year’s chair. We’re focused on growing and engaging our membership while we continue to make our annual conference the premier professional development event for public relations agency owners and senior leaders.”

The section’s marquee event is the PRSA Counselors Academy 2018 Spring Conference, which will be held May 6-8, 2018, in Toronto. Known for its robust networking and learning opportunities, the Spring Conference enables collaborative peer relationships in which meaningful business counsel, operational best practices and industry trends are shared and gained.

In addition to Hughens, members of the 2018 Executive Committee for PRSA Counselors Academy are:

  • Tom Garrity, president of The Garrity Group in Albuquerque, N.M. is past-chair
  • Chuck Norman, APR, principal of S&A Communications in Cary, N.C. is chair-elect
  • Alison King, president, Media Profile, Toronto, is secretary
  • Jon Goldberg, chief reputation architect, Reputation Architects, Inc., in the New York City area, is treasurer
  • Greg Abel, president, Abel Communications, Baltimore, Md.
  • Brenda Jones Barwick, APR, president and CEO, Jones PR, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Alice Chapman, partner, MP&F Public Relations, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Julie Curtin, president, Development Counsellors International, Denver, Colo.
  • Filomena Fanelli, CEO and founder, Impact PR & Communications, Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Kate Finley, CEO and founder, Belle Communications, Columbus, Ohio
  • Natalie Ghidotti, APR, president, Ghidotti Communications, Little Rock, Ark.
  • Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow, 2010 PRSA National Chair and principal, GMc Communications, Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Rebecca Mosley, founding partner, kiterocket, Seattle, Wash. and CAPRSA Spring Conference chair
  • Jennifer Thompson, president and CEO, Thompson & Co. Public Relations, Anchorage, Alaska, and CAPRSA Spring Conference co-chair

About the Public Relations Society of America

PRSA is the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community. The organization’s mission is to make communications professionals smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their career. PRSA achieves this by offering its members thought leadership, innovative lifelong learning opportunities to help them develop new skills, enhance their credibility and connect with a strong network of professionals. The organization sets the standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct for the public relations industry. PRSA collectively represents more than 30,000 members consisting of communications professionals spanning every industry sector nationwide and college and university students who encompass the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Learn more about PRSA at

For more information on Counselors Academy, visit our website,, or follow us on Twitter @caprsa.





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