SPOKEies® 2018 Winners

Todd Kaplan

Category: Under 40

Vice President, Water Portfolio –
PepsiCo North America Beverages

“It’s important to be genuine and passionate. Always listen and respond accordingly in order to make a meaningful connection with your audience – whether it’s a with a media outlet or directly to a key stakeholder.”

Mike McCormick

Category: Non-Profit Trade Association

Executive Director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association

“Truly knowing and understanding the issues and the industry makes all the difference. As part of the leadership of a trade association, remaining engaged with our members and understanding their wants and needs allows me to be an effective voice on their behalf.”

Danielle Holly

Category: C-Suite Leader Non-Profit Association

CEO at Common Impact 

“Find, for yourself, a simple but powerful connection between your core values and what you’re representing.  When you’re grounded in that, it’s impossible to sound inauthentic. If that connection doesn’t exist, you shouldn’t be the spokesperson. Period.”

Patrick Riccards

Category: Non-Profit Education

Chief Communications Officer at the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation

“Find your voice … and find it quickly. As a spokesperson, you are representing an organization, a company, a political campaign, or an individual. To be effective, and to break through all of the media white noise, you have to find a voice that embodies the best of what you are speaking on behalf of, and that stands up to the criticisms and attacks that come from those standing in opposition. A successful spokesperson is not just speaking for him or herself. It is the voice of a movement.”

Steve Kerber

Category: Nonprofit Advocacy/Cause Marketing

Director of UL Firefigher Safety Research Institute

As a spokesperson for an organization, it is important to remember that being “the voice” is not about you. Everything you do and say as the voice of the organization should revolve around advancing the mission. Remember that you alone cannot advance the mission and there is an entire team behind the scenes doing the work. Surround yourself with strategic partnerships, always ask why, and be open to change. Although we have opportunities beyond previous generations, no amount of technology is going to replace the need for you to know your profession.”

Greg Rosica

Category: Corporate Financial Services

Contributing Author and Spokesperson to the EY Tax Guide

“Assess the audiences’ familiarity with the topic and speak in a clear context that is at their level of understanding so as not to confuse or speak below their knowledge of the material. Speak with humility and clarity to be their trusted resource on the topic.”

Luke Margolis

Category: Non-Profit Health

Corporate Communications Manager at Atlantic Health System

”Successful communication comes from connecting with your audience through understanding and respect; it’s not about you, it’s about how you can help them.”

Sheri Sword

Category: Non-Profit Membership Association


Vice President of Communications at Better Business Bureau at Dayton & Miami Valley

Success as a spokesperson is three-fold:

1) Be prepared whether you’re representing your organization or your helping someone else with an interview. Be the expert and know what your key points should be and have that note-able quote ready to share. Don’t be above practicing what you want to say.

2) Be someone people can count on. If you say you’re going to forward additional information, then follow through and do it. If it’s something you can’t do, own it and provide an alternative option whenever possible.

3) Make everyone’s life easy. Create talking points for everyone involved. Develop fact sheets. Have anticipated resources ready and available.

Meridith Maskara

Category: Non-Profit Youth

CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater New York

“Girl Scouts is ‘by girls, for girls’ and it is my role to speak to—and for—girls. So I know I am most effective when I spend time with the girls themselves; they keep me focused on what is important to them. And whenever I have the chance, I hand the microphone to one of our incredible Girl Scouts and invite her to speak about our mission in her own words.”

Michael A. Smith

Category: Corporate Health/ Pharma

Senior Health Scientist for Life Extension

Know your audience. What are their expectations, their goals, their knowledge and base. Delivering the right information to a particular audience is key for success.”

Donna LaVoie

Category: Corporate Emerging Growth / Startups

President and CEO of LaVoie Health Science

“If I had to give on piece of advice about what is most important about being an effective, authentic spokesperson, I would say: know your audience. Helping highly educated and skilled audiences tell stories rather than providing too many details, facts and data points is of the utmost importance in our field of health and science communications.”

Gabe Saglie

Category: Media

Senior Editor for Travelzoo

“Don’t forget your audience! Believe in the company you’re representing and be enthused by the work they do — be your company’s biggest fan and consumer, not just a mouthpiece since that will ensure that what you say feels genuine and true and natural. But, perhaps even more importantly, make sure your message is relevant to your audience — that’s what will make your messaging impactful. It has to be information they can use and information that makes their lives better.”

Kristin Bradley

Category: Corporate Food + Beverage

PR Manager at B&G Foods

Marc Goldman

Category: Corporate Sports

Marketing/Sponsorship Manager of the Marine Corps Marathon

“Start with the audience in mind. Being authentic and effective as a spokesperson begins by hearing your audience before you speak so that the message received is prioritized over the message delivered. To do this, you must become the subject matter expert, possessing a depth of understanding that affords the confidence to be creative, expressive and complete.”


Roy Taylor

Category: Corporate Technology

Founder Chief Revenue Officer MR.Studio
Previous Corporate Vice President and Worldwide Head of AMD Studios

“Consider and establish who is in the audience. Put yourself in their shoes and ask what is it that will be most useful for them to learn or to listen to. Literally find out if you can the names ,job titles, etc. of who you are presenting to. Then add to each point you want to make …and this makes sense/is valuable/is an insight for your industry/interest/business because,…. Once you have established a report with the audience the presentation becomes a conversation.”


Daniel Durazo

Category: Corporate Travel

Director of Communications at Allianz Global Assistance

“… know your audience and tailor your remarks to what they care about most.”

Donna LaVoie

Category: C-Suite Leader Corporate

President and CEO of LaVoie Health Science

“If I had to give on piece of advice about what is most important about being an effective, authentic spokesperson, I would say: know your audience. Helping highly educated and skilled audiences tell stories rather than providing too many details, facts and data points is of the utmost importance in our field of health and science communications.”


Sam Fay

Category: Most Authentic Corporate

Senior Vice President of Global Brand Strategy at Guinness World Records 

Honorable Mentions

Kristy Wallace

Category: Under 40

CEO of Ellevate Network

“If I had to give one piece of advice about what is most important about being an effective, authentic spokesperson, I would say: passion. Believe in what you are representing. Care about the topic and contribution that your company is making. A good spokesperson doesn’t just say the words, they embody them.”

Mark Hill

Category: Non-Profit Trade Association

President & Chief Executive Officer at Association For Creative Industries

“There are two parts of being an effective spokesperson. The first part is listening, and the second part is being genuine and transparent in your response. You need to understand your audience’s wants, needs, and pain points to effectively engage them in a conversation about your company, whether that conversation is proactive or reactive. The more you can personalize your outreach to an individual or business in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany or any country in our global society, the more likely your words will be heard, remembered, valued, and have the impact you intended them to have.”


Susann Miller

Category: Non-Profit Education

Director of Communication and Consumer Affairs of Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona 

“Be succinct, be relatable, be approachable and stick to the facts by doing your research before an interview. If possible, find one unique, powerful element of interest that engages the audience and creates an AHA moment.”


Neil Vineberg

Category: Non-Profit Advocacy/ Cause Marketing


Program Director at 2-Minute Mind Check

“Tell your story in short, clear sound bites that are printable and shareable.”


Don Bush

Category: Corporate Financial Services

Vice President of Marketing at Kount


AARP’s Health Spokesperson Team

Category: Non-Profit Health


AARP’s Health Spokesperson Team


Justin DeJong

Category: Non-Profit Health

Vice President of Editorial and Channel Strategy at the American Medical Association




Andrew Tropeano

Category: Under 40


VP, Host, and Executive Producer at NewsWatch


“Perspective. Taking the time to understand your client’s perspective then translating that knowledge to be consumable from the audience’s perspective is what separates a good campaign from a great campaign. Anyone can regurgitate information across mediums, but being able to truly relate across audiences is the sign of an expert spokesman.”


Suzanne Robotti

Category: Non-profit Health


President and Lead Spokesperson for Medshadow Foundation


“As an effective spokesperson, you need to be truly passionate and let that energy and feeling show, in your words as well as your facial expression, if you are on camera. Passion is much more important in persuading people than are facts and figures. People can spot a paid spokesperson and will reject their appeal as false.”