Pioneering Businesswoman Charlotte Beers Keynotes 23 rd Annual Awards CeremonyWASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stephenie Fu, a strategic communication counselor and consumer behavior specialist, was named Washington Women in Public Relations' (WWPR) 2012 Washington PR Woman of the Year today in a distinguished awards ceremony honoring two other top public relations executives and celebrating women in communications. Fu, principal at SLF Strategies, was one of three finalists for the 23 rd annual award. Gwen McKinney, president and founder of McKinney & Associates, and Debbi Jarvis, vice president for corporate citizenship and social responsibility for Pepco Holdings, Inc. also were named in the top spots by WWPR, a professional society advancing women communicators in metropolitan Washington, D.C. "The fact that this award is from WWPR means everything," Fu said. "To have a network of women supporting each other is critical in this field. The infrastructure this group offers is really unmatched." The Woman of the Year luncheon was held at Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., and featured former Ogilvy and Mather CEO Charlotte Beers as keynote speaker. "In Washington, it IS the Year of the Woman. And today I saw it in living color. Great women, everywhere, leading," said Beers. An advertising legend who broke many glass ceilings during her career, Beers is author of " I'd Rather Be in Charge," a book dedicated to helping women achieve career success. Through her "The X Factor" workshops, Beers provides step-by-step solutions to the serious issues facing working women today. Fu was selected by a panel of eminent industry judges based on her exceptional achievements and contributions to the field of public relations, her leadership and her contributions to the community. "Stephenie is a strong leader aligning on projects and clients she truly believes in," said WWPR President Tina McCormack Beaty. "We are honored to name her as the 2012 Washington PR Woman of the Year for her distinguished career, focused on her passion for food and nutrition. During the application process it was almost overwhelming to see the number of colleagues that wanted to share an endorsement of Stephenie's work." Fu, a former senior counsel at Ketchum, managed the communications for the return this summer of the AIDS Memorial Quilt to Washington for the first time in 16 years. She led the development of the USDA's new MyPlate symbol, launched with First Lady Michelle Obama to replace the 20-year-old Food Pyramid. She also led the USDA's national food guidance systems MyPyramid and MyPyramid for Kids. McKinney is a former journalist and civil rights activist who promoted former South African President Nelson Mandela's first state visit, and took charge of a union's crisis communication in the aftermath of Metro's Red Line crash in 2009. Jarvis is a former NBC4-TV news anchor and reporter who was recognized as one of 25 Women Who Mean Business by Washington Business Journal. Currently in her role as group vice president of corporate citizenship and social responsibility for Pepco Holdings Inc., her efforts are focused on corporate goodwill in the communities served by the organization. Last year's Woman of the Year recipient was Heathere Evans-Keenan, president of Keenan PR. A list of previous recipients of the PR Woman of the Year award is available at www.wwpr.org. Proceeds from today's raffle benefit Thrive DC, a non-profit organization that works to prevent and end homelessness by providing vulnerable individuals with a comprehensive range of services to help stabilize their lives. About the Washington PR Women of the Year Selection Process Each year, candidates are nominated through an open application process. The applications are then reviewed and evaluated based on standard criteria, which include: accomplishments in the public relations field; contributions to the community; and industry leadership. The final selection is made by a panel of five esteemed communications professionals based in the Washington, D.C. area. About Washington Women in Public Relations Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) is the first and only D.C. based professional organization advancing women in the communications industry. WWPR is committed to delivering outstanding professional development, networking, marketplace positioning, and leadership opportunities to area communicators. Visit us at www.wwpr.org, "Like" us on Facebook.com/WashingtonWomeninPR, join our group on LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter @WWPR.