Photo: Cade Martin Photography

Photo: Cade Martin Photography

Who is “Shonali”?

I am an award-winning marketing communication strategist who specializes in ethical, data-driven storytelling for social impact and equity.

I’ve worked in-house and at small (and large) PR agencies; I also ran a successful social PR consultancy for more than a decade. While my LinkedIn profile will tell you all you want to know about me (and then some), here are a few things I’m particularly proud of and grateful for:

  • I founded the #measurePR hashtag and Twitter chat, which ran for a good 10 years before I shuttered it
  • While at the ASPCA, I spearheaded crisis communications around the 2007 pet food recall and Michael Vick case;
  • I was the first Indian-American woman named to PRWeek’s “Top 40 Under 40” list of U.S.-based PR pros, and was a featured TEDx speaker in 2012;
  • I joined The Johns Hopkins University’s M.A./Communications program as adjunct faculty in 2009; and
  • Some of the organizations I’ve had the privilege of working with include Cirque du Soleil, Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, AcademyHealth, Rutgers University, and Baptist Memorial Health Care.

As you can probably tell, education is important to me (teach someone to fish, etc. etc.). So, there are two other things I’m proud of:

  • In 2015, I created The Social PR Virtuoso® Master Course, an asynchronous, fully online program that teaches the A to Z of Social PR; and
  • I am a 2021 (Cohort 007!) graduate of the Harvard Business Analytics Program, and for which I continue to serve as student ambassador.

I give back to my profession as much as I can. I served on the board of directors for IABC/DC Metro for several years (including chapter president from 2009 to 2010), was on ColorComm’s founding board of advisors as well as the founding Advisory Council for Women in PR USA), and currently serve on the board of directors for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter.

I’m also active in my local community. From 2012 through 2019, I served on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Executive’s Ball, which raised funds for Arts and Humanities programs in Montgomery County, Md. I also volunteered for several years at Shepherd’s Table, and am an active member of the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, trained in non-medical emergency response.