We are thrilled to share that Hager Sharp has been named to PR Daily’s Top Agencies List for 2022.

PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards celebrate firms that create compelling work for their clients and have redefined the industry with their groundbreaking approaches. The 2022 list was curated based on work completed between November 2020 and November 2021.

For Hager Sharp, winning this award this year is a true testament to our resilience and dedication to developing and executing ideas that make a difference. Despite navigating unprecedented times, we were able to generate some of our most innovative solutions yet. We adapted our services to overcome pandemic-related barriers and deployed our skills to engage in pandemic-driven conversations such as access to healthcare—each of which contributed to the well-being of our community.

The secret to our success? We directed our attention inward, not outward. To maintain and even elevate the quality of our client service and work product, we needed to first care for ourselves. We engaged in courageous conversations and prioritized staff well-being through various efforts, allowing creative and strategic thinking to flourish. And in doing so, we became better equipped to rededicate ourselves to our clients and their needs.

“Hager Sharp set themselves apart from an outstanding field of entrants. Their work was exceptional and displayed their innovative strategies for achieving success,” said Brendan Gannon, Senior Marketing Manager for Awards Programs at Ragan Communications.

“This year was a challenging one in so many ways. Our staff displayed remarkable creativity in navigating those challenges and I am extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished together,” said Jennifer Wayman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “It is an honor to be recognized for our team’s effort to carry on Hager Sharp’s legacy of making a positive difference for each other and for our clients.”

It is a privilege to have been named to PR Daily’s Top Agencies List for 2022, and we look forward to continuing to bring our best selves to the table for our clients.


To learn more about the innovative work being done at Hager Sharp, visit: https://hagersharp.com/our-work/.

To learn more about the PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards, visit: https://www.prdaily.com/awards/events/top-agencies-awards-2022/#writeup-hager-sharp-8.

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Commitment to Addressing Health Disparities and Inequity Doesn’t End with National Minority Health Month

National Minority Health Month (NMHM) is recognized each year with two core goals in mind: build awareness of how racial disparities affect health and encourage action through health education, detection, and control of disease complicationsi. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gaps in access to care for minority populations have widened and become more apparent, making this year’s observance theme of “Give Your Community a Boost!” critical for encouraging the expansion of COVID-19 vaccine access and encouraging uptake among vulnerable populations.

In recognition of NMHM, Hager Sharp deepened its commitment to helping organizations build initiatives that work to improve public health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority populations. Our leadership and account teams spent time this month engaging in conversations about our history as a communications firm rooted in social marketing for behavior change and our current role in helping organizations improve health equity. Moreover, our Multicultural Marketing and Communications Team met to plan its continued growth and discuss how it will further guide and support teams focused on developing and implementing outreach approaches for diverse audiences.

While this year’s NMHM has come to an end, Hager Sharp’s work in helping to eliminate health disparities is far from over. We will continue to support a variety of health programs and initiatives, including:

  • A three-year social norming campaign to help ensure all children’s pediatric vaccinations are up to date, with a focus on reaching disproportionately impacted populations, increasing access, and improving equity.
  • A marketing services contract to evolve a national public education campaign designed to increase awareness of urgent maternal warning signs among African American and American Indian and Alaska Native pregnant and postpartum women.
  • An initiative for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service to develop and promote MyPlate tools and resources for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, on the heels of the single largest benefit increase in SNAP history.
  • Strategic communications services for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to raise awareness of obstructive sleep apnea, including specifically addressing communities affected by sleep health disparities.
  • Support to The MayaTech Corporation for the planning and implementation of a national program for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health to improve health outcomes for adolescent girls and women at increased risk for insulin resistance, diabetes, and related hypertension.

With the appropriate strategy, messages, and materials, we can influence attitudes around health issues and encourage the desired action. However, to do this, we must present and share information in a culturally fluent way, which requires accurately reflecting lived experiences and engaging audience members who can inform the overall approach. Hager Sharp looks forward to continuing this work to reach and engage for positive change.

i National Minority Health Month (nih.gov)

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Kathleen Kennedy Manzo to Lead Hager Sharp’s Education, Labor, and Economy Practice

WASHINGTON (August 23, 2021)—Today, Hager Sharp announced the appointment of Kathleen Kennedy Manzo as executive vice president to lead its education, labor, and economy practice. Manzo brings more than 25 years of journalism and strategic communications experience to Hager Sharp, including nearly a decade as managing editor of Education Week’s newsroom and senior positions at Widmeyer/Finn Partners and The Hatcher Group, where she led marketing and communications efforts for mission-driven companies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education.

“Kathleen is a dynamic, strategic, and personable leader with a passion for Hager Sharp’s mission of doing good work for clients who do good,” said Jennifer Wayman, Hager Sharp’s president and CEO. “We are excited at the prospect of Kathleen leading our extraordinary education, labor, and economy practice to new levels of success in the years ahead.”

“I am delighted to join Hager Sharp and proud to lead and expand on the important work in the firm’s education, labor, and economy portfolio,” said Manzo. “I have dedicated my career to telling the important stories of how education and opportunity can change the life trajectories of so many children, families, and communities. I know my colleagues at Hager Sharp share this commitment, which is reflected in the work we do every day for the clients we have the privilege to serve.”

Manzo spent more than two decades at Education Week, the country’s leading trade publication for pre-K-12 education news, as a reporter and editor. For her first 13 years at Education Week, she covered state standards and accountability systems, national and international assessments, reading policy, teaching and learning, and ed tech. As managing editor, she directed the newsroom’s coverage across platforms; managed editorial strategy and planning across print, digital, and visual platforms; guided daily, weekly, and long-term content development; served as managing producer for segments reported for the PBS NewsHour; and oversaw the publication’s visuals approach and social presence. In her last three years with EdWeek, she was on the core team that designed and launched the publication’s new website. Earlier in her journalism career, Manzo covered the country’s colleges and universities for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education and covered local news and sports for The Washington Post.

As a senior partner at Widmeyer/Finn Partners, Manzo provided leadership, strategic counsel, content development, and communications expertise for the firm’s nonprofit and corporate clients in the education space. While at The Hatcher Group, Manzo helped launch communications efforts for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the Success for All Foundation, and Attendance Works.

Hager Sharp is a full-service integrated marketing and communications firm with in-house research and evaluation; strategic planning; creative; digital, paid, earned, and owned media; partner and stakeholder engagement; event management; and campaign development and implementation expertise. Since Hager Sharp’s founding nearly 50 years ago, we have worked solely with organizations that take on critical issues like fighting for equity in education, improving public health, empowering vulnerable populations, and transforming communities to create and execute ideas that make a difference. Visit us at www.hagersharp.com.

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Katherine Nicol to Lead Hager Sharp’s Health Practice

WASHINGTON (July 21, 2021)—Today, Hager Sharp announced the appointment of Katherine Nicol as executive vice president to lead its health practice. Nicol brings more than 25 years of strategic communications experience to the role. During her nearly 16-year tenure with Hager Sharp, she has led numerous health client engagements and national campaigns, including COPD Learn More. Breathe Better®, Million Hearts®, and HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention, among many other notable initiatives.

“Throughout her career, Katherine has led with integrity and conviction, and her success over nearly 16 years with the company reflects her client and team leadership, her many achievements leading public health campaigns on many of the most challenging public health issues of the past two decades, and her commitment to our founder’s legacy of communications for the public good,” said Jennifer Wayman, Hager Sharp’s president and CEO. “Katherine has proven herself exceptionally qualified to lead and grow the company’s health practice.”

“I am delighted and proud to lead and build on the important work in Hager Sharp’s health portfolio,” said Nicol. “I have been extremely fortunate throughout my career to work with so many wonderful clients and to oversee national public health and safety initiatives that have helped millions of Americans lead healthier, safer, and happier lives. I am excited to expand this commitment to mission-driven communications at the helm of this exceptional health practice with colleagues who believe, as our founder Susan Hager did, that you can do well by doing good.”

Since arriving at Hager Sharp in 2005, Nicol has contributed strategic counsel and communications leadership to efforts around challenging health topics including ALS, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes, nutrition, vaccination, and tobacco control and prevention for the firm’s nonprofit, association, government, and private sector clients. She has led the firm’s work with the President’s Cancer Panel since 2009, overseeing coordination and execution around the national release of the Panel’s report. She is also project director for Hager Sharp’s engagement with the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including the “The New Nutrition Facts Label: What’s in It for You?” campaign, and the Feed Your Mind agricultural biotechnology education initiative. Katherine led Hager Sharp’s award-winning work on the HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention campaign for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, providing strategic counsel and oversight for a national social marketing effort that effectively changed the conversation around the HPV vaccine from transmission to cancer prevention. Prior to joining Hager Sharp, she worked with clients including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Academy of Dermatology, National Institute of Mental Health, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, PBS/Reading Rockets, American Planning Association, and Department of Homeland Security’s SAFECOM initiative to improve public safety interoperability.

Katherine is a member of the National Press Club (NPC) and NPC Communicators Team, National HPV Vaccination Roundtable, Society for Health Communication, Social Marketing Association of North America, and International Social Marketing Association. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Science in television, radio, and film from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Hager Sharp is a full-service integrated marketing and communications firm with in-house research and evaluation; strategic planning; creative; digital, paid, earned, and owned media; partner and stakeholder engagement; event management; and campaign development and implementation expertise. Since Hager Sharp’s founding nearly 50 years ago, we have worked solely with organizations that take on critical issues like fighting for equity in education, improving public health, empowering vulnerable populations, and transforming communities to create and execute ideas that make a difference. Visit us at www.hagersharp.com.

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Preventing Colorectal Cancer in the Black Community Starts with Telling the Story

Chadwick Boseman. We all know his story. He was a Howard University alumnus, respected philanthropist, and multifaceted actor, who gave us James Brown, Jackie Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall, before he took on the role that crossed political lines, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and language barriers across the world. Chadwick Boseman passed away at just 43 years of age on August 28, 2020.  He had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

“Black people in this country are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer and 40% more likely to die from it. The age for routine screenings has recently been lowered to 45, if you are 45 years of age or older, please get screened,” said Taylor Simone Boseman through tears as she pleaded with a virtual audience tuned into 52nd Annual NAACP Awards.  “Don’t put it off any longer, please get screened. This disease is beatable if you catch it in the early stages and don’t have any time to waste even if you have no family history. And even if you think that nothing is wrong.”

Just prior to accepting her late husband’s posthumous NAACP Image Award the clips rolled, highlighting a lifetime of achievements in the film and entertainment industry, cut short all soon. An already gut-wrenching moment for many, to see once again on-screen, and hear the voice of a talented, young Black actor who played one of the most iconic characters of all time as Marvel’s Black Panther, was met with the equally difficult task of seeing his wife pleading with her people, his people, my people, to take back our power and get screened for colon cancer.

His is just one story…What about the stories of…

  • Shannon Sylvain, 32, a vibrant young woman, who dared to live out her dreams in television and film production. Sylvain later founded Brown Sugar Rehab as a resource to educate Black people on the signs, symptoms, and prevention of the disease.
  • LaToya Wright, 31, a friend, daughter, cousin, professional and young, talented liturgical dancer who performed often for her church. She became a wellness advocate and blogger to share her journey with others.
  • Ahmad “Real” Givens, 33, brother to Chance and reality television star that came to rise in the era of VH1’s reality television reign. A beautiful man who wanted a real chance at love.
  • Lawrence Meadows, 43, husband to Angela, his childhood sweetheart, father of two children ages 11 and 7, Baptist minister, entrepreneur, and according to his brother, NBC News’ Craig Melvin, “…one of the best human beings you would’ve ever know,” who was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 39 and died of the disease in January.

Some names you will recognize, others you won’t, yet these four share the common thread of being young, Black people diagnosed with colorectal cancer, more commonly known as colon cancer.

We must remember their stories too.

Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer among men and women in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, not only are African Americans more likely to die from the disease, but research now shows a rise in colorectal cancer rates among young Black people that fall outside of the recommended screening guidelines. As with all health disparities, there are many reasons for the higher incidences of mortality and morbidity including socioeconomic status, systemic and institutional racism, and epigenetic changes. But screenings can aid in catching precancerous polyps before they mutate into cancer or finding cancer early when treatment works best.

According to the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, a few of the overall barriers to screening are procrastination, misinformation on the preparation process and actual screening, financial impact if screenings are not covered by insurance or perception that screenings are expensive, and misconception that colon cancer is primarily hereditary and persons without a family history need not get screened. As a health communicator and a Black woman, I have personal and professional motivation to help my community make more informed decisions, become their own advocates, and do what’s in their power to take control of their health.

So, how can health communicators effectively combat misconceptions and misinformation to reduce stigma surrounding the disease, aversion to screening methods, and convey the importance of colorectal cancer screenings among Blacks living in the U.S.? In the same way Taylor Simone Boseman issued her powerful and compelling call to action – Tell the Stories!

Storytelling is an integral part of the Black experience. Emanating from deep in the diaspora, through the journey of our ancestors brought to America, to the role of religion and spirituality, to Friday night game nights and kickbacks with friends, stories are part of who we are. Storytelling is one of many cultural traits shared by Black people across the globe, and used as a method not only to entertain but to inform and teach life lessons. All too often however, health is not one of those life lessons. No longer can we be a people that is silent and keeps our health issues in-house. We must rise up and tell our stories as a method of saving ourselves and our communities.

Effective storytelling will incorporate messages that increase awareness, understanding, and adoption of colorectal cancer screenings and:

  • Underscore the urgency of the need to get screened and not procrastinate prioritizing health.
  • Underpin prioritizing personal health.
  • Explain the benefits of colorectal cancer screenings, signs, and symptoms of disease.
  • Foster a peer-to-peer approach which can help reduce stigma, personalize the call to action, create a sense of community, and reduce the idea that people are alone in getting screened.
  • Share the experiences of those who have been screened to reduce misinformation around the prep and screening process.
  • Showcase a variety of screening options.
  • Incorporate calls to action that encourage listeners, viewers, and readers to start a dialogue with their doctors, loved ones, and friends, and share their stories.

Effective storytelling normalizes uncomfortable conversations and helps to make them more comfortable for us and those around us. Often, topics that center around the restroom, regularity, bowel movements, and the like are considered taboo subjects that no one wants to talk about. But the more we talk, the more we share our stories, the more we normalize taking control of our own health and putting our health back in our hands. The more we see ourselves telling our own stories, the more empowered we are to continue the conversation in our homes, with our friends and families, and with our doctors.

“Fearlessness means taking the first step, even when you don’t know where it will take you,” Chadwick Boseman.

It’s not the strength of our silence. It’s the power of our stories.

Angela Young, MPS
Senior Account Supervisor

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