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Cheryl Slavinsky is a well-accomplished and highly respected senior level public relations professional with experience in the corporate and non-profit sectors and as a sole proprietor communications strategist and freelance writer. An engaging brand storyteller and passionate advocate helping organizations tell their success stories for more than 40 years, the Hershey native served in public relations positions at organizations including The Patriot-News, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, Capital Health System, L’EQUIP and Rite Aid, as well as PR/advertising firms including Andrews, Sacunas & Saline; The Neiman Group; Pavone/Varsity and PPO&S.

Working with agencies or independently, Cheryl has consulted with aging services clients for 20+ years. Currently, as editor of Senior Living News, an online trade publication for the aging services industry, she curates the news and writes about trends and trendsetters, issues and innovations. She plans the education for the publication’s HealthTAC events that bring together aging services leaders from across the country and beyond to discuss the industry’s future and problem-solve, also booking executives for discussion panels she moderates at the events twice annually.

The Penn State and Harrisburg Area Community College graduate served as president of the Central Pennsylvania Association of Women Executives and the Harrisburg chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), winning numerous IABC awards for news release writing, speech writing, media kits and marketing communications campaigns, including several Gold Quill Awards of Excellence in world competition for Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

Cheryl’s big heart, eternally optimistic attitude and love of community are most evidenced by her enduring volunteer spirit and giving back to the community—all things that were important to Ernie McDowell, for whom this award is named. In addition to starting mentorship programs at many organizations at which she worked, she served on the boards of The Circle School, Jump Street and Someone To Tell It To. Relocating to Raleigh in 2015, she has maintained her connections to central PA including her PPRS membership. She now volunteers her PR, social media and photography skills with Cause for Paws of North Carolina, also serving as a foster dog mom, and volunteers with the Family Promise Program for temporarily homeless families at Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church.

Established in 1991, the Ernest R. McDowell Award for Excellence in Public Relations recognizes an individual for sustained excellence in the field of public relations. It is presented annually at the PPRS Evening of Honors in memory of the late senior vice president of Marketing and Corporate Relations with Capital (now Pinnacle) Health System, Ernest R. McDowell, who set the standard for professionalism and community service with his good works and lifetime example. 

Thank you to our current sponsors for this prestigious event: Roger That Photography, Intrada Technologies,, and Design Department.

Sponsorships are still available. To take advantage of this opportunity, please contact Stacy Zimmerman at by October 24.

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