About

PR Nation is a podcast for the unsung public relations professionals who work hard each day to manage communications work for clients, companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. 

Podcasting from studios in the Washington D.C. metro area, hosts Robert Johnson and Summer Johnson leverage their experience in public relations, politics, and journalism to bring pros and students the tips, tricks, and perspectives that can make their jobs easier and more rewarding.

We're not interested in dropping names or showing off. Rather than play the inside game, we're focused on the grit that is PR work and what it takes to get the job done.

While other PR media is consumed with news about the comings and goings of the industry's insiders, PR Nation is busy connecting with pros and students, helping listeners learn new approaches to their work, and sometimes even connecting them with awesome PR jobs!

PR Nation is proud to be the only podcast for PR people everywhere, from sea to shining sea!

About the Hosts

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson is a PR rebel. He learned public relations the hard way, making one mistake after another early in his career. Without formal training, he had to develop his own solutions to communications problems, ultimately discovering approaches that work so well they often leave PR's textbook crowd scratching their heads. Speaking of heads, only his high school classmates know Robert once had long hair that curled at his shoulders. He blames the look on his disc jockey alter ego, Dr. Bob, who entertained AM radio audiences in rural Arizona in the early 1980s.

Summer Johnson

Summer Stitz Johnson has spent the last 20 years devising maverick communications strategies and serving as the spokesperson on numerous local and national campaigns for the public and private sectors and political campaigns. Today she co-owns a PR firm in Washington, D.C. Summer has been called a media bulldog, and she’s cool with that, since she thinks tenacity is part of her charm. She loves the craft of public relations and began PR Nation with Robert to bring news and useful tips to PR pros everywhere.

Sarah Shelson

Producer/Host

Sarah Shelson tackles big PR challenges. While studying communications and playing club rugby at American University, Sarah got playing time in several agency environments. For the past two years, Sarah has worked on media relations, podcast production, and messaging strategies for clients. She first jumped into podcasting by interviewing residents on the streets of D.C., asking about the latest corporate PR snafus, celebrity missteps, and even wine! While eastern Pennsylvania is her home turf, Sarah enjoys working with organizations across the nation to craft and tell unique stories.

Tim Madden

Audio Engineer

Tim Madden is a jack of all audio trades. While getting his master's degree at American University, he has dabbled in studio recording, live sound for concerts, film scoring, and of course podcast production, to name a few. Though his heart lies with classical music production, he has channeled the endeavor for pristine sound into his podcast editing regimen. Tim learned the podcast ropes at the Brookings Institution before revitalizing shows for Washington, D.C. government. Now he brings you the hottest PR talk from Riester Public Affairs, minus Robert's corny jokes before the recording starts.

Rachel Derby

Host

When it comes to the powers of persuasion, “Lady” Rachel Derby knows how to work an issue from all sides. She has spent the past 13 years operating inside Washington, D.C. working in the U.S. Senate and for various trade associations, including groups focused on transportation, toys, and law enforcement. She joins the show from Miami, where she considers whether to trade in sunny beaches and lots of orange juice (Florida's famous export) for another fruit, a Big Apple (NYC!). Lady Derby is a native of swampy Florida and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing from Florida State University and an MBA from American University.

John O'Dwyer

John O'Dwyer is President and Publisher for O’Dwyer’s, founded by his late father Jack in 1968 with the creation of Jack O’Dwyer’s Newsletter. The newsletter, in print and on the web, has been the leading chronicler of the PR industry for 52 years. John is involved in all aspects of the company and created odwyerpr.com way back in 1998 using a dial-up modem! If not working, you can find him running around a tennis court or walking a fairway. John shares his father’s love of music and while Jack was a trained pianist, John tinkers away at his father’s grand piano, which he just had professionally restored.

Pooja Kamat

New Pro - India

Pooja Kamat is from Mumbai, India, where she lives and works. She describes herself as chirpy, proactive, and a PR enthusiast determined to have an impact on the industry. She is an aspiring PR pro on overdrive, receiving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public relations, marketing, and corporate communications, along with a diploma in English, in only four years! Pooja began dancing when she was 12 years old, and today remains active in extracurricular pursuits. She's a student board member of IABC UK & Ireland and a recent graduate of the PR Council’s Agency Ready Certificate program.

Michaela Lewin

New Pro - GA/TN

Michaela Lewin is a recent Public Relations graduate from the class of COVID 2020. She’s from a 22 square mile island called Bermuda. Yes, like the “Bermuda Triangle,” and “No people don’t mysteriously disappear” from the area when visiting. If she could write her public relations journey as an autobiography, she would call it “I don’t know what it is but you told me to Google it,” because that’s how her love affair with PR began. As a new graduate from Southern Adventist University, she adores PR for two reasons: the connections she makes with other people and the opportunities to explore her creative side. Michaela is currently an intern with Blue Cross Blue Shield Tennessee.

Paula Chirinos

New Pro - New York

Paula Chirinos is a recent graduate of Hofstra University where she earned a B.A. in Public Relations and Global Studies. With nearly three years of corporate and agency experience, she has worked with companies covering a variety of sectors including non-profit, media, and consumer. As a native of Peru who immigrated to the United States at a young age, her dream is to someday lead a multicultural campaign aimed at reaching diverse audiences and promoting corporate social responsibility for a major brand. When she’s not busy working, Paula likes to jam out on her violin and ukulele and cook delicious meals from around the world. Paula is currently a Junior Associate for the healthcare practice at Weber Shandwick and a member of the Diversity & Inclusion National Committee for the Public Relations Society of America. She has previously held roles at the Meredith Corporation, the United Nations Foundation, and Pollock Communications.

Zane Landin

New Pro - California

Zane Landin is a Hispanic and queer non-graduating senior at Cal Poly Pomona majoring in Public Relations. Zane will be interning for General Motors in the Summer as a Global Communications Intern. He serves as the Vice President of Career Services on PRSSA's National Student Board. He was recently selected to serve on the Los Angeles HPRA Chapter. He is the Chapter President and National Committee Member for Lambda Pi Eta. He has a true passion for disability advocacy. He aspires to use his knowledge of communications to transform institutional systems to be more inclusive to ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. Upon graduating, he plans to enroll in a master's Program for Strategic Communications at Columbia University.