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Shonali Burke


Shonali Burke is an award-winning marketing communication strategist whose unique ability to ethically and powerfully tell data-driven stories helps purpose-driven organizations in the social impact and equity space bring their big ideas to life.

A veteran of large and small PR agencies, Shonali was an early adopter of social media, and founded the #measurePR hashtag and Twitter chat. She has worked with, among others, the ASPCA, where she spearheaded crisis communications around the 2007 pet food recall and Michael Vick case, and for whom she designed an award-winning PR measurement program. She has also worked with Japan’s Iwate Prefecture, Cirque du Soleil, AcademyHealth, Oxfam America, the United Nations Foundation, Rutgers University, Baptist Memorial Health Care, and USA for UNHCR, for whom she designed its now-textbook digital "Blue Key" campaign.

Shonali joined The Johns Hopkins University's M.A./Communications program as Adjunct Faculty in 2009, where she teaches “Organizational Communications,” “PR in the Age of Digital Influence,” “Public Relations Writing,” and “ Nonprofits in the Digital Age.” Rutgers University commissioned her to develop a course on PR measurement for its PR Certificate program, which she taught for several years. She is also the developer of and lead instructor for Traackr’s acclaimed Academy of Influencer Marketing online training program.

In 2015, Shonali founded The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides individual and group training and resources in integrated, community-focused and measurable Social PR. In 2020, she entered into a joint venture with Australia’s Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence to offer her flagship training, The Social PR Virtuoso® Master Course. She graduated from the Harvard Business Analytics Program in March 2021, for which she continues to be a volunteer Student Ambassador.

Shonali's multiple awards and recognitions include being named to PRWeek ’s “Top 40 Under 40” list of U.S.-based PR pros; the first Indian-American woman ever to earn this accolade. She was a featured TEDx speaker as early as 2012, honored with the Association of Women in Communication’s “Matrix Award” in 2015 for her contributions and service to the industry, and named 2016 "Instructor of the Year" for The Johns Hopkins’ M.A./Communication program.

Shonali is a former IABC/DC Metro chapter president, has served on IABC International’s Accreditation Committee, and was a founding board member of ColorComm and Women in PR USA. She currently serves as a Director for the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Based in the Washington, D.C., metro area, Shonali is active in her local community. From 2012 through 2019, she served on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Executive’s Ball, which benefitted Arts and Humanities programs in Montgomery County, Md. She volunteered for several years with Shepherd’s Table through Good Shepherd Episcopal Church and, in 2020, joined the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps to assist in emergencies.

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