2009 PR People Awards: Media Relations Professional of the Year

Anthony Sanzio, Group Director, Corporate and Brand Communications, Campbell Soup Company

Exhibiting phenomenal instinct, precise planning and a canny knack for timing, Anthony Sanzio embodies some of the most important traits that make a well-rounded media relations professional. As the economy slid into a recession last year, Sanzio took the tack of positioning Campbell as a food provider that served up plate-worth’s of value, convenience, nourishment and quality.

Continuous Learning

A firm believer in high-level learning, Sanzio encourages executives to engage in media training, something that has dramatically changed the company’s public affairs environment. Now, a cadre of trained spokespeople exists, and media training itself has become a desired growth opportunity for rising leaders.

Community Relations

Since its founding in 1869, Campbell has been headquartered in Camden, N.J., lately a hardscrabble city marked by crime and indigence. As Campbell decided to expand its headquarters and develop 100 nearby acres as an office park, Sanzio took the story public in the face of opposition from community activists. His plan was all-encompassing: He announced $10 million in neighborhood grants, a community arts program, the renewal of local stadium naming rights, a children’s summer program and the support of a kitchen for the poor. Today support is nearly unanimous in favor of the development plans. â– 

Honorable Mentions

Matt Clark, Senior Account Executive, Lotus Public Relations

Matt Clark’s role as senior account executive for PokerStars.net gave him all the odds he would need to deliver an astounding value-to-cost ratio. Feature stories appeared in USA Today, BusinessWeek and ESPN the Magazine, among others, and Clark successfully led the PR strategy around a 23-year-old Kentuckian who suffers from hemophilia, eventually securing a large donation from PokerStars.net to a local foundation.

Colleen Wilber, Senior Director of Media Relations, America’s Promise Alliance

The launch of the Dropout Prevention campaign was an immediate success for Wilber. Spotlighting the concern over the high school dropout rate, the campaign turned the crisis into the lead news story in three nightly newscasts and generated 245 million impressions in two months.