Co-Winner: Heather Kelly
Air Force Reservist, Tech, U.S. Special Operations Command
Sergeant Heather Kelly provides public relations support for high-visibility special projects for U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Her responsibilities include media relations, community outreach and internal information programs.
Selected to head the planning for the U.S. Special Operations Wounded Warrior Games team, comprised of 30 wounded athletes from the nation’s most elite military units, Sergeant Kelly spent over a month interviewing each athlete, researching and identifying hometown and national media opportunities, working with their families, providing media training to participants and facilitating interviews with athletes and leaders alike. “The relationships you build today are the foundation of your career tomorrow,” says Kelly. Coverage of the event included 13 local television, Web and radio broadcasts, five local and trade print stories, one national magazine piece and four top-tier broadcast features.
When not in uniform, Sergeant Kelly leads a media and marketing team as a communications manager for Lockheed Martin. Sergeant Kelly has to continuously balance the demands of a civilian career with the demands of military service, often providing public relations support for Special Operations personnel or events at a moment's notice. Her ability to bridge the two effectively is a credit to her management skills and sense of purpose.
Co-winner: William Murray
Executive Vice President, MWW
Tasked to create a national campaign to urge businesses and other organizations to oppose new money market fund (MMF) regulations being considered by the Securities and Exchange Commission, William Murray, who manages MWW’s regional and national public affairs, decided to go digital, developing a website that highlighted the benefits of MMFs while serving as an outlet for news on the proposed regulations. Sought out by journalists and other stakeholders because of its accuracy, the site served as a clearinghouse for information and a vehicle for rapid-response communications to counterbalance the opposition's misinformation.
Murray’s fresh ideas make him a highly sought-after leader in PR and a career adviser. “I’ve seen too many PR veterans regret that they lost the opportunity to engage in other areas and saw themselves locked into specific practice areas too soon in their career,” he says. —Jamar Hudson
Paul Jean, Senior Vice President, Denterlein
Deana Perlmutter, Senior Vice President Of Corporate Affairs, MWW