2013 PR People Awards: PR Professional of the Year: Nonprofit/Association

Winner:  Fred Sainz, Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Human Rights Campaign

Fred Sainz is the man who induced more than 10 million Facebook users to change their profile pictures to an iconic red equal-sign in support of marriage equality—one of the largest viral campaigns in the history of social media and a compelling visual representation of the country’s growing acceptance of gay marriage. That symbol is also the logo of his organization, the Human Rights Campaign, which he has kept front and center during the most critical year in the history of the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

He has led multiple intersection public affairs and advocacy campaigns, including a television and print-ad blitz, and a sympathetic earned media and op-ed campaign that drew attention to real Americans harmed by marriage discrimination. He secured appearances for the organization on major national news programs, built an online presence that reaches millions on a daily basis through Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram, and has made a blue-and-yellow equal-sign ubiquitous on car bumpers and road signs nationwide. With a budget of $3 million and a staff of 25, Sainz has done as much as any single person can to promote a fundamental shift in the mores of our nation.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Julie Hamm, Account Manager, Henson Consulting
  • Charles Weber, Principal, Weber Public Relations, for American Pain Society