PR News Announces Winners of 2011 PR People Awards

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More than 200 elite PR professionals packed a ballroom on Wednesday at the venerable National Press Club in Washington, D.C., for the annual PR News PR People Awards luncheon, which also featured the induction of six PR Hall of Famers, the Top Places to Work in PR and the 15-to-Watch honorees—an already accomplished  group of PR up-and-comers. [Download PR News' All-Stars issue to learn more about all the honorees.]
[View photos from the Nov. 30 PR People Awards luncheon]

Kicking off the day were the PR People Award announcements, with Julie Harkavy Fisher, executive VP at Weber Shandwick, taking home the award for Account Director/Supervisor of the Year, notably for her work with client Electrolux.

Dallas Lawrence, chief global strategist at Burson-Marsteller, and Cindy Sanders, regional director of public relations at Wellpoint, were co-winners in the Crisis Manager of the Year category—Lawrence for his work with the Nuclear Energy Institute after the earthquake/tsunami in Japan, Sanders for her keen strategy following a security breach at Wellpoint.

The PR People Awards segued into a luncheon keynote by personal branding pioneer Samantha Ettus, author of the Personahood blog for Ettus discussed how social media and personal branding are putting individual leaders in the spotlight in completely new ways. In shaping a CEO's story, she suggests that PR practitioners should not concentrate on numbers and accomplishments. People want to hear unique stories, she says. “My CEO was the first on his block to have a lemonade stand,” says Ettus, as an example. “You must put gems within your client or leader’s stories.”

Following Ettus' keynote presentation, six distinguished, influential PR leaders were inducted into the PR Hall of Fame: John Deveney, president of Deveney Communication; Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman; Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer at PG&E; Mary Henige, director of social media and digital communications at General Motors; Dave Senay, president and CEO at Fleishman-Hillard; and Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO and president of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide.

Asked to offer the best advice they’ve received in their careers, John Edelman, who accepted the award for his brother Richard, said, "Get to know the media, and know what the stories are."

Deveney said the thinking about the question brought him to this conclusion: "I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing on my own. I’ve been incredibly fortunate, working with amazing people, and I’m blessed."

Waggener Zorkin relayed some advice she got from her client Bill Gates: “Be relentlessly focused and curious.”

The 15-to-Watch honorees also discussed the best career advice they'd ever received. Karen Nichols, who leads spirits company Diageo’s PR efforts in Mexico, may have said it best: "Pick up the phone and talk to people; worry about the engagement, not the numbers; meet often with the media; and always bring a bottle of Johnnie Walker.”

For such a celebratory day, that might have been the best piece of advice of all.

(See below for the full list of PR Hall of Fame inductees and PR People Award winners and honorable mentions. Click here for the 15-to-Watch honorees and here for the Top Places to Work in PR.)

Congratulations to all of the winners and honorable mentions! 

Hall of Fame Inductees

Account Director/Supervisor of Year

Winner: Julie Harkavy Fisher - Weber Shandwick

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kelly Cacioppo - Marina Maher Communications
  • Jaime Castaldo - Hunter PR
  • Pattie Sullivan - Euro RSCG Worldwide PR

Agency Account Manager of the Year

Winner: Mark Martin - Waggener Edstrom Worldwide 

Honorable Mentions:

  • Emily Schwartz - GolinHarris
  • Jody Sunna - Euro RSCG Worldwide PR
  • Emilie Valle - Cone Inc.

Blogger of the Year 

Winner: Steve Cody - Peppercom

Honorable Mentions:

  • Janet Helm - Weber Shandwick

  • Ken Makovsky - Makovsky + Company
  • Steve Rubel - Edelman
  • Carreen Winters - MWW Group

Brand Marketer of the Year

WinnerAmbre Morley - Novo Nordisk

Honorable Mentions:

  • Leslie Campisi - Affect
  • Nicole Esposito - Full Picture
  • Michael Manzo - Openet Telecom

Corporate Social Responsibility Leader

Winner: Kim Zimmer - Goodwill Industries International Inc.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Paul Massey - Weber Shandwick
  • Marilee McInnis - Southwest Airlines
  • Patrice Smith - Kaiser Permanente

Crisis Manager of Year

Winners: Dallas Lawrence - Burson-Marsteller
                  Cindy Sanders - WellPoint

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jill Allread, APR - Public Communications Inc.
  • Dan Macuga - USANA Health Sciences
  • Chris Vary - Weber Shandwick

Digital Communications Leader of Year

Winner: Chris Perry - Weber Shandwick

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jeff Beringer - GolinHarris
  • Sam Ford - Peppercom
  • Jared Hendler - MWW Group
  • Sarah Hofstetter - 360i
  • Evan Kraus - APCO Worldwide
  • Holly Potter - Kaiser Permanente

Investor Relations/Financial Communications Exec of Year

Winner: Barb Iverson - Weber Shandwick

Honorable Mentions:

  • Barb Iverson - Weber Shandwick

  • Keith Mabee - Dix & Eaton

Media Relations Professional of Year

Winner: Kristy Finch - Alpaytac

Honorable Mentions:

  • Danielle Cass - Kaiser Permanente
  • Alison Croyle -  JetBlue Airways
  • Erin Howard - Peppercom
  • Barry Nelson - John Deere
  • Mandy Treeby - Tide Brand, Procter & Gamble

PR Professional of the Year – Agency

Winners: Ann Barlow - Peppercom
                 Marian Salzman - Euro RSCG Worldwide PR

Honorable Mentions:

  • Sandra Fathi - Affect
  • Huma Gruaz - Alpaytac
  • Kathleen Henson - Henson Consulting
  • Ed James - Gibson Guitar
  • Grete Lavrenz - Carmichael Lynch Spong

PR Professional of the Year – Corporate

Winner: Heather Mitchell - Unilever

Honorable Mentions:

  • Debra Lynn Ross - APP Pharmaceuticals
  • Matthew Samson - Huntington Bank
  • Kim Titus - Samsung Mobile

PR Team Leader

Winner: Brett White - MWW Group

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kristin Binns - WellPoint
  • Kris Garvey - Weber Shandwick
  • Amber Meredith - Marina Maher Communications
  • Ana Nennig - Euro RSCG Worldwide PR
  • Jody Venturoni - Weber Shandwick

Public Affairs Professional of Year

Winners: Mike Hotra - APCO Worldwide
                  Karen Oliver - Porter Novelli

Honorable Mention:

  • Suzanne Zurn - Waggener Edstrom Worldwide

Publicist of the Year

Winner: Phil Zimmerman - Jeopardy!/CBS Television Distribution

Honorable Mentions:

  • Joseph Cohen - MWW Group
  • Jessica Kleiman - Hearst Magazines
  • Stan Rosenfield - Stan Rosenfield & Associates

Social Media Professional of Year

Winner: Bonin Bough - PepsiCo

Honorable Mentions:

  • Stacy DeBroff - Mom Central
  • Meredith Chapman - University of Delaware
  • Vince Golla - Kaiser Permanente
  • Tim Haran - USANA Health Sciences
  • Ashley Howland - Baylor Health Care System
  • Greg Swan - Weber Shandwick