2014 PR Agency Elite Awards: Agency Awe Professional

Co-Winner: Kathleen Henson, Henson Consulting

Kathleen Henson’s clients can attribute much of their success to the CEO and founder of Henson Consulting’s impeccable integration of timing, adaptability, research and connection.

In February 2013, the TODAY show planned to tape morning segments in 5 major U.S. cities to highlight the “best” of food and entertainment that each city has to offer. The businesses selected for the show taking place in Chicago would achieve the “holy grail” of media placements: being singled out to TODAY’s nationwide viewers on a heavily trafficked morning spot.

Henson had maintained a friendship and business connection with the midwest producer of the TODAY show over many years. When the producer was tasked with organizing TODAY’s Chicago-based segment, she thought of Henson and the two arranged to integrate three of Henson’s clients. The day before the in-restaurant taping, inclement weather struck. The TODAY taping in Chicago was postponed.

Henson was tenacious, and determined not to let the producers forget about her and her clients. She researched the names of all TODAY producers and sent them each flash-frozen pizzas from her client Giordano’s with a personalized note attached. When the TODAY Show resumed its plan for the restaurant segment, Henson’s earlier efforts proved to be well invested. As other Chicago businesses and PR agencies clamored for airtime, Henson and her clients were already two steps ahead.

Henson was on hand for the taping of both segments, ensuring that the clients’ facilities were captured beautifully and that they conveyed their trademark glamor and energy. She orchestrated almost every detail of Giordano’s role in the show, from arranging media training for a Giordano’s spokesman to recruiting her staff to be on-site holding hand-made signs championing Giordano’s as the #1 deep-dish pizza in Chicago.

Ultimately, Henson’s three clients each reached 5 million broadcast viewers from their appearance on TODAY. Each client was also featured online, securing a total of 40.8 million HC-secured online impressions. The final total: 55.8 million impressions for Henson’s clients in a single day, on a single show.

Co-Winner: Paul Massey, Weber Shandwick

For Paul Massey, a full-time role at Weber Shandwick is only part of the puzzle. His work in writing, strategizing, managing and personal advocacy are moving the world towards a new age of greater responsibility for corporations—where CSR has a growing focus as a competitive advantage for companies to attract talented employees and clientele while addressing urgent social issues spanning global development, education, sustainability and more.

Among Massey’s corporate and nonprofit collaborations are Nike Inc. and its Access to Sport initiative, which collaborates with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to increase the presence and accessibility of physical activity for children before, during, and after school. Massey has also helmed the development of the Global Ambassadors Program—a Vital Voices and Bank of America partnership which focuses on empowering women leaders through mentorship.

Massey and his team have provided strategic counsel to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s racial equity work, America Healing, and to McCormick, which was able to write the company’s first-ever review of their corporate social responsibility activities with the help of Weber Shandwick and Massey’s direction. Massey also manages Weber Shandwick’s Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) to enhance the organization’s mission to help companies create a just and sustainable world.

Massey has also served as a driving force in leading corporate responsibility and social impact within Weber Shandwick. His written work includes “Social Impact and CSR Leadership Get Serious,” which examines key trends in corporate social responsibility and identifies 2013 as a ground-breaking year of social impact. He played a critical role in the development of Weber Shandwick’s 2013 Impact Project, which looks to incentivize companies to employ pro-bono work within the three key areas of environment, education and technology. His initiatives are driving businesses all over the world to make a positive change for a more just and sustainable world community.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Leslie Campisi, Hotwire Communications
  • Nelson Fernandez, APCO Worldwide
  • Michael Kempner, MWW
  • Gloria Janata, TogoRun
  • Alex Membrillo, Cardinal Web Solutions
  • Kristen Tully, Marina Maher Communications