The Richmond Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) announced the recipients of its 75th Annual Virginia Public Relations Awards. The chapter also announced the 2022 individual award winners, the Rising Star and the Excellence in Public Relations award.
This year’s awards resulted in 115 award winners from more than 37 categories, which were announced during a virtual award ceremony the week of Sept. 20.
“Each year, it is exciting to see the exceptional work that has taken place across the Commonwealth and the submissions for work completed in 2021 were no different,” said Diana Miller, APR, president of PRSA Richmond and a vice president for marketing and communications at SOAR 365. “The work of our PR colleagues was impactful and made a difference.”
During the ceremony, PRSA Richmond presented Jon Newman with the 2022 Excellence in Public Relations Award, the chapter’s highest honor which recognizes the extraordinary achievements of seasoned public relations practitioners working in the Greater Richmond metropolitan region. Newman is CEO at The Hodges Partnership, a strategic communications agency he founded in 2002 following an initial career in broadcast journalism. Newman also worked at The Martin Agency prior to launching Hodges.
Newman is a highly respected leader who is known for his creative and forward-thinking approach to public relations and long-lasting relationships with clients. Since founding Hodges, Newman has encouraged the team to lend its communications skills in the community volunteering with PRSA Richmond and other nonprofits.
The Rising Star Award recognizes an outstanding member of the public relations profession with five or fewer years of experience. Mary Kate Brogan, a senior PR specialist at Virginia Commonwealth University, was selected as the 2022 recipient of the award.
The Virginia Public Relations Awards are separated into two divisions: the Commonwealth Awards, which honor the best public relations programs and campaigns of the year, and the Capital Awards, which honor the best public relations tactics of the year. First-place winners in each category are honored with an Award of Excellence, while runners-up receive an Award of Merit. Finally, Best in Show awards are given to the top overall entries in the campaigns and tactics categories.
Best in Show for the Commonwealth Awards resulted in a tie for two organizations that received perfect scores. VANCE / Siddall Communications were recognized for work in the influencer marketing category for “Virginia is for Helpers: COVID Community Ambassadors,” where they helped Virginia Department of Health mobilize public health champions with a COVID Community Ambassador program. This mission-based initiative made it easy for anyone to share important public health messages and dispel misinformation among their networks.
Virginia Commonwealth University was recognized in the website category with “VCU News Website Redesign.” The redesigned website has improved functionality to share engaging, impactful stories about the people at VCU, the remarkable things they do and the lives they make better in the process.
Best in Show for the Capital Awards was awarded to Virginia Commonwealth University for its community relations program focused on a local COVID-19 vaccination campaign dedicated to reaching minorities. Representation was a central theme of the campaign, which featured everyday people to show proof that “people like me” are getting vaccinated every day. The omni-channel campaign, called “This Sh*t Matters,” resulted in a 5.9% increase in willingness to get vaccinated in our local market.
Commonwealth and Capital Award entries were judged by the Georgia Chapter of PRSA.
The chapter will celebrate this year’s award-winning public relations work and the 2022 individual award winners at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on Oct. 11.