Public Announcements


Local Chapter Honors Peter Debreceny as 2019 ‘Distinguished Senior Leader’

About Reception

The Casino

Peter Debreceny, Vice President – International of the Arthur W. Page Society, was honored December 4 as the Distinguished Senior Leader of 2019 by the Chicago Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Approximately 70 senior public relations leaders from Chicago-area agencies and corporations joined Peter's colleagues and friends at The Casino to honor him for his career achievement and contributions to the public relations profession. It was the 16th anniversary of the Distinguished Senior Leader program.

Peter is vice president – international of the Arthur W. Page Society, responsible for the growth of the society internationally. He is a seasoned PR practitioner with extensive agency and corporate experience across multiple countries. He has served as senior counsel at Gagen MacDonald, senior counsel at Ketchum, run the corporate relations department for Allstate, and led a corporate team at Edelman Chicago, among other key roles in the U.S. and abroad.

Peter has served the profession in many roles, including as chair of the Institute for Public Relations, a trustee for Page, and a council member for the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. A native of New Zealand, he is respected wherever he travels and has a global reputation of distinction. The PRSA Senior Leaders Committee was pleased to honor Peter Debreceny as the 2019 Distinguished Senior Leader. 

Attendees were welcomed by Bill Parke and Ginger Porter, co-chairs of the Senior Leaders Committee. Peter was introduced by Stacy Sharp, senior vice president, Corporate Relations at Allstate, and Maril MacDonald, chief executive officer of Gagen MacDonald, who spoke glowingly of him and his career. In accepting the honor, Peter touched on a number of critical issues affecting the profession and also shared what he has learned from his work overseas. 

The event was generously sponsored by Allstate, Gagen MacDonald, Golin, and Lynne and Roger Bolton. Roger is president of the Page Society.


Local Chapter Honors Jon Harris as 2018 ‘Distinguished Senior Leader’

About Reception

The Arts Club of Chicago

Jon Harris, Senior Vice President and CCO of Conagra, was honored November 29 as the Distinguished Senior Leader of 2018 by the Chicago Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Approximately 115 senior communications leaders joined Jon’s family and friends at The Arts Club of Chicago to celebrate his many achievements. It was the 15th anniversary of the Distinguished Senior Leader program.

“Jon is distinguished in many ways, so is very deserving of this honor,” said Bridget Coffing, communications consultant and retired CCO of McDonald’s Corporation, who co-chairs the program with Rich Jernstedt of The Jernstedt Company. “As a communications leader, mentor and active volunteer in a variety of causes, his many talents and contributions continue to make a difference in our community.”

Sean Connolly, CEO of Conagra, and Larry Wert, president of Broadcast Media at Tribune Media Company, introduced Jon as a dedicated professional, friend, husband and father. 

Jon’s comments in accepting the honor provided insights in to his leadership philosophy and commitment to the field of communications.  He challenged the audience to use their skills as communicators to encourage understanding, engagement and actions to make the world a better place.

Jon stressed the power of relationships, saying that he “found a career that was and continues to be based in strategy and incredible storytelling that is all brought to life by powerful relationships.” He went on to observe “the importance of building relationships, acting with integrity and treating people with respect is more important today than ever before.”

A contribution to one of Jon’s favorite causes, SocialWorks, was made in his name by the Senior Leaders’ Advisory Committee.

Sponsors of the event included Conagra, Sard Verbinnen & Co., Edelman, Finn Partners, MWWPR and Golin. 

Bill Parke of CME Group and Jay Porter of Revere were introduced as incoming co-chairs of the Senior Leader program.


Michelle Flowers Welch Receives ‘Distinguished Senior Leader’ Honor

About Reception

Michelle Flowers Welch Receives “Distinguished Senior Leader’ Honor

The Fortnightly of Chicago

Michelle Flowers Welch, founder and chairman of the Flowers Communications Group, received the Chicago PRSA Chapter’s 2017 Distinguished Senior Leaders’ Award on December 7. A group of 85 senior public relations professionals attended the annual reception hosted by the Chapter’s Senior Leaders Committee.

“It was a very special evening—we knew it would be with Michelle as the honoree,” said Bridget Coffing, retired CCO of McDonald’s Corporation, who co-chairs the Chapter’s Senior Leaders program with Rich Jernstedt of The Jernstedt Company. “She has made such an impact on our profession here in Chicago and around the country.”

Michelle was introduced by James Compton, retired chairman and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, her employer when she arrived in Chicago. Michelle’s first boss in Chicago, first boss in her first agency experience and first employee of her firm were all in attendance.

Her comments traced the story of her passion for ethnic marketing and her spirit of entrepreneurialism. They combined as she founded her firm more than 20 years ago.

Sponsors of the event were Astellas, Flowers Communications Group, Gagen MacDonald, Grayson Emmett Partners, Jack Daniels, The Jernstedt Company, Heyman Associates, Honda, MillerCoors, Canady Enterprises, Korbel, National Black Public Relations Society and Welch Consulting.

A contribution in Michelle’s name was made to the Salvation Army of Chicago, one of her favorite charities. She serves on its board of directors.

The event was held at The Lathrop House, the Gold Coast mansion owned by the country’s first women’s club, The Fortnightly.



Call For 2017 Board Nominations

Looking to get more involved with your local PRSA Chapter? Are you passionate about any of the areas where we have openings (Diversity, Membership, Programming, Sponsorship, Midwest District) Now is your chance to nominate yourself or a colleague for a 2017 Board position. All nominations are needed no later than 11:59 p.m. CT Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Please share as much information as possible on the form to ensure we understand your specific interests.


Chapter President’s Spring Briefing | It’s Almost Summer, PRSA Chicago!

It’s almost summer, PRSA Chicago! Thank you for your dedication to our chapter and for the feedback you’ve provided so far this year. We are committed to providing you with a valuable experience and want to continue the dialogue. What’s been working? What can we do to improve? Please drop me a note at [email protected] if you have anything to share.

In the meantime, I wanted to recap a few ways we’re working to give you the best possible PRSA Chicago membership:

  • Redesigned eNewsletter! As you can see here, we’re stepping up communications to give you pertinent event information with local PR perspective. If you have ideas, we want to hear them.

  • Welcome to Chicago! If you are new to the area, or new to PRSA Chicago, we’d love to meet you and help you build your network at the YPN ‘Welcome to Chicago’ Social on Tuesday, June 14.

  • A Trophy-Worthy Skylines Gala, Presented by AKA MEDIA INC. I hope to see you on Thursday, June 16 to accept your awards and support the wonderful work we do as a PR community. Tickets are going fast, but are still available.

  • Summer Socials. We have a few summer social events in the works and we’ll be sharing the event information in the coming weeks. We hope to meet you there!

Alison Bruder
PRSA Chicago President


PRSA Chicago 2016 – President’s Welcome

Welcome to a new year with PRSA Chicago! Spend a minute with Alison Bruder, chapter president for 2016 and watch this 50-second video message.

PRSA Chicago 2016 - President's Welcome from Alison Bruder on Vimeo.