Public Announcements


PRSA Chicago Senior Leaders Committee Honors Ron Culp and DePaul University’s Public Relations and Advertising (PRAD) Program with 2020 Distinguished Leader Award

CHICAGO, December 3, 2020 -- Held virtually for the first time ever, the online celebration Dec. 3 featured colorful remarks from students and educators as well as a lively musical tribute created especially for the occasion.

In light of the pandemic, the committee took a fresh, virtual approach to the traditional in-person winter networking event honoring an exceptional senior leader. The senior leaders weren’t going to let Covid-19 stop them from honoring Ron Culp, one of the PR profession’s global superstars, as well as the DePaul University PRAD Program, which under his leadership has become one of the top programs of its kind in the country, with their 2020 Distinguished Leader Award. The award is given "for career achievement and significant contributions to the public relations profession.”

The annual Distinguished Leader event was established 16 years ago with a two-fold purpose. First and foremost, to honor a senior leader who has had a seminal impact on the public relations profession, such as Ron Culp. And second, to thank all the agency, corporate and non-profit senior leaders for their support of PRSA Chicago through enabling their team members to join and attend the chapter’s outstanding programs. This ongoing learning helps strengthen the entire Chicago PR community and underscores the value and appreciation of senior leader support.

Hosted by Bill Parke, principal of W. H. Parke Co., and Ginger Porter, president of Golin’s Midwest Region, the 2020 Distinguished Leader Award celebration on December 3 drew more than 100 online participants. It featured heartfelt comments from members of DePaul’s administration and faculty as well as glowing testimonials from a number of Ron’s former students. Everyone was in agreement as to Ron’s extraordinary skill as a teacher and author, his worthy championship of networking and his unequalled value in mentoring and career advice. They are sure that all this is what has made the PRAD program so successful. The video celebration ended with a not-to-be missed musical tribute from Jon Harris, followed by spontaneous comments by participants.

In light of Ron’s leadership and his key role in the DePaul University PRAD Program, the PRSA Chicago Senior Leaders Committee has made a contribution in his name to the Ron Culp Endowed Scholarship for Future Leaders in Public Relations, at DePaul University.   

The committee owes a debt of gratitude to Jim Motzer, executive producer of the event video, which is now available online.

And also wishes to thank the following generous underwriters: Astellas, Conagra, FleishmanHillard, Flowers Communications Group, Gagen MacDonald, Golin, KemperLesnik, Ketchum, The Jernstedt Company, Virginia Mann Group, Weber Shandwick and Zapwater Communications. Their support not only helped with the Distinguished Leader event, but helps with future Senior Leader events and the contribution to Ron’s charity.


Local Media Personalities Help Chicago Chapter of Public Relations Society of America Recognize Communications Pros, Campaigns, Teams At 2020 Skyline Awards

CHICAGO, July 16, 2020 -- The 2020 Skyline Awards, the annual industry awards from the Chicago Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), recognized the top individual communicators, campaigns and teams during today’s virtual presentation.

Local media personalities, including WGN’s Ji Suk Yi, NBC5’s Alicia Roman, and Susanna Homan, editor-in-chief at Chicago Magazine, helped present the winners.

“Despite the challenges of organizing our typical in-person event, the PRSA Chicago Board felt it was important to recognize the great work being done in the PR industry,” said Dane Roth, President of PRSA Chicago. “With communications more important than ever, we’re glad we were able to convene virtually to celebrate not just the best people and campaigns in Chicago, but some of the best in the world.”

Kisa Mugwanya, an account executive at FleishmanHillard, won the Young Professional of the Year Award. Mugwanya impressed the judges with her willingness to jump feet first into any assignment, proactively seeking out new experiences to expand her skill set, and supporting diversity and inclusion efforts in the office and around the city, while also volunteering her time to PR challenges and charities.

PRSA Chicago’s inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Champion is Glenn Eden, Executive Vice President at Weber Shandwick and a 21-year veteran of the agency where he’s built his communications career. Glenn’s commitment to diversity and inclusion goes well beyond industry efforts and drives advancement at a civic level. Over the years he’s played a key role on the Chicago United Leadership Council, championed African American filmmakers as a member of the Black Perspectives Committee for the 55th Chicago International Film Festival, and his civic commitments also extend to serving as Board Chair for Choose Chicago, the city’s tourism agency, a role he was appointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in September 2019.

Kim Eberl, Founder and CEO of The Motion Agency, was named the 2020 PRSA Chicago PR Professional of the Year. Her impressive way she has built her own agency and won the spirit of her employees and clients with her passion for great work and positive attitudes impressed the judges.

Zeno Group’s Goodyear Team won Team of the Year as it helped Goodyear induct its iconic blimp into the College Football Hall of Fame, introduce a flying concept tire, and list its airship on Airbnb, among other achievements. The team’s work helped move communications for Goodyear into the arenas of sports sponsorships, paid media partners, talent procurement, thought leadership and more.

The Best of Skyline Award went to COTTON USA with Cramer-Krasselt. C-K worked with COTTON USA to create Expert Outlooks, a click-worthy influencer series featuring global industry experts from various supply chain niches. The campaign effectively reached target audiences and positioned COTTON USA as a leading industry resource for supply chain decision makers.

Finally, the 2020 Organization of the Year Award went to Weber Shandwick, for rising above other organizations with four Skyline Award wins and four Awards of Excellence.

Former PRSA Chicago Senior Leader Award winner and current Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at ConAgra Brands, Jon Harris, treated attendees to a rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon.”

The event also included a video tribute from BCW for PR icon Harold Burson, the man voted the most influential PR person in the 20th century, who passed away earlier this year. Among the high-profile PR issues Burson was involved with included the Tylenol tampering case in Chicago in 1982 and Coca-Cola’s decision to bring back Coke Classic after the New Coke launch fizzled.

The event was presented by Golin. For a full list of winners, visit


An Important Message from PRSA Chicago

Dear Fellow PRSA Chicago Member,

As communicators, we are typically prepared for many types of situations – for our organizations, for our clients, for ourselves. But I’m not sure we were fully prepared for what has happened over the past several days, here in Chicago and around the world. This is a time when communicators like you are needed most. Communicators serve as the “conscience” of the organization. A trusted partner to clients and executives. We pivot to provide the right counsel and communications to lead our organizations through tough times.

The PRSA Chicago Board’s strength is its diversity, and by prioritizing diversity and inclusion it has made our organization, its programming and its insights more effective and meaningful. Not only are we trying to lead by example, but we are also committed to helping any members who need advice or resources in this situation. PRSA Chicago stands with each of you during these troubling times. Please let us know how we can help.

Let us all commit to doing our part to educate ourselves about the systemic injustice that is still so prevalent in our society and having the courage to do the right thing. There are several organizations that offer more information on how to act and stand in support of racial and social justice.

At the national level, PRSA shares this sentiment. Earlier today, our Membership Team shared the letter from PRSA National President, T. Garland Stansell, APR. We also wanted to share this poignant Facebook post from our next generation of PR leaders at PRSSA.

Thank you for being a PRSA Chicago member.

Dane Roth, on behalf of the entire PRSA Chicago Board
President, PRSA Chicago
[email protected]

PRSA Chicago
6615 Grand Ave., Suite B-223, Gurnee, IL 60031 | Phone: 708-308-1803


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.