Spotlight Awards Program

There are dozens of awards programs for public relations and integrated communications, both locally and internationally. We all know the ones that are for show. The Spotlight Awards, along with our cousins, PRSA’s Silver and Bronze Anvils, are focused on the same criteria used to determine a candidate’s readiness to go through the Accreditation program: research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Entering in our awards program is a great way to benchmark your organization’s communications programs against best practice methodologies around the country. Our judges provide written feedback, in addition to scores, and you can use this insight to enhance your strengths and address your opportunities for improvement.

Submissions are open now until September 1, 2022. This year’s Spotlight Awards program will take place at lunch during the 2022 CommCon.

Curious about the categories? Here’s a full explanation (no changes from 2021).

We will also give out our Awards of Distinction to those who have provided outstanding service to our chapter, our profession, and our communities. See below for an explanation of each Award of Distinction.

Awards of Distinction

New Professional Award of Excellence

The New Professional Award of Excellence honors a chapter member who has entered the field of public relations within the past five years.

The recipient must have demonstrated their commitment to advancing public relations through

  • Career achievements
  • Volunteerism
  • The highest standards of professionalism

Recent winners

  • 2021 – No award given
  • 2020 – Thelma Hale, MBA
  • 2019 – Eric Johnson
  • 2018 – Nicole Shaddy
  • 2017 – Nicole Early
  • 2016 – Megan Donaldson
  • 2015 – Prapat “Jojoe” Nujoy
  • 2014 – Colby Reade, APR
  • 2013 – Taylor Long
  • 2012 – Julie Williams
  • 2011 – Kate Pitchlynn
  • 2010 – Jamie Godfrey

Olga M. Haley Mentorship Award

The Olga M. Haley Mentorship award reflects our chapter’s dedication to supporting members at every stage of their careers and lives.

A legendary figure in Portland public relations, Haley’s background included leadership roles at Gerber and Leopold Ketel, where she spent most of her career before forming her own firm, Power Public Relations. A longtime member of the PRSA Portland Metro Chapter and accredited in public relations, Haley served as president in 2003.

Throughout her career, Haley was committed to supporting PRSA and the public relations profession, serving as a mentor to countless chapter members. She was widely respected not only by her clients, colleagues and fellow chapter members, but also by Portland’s journalism community.

Haley passed away in March of 2014 at the age of 69, leaving behind an unparalleled legacy of mentorship, excellence and professionalism.

Recent past winners

  • 2021 – Mary Louise VanNatta, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2020 – Lise Harwin, APR; Mark Mohammadpour, APR; and Dave Thompson, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2019 – John C. Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2018 – Donna Z. Davis, Ph.D.
  • 2017 – Taraneh Fultz, APR
  • 2016 – No award issued
  • 2015 – Tom Unger, APR, ABC, CTM, Fellow PRSA
  • 2014 – Patti Atkins, APR; Chuck Williams, APR; and Mara Woloshin, APR, Fellow PRSA

Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award

The Ron Schmidt Community Involvement award honors the outstanding use of public relations to support community improvement and important causes.

For nearly 30 years, Ron Schmidt served as an aide to Oregon Gov. Tom McCall, then as the owner of the state’s biggest and most influential public relations firm. He stood at the center of public policy in business, government and the arts.

Ron Schmidt continually raised our collective awareness, consciousness and commitment. Schmidt served nationally on the President’s Commission on the Arts and the board of directors of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

A recipient of the William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award, Ron Schmidt died in 1992 at the age of 56.

Recent winners

  • 2021 – Kat Hendrix
  • 2020 – David Lucas, Maurice Lucas Foundation
  • 2019 – Sheila Hamilton, Communicator, Author, Advocate for Mental Health
  • 2018 – Gary Withers
  • 2017 – Dianne Danowski-Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2016 – Stacy Moe-Kean, APR
  • 2015 – Michael Duyck, TVF&R
  • 2014 – Frank Grady, Grady Britton
  • 2013 – Carole Morse, Portland General Electric
  • 2012 – Katlin Smith, APR, Urban Words Group
  • 2011 – Friends of Trees
  • 2010 – Ron Arp, Amplify Group

Remembering Ron Schmidt

At the 2013 Spotlight Awards, PRSA’s Portland Metro Chapter celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award through a commemorative video. Film clips courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society.

William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award

The William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement award honors an outstanding leader in the field of public relations.

For nearly four decades, William W. Marsh was a towering figure in public relations in Oregon. A charter member of the Portland Metro Chapter, which was merged into the PRSA Oregon Chapter in 2017, Marsh served as president in 1963. After 28 years in the profession, Marsh joined Marylhurst University, where he taught from 1986 to 1993, establishing a public relations certificate program.

William Marsh died in 1996 at the age of 81. He was the first recipient of the award named in his honor.

Recent past winners

  • 2021 – Wendy Lane Stevens
  • 2020 – Michael Lewellen, APR
  • 2019 – Sally Ridenour, APR
  • 2018 – Mary Louise VanNatta, APR, Fellow PRSA, CAE
  • 2017 – John Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2016 – Barbara Kerr, APR, Fellow PRSA 
  • 2015 – Dave Thompson, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2014 – Kathryn Hubbell, APR, M.S., Fellow PRSA 
  • 2013 – Darcie Meihoff, APR
  • 2012 – Michael J. Riley, APR, PRC
  • 2011 – Tom Unger, APR, ABC, Fellow PRSA
  • 2010 – Lisa Donoughe

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