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.

2021 program

The time to celebrate your stellar work is here! PRSA Oregon wants to celebrate the best campaigns and tactics our local firms, companies, organizations and professionals create, produce and measure. It’s your time to shine. Show off for your boss, give your clients a little extra love, demonstrate how you moved the meter and/or made change for good.

The PRSA Oregon Spotlight Awards recognize campaigns and tactics that exemplify excellence and leadership in public relations, digital media and integrated communications. We’ll get to celebrate YOU at the 2021 Spotlight Awards virtual event in November.

Entries are due no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, 2021.

You can see a list of the categories before you submit.

Join us for the virtual 2021 PRSA Oregon Spotlight Awards presentation on Thursday, November 18, 2021. Our theme this year is “Silver Linings”. Come celebrate accomplishments from your fellow PRSA Oregon members and other PR professionals. This year’s show focuses more on the awards and why the judges thought the winners excelled. So you can learn more about how to craft a winning campaign or tactic.

We will also give out our Awards of Distinction to those who have provided outstanding service to our chapter, our profession, and our communities.

Interested in seeing your name or the name of your company associated with the Spotlight Awards? Check out our sponsorship opportunities!

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

  • 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

You can save partial submissions and easily return later to add or edit information.

Information you’ll need to fill out the webform

  • Make sure the nominee is a member of the chapter.
  • Document how the nominee has demonstrated their commitment to advancing public relations through career achievements, volunteerism and the highest standards of professionalism, by citing examples. You have up to 750 words.
  • Two letters of recommendation from people other than the nominator (no more than 500 words, submitted via this same webform, with writers’ contact information)
  • Background information about the nominee
    • Email
    • Phone number
    • Place of employment and description of recent jobs OR description of organization (such as mission and vision statements)
    • LinkedIn URL
    • Twitter handle
    • Other social media presence the nominee is willing to share with the AOD awards committee for background
  • A high-pixel headshot photo in JPG format of the nominee or representative of the organization

Decision Process

Completed nominations must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 to be included in the decision process. The submission is not complete without the letters of recommendation, so we suggest you ask for those as soon as possible.

The AOD selection committee considers completed and timely nominations first.

  1. If the committee agrees that one or more nominees meet the criteria, the selection committee must choose one or more of these nominees to receive the award. There is usually only one winner of the New Professional Award of Excellence each year, but the selection committee can decide to award more than one.
  1. If the committee decides no nominee meets the criteria, OR if no one is nominated, the selection committee at its discretion may choose to present the award to one or more chapter members meeting the criteria, OR the committee may choose to not award the award that year.

The selection committee expects to announce its decisions by late October 2021, using PRSA Oregon chapter communications channels and, after the Spotlight awards ceremony in November, by press release to Oregon and SW Washington media.

2021 Selection Committee Chair: Dave Thompson, APR, Fellow PRSA, dave@davidhthompson.com. 503-624-7401

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.

The award may be awarded to multiple people in one year.

Each recipient

  • Must be a chapter member
  • Must have demonstrated long commitment to supporting PRSA and the profession, serving as a mentor
  • While demonstrating exemplary public relations

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

  • 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

You can save partial submissions and easily return later to add or edit information.

Information you’ll need to fill out the webform

  • Make sure your nominee has met the first requirement (chapter member)
  • Document the other criteria (long commitment to supporting PRSA and the profession, serving as a mentor, while demonstrating exemplary public relations) by citing examples. You have up to 750 words.
  • Two letters of recommendation from people other than the nominator (no more than 500 words, submitted via this same webform, with writers’ contact information)
  • Background information about the nominee
    • Email
    • Phone number
    • Place of employment and description of recent jobs
    • LinkedIn URL
    • Twitter handle
    • Other social media presence the nominee is willing to share with the AOD awards committee for background
  • A high-pixel headshot photo in JPG format

Decision Process

Completed nominations must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 to be included. The submission is not complete without the letters of recommendation, so we suggest you ask for those as soon as possible.

The AOD selection committee considers completed and timely nominations first.

  1. If the committee agrees that one or more nominees meet the criteria, the selection committee must choose one or more of these nominees to receive the award.
  1. If the committee decides no nominee meets the criteria, OR if no one is nominated, the selection committee at its discretion may choose to present the award to one or more chapter members meeting the criteria, OR the committee may choose to not award the award that year.

The selection committee expects to announce its decisions by late October 2021, using PRSA Oregon chapter communications channels and, after the Spotlight awards ceremony in November, by press release to Oregon and SW Washington media.

2021 Selection Committee Chair: Dave Thompson, APR, Fellow PRSA, dave@davidhthompson.com. 503-624-7401

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.

The recipient is a person or organization that has used public relations to better the community, engage others, and further the practice and innovation of public relations.

The award

  • May be given to an individual or an organization
  • May be presented to someone not in PR
  • May be presented to someone not a member of PRSA

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

  • 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

You can save partial submissions and easily return later to add or edit information.

Information you’ll need to fill out the webform

  • Document how the nominee has used public relations to better the community, engage others, and further the practice and innovation of public relations, by citing examples. You have up to 750 words.
  • Two letters of recommendation from people other than the nominator (no more than 500 words, submitted via this same webform, with writers’ contact information)
  • Background information about the nominee
    • Email
    • Phone number
    • Place of employment and description of recent jobs OR description of organization (such as mission and vision statements)
    • LinkedIn URL
    • Twitter handle
    • Other social media presence the nominee is willing to share with the AOD awards committee for background
  • A high-pixel headshot photo in JPG format of the nominee or representative of the organization

Decision Process

Completed nominations must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 to be included in the decision process. The submission is not complete without the letters of recommendation, so we suggest you ask for those as soon as possible.

The AOD selection committee considers completed and timely nominations first.

  1. If the committee agrees that one or more nominees meet the criteria, the selection committee must choose one of these nominees to receive the award. There is no more than one winner of the Ron Schmidt Community Involvement award each year.
  1. If the committee decides no nominee meets the criteria, OR if no one is nominated, the selection committee at its discretion may choose to present the award to a person or organization meeting the criteria, OR the committee may choose to not award the award that year.

The selection committee expects to announce its decisions by late October 2021, using PRSA Oregon chapter communications channels and, after the Spotlight awards ceremony in November, by press release to Oregon and SW Washington media.

2021 Selection Committee Chair: Dave Thompson, APR, Fellow PRSA, dave@davidhthompson.com. 503-624-7401

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.

Other winners:

  • 2009 – Sharon Harmon, Oregon Humane Society
  • 2008 – No award issued
  • 2007 – No award issued
  • 2006 – Sue Van Brocklin, Coates Kokes
  • 2005 – Mike Lindberg, Fleishman-Hillard
  • 2004 – Greg Robeson, Robeson Communications
  • 2003 – Kathrin Larson Youngberg, Maxwell Communications
  • 2002 – Columbia River Maritime Museum
  • 2001 – Legacy Emanuel Hospital
  • 1993 – Ray Leary, Self Enhancement, Inc.

Note: These listings are based on our historic records. If you can provide additional information/documentation about other Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award recipients, please contact us

William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award

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

The recipient

  • Must be a PRSA Oregon chapter member
  • Must have more than fifteen years of service in public relations
  • Must have demonstrated landmark leadership and professionalism
  • Much have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to his or her professional development and the professional development of others
  • Must have achieved outstanding professional success.

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

  • 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

You can save partial submissions and easily return later to add or edit information.

Information you’ll need to fill out the webform

  • Make sure your nominee has met the first two requirements (chapter member, with more than 15 years’ service in public relations).
  • Document the three other criteria by citing examples. You have up to 500 words per criterion.
  • Two letters of recommendation from people other than the nominator (no more than 500 words, submitted via this same webform, with writers’ contact information)
  • Background information about the nominee
    • Email
    • Phone number
    • Place of employment and description of recent jobs
    • LinkedIn URL
    • Other social media presence the nominee is willing to share with the AOD awards committee for background
  • A high-pixel headshot photo in JPG format

Decision Process

Completed nominations must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 to be included. The submission is not complete without the letters of recommendation, so we suggest you ask for those as soon as possible.

The AOD selection committee considers completed and timely nominations first.

  1. If the committee agrees that one or more nominees meet the criteria, the selection committee must choose one of these nominees to receive the award. There is no more than one winner of the William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement award each year.
  1. If the committee decides no nominee meets the criteria, OR if no one is nominated, the selection committee at its discretion may choose to present the award to a chapter member meeting the criteria, OR the committee may choose to not award the award that year.

The selection committee expects to announce its decisions by late October 2021, using PRSA Oregon chapter communications channels and, after the Spotlight awards ceremony in November, by press release to Oregon and SW Washington media.

2021 Selection Committee Chair: Dave Thompson, APR, Fellow PRSA, dave@davidhthompson.com. 503-624-7401

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