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Chapter Individual Awards
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A touching aspect of the annual PRSA-NY Big Apple gala program is the recognition of achievement by individual public relations practitioners.    

Two of those awards are open for nomination by members of PRSA-NY; following a public nomination period, a committee of esteemed PR industry executives presented its recommendations to the chapter's leadership for confirmation and endorsement. A third award is named by the chapter’s president. Descriptions of the awards, along with criteria and a list of past award recipients, can be found below.

The 2016 Individual Chapter Award honorees are:

  • John W. Hill Award for lifetime professional achievement
    presented to

    Grace Leong, APR, CEO + Partner, Hunter Public Relations

  • Philip Dorf Award for mentorship 
    presented to 
    Joe Cohen, APR, Senior Vice President of Communications for KIND Healthy Snacks

  • PRSA-NY President’s Award for service to the chapter and to PRSA
    presented to
    Art Stevens, APR, Fellow PRSA, Managing Partner of The Stevens Group

[See "Award Winner Announced" press release]

Questions on the criteria or selection process for individual awards may be directed to PRSA-NY at or 212.228.7228.

John W. Hill Award

PRSA-NY’s top honor, The John W. Hill Award, recognizes professional achievement in the practice of public relations.  Named for the founder of one of the world’s preeminent PR firms, the award has been presented annually since 1977. Recipients are industry leaders who exemplify Mr. Hill’s beliefs that experience, quality, integrity and judgement are the cornerstones upon which the profession has been built.

To be considered for this award, nominees must meet the following criteria:          

  • Leadership in the development of the practice of public relations.
  • Demonstration of the highest standards of integrity.
  • Fostering and promoting understanding among people.
  • Service to the public beyond the scope of the nominee's regular duties.
  • Promoting communications and understanding through education and the exchange of ideas.

Nominees may not be the current PRSA-NY president or a recipient within the past 10 years of the PRSA Gold Anvil or similar award. 

Grace Leong, APR

Grace Leong is the CEO + Partner of Hunter Public Relations, a marketing communications practice with offices in New York City, Toronto and London.  For 28 years, Grace has contributed to the public relations industry by providing strategic marketing communications counsel to brand teams and CMO’s within Fortune 100 companies such as Kraft Foods, Mondelez, Johnson & Johnson and 3M. 

Grace began her career in 1988 at D-A-Y/Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations. A year later, Grace joined forces with Barbara Hunter to establish Hunter Public Relations.  Ten years later, in partnership with four other employees, Grace purchased Hunter Public Relations upon Barbara’s retirement.  Within the first two years under the new management, Hunter Public Relations doubled its billings expanding its expertise to health, beauty, home care and retail products/industries.

Hunter Public Relations is now the second largest food and beverage-focused practice (by billings) among U.S agencies and consistently ranked among the top 20 consumer-focused firms in the country. Named consumer agency of the year in 2014 by the Holmes Report, Hunter Public Relations is also regularly cited as a “Best Place to Work.”  Now part of the MDC Partners, the firm continues to service consumer products/service companies across North America and the UK. 

Grace earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Delaware (UD). In 1996, she earned a M.B.A. from Rutgers.

Grace joined the Public Relations Student Society of America in 1985, serving as the UD chapter president for two years.  Upon graduation, she joined PRSA and became an accredited member in 1990.  She was elected to the PRSA board of directors in 2001 and also served as the international conference chairperson in 2004.  Grace has won numerous industry awards including Silver Anvils, Big Apple Awards and the 2011 President’s Award for service to PRSA-NY. 

In 2009, Grace was appointed to the Dean’s Advisory Council in the College of Arts and Sciences at UD and has served as its chair for the past two years.  She also serves on the advisory board for UD’s Horn Program in Entrepreneurship. In 2013, Grace was recognized with an Outstanding Alumni Award and in June 2016 will be inducted into the UD’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

Grace resides in Hoboken, NJ with her husband, Todd and their four teenage children.

2015     Barri Friedman Rafferty
2014     Bill Doescher
2013     Paul J. Gennaro
2012     Margi Booth
2011     E. Ronald Culp
2010     James E. Lukaszewski
2009     Valerie Di Maria
2008     James E. Murphy
2007     Kenneth D. Makovsky
2006     David Finn
2005     Howard J. Rubenstein
2004     Richard Edelman
2003     Thomas Hoog
2002     Art Stevens
2001     Joan Capelin
2000     Philip G. Ryan
1999     Helen I. Ostrowski
1998     Jeannette Paladino
1997     David Drobis
1996     P. Michael McDermott
1995     David M. Bicofsky
1994     Denny Griswold
1993     Harold Burson
1992     Jerry Danzig
1991     John Sattler
1990     Phyllis H. Berlowe
1989     Joel Strasser
1988     Charlotte Klein
1987     Bert Hochman
1986     Barbara W. Hunter
1985     Sid Gross
1984     Richard Weiner
1983     Lloyd N. Newman
1982     John H. Paluszek
1981     Sondra K. Gorney
1980     Chester Burger
1979     Lee Bieringer   
1978     Elaine Pitts
1977     George Hammond

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Philip Dorf Award

The Philip Dorf Award honors individuals who lead, guide and selflessly counsel and stimulate the careers of PR professionals.  Presented annually since its creation in 1995, the award is sponsored by the Dorf family in memory of Philip Dorf who was an inspiration and mentor to many young public relations practitioners.

To be considered for this award, the candidate must meet the following criteria:

  • Leadership in guiding and inspiring the careers of entry level and other young PR professionals.
  • Demonstration of the highest standards of the profession in a selfless role as a mentor.
  • Service to young professionals beyond the scope of the nominee's professional duties.

Nominees may not be the current PRSA-NY president or a recipient within the past 10 years of the PRSA Gold Anvil or similar award.  A recommendation for the 2016 honoree will be made by a selection committee to the PRSA-NY Board of Directors.

Joe Cohen, APR

Joe Cohen is Senior Vice President of communications for KIND Healthy Snacks, maker of delicious and wholesome snacks.  As a member of KIND’s leadership team, Joe is responsible for overseeing the company’s communications strategy and managing its in-house team. 

Prior to joining KIND, Joe served as a Senior Vice President of consumer marketing at MWW, one of the top five global independent public relations firms.  During his 15 year tenure with the agency, Cohen lead many of the company’s food/restaurant, health wellness and consumer lifestyle clients.  This included such accounts as Sara Lee/Hillshire Brands, Zumba Fitness, Gold's Gym International, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM and The Palm Restaurant Group.

Additionally, Joe served as the 2014 National Chair of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the largest member association for the public relations profession with more than 22,000 members across 110 chapters.

He has received numerous industry honors and awards including the PRWeek “40 Under 40” (2013), "PR Team Leader of the Year" at the PR News PR People Awards (2010) and recognition by PRWeek on its list of Ten Rising Stars (2006).

Prior to MWW, Cohen served as an on-air jock at WRDS-FM (Power 102) in Syracuse, NY.

He holds a bachelor's degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.  Cohen is an executive board member of the prestigious Newhouse 44, an alumni group dedicated to fostering mentorship relationships between past and present students.

2015     Michael P. Rinaldo          
2014     Harry R. Zlokower
2013     David M. Grant
2012     Maria P. Russell
2011     Leslie E. Gottlieb
2010     Deborah Radman
2009     William F. Doescher
2008     Roberta Elins
2007     Emmanuel Tchividjian
2006     John L. Paluszek
2005     Bob Stone
2004     Alex Stanton
2003     Helio Fred Garcia
2002     Don Bates
2001     Michael Greece
2000     Edward J. Menninger
1999     Lynn Appelbaum
1998     Robert M. Weintraub
1997     Art Stevens
1996     Anthony J. Russo
1995     Terrie Williams

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PRSA-NY President's Award

The PRSA-NY President's Award honors a current or former member of the chapter who exemplifies the highest standards of ethical conduct and outstanding service within the public relations profession and to PRSA and its New York chapter.  The award has been presented annually since its creation in 2003.

To be considered, nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Current (or recent past) membership in PRSA-NY.
  • Adherence to the highest standards of ethical conduct.
  • Service to PRSA generally and the New York Chapter in particular

Nominations for the President’s Award may be submitted by current PRSA members to the NY Chapter president; the 2016 honoree will be selected solely by the current chapter president.

Art Stevens, APR, Fellow PRSA

Art Stevens is Managing Partner of The Stevens Group, a consulting organization he founded in 2003 to facilitate mergers and acquisitions in the public relations and related marketing communications industries and provide consulting in PR agency management, profitability and strategic planning.

Earlier in his career, Art was CEO of LobsenzStevens, a prestigious independent public relations firm serving clients such as American Express, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, The New York State Lottery, and others. When the agency was acquired by Publicis in 1999, he stayed on to manage what became the New York office of Publicis Dialog.  

One of Art’s passions is the development of young PR professionals.  He has been an instructor of PR and management case studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University and has lectured at the New School, New York University and many other colleges and associations. He was inducted into the City College of New York Communications Alumni Hall of Fame and continues to fund a scholarship recognizing students in CCNY’s PRSSA program.

He is a past program chairman for the American Management Association’s seminars in public relations, and a frequent lecturer for AMA, the American Marketing Association, the Association of National Advertisers, and various PRSA chapters. He is a frequent contributor to financial, management, marketing and public relations publications and authored The Persuasion Explosion, a book about the role and influence of contemporary public relations practices. 

Art is a former president of the Publicity Club of New York and a former member of the executive committee of the Counselors Academy, where he founded the organization’s ethics committee. He is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America; a former member and Secretary of the PRSA national board; and a former president of the New York chapter. 

In recognition of his meritorious professional lifetime achievements, Art was elected to PRSA’s prestigious College of Fellows. He is a past recipient of PRSA-NY’s Philip Dorf award as well as the prestigious John Hill Award and PRSA’s Patrick Jackson Award, both of which recognize contributions to the organizations and lifetime achievements in the profession.


2015     Lynn Appelbaum, APR, Fellow PRSA
2014     Deborah Radman
2013     Emmanuel Tchividjian
2012     Barri Rafferty
2011     Karen J. Arthur
2010     Grace T. Leong
2009     Sandra Fathi
2008     Michael P. Rinaldo
2007     Jeanne M. Salvatore
2006     Linda Krebs
2005     Liz Beck
2004     Christopher Guidette
2003     Don Bates

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