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PRSA-NY Big Apple Awards: Sharon Fenster
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Doug Simon and Sharon Fenster Talk Big Apple Awards 2018

Doug Simon, President-elect of PRSA’s New York chapter, spoke with current PRSA-NY President, Sharon Fenster, about this year’s Big Apple Awards.

“We’re actually going to be celebrating our winners and recognizing them for being bold and courageous by submitting their diversity data and letting people know in a transparent way what the nature of their workforce is made up of.” – Sharon Fenster on PRSA’s diversity and inclusion initiative.



Doug Simon: Hi I’m Doug Simon CEO of D S Simon Media and more importantly for this president-elect of the PRSA New York chapter. Thanks so much for joining us. It’s a big event. We’re streaming live on 17 different social media channels and we’re here to talk about the Big Apple awards. What’s in it for you? How can you get involved? How can they benefit your business? We’re joined by eleven of some of the top communicators in the country. Many of them a bunch younger than me who have won very important awards and will be able to talk about what you need to do to get the most out of your affiliation with PRSA New York. Grow your career and grow your organization. Starting off at the top I’m very excited to be joined by our chapter president Sharon Fenster.

Sharon Fenster: Hi thanks so much for being with us. You’re welcome. I’m so excited to be here today and very proud to be the president of PRSA New York. I am very honored. And it’s going to be a very exciting year for us. We have a number of new initiatives going on. One of them is a diversity and inclusion initiative where we are looking to make a tangible palpable change in the structure of the public relations workplace in the New York metropolitan area. And so that’s one of our biggest initiatives.

DS: You’ve taken some very compelling stands that have been covered in the trades on that issue. One in particular that’s very interesting that’s attracted attention is the idea of actually recognizing and rewarding organizations that are comfortable sharing their diversity data. So there’s really a measurable way to show the progress and growth our industry has made.

SF: Yes exactly. I mean there will be an award called Presidents Award for diversity data. And what we’re going to be doing is we’re actually going to be celebrating our winners and recognizing them for being bold and courageous by submitting their diversity data and letting people know in a transparent way what the nature of their workforce is made up of. And so we’ll be doing that in June.

DS: Yeah and you’ve put together one of the most accomplished boards in the history of PRSA in New York. We’re going to be having a great opportunity to meet a number of them that I’m working with so that’s been a tremendous accomplishment. Now last year you were in charge of running the Big Apple awards which is really an exciting event for the community. There were 250 people once again it’s going to be at the Mandarin Oriental. What are some highlights memories that you want to share from that event.

SF: Well one of the things that was really kind of cool was the presenters that we had we had Cheryl Wells of New York who won and our film novel of Fox News. They both did an amazing job. We had some really wonderful people from PRSA New York who won recognition. Jane Sierre got the President’s Award and the it was just a great event. I mean people were very excited to be there. It’s really meaningful to get a Big Apple Award because we are in the media capital of the world the best and the brightest are here. These are the people who are competing in the most competitive market in the country. And so to get a Big Apple Award is not a casual thing. It’s something that’s really amazing.

DS: There’s going to be lots of great nominations already that we’ve seen so it’s going to be competitive but there’s great opportunity. What we also saw going about later are different opportunities for folks to get involved on a deeper level we could obviously do this whole half hour campaign with just you. But we’re not because we’ve got 11 more people to do that. So I want to thank you for being about any final thoughts before we switch out and get the next person in here.

SF: Well I would say that if you really want to do something for your career you’ll join our judging group and you can also take a pass being an entry. We would love to judge you.

DS: Great. And it’s a great team that will be doing the judging. Thanks so much for your leadership. It’s been great to be involved with you.

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