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PRSA-NY Celebrates the Best of the Best in Communications at the 31st Annual Big Apple Awards Gala

Thursday, June 14, 2018  
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Diversity, Excellence in Media and Journalism and Scholarly Achievement Highlighted at Showstopping Event Attended by More than 300 New York Communications Professionals, Sponsors and Partners

NEW YORK, June 14, 2018
—The New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA-NY) hosted its 31st annual Big Apple Awards Gala on Monday, June 11th in the Grand Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental New York. The exquisite venue, with views of the metropolitan skyline, offered an unparalleled backdrop for the evening’s program. More than 300 industry professionals joined together for the celebration honoring outstanding individual achievements in PR and recognizing the best communications, marketing and public relations work of 2017.

For the first time, the Big Apple Awards also featured a category on Diversity & Inclusion as well as the inaugural Diversity Data Honor Roll, created by PRSA-NY President Sharon Fenster, to recognize those agencies that demonstrate a commitment to increasing diversity among their ranks, and to sharing their respective data. A special part of the evening was dedicated to announcing the Diversity Data Honor Roll that recognizes agencies, corporations, and institutions that have had the courage and the foresight to step up and submit their diversity data. This year’s winners of the Diversity Data Honor Roll Award include: Hunter Public Relations, Finn Partners and the Zeno Group.

“PRSA-NY’s inaugural Diversity Data Honor Roll award says so much about the priorities of our industry, and our commitment to one of our most cherished values and highest ideals—diversity and inclusion,” says Sharon Fenster, president, PRSA-NY. “I created this award because I’m a firm believer that what gets measured gets done, and publicly sharing diversity statistics has proven to be one of the most important steps toward greater workplace diversity. We need to know where we stand, so that we can determine, as an industry, where we need to go next.”

The 2018 Big Apple Awards were presented in an unprecedented 100 categories that demonstrate the breadth and depth of the communications industry. Among the new categories are Marketing to Millennials & Boomers, Content Marketing and Media Relations.


The full list of winners is available here

Sharon Fenster and PRSA-NY President-elect and Big Apple Chair Doug Simon co-hosted the event. They were joined by WPIX-11 reporter Kirstin Cole and legendary New York gossip columnist and media personality Flo Anthony.  Among the first awards to be presented was the Art Stevens Award to an outstanding student from The City College of New York (CCNY). Presented by CCNY Professor and PRSA-NY Board member Lynne Scott Jackson, the 2018 awardee is Armoni Boone.

A major highlight of the evening was the presentation of individual Chapter Awards. This year’s winners include:

Roger Bolton, President, The Arthur W. Page Society, will be receive The John W. Hill Award for outstanding lifetime achievements in public relations

Shelley J. Spector, President, Spector & Associates, will receive The Philip Dorf Award for leadership and mentorship

Olga González, CEO/Founder, Pietra PR – The Jewelry PR Agency, will receive the President’s Award for outstanding service to PRSA and PRSA-NY

“As the signature event for PRSA-NY, the Big Apple Awards represent the highest forms of excellence, and innovation in public relations,” adds Sharon Fenster. “The 2018 event exceeded all expectations and was quite frankly our best yet. We could not have achieved this without the hard work of the Big Apple Committee – led by Senior Director Sarah Katz, our high-level sponsors and partners such as HP, TalkWalker and BusinessWire.”

“The 2018 Big Apple Awards was by far our best ever,” says Doug Simon. “From the number and quality of the entries to the overall execution of the event, the evening was just spectacular. We have set a new standard for award presentations and for recognizing the talented professionals that are unique to New York City.”

This year’s Big Apple Awards gala also featured the winners of the 2018 15 Under 35 Award honorees. Created in 1987, PRSA-NY’s 15 Under 35 Awards recognize
young professionals who are having more influence and impact than ever on the daily operations and long-term future of public relations. The 2018 class of 15 Under 35 Award winners are:

  • Allison Clair, Director of Institutional Communications, NYU Langone Health
  • Jade Faugno, Intermarket Communications - Vice President
  • Lindsey Groginski, Senior PR Manager for Sequential Brands Group
  • Alicia Hart, Macy's Media Relations Manager
  • Pauline Horwits, MSL, Account Supervisor
  • Michael Lamp, Senior Vice President, Social & Digital Media, Hunter Public Relations
  • Megan Milano, Senior Account Supervisor, Hunter Public Relations
  • Isabel Pena Alfaro, Managing Supervisor, FleishmanHillard
  • Lissette Rodriguez, Founder at Chic Influence
  • Ilana Rubin, Jennifer Bett Communications, Associate Vice President
  • Kate Ryan, Managing Director, US, Diffusion
  • Nara Sandberg, The Monday Campaigns, Marketing & Partnerships Associate
  • Divya Sangam, ValuePenguin, Global Communications Manager
  • Carola Vaisman, MSL, Account Supervisor
  • Carina Zito, 360PR+, Account Supervisor

“As an inaugural 15 Under 35 awards winner, it has been an extremely rewarding experience to be at the forefront of promoting 15 Under 35 to deserving candidates in the New York metropolitan area. The 2018 winning class is comprised of advanced young PR leaders that are now recognized as the best of the best in our highly competitive field,” says Kellie Jelencovich, Account Supervisor, MSL and Senior Director, 15 Under 35 Awards.

Appreciation to Sponsors

President’s Diversity Data Honor Roll Award

Platinum Sponsors

D S Simon Media

Silver Sponsors

GCI Health
PR Talent

Bronze Sponsor

Hunter Public Relations


Shift Communications

PRSSA Champion


PRSA-NY Ambassadors

William Doescher
Natan Edelsburg
Henry Feintuch
Alan Marcus
Sarah Passarelli Katz
Doug Simon

John W. Hill Award

Hill + Knowlton Strategies

Philip Dorf Award

Dorf Family

Best Use of Research Award

Institute for Public Relations

Friends of Big Apple

Critical Mention
Traci Brodnax

In-Kind Sponsors

Muck Rack
Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP
Missy Farren & Associates, Ltd.
Oak Leaf Photography

About the Big Apple Awards and PRSA-NY
PRSA-NY established the Big Apple Awards in 1987 to celebrate excellence in public relations. Widely regarded as one of the industry’s most prestigious accolades, the Big Apple Awards honor innovative and strategic PR campaigns and projects.  The Public Relations Society of America, New York City chapter is the industry go-to organization for knowledge and networking for communications professionals in the New York metro area. Established in 1947, PRSA-NY is one of the founding chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, the world’s largest professional organization for public relations practitioners, and the third largest PRSA local chapter in the U.S. It serves the interests of public relations professionals working in business and industry, counseling firms, government, associations, hospitals, schools, professional services firms and nonprofit organizations. Chapter board and committee members are volunteer public relations professionals who work in the New York metropolitan area. For more information, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Director, 2018 Big Apple Awards                VP of Marketing, PRSA-NY
212.736.2727                                                 212.593.6443








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