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News & Press: General Announcements

PRSA-NY’s Big Apple Awards Gala 2018 Keeps Growing With a Sold Out Show

Thursday, June 14, 2018  
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By David M. Graubard

What made this year's Big Apple Awards 2018 different than last year's? Nothing and everything. Like a Broadway play getting a new cast, new personalities brought creativity content to Big Apple Awards Gala making a smashing success. On Monday, June 11th 0ver 300 guests filled the Mandarin Oriental ballroom to present nearly 100 awards. Rather than recipients, grabbing and dashing with their awards, the winners sharing tips from their success kept hundreds of PR pros to the close of Gala.

See how much fun guests had with the SmugMug photo booth

Volunteers stepped up to make an unforgettable evening at the Mandarin on June 11th. PRSA-NY President Sharon Fenster eloquently shared, to a supportive audience, that diversity and inclusion is not an option anymore. Hewlett Packard’s diversity and inclusion executive echoed Sharon’s call to action on stage that by sharing data creates real change.

Here's what past PRSA-NY President, Henry Feintuch said about the Big Apple Awards 2018 Gala:“This year’s Big Apple gala at the Mandarin Oriental crackled with excitement. The sold-out crowd reflected the gorgeous mosaic that is New York and our profession – women, men, people of color, students, big agency practitioners, academics, small agencies, sole practitioners, Hispanics, Asians and so many more. It was especially exciting to see this year’s 15 Under 35 class – an inspiring group of young pros”

Incorporating 15 Under 35 fully into the Gala was gave powerful energy to the night as did the format of each recipient sharing a career tip that is moving them forward.

Reflecting on the energy of the 15 Under 35 addition to the Gala, Kate Ryan, Managing Director at Diffusion PR said: “To be in such amazing company (other award winners) made it feel extraordinary, and being recognized in front of the entire NYC PR community at the Big Apple Awards was the icing on the cake.”

Kate's professional tip to the audience: “Never forget to say thank you!”

"Becoming a 15 Under 35 awardee at Monday's Big Apple Gala was an incredibly emotional experience for me. It was wonderful to see how far I've come since I started my PR career, ” said Divya Sangam at ValuePenquin.”I started from scratch in a new country four years ago and to reminisce about how much the ValuePenguin brand has grown in the time I've been there as their Communications Manager.”

Divya’s professional tip to the audience: “Listen to everybody.”

A touching part of the awards each Big Apple Awards Gala are the three Chapter Awards for outstanding service. PRSA-NY presented the 2018 awards for individual achievement by public relations practitioners to Roger Bolton, Shelley J. Spector, and Olga González.

- Bolton, president of the Arthur W. Page Society, will receive The John W. Hill Award for outstanding lifetime achievement in public relations

- Spector, president, Spector & Associates, will receive The Philip Dorf Award for leadership and mentorship

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

20 new categories added to the 2018 Big Apple Awards added to the excitement of the night. Three standout categories were: (1) the President's Data Diversity Award, (2) In-house communications, and (3) media coverage of the industry.

In-house communications teams. Agencies of all sizes and independent PR experts across the New York metro were recognized this year. Members were felt thrilled to see PRSA-NY branch to identify in-house teams as well as big agencies. ”It’s time in-house communication team's got the chance to participate in the Big Apple Awards. We are also excited to see this award category grow in the years to come, ” said Kate Ryan, Managing Director at Diffusion PR.

President's Diversity Data Award. PRSA-NY, among others, looks forward to more agencies to join our Diversity Champions Honor Roll. Our inaugural 2018 trailblazers are Finn Partners, Hunter PR, and Zeno Group.

This is “an award that 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,” said PRSA-NY President Sharon Fenster. “ The President’s Diversity Data Honor Roll recognizes agencies, corporations, and institutions that have had the courage and the foresight to step up and submit their diversity data.”

Media coverage of the PR industry. Bill O'Dwyer from the O'dwyer PR News accepted this award presented by President-Elect Doug Simon. Doug said it was a humbling moment in his career to deliver the award to vital industry publication.

The 2018 Best of the Best Big Apple Award concluded the evening with a win by MBooth for their “Pair Up JCPenney!” campaign. All 100+ campaign and spotlight award winners were considered for the evening’s highest honor 

We hope to see you next year at the 2019 Big Apple Awards Gala.


The Public Relations Society of America, New York City chapter is the go-to industry 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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