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Chapter Individual Awards
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In addition to recognizing outstanding team accomplishments, the Big Apple Awards also honors exceptional achievements by individual public relations practitioners. Two of the awards that are presented are: the Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring Award for mentorship and the John W. Hill Award for professional achievement. These awards are open for nomination by members of PRSA-NY; a third award is named by the Chapter’s president.

In 2019, the honorees are:

  • Henry Feintuch, President, Feintuch Communications, who will receive the President’s Award;
  • Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, President + Founder, Germinder + Associates, Inc., who will receive the Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring Award
  • Andy Polansky, Chief Executive Officer, Weber Shandwick, who will receive the John W. Hill Award.

Following a public nomination period, a committee of esteemed PR industry executives presents its recommendations to the chapter’s leadership for confirmation and endorsement. Descriptions of the awards, along with criteria and a list of past award recipients, can be found below.

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. A recommendation for the 2020 honoree will be made by a selection committee to the PRSA-NY Board of Directors.

Andy Polansky, Chief Executive Officer, Weber Shandwick

Andy Polansky is Chief Executive Officer of Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading public relations firms with offices in 79 cities across a network extending to 129 cities around the world. Andy was named CEO in November 2012 after serving as global president since March 2004.

A leader in the public relations and marketing service industries, Andy has delivered outstanding results for hundreds of companies around the globe. Under his direction, Weber Shandwick was twice named to the prestigious Advertising Age Agency A-List and most recently featured as an A-List “Standout” Agency in 2017 and 2018. Weber Shandwick also was PRWeek’s Global Agency of the Year four years in a row (2015 to 2018) and The Holmes Report‘s Global Agency of the Year in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Andy has a deep passion for client service and collaboration. He led the development of Weber Shandwick’s Client Relationship Leader program, which was featured as a Harvard Business School case study.

Andy serves on the McCann Worldgroup Board and on the executive committee of Interpublic’s Constituency Management Group (CMG), which includes firms that work collaboratively across sports, entertainment, experiential and digital marketing, strategic branding, market research, public relations, public affairs and management consulting.

To drive the firm’s commitment to pro bono work, Andy spearheaded the development of Making an Impact, encompassing community outreach programs that Weber Shandwick supports globally. In addition, Andy serves on the Board of Directors for The Ad Council and serves on the Board of Trustees for the VNA Health Group, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit independent providers of home health, hospice and community-based care.

Andy received The Holmes Report’s Individual Achievement Award in 2016 and has been a fixture on PRWeek’s Power List for several years. He also was named PRWeek’s Global Professional of the Year (Agency) in 2015 and appointed to the PR News Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2014, Andy received the prestigious Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations’ Milestones in Mentoring Award in recognition of his people-centric leadership and long-standing personal commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Andy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and sits on the TCNJ Foundation Board of Directors. In 2015, Andy received the Alumni Citation Award, which is bestowed upon an alumnus who has shown exceptional pride and commitment to the college and has served as a positive role model after graduation.


2018     Roger Bolton
2017     Al Golin
2016     Grace Leong
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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Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring Award

The Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring Award (previously the Dorf Award) honors individuals who lead, guide and selflessly counsel and stimulate the careers of PR professionals.

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 2020 honoree will be made by a selection committee to the PRSA-NY Board of Directors.

Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, President + Founder, Germinder + Associates, Inc.

Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow, PRSA is President & Founder of Germinder + Associates, Inc., a New York City and Kansas City based public relations firm and publisher of niche digital platforms.

She’s known as a business leader who asks, “What’s next?” Germinder’s entrepreneurial spirit combined with her knack for award-winning campaigns including the iconic “Pets Need Dental Care, Too” for a division of Colgate, led her to launch Germinder & Associates, Inc. in 1998.

Her interest in leveraging the Internet as a communications channel led to the creation and publishing of in 2000, now a sought-after digital platform. She has extended the site’s reach via social media and under the trademarked gnfp moniker GNFP Digital.

From the beginning of her career, Germinder both sought mentors and mentees. She has mentored dozens of students and young to mid-level professionals through her internal Germinder Giving Back program, given back through the Germinder20 Power of Pink program, through PRSA and community involvement.

As a result of these initiatives and her business success, she was named a national Honoree for Enterprising Women and was named Top 25 "Women Who Mean Business" by the Kansas City Business Journal and the Kauffman Foundation.

Germinder began her career as a marketing coordinator at a sales promotion agency, held an assistant vice president position at a financial institution and helped grow two agency profit-centers before launching her own firm.

She and her teams have won dozens of awards, including the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvil Award of Excellence and the American Animal Hospital Association's Gold Key Award.

Germinder is an accredited Fellow of PRSA, a former national director of PRSA, a former national trustee of the PRSA Foundation and served as PRSA Midwest District chair, Tri-State chair-elect, and president of the PRSA New York City and Kansas City chapters. She is a member of the Counselor’s Academy and a member of the PRSA-NY Past-Presidents Council.

She is also is also a member of New York Women in Communications and the Publicity Club.

Germinder earned a bachelor of Communication Arts degree from the University of Dayton and was the PRSSA student public relations director for the University of Dayton chapter.


2018     Shelley Spector
2017     Mike Fernandez
2016     Joe Cohen
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 William

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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 2020 honoree will be selected solely by the current chapter president.

Henry Feintuch, President, Feintuch Communications

Henry Feintuch is a senior communications practitioner and former broadcast journalist with more than 30 years of experience providing counsel to organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 1000 companies. He has worked with corporations and associations in a broad range of sectors including IT, telecommunications/wireless, energy, e-commerce/ interactive services, advertising and market research, media and publishing, financial services and consumer electronics and specializes in domestic and international tech start-ups.

Feintuch founded Feintuch Communications, a strategic relations consultancy, in January 2009. He is also the co-founder of JumpStart Global Advisors, a next generation business consultancy providing business start-up services to companies seeking to internationalize into other markets. In addition, he serves as CFO of PR World Alliance, an international network of premier independent communication firms.

Prior to founding Feintuch Communications, he was managing partner, public relations, at KCSA. For more than 22 years, Feintuch ran campaigns for Arbitron, IEEE, International Paper, BellSouth and many domestic and international emerging companies. He also created the firm’s tech and advertising and media practices.

Previously, he served as director, corporate communications for Scanvest Ring; and served in account management at Booke & Company and Paul Kaufman Associates. Early in his career, Feintuch served as news assignment editor for WCBS-TV in New York City.  He was also a reporter and news announcer for radio stations WTTM-AM, WMTR-AM and WDHA-FM and served as a professional scout executive with Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America. 

Feintuch is a long-term active member of PRSA. He was chair of the PRSA national technology section. For the New York Chapter, he served on the board of directors for six years including two years as programming vice president and then as president in 2014. He continues to support numerous chapter initiatives including running programs and acting as a judge for the Big Apple, Silver Anvil and PRSSA Bateman competitions.

Feintuch earned his bachelor’s degree in TV and radio from Brooklyn College, CUNY.  He resides in Elmsford, N.Y. with his wife Alice. The Feintuchs have two sons, Josh and Alex, and an outspoken dusky conure.


2018     Olga González
2017     Joan Cear

2016     Art Stevens

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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