Minnesota PRSA Honors “Best of the Best” at 2023 Classics Awards


By The Minneapolis Egotist / /

Local Companies, Agencies and Professionals Honored for Outstanding Work in PR

The Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) held its 2023 Classics Awards event at the International Market Square on May 4th. The annual awards honor public relations professionals and organizations that have demonstrated exceptional skill and creativity in addressing a communication challenge or planning and executing a PR campaign or program.

“I was so pleased to recognize and celebrate the excellent work being done across our chapter by members from corporate, agency, government and non-profit sectors,” said Ben Saukko, APR, President of Minnesota PRSA. “I am honored to be a part of a great professional organization that fosters exceptional, ethical work and diversity in our field. Our members elevate the professional standards of communications in our local area.”

The event was hosted by Dave Mona, local PR and broadcasting legend, and his former business partner and current U of M Hubbard School instructor Scott Meyer. The hosts were joined by special guest presenters including Minnesota PRSA past presidents and other current and past practitioners.

A total of 25 awards were presented, including the Best of Show Award, the Donald G. Padilla Community Excellence Award, the Rising Star Award, 20 awards for outstanding programs and tactical execution, two student awards and several scholarships.

Best of Show Award
Carmichael Lynch Relate took home this year’s Best of Show Award for its Frigo Cheese Heads Empowers Tweens to Embrace Individuality campaign with the highest overall score.

Donald G. Padilla Community Excellence Award
Candee Wolf, APR, founder/principal of Wolf Olsen Communications, was the recipient of the Donald G. Padilla Community Excellence Award recognizing individuals who demonstrate leadership in the profession, support PRSA’s mission and volunteer in the local community. Wolf is a former Minnesota PRSA chapter president who currently serves as the chapter’s Ethics Officer and also chaired last year’s highly successful PRSA Midwest District Conference. She selected ACLU of Minnesota and Planned Parenthood North Central States to each receive a $500 donation from PRSA.

Rising Star Award
Julie Goulette, Assistant Account Executive, Bellmont Partners received this year’s Rising Star Award, which honors a young professional with 3-7 years of experience that has demonstrated commitment to the profession and high potential for future success.

Elements Awards
The following organizations received awards in various categories for outstanding execution of PR tactics:

– Carmichael Lynch Relate: Influencer Engagement to Expand Awareness, Social Media Promotion Programs, Content Marketing, and Social Content categories
– Curious Plot: Speech and Public Relations Writing category
– Exponent PR: Newsletters and Media Relations (Budget Less Than $20,000) categories
– Neuger: Special Purpose Publications, Multimedia and Digital Execution categories
– Padilla: Media Relations

Program Awards
The following organizations received awards in various categories for outstanding PR programs and campaigns:

– AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy: Reputation/Brand Management category
– Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union with Haberman- Marketing Products (Consumer) category
– Carmichael Lynch Relate: Integrated Programs (Consumer Products and Services) category
– Curious Plot: Marketing Products (B2B) category
– Neuger: Public Services category
– Padilla: Events (Budget Greater than $5,000), Community Relations, Integrated Programs (Government/Non-Profit), and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion categories

Student Classics Awards
The following students received awards for demonstrating specific PR competences:

– Giovanna Contreras, Bethel University: News/Feature Writing
– Lily Yegge, Bethel University: PR Campaigns

Dr. Willard Thompson Scholarship Awards
Peyton Buerman from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Rachel Klinker from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire received scholarships from the Dr. Willard Thompson Scholarship program that recognizes students who excel in the study of public relations and communications.


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