2019 Paragon Winners

The best public relations programs and tactics implemented in 2018 and early 2019 where honored today by the Public Relations Society of America’s Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter at its annual Paragon Awards. The luncheon was held at the Potawatomi Casino & Hotel.

(left to right) Lisa Todd of Laughlin Constable accepts the Best of Show Award from PRSA President Ryan Amundson with Kate Joachim of Laughlin Constable and Kristina LeVan of Travel Wisconsin

In all, 25 awards were presented for PR programs and tactics on behalf of 17 different organizations. “Influencers Have Real Fun with Travel Wisconsin,” a program by Laughlin Constable, won Best of Show, garnering a near perfect score from a panel of judges. Two PR professionals were honored in addition to the PR program and tactics awards.

Mark Maley, a longtime Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editor and most recently public affairs and communications director for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), was posthumously honored as the chapter’s 2019 Communicator of the Year. Maley, who died earlier this year, developed and implemented media strategy for the state’s first TV ad campaign for economic development. He served as the public spokesperson for the job creation and economic development agency, as well as communications liaison between WEDC and the governor’s office, other state agencies and the private sector.

Heidi Fendos of Fendos PR in Wauwatosa won the 2019 Dorothy Thomas Black Award, which recognizes sustained superior performance in public relations and is the PRSA’s highest honor. Fendos, who opened her own agency in 2003, has been involved with PRSA dating back to when she was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the early 1990s. She has been active in the chapter for the past 20 years and was the 2016 chapter president. She chairs the PRO Day for college students and is the chapter’s webmaster. She has also been the professional advisor to the UW-Whitewater PRSSA Chapter for 10 years.

Winning Awards of Excellence for public relations tactics: • Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism – A Tail of PR Success (events and observances), BVK • Harambee Neighborhood Cleanup (events and observances), Zizzo Group • Travel Wisconsin Fall Video Media Kit (press kit), Laughlin Constable • Travel Wisconsin Beer Media Kit (press kit), Laughlin Constable • Paper and Productivity in the Workplace: Custom Bubbleboxx (direct mail), CramerKrasselt • CareerForward Job Board (online communications/website), Wisconsin Dental Association • MCTS Excellence (video), Milwaukee County Transit System • Naughty Bags (other creative tactics), Cramer-Krasselt

Awards of Distinction for tactics were presented to: • Nomad Nacional Pop-Up World Cup FanZone (events and observances), Laughlin Constable • Benihana National Fried Rice Day (events and observances), Cramer-Krasselt • Bader Philanthropies 2018 Impact Report (annual report), Zizzo Group • Broan – Indoor Air Matters (social media), Cramer-Krasselt

Public relations programs recognized with Awards of Excellence: • Travel Wisconsin Snowball Media Drops (media relations), Laughlin Constable • Making the Case for UPAF: An Evening with Tucker & Eikenberry (media relations), United Performing Arts Fund • Broan-Indoor Air Matters (social media campaign), Cramer-Krasselt • Influencers Have Real Fun with Travel Wisconsin (influencer marketing), Laughlin Constable • Diverse and Resilient – Naughty Bags (issues management), Cramer-Krasselt • BelAir Cantina – #TacoBoutAMisunderstanding (crisis communication), Laughlin Constable • Travel Wisconsin – Welcome to a State of Gemutlichkeit (integrated communications), Laughlin Constable • Corteva – The Core (internal communications), Bader Rutter

Receiving Awards of Distinction for public relations programs: • Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism – A Tail of PR Success (media relations), BVK • U.S. Cellular – Connection Stage #StageWarming Concert (media relations), Laughlin Constable • TIKI Brand Social Media (social media campaign), Cramer-Krasselt • 2018 #MeToo Survey (public service), TEMPO Milwaukee • TIKI Brand Campaign (integrated communications), Cramer-Krasselt

“The breadth of entries range from local non-profit groups and government entities to large fullservice marketing agencies working for clients ranging from restaurants, philanthropic organizations and trade groups to major national brands and international travel destinations and everything in-between,” said Ryan Amundson, PRSA chapter president. “The work is judged on its merits – was the program or tactic based on research, was it creative and did it get results? The creativity and results showcased in the Paragons here in Wisconsin is on par with or better than any being done in larger markets across the country and around the world.”

Entries were judged by members of the PRSA chapter in Tulsa, Okla. on a scale of zero to 50 points based on research to guide the program or tactic; clear objectives and target audiences; comprehensive planning and budgeting; creativity and execution; and evaluation against the stated objectives. Entries garnering scores of 40-44.5 points received an Award of Distinction. Those entries with scores of 45-50 received an Award of Excellence. The PR program with the highest score earned the Best of Show award.