PRSA Chapter Honors 2016 Edward L. Bernays Award Winners

More than 200 public relations professionals attended the Edward L. Bernays Mark of Excellence Awards Ceremony tonight, hosted by the San Diego / Imperial Counties Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA SD/IC). At the “Navigating Uncharted Waters” themed banquet, attendees were dazzled by the downtown San Diego skyline, which served as a backdrop to the cocktail reception on San Diego Bay. They then navigated through a three-course meal at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse where more 55 winners were announced and presented with Silver and Bronze Bernays Awards. Emcees for the event were April Bolduc, plug-in electric vehicle program manager for San Diego Gas & Electric, and Dan Hom, CEO and president of Focuscom Inc.

“The Bernays Awards recognize the exceptional work of our market’s practitioners, who also move our industry forward,” said Blake Nelson, APR, president of PRSA SD/IC and president of My Sage PR. “As PR professionals, we spend most of our time behind the scenes, seeking accolades for our clients, not ourselves. So it’s nice to be recognized for all the hard work and dedication we put into these creative campaigns and tactics.”

Named after Edward L. Bernays, the “father of public relations,” the awards were open to all agencies and organizations in San Diego and Imperial counties. They recognize the finest public relations campaigns and tactics in a range of categories including media relations, community relations and public affairs.

The Bernays Awards are divided into two categories—Silver, honoring entire public relations campaigns, and Bronze, honoring PR tactics. Silver Bernays assessments included research, planning, execution and evaluation of a campaign or program. Bronze Bernays recognized outstanding public relations tactics, consisting of individual items or components of programs or campaigns. Members of the Mississippi Chapter of PRSA judged all award entries.

Allison+Partners took home the most awards with 10 Bernays including four Bronze, four Silver and two Best of Show Bernays for perfect 80/80 scoring on each. MJE Marketing took home nine Bernays including five Bronze and four Silver.

Three special awards were also presented to individuals who made exemplary contributions to the public relations and San Diego communities.

These included New Pro of the Year, Lidiya Kravchuk, senior account executive at Southwest Strategies and the Diogenes Award winner, Liz Maland, city clerk for the City of San Diego.

In one of the most highlighted moments of the night, Diane Gage Lofgren, APR, chief marketing officer for Sharp Healthcare, was surprised with being awarded the Otto Bos Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes an experienced practitioner for lifetime achievement in the public relations arena. Nominated by her peers, Lofgren’s 30+ year career in public relations was celebrated as she leads communications efforts nationwide and has been recognized locally and nationally for campaigns that have had internal and community impact for Sharp Healthcare. As a PRSA Fellow and leader locally and nationally through PRSA, she maintains the highest ethical standards in the industry and continues to mentor both professional peers and students. For the difference that Lofgren makes by giving her time, talent and treasure to a variety of causes, PRSA SD/IC is proud to award her with this lifetime achievement.

The event ended with the Best of Show Award winners, recognizing the highest and perfect 80/80 scores among the Silver and Bronze entries. Winners included Allison+Partners, San Diego County Water Authority’s Public Outreach and Conservation Department, and Nuffer, Smith, Tucker.

For information about award re-orders and event photos, click here.



Click here for the list
of award winners



The San Diego chapter was founded in 1959 by six local PR professionals. More than 50 years later, the chapter has expanded to include Imperial County and has grown to its current membership of approximately 300 members. The chapter maintains a broad range of professional development activities and has members representing a wide range of experience levels, and practice areas including corporate, agency, government, nonprofit and education. PRSA San Diego/Imperial Counties is one of more than 100 chapters within the Public Relations Society of America, the largest organization in the world for public relations professionals.


PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 111 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 320 colleges and universities.

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