The Public Relations Society of America San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter celebrated the 2023 Edward L. Bernays Awards on October 26, honoring some of the region’s outstanding public relations professionals. The winners were announced at the ceremony held at San Diego State University Alumni Center.

The theme of this year’s event was “The Best of San Diego & Imperial Counties,” which served as an homage to the excellent work our local public relations community produces year after year.

The Silver and Bronze Bernays Awards are presented annually to recognize public relations programs and tactics incorporating research, planning, creativity, technical excellence and evaluation.

In addition to presenting 70 awards, the chapter celebrated its annual Special Awards winners:

The PRSA SD/IC 2023 Diogenes Award was presented to Christynne Lili Wrene Wood, the transgender woman who championed LGBTQ+ rights alongside the YMCA of Santee. As the award nomination states, “The Diogenes Award is named after the ancient Greek philosopher who carried a lantern through the streets of Athens, searching for an honest man. This award recognizes a local newsmaker who has demonstrated a remarkable and commendable understanding of the need for candor when dealing with the public and the news media, regardless of any potential negative outcome from the resulting publicity.”

The night also featured a keynote from Scott Pansky, co-founder of Allison (former Allison+Partners) and SDSU graduate, on the importance of mentorship and his new children’s book, “Playing Together in the Sandbox.”

The Student Bernays Awards were presented to current students within the San Diego and Imperial Counties for demonstrating outstanding strategic thought and planning. The first place award went to students who created a PR campaign for Culture Shock® San Diego, and the second place nod was for the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations’ 6th Annual Center Lecture.

The San Diego/Imperial Counties PRSA chapter is one of 100 across the United States. It was founded in San Diego in 1959 and later expanded to include Imperial County. The award entries were judged by the South Carolina Chapter of PRSA and volunteers.

The awards are named after Edward L. Bernays referred to as the “father of public relations.” Entries for the Bernays Awards must meet the highest performance standards, and winning entries demonstrate creative vision and capture the best of our profession.

The Bernays include one Excellence Award and up to two Merit Awards in each category, unless there is a tie.

For a full list of winners and photo gallery, visit

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Written by: PRSA SD/IC

Posted on: October 27, 2023

PRSA SD/IC is one of more than 100 chapters within the Public Relations Society of America, the world’s largest and foremost organization of public relations professionals.

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