The city’s top communicators were recognized for their outstanding achievements at the Greater Fort Worth Public Relations Society of America 2019 Worthy Awards dinner Nov. 7.
A total of 58 awards were handed out at the eighth annual celebration, including 32 Awards of Excellence, 16 Awards of Achievement, and 10 Worthy Awards – the chapter’s highest honor. The awards recognize the best in strategic communications programs and tactics practiced by professionals and students in the greater Fort Worth area, according to a news release.
Balcom Agency earned the Best of Show nod from judges from the East Central District PRSA chapter in Ohio for its work with the James L. West Dementia Care Center, and also won a Worthy for its PARC Integrated campaign. Other Worthy winners in the Programs category include PAVLOV Agency for its social media and special event PR campaigns for the MAIN ST. Arts Festival, and The S & G Group, in partnership with Fort Worth ISD and Texas Wesleyan University.
In the Tactics category, Worthy awards went to J.O. for Media Relations/News Release, Balcom for External Video and Website, Fort Worth ISD for Internal Video, and PAVLOV for Social Media. Students at Texas Christian University took home an Award of Excellence for Diversity in Public Relations.
“Once a year we come together to celebrate and honor the hard work that takes place daily by Fort Worth area public relations professionals,” said Public Relations Society President Beth Lamb. “These top communicators have a direct impact on our communities by helping businesses and nonprofits achieve their goals. Great work is happening where we live; congratulations to all awardees.”
Communicator of the Year
Each year, the Greater Fort Worth Public Relations Society of America recognizes a community member outside the public relations profession who demonstrates leadership and effective communication when involved in a major event or issue affecting the greater Fort Worth region. This year’s award went to Mary-Margaret Lemons, president of Fort Worth Housing Solutions.
As the leader of the city’s independent housing authority, Lemons has worked to build and maintain support for deconcentrating low-income housing in Fort Worth. She was recognized for leading the charge for affordable housing by cultivating relationships with Fort Worth City Council, senior city staff, officials at Housing and Urban Development, as well as social service agencies and private developers.
Previous honorees include Kent Scribner, Fort Worth ISD superintendent; Paul Paine, Near Northside Inc. president; Robert Earley, JPS President and CEO; Patsy Thomas, former president Mental Health Connection; Walter Danby, former Fort Worth ISD Superintendent; Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price; and former Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns.
PRSA Professional of the Year
Michelle Gutt, the communications and public engagement director for the City of Fort Worth, is the recipient of the inaugural Douglas Ann Newsom Professional of the Year Award. The newly introduced honor recognizes Public Relations Society members who have made significant and outstanding achievement in the profession.
Gutt has more than 25 years of marketing and public relations experience in government, corporate and nonprofit work, and currently leads communications efforts for a diverse city-wide audience. Among many accomplishments, Gutt was recognized for her work developing a robust communications plan for the city’s Race and Culture Task Force, launching the MyFW customer service app for the city, and developing and launching an extensive internal communications plan surrounding the city’s pension vote earlier this year.
Worthy Award sponsors included Bell, Ronald McDonald House Fort Worth, DFW Airport, TCU Bob Schieffer College of Communication, Balcom Agency, Pavlov Agency, Crown Printing, Fort Worth Business Press, Fort Worth Magazine, Becky Escher Design and Lea Rhea Photography.