Milestones in Mentoring Awards

The Milestones in Mentoring Awards, established in 2010, seek to honor those who lead by example, modeling the way through two-way communication and exemplary behaviors. Please join us as we honor six industry leaders and recognize their commitment to leading by example.

As the leading international resource for public relations practitioners, educators, and students, The Plank Center is committed to developing the next generation of leaders and advancing the profession. It is our honor to recognize six leaders whose commitment to mentoring generates a powerhouse of influence and accelerates success in our profession.

Save the Date: October 25, 2018

Join us as we relive the 2017 momentous occasion.

2017 Honorees

  • Legacy: Bill Nielsen, Corporate Vice President, Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, Johnson & Johnson (Emeritus)
  • Corporate: Jeff Winton, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs & CCO, Astellas Pharma
  • Agency: Grace Leong, CEO & Partner, Hunter Public Relations
  • Educator: Dr. Linda Hon, Professor, Department of Public Relations, The University of Florida
  • Executive: Cheryl Bachelder, CEO, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (Emeritus)
  • Emerging Leader: Megan Newhouse, Director of Culture Communications, GE

2017 Sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors for your generosity and continued support for the 8th Annual “Milestones in Mentoring” Gala.

 Betsy Plank Premium Sponsor

  • General Motors

Platinum Sponsors

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • Astellas Pharma
  • Burson-Marsteller
  • Dover Foundation
  • Edelman
  • Gagen MacDonald
  • Golin
  • Heyman Associates
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Navistar

Silver Sponsors

  • ACCO Brand
  • Astellas Pharma
  • Bruce K. Berger, Ph.D.
  • Brunswick Group
  • Chevron
  • Conagra Brands
  • Ron Culp
  • Discover
  • FleishmanHillard
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies
  • IBM
  • Lundbeck
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Tenneco
  • United Airlines
  • Weber Shandwick

About the Awards

The Awards are presented at a dinner held each fall in Chicago. Honorees are selected in six categories by their peers, the Honoring Milestones in Mentoring Host Committee or The Plank Center Advisory Board:

  • Legacy: recognizes those who have touched the lives of countless public relations professionals over the course of their exceptional careers.
  • Agency: recognizes those who have been outstanding mentors in an agency.
  • Emerging Leader: honors young professionals who are up-and-coming leaders who are already paying it forward.
  • Educator: goes to educators who have been instrumental in mentoring students and future educators. This award is named in honor of Dr. Bruce K. Berger, an exceptional public relations leader and educator.
  • Corporate: recognizes corporate communication professionals for mentorship. This award is named in honor of John “Jack” Koten, an influential corporate public relations leader.
  • Executive: honors executives who exemplify the concept of mentorship.

Previous honorees:

We’ve had the privilege of honoring more than 40 professionals who have paved the way for countless generations of public relations professionals. Get to know our previous honorees.



Follow the day devoted to the "Milestones in Mentoring" Gala, honoring six public relations leaders on their commitment to mentoring, via #PlankMentor.