Milestones in Mentoring Gala


As the leading international resource on leadership for public relations practitioners, educators and students, The Plank Center recognizes and promotes the critical role mentors play in helping to develop leaders and advance the profession. In 2010 the Center established the “Milestones in Mentoring Awards” to honor leaders throughout the profession who, by word and deed, have demonstrated a superior commitment to mentoring others, and who are committed to accelerating the success of others in the field.

Congrats to the 2019 Honorees:

  • Rich Jernstedt, President & CEO, The Jernstedt Company, and past executive leader with Golin, FleishmanHillard and Porter Novelli
    Legacy Award
  • Matthew Harrington, Global President and Chief Operating Officer, Edelman
    Agency Award
  • Cheryl Sanclemente, Senior Director of Corporate PR, Salesforce
    Emerging Leader Award
  • Dr. David Dozier, Professor Emeritus, School of Journalism & Media Studies, San Diego State University
    Bruce K. Berger Educator Award
  • Kelly McGinnis, SVP and Chief Communications Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.
    Jack Koten Corporate Award
  • Kim Hunter, CEO, LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS; Chairman & CEO of The LAGRANT Foundation; and Managing Partner of KLH & Associates
    Betsy Plank Award

Photos: Here is the link to the 2019 Gala photos.

Honoree Speeches:


Save the Date: Nov. 5, 2020 at the Union League Club of Chicago

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 “Milestones in Mentoring” Host Committee or The Plank Center Advisory Board:

  • Legacy: Recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to mentoring others and who, through their mentoring, have touched the lives of countless public relations professionals over the course of their distinguished and exceptional careers.
  • Agency: Recognizes agency leaders who have been outstanding mentors in an agency setting or consulting role.
  • Emerging Leader: Honors young professionals who are up-and-coming leaders and already paying it forward, while also providing reverse mentorship to more senior professionals.
  • Educator: Honoring Dr. Bruce K. Berger, Professor Emeritus, Advertising and Public Relations Department, The University of Alabama, this award recognizes individuals who are, or have been, full-time educators who through mentoring have touched the lives and careers of countless students, whether in the classroom, in student-run firms and pre-professional societies (e.g., PRSSA) and/or in scholarly endeavors.
  • Corporate: The Jack Koten Corporate Mentoring Award honors this influential public relations leader, and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to mentoring others. Honorees’ professional public relations roles have been internal to the organizations they support, and could include positions in corporate, military or non-profit entities.
  • Executive: recognizes non-public relations executives who make mentoring part of their leadership strategy, who encourage active mentoring at all levels of their organizations, and who recognize the critical role public relations professionals play in the organizations’ success.
  • Betsy Plank: The Betsy Plank Mentoring Award honors exemplary professionals who are in a class by themselves. This award is given only to those who have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to mentoring and have had a profound impact on others, who in turn, have gone on to generate influence and foster relationships with their organization, community and profession.

Meet the Honorees

The Plank Center has had the great privilege of honoring professionals who have mentored thousands of public relations professionals. Meet the mentors who advanced the profession through leadership and mentorship.

Resources of Interest

The Plank Center is committed to helping you expand your skills and advance the practice of public relations.