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.

The Gala is officially sold out. We look forward to celebrating a night of mentoring with our 300+ guests. Below are more details on the evening:

Date: October 25, 2018
5:30 – 9:00 p.m. (The evening begins with a one-hour cocktail reception followed by dinner and the awards ceremony.)
Location: Union League Club, Chicago
Dress Code: Business professional. Attendees will need to check their coats on the first floor. Here is the link to last year’s photos to give you a better idea of the venue, attire and overall evening.
Parking & Transportation: The Union League Club offers valet and self-parking. Here is the link for more details on parking rates and directions.

Meet the 2018 Honorees

Congratulations to the following mentors who are so deserving of this recognition:

  • Legacy: Bob Feldman, Partner & Co-founder, PulsePoint Group
  • Corporate: Bob Jimenez, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cox Enterprises
  • Agency: Dale Bornstein, CEO, M Booth
  • Educator: Cathy Rogers, Ph.D., APR, Shawn M. Donnelley Professor of Nonprofit Communications, Loyola University New Orleans
  • Emerging Leader: Eric Winkfield, Public Affairs Manager, Pepco, an Exelon Company
  • Executive: Gregg Sherrill, Executive Chairman, Tenneco
  • Betsy Plank: Tom Burrell, Founder, Burrell Communications


The Gala would not be possible without the generous support of the following organizations and individuals:


  • Alkermes

Betsy Plank

  • General Motors
  • Tenneco


  • Allstate
  • Bill Nielsen
  • Burrell Communications
  • Cox Enterprises
  • Dover Foundation
  • Edelman
  • Gagen MacDonald
  • Grainger
  • Heyman Associates
  • M Booth
  • Navistar
  • PulsePoint Group
  • SAP


  • Astellas Pharma
  • Brunswick Group
  • Burson Cohn & Wolfe
  • Discover
  • Dr. Bruce K. Berger
  • Flowers Communications Group
  • Golin
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Ketchum
  • Mars Wrigley Confectionery
  • Options Clearing Corp.
  • Weber Shandwick

Additional Supporters

  • ConAgra Brands
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies
  • upper 90 consulting

Student Sponsors

  • Pat Ford
  • Ron DeFeo
  • Gary McCormick
  • Alicia Thompson
  • Sally Benjamin Young

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.

Previous honorees:

We’ve had the privilege of honoring 56 professionals who have mentored countless generations of public relations professionals. Get to know our honorees.

Resources of Interest

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