TUSCALOOSA, Ala.—The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations will honor six influential public relations professionals at its 12th Milestones in Mentoring Gala, at 6 p.m. CT on Nov. 3, 2022, at the Union League Club of Chicago.
This year’s honorees are:
Betsy Plank Award
Charlene Wheeless, communications expert, author and speaker, Charlene Wheeless LLC; senior advisor, APCO Worldwide
Jane Randel, social impact advisor and co-founder, Karp Randel
John “Jack” Koten Corporate Mentor
Corey duBrowa, VP, global communications and public affairs, Google
Michelle Flowers Welch, chairman and CEO, Flowers Communications Group
Bruce K. Berger Educator Mentor
Bey-Ling Sha, dean, College of Communication, California State University, Fullerton
Brandon Thomas, VP, general manager and head of DEI, PAN Communications
“We are delighted to honor the north stars of our profession. These exemplary mentors have led by example throughout their careers,” said Bridget Coffing, chair, The Plank Center Board of Advisors. “We look forward to celebrating them for their extraordinary leadership and commitment to developing the future leaders of our profession.”
The Milestones in Mentoring Gala honors public relations leaders who are dedicated to mentorship and the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion within the profession in the following categories:
Betsy Plank Award: honors 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 within their organization, community and profession.
Legacy Mentor Award: recognizes those who have touched the lives of countless public relations professionals over the course of their distinguished and exceptional careers.
John “Jack” Koten Corporate Mentor Award: recognizes public relations professionals whose roles have been central to the organizations they support and who have made a commitment to mentorship. The award is named in honor of Jack Koten, an influential public relations leader.
Agency Mentor Award: recognizes agency leaders who have been outstanding mentors in an agency setting or consulting role.
Bruce K. Berger Educator Mentor Award: honors educators who have been instrumental in mentoring students and future educators. The award is named in honor of Bruce K. Berger, an exceptional public relations leader and educator.
Emerging Leader Award: honors professionals who are up-and-coming leaders and already paying it forward.
“That the honorees are introduced and presented with the award by one of their mentees makes the evening special and inspiring,” Plank Center director Karla K. Gower said. “It is a reminder of the power of leadership through mentorship.”
The awards ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a reception at 7:00 p.m. CT.
About the Plank Center
The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations helps develop and recognize outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors to advance ethical public relations in an evolving, global society. It is the leading international resource working to support students, educators and professionals who are passionate about advancing their careers and the public relations profession. Established at The University of Alabama inn 2005, the Center is named in honor of Betsy Plank, the “First Lady” of PR. For more information, please visit plankcenter.ua.edu and follow our social media channels (@PlankCenterPR).
Karla K. Gower
Director, The Plank Center
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