The Plank Center Honors Six Influential Industry Mentors

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations will honor six influential leaders on their commitment to mentoring during an induction ceremony at the Union League Club of Chicago Thursday, Nov. 7.

Congratulations to this year’s honorees:

  • Rich Jernstedt, President & CEO, The Jernstedt Company, and past executive leader with Golin, FleishmanHillard and Porter Novelli
    Legacy Award
  • Matthew Harrington, Global 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

“From academia to the C-suite, we’re pleased to recognize leaders who have displayed a world-class commitment to mentoring,” said Keith Burton, chair of the Plank Center and principal and founder of Grayson Emmett Partners. “Excellent leaders in public relations lead by example, and these dynamic mentors are true examples of the positive impact and influence one can have on individuals, organizations and communities.”

The Center’s “Milestones in Mentoring” Gala honors 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.

Selected by a committee, the Gala awards honorees in the following categories:

  • Legacy Award: Individuals who have touched the lives of countless public relations professionals over the course of their distinguished and exceptional careers.
  • Agency Award: Outstanding mentors in an agency setting or consulting role.
  • Emerging Leader Award: Up-and-coming young professionals already paying it forward.
  • Bruce K. Berger Educator Award: Educators who through mentoring have touched the lives and careers of countless public relations students.
  • John “Jack” Koten Corporate Award: Mentors whose professional public relations roles have been internal to their organizations.
  • Betsy Plank Award: Exemplary professionals who are in a class by themselves through their lifetime commitment to mentoring and their profound impact on others, who in turn, have gone on to generate influence and foster relationships with their organization, community and profession.

Tickets and tables of 10 can be purchased on the Center’s Milestones in Mentoring webpage.

About the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations is the leading international resource working to support students, educators and practitioners who are passionate about the public relations profession by developing and recognizing outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors. Founded in 2005, the Center honors Betsy Plank, the first lady of PR. Betsy’s legacy and vision continues on in the Center’s programs and initiatives to advance the profession and public relations education. For more information, please visit


For further information: Jessika White, 205-348-7250