Thomas Jefferson Award for Excellence

Each year, PRSA Richmond recognizes the extraordinary achievement of a seasoned public relations practitioner working in the Greater Richmond metropolitan region with the chapter’s highest honor—the Thomas Jefferson Award for Excellence in Public Relations.

Winners of the Thomas Jefferson Award exemplify the best in the profession and are honored at the Virginia Public Relations Awards.

There is no fee to submit a nomination for the Thomas Jefferson Award. The deadline for nominations is the same as that of the Virginia Public Relations Awards, and the chapter accepts both self-nominations as well as nominations from colleagues.

Selection Criteria

Thomas Jefferson Award recipients are selected by a panel of their peers. While it is not necessary to demonstrate excellence in every category, nominees are assessed based on the criteria below on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 signifying excellence).

Considerations include, but are not limited to:

Participation in PRSA

  • Is the nominee a member of PRSA Richmond?
  • Have they held board positions?
  • Do they attend or participate in PRSA meetings, conferences, workshops or special events?
  • Have they won awards within PRSA?

Contributions to the profession of public relations

  • Have they published articles or books about PR?
  • Do they speak about regional/national topics that touch the field?
  • Are they shaping the conversation at the local/national/international level?
  • Are they an innovator in the field?

Local or national recognition for professional achievements

  • How have their companies/organizations benefited from their professional experience?
  • Has their leadership resulted in ongoing success for their business?
  • Are there metrics associated with their success?

A commitment to public service

  • Have they completed pro bono work in their field?
  • Do they lend their expertise to local or national nonprofit organizations or professional associations?
  • Do they sit on any boards?

Mentorship of young practitioners

  • Have they given time and talent to empower others or promote younger practitioners’ professional growth?
  • Have they helped with diversity initiatives?
  • Have they taught classes?
  • Helped with APR readiness?
  • Served as a formal or informal mentor/advisor?

Pursuit of continuing education in the field

  • Have they received their APR or other forms of accreditation or certification?
  • Have they pursued a master’s or doctorate in the field of public relations?

Professional awards

  • Have they received any other awards or honors in the field of public relations?
  • In their industries?

As part of the Thomas Jefferson Award, PRSA Richmond makes a $1,000 donation to the local charity of the recipient’s choice.

More Information

Contact Meg Irvin, chair of the chapter’s individual awards, at