PRSA Awards: Individual Awards Judging Criteria Unveiled

by Kelsey Leavey, PRSA Richmond Individual Awards Chair

“The glamor, the glitz! The media relations hits! It’s the P-R-S-A Awards!”

This little jingle from my colleague and former PRSA Richmond President, Cameron McPherson, APR, always renews my excitement for the Virginia Public Relations Awards. We recently shared “How to Decide What Work to Submit for the Awards” and I’m here to encourage you to consider who to submit for the awards. Odds are you know someone who would make a great fit for the two individuals recognized at the Virginia Public Relations Awards.

Each year we recognize two outstanding individuals – the Thomas Jefferson Award of Excellence and the Rising Star Award. Having been a former recipient of the Rising Star Award, I can say there is something extremely special about being recognized by your colleagues, mentors and peers in your chosen profession.

There is no cost to submit an application for either of the individual awards. And this year, we posted the judging criteria for the TJ Award and Rising Star Award to make things more transparent. The first deadline for entries is quickly approaching on February 28th, but you have until Monday, March 9th to submit your nominee.


Thomas Jefferson Award of Excellence

Do you know PR professional who….

  • Has been an active PRSA Richmond member?
  • Has made significant contributions to the profession of public relations (think: published articles or served as a speaker about PR topics)?
  • Has been recognized for their leadership and/or success as a PR practitioner?
  • Has shown a commitment to public service?
  • Has mentored young practitioners?
  • Has pursued continuing education in the field?

Winners from the past five years include: Beth Monroe, APR, Beth A. Hardy, APR, Josh Dare, Mike Mulvihill, APR and Suzanne Hall.

Rising Star Award

Do you know PR professional who…

  • Has five or fewer years of professional experience?
  • Has shown early career success that indicate future leadership in the PR field?
  • Has produced outstanding work?
  • Embodies the values of PRSA?
  • Has shown a commitment to community and volunteer service?
  • Is enthusiastic and exemplifies cooperation and teamwork?

Winners from the past five years include: Vera Magdeeva, Kelsey Leavey, Blake Mirzayan, Alexis Rodgers and Jay Ell Alexander.

What to gather on behalf of your nominee:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • List of awards/recognitions
  • Examples of PRSA involvement
  • Examples of volunteer/community service

Note: These are suggestions, not requirements, other relevant documentation will also be considered.

Resubmitting an individual with updated materials, is encouraged – not discouraged.

If you have questions about either of the individual awards or your submission please contact me at!