Six inspiring leaders of the public relations profession were inducted into the PRWeek Hall of Fame last night during a dinner celebration at the Grand Hyatt in New York. Each leader has contributed greatly to the success and advancement of our profession as told in these testimonials and videos from their colleagues and friends.
In his acceptance remarks, PR legend Howard Rubenstein stressed the importance of maintaining the highest ethical standards. “Never lose your honor,” he told the 300 dinner guests. “Don’t set money first. Set ethics first and the money will follow.”
As one of the first women in the field to crash through the proverbial glass ceiling some five decades ago, Muriel Fox, former executive vice president of Carl Byoir & Associates, discussed her role in helping found the National Organization for Women. She remains a vocal advocate for the advancement of women in PR and other professions. And another honoree who has helped boost careers of PR professionals is Bill Heyman, founder and CEO of communications recruiting powerhouse Heyman Associates. Bill reminded the audience about the importance of relationships. In so doing, he paid tribute to his team and wife, noting that his 29-year-old firm has survived, grown and prospered thanks to their support.
Walt Disney’s Senior EVP and CCO Zenia Mucha also discussed the essential role of strong relationships based on her career in both government and business. The late Pam Edstrom, co-founder of WE Communications, was represented by WE CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin, who described Pam’s passionate and enthusiastic focus on clients and her team. Finally, in a dramatic moment underscoring the value and positive results from fostering solid relationships, Kim Hunter, CEO of LAGRANT Communications, thanked the many supporters of his foundation before introducing New York-area college students who have received LAGRANT Foundation scholarships. “This is why I do what I do,” he said as he asked the students to stand.
Here are this year’s additions to this year’s PRWeek Hall of Fame:
Muriel Fox, former EVP, Carl Byoir & Associates; Co-founder, National Organization for Women
Muriel Fox was EVP of Carl Byoir & Associates and a pioneer in breaking into the then male-dominated world of PR in the 1950s. Business Week magazine once called her “the number one woman in public relations.” She also co-founded the National Organization For Women (NOW), which formed in 1966.
Bill Heyman, President & CEO, Heyman Associates
Bill Heyman set up Heyman Associates and its sibling firms around the world in order to place top PR and public affairs talent in executive positions at high-profile corporations, foundations, and academic institutions across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific.
Kim Hunter, President & CEO, Lagrant Communications; Chairman & CEO, The Lagrant Foundation; Managing Partner, KLH & Associates
Multimillion-dollar integrated marketing communications firm Lagrant Communications is the brainchild of founder and president/CEO, Kim Hunter, a long-standing champion and pioneer of diversity in the marketing and communications sectors.
Zenia Mucha, Senior EVP and CCO, The Walt Disney Co.
Zenia Mucha is responsible for global communications for The Walt Disney Co., including acting as chief spokesperson and overseeing communication strategy and media relations for the company, its various business segments, and its philanthropic and environmental initiatives.
Howard Rubenstein, Chairman, Rubenstein
Dubbed the “dean of damage control” by former mayor Rudy Giuliani, Howard Rubenstein is one of the best-known PR practitioners in New York history and founded a family dynasty that is going strong more than 60 years after he started an agency in his parents’ kitchen in Brooklyn.
Posthumous award: Pam Edstrom, Co-founder, WE Communications
Best known as Microsoft’s first PR person, Pam Edstrom passed away in March this year at the age of 71. Edstrom had known the technology powerhouse’s legendary founder Bill Gates since Microsoft was a penniless startup. Post-Microsoft, the majority of Edstrom’s career was spent at the agency to which she lent her name, working alongside CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin in a relationship that spanned more than three decades.