The PRWeek Hall of Fame pays tribute to the legendary figures in the PR industry who paved the way for the modern world of communications that has evolved into one of the most influential and exciting professions.
Our fifth annual group of six inductees will be celebrated at a dinner to be held in New York City on the evening of December 4.
In partnership with The LAGRANT Foundation and the PR Council, it will be a celebration of PR legends and institutions as we honor the 2017 Hall of Fame.
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. Talking to PRWeek in 2008, she recounted her first visit to its office in Bellevue, Washington, in 1982 for a job interview.
She compared the one-floor office with “number-two pencils and no fax machine” with what Microsoft became - a technology multinational that made millionaires of at least 12,000 of its staff.
She was interviewed by a twentysomething Harvard graduate called Steve Ballmer, the man to whom Gates handed over the reins when he stepped down as CEO.
Edstrom recalled her first day at work: “I had no desk, no phone, and no press list. In 1982, the only people at Microsoft who had PCs were the developers. We had to hire an outside firm to handle press releases.”
Edstrom was instrumental in establishing the software giant as a media-savvy operation, defining the way fast-growing companies relate to the press and setting a precedent that is still followed today.
Muriel Fox is best known for being cofounder of the National Organization For Women (NOW), which formed in 1966, but she was also a pioneer in breaking into the then male-dominated world of PR in the 1940s.
She headed PR for NOW, and was operations lieutenant to President Betty Friedan, as well as serving on the NOW National Board from 1966 to 1975.
Fox told an episode of Makers: “After thousands of years when women were subservient to men and it was taken for granted, we really changed the world.”
As a prominent PR executive at Carl Byoir & Associates, Fox wrote and distributed NOW’s first press releases, and participated in the NOW campaign that convinced Lyndon Johnson to add women to Executive Order 11246 in Oct 1967. That order established nondiscriminatory practices in hiring and employment, which created jobs for millions of women through affirmative action.
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.
Through his eponymous consultancy in the U.S., plus Taylor Bennett in London, the Taylor Bennett Heyman joint venture in Asia, and GK Personalberatung in Frankfurt, Heyman has filled top communications roles for some of the most recognized brands in the world.
With his diverse network and passion for executive search, he helps build top-performing communications teams by listening to his clients, getting to know their unique corporate cultures, and delivering candidates with the right mix of hard skills and intangible qualities.
In PRWeek, he was described as follows: “In an industry where talent is everything, Heyman helps connect some of the most senior pros to jobs, making him an indispensable asset to all those involved in executive searches.”
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.
The inspirational Hunter brings 34 years of corporate and agency experience in advertising, marketing, and PR to the table, with an extensive background in brand marketing, crisis management, media, and community relations.
An advocate for education, Hunter is also founder and chairman of The Lagrant Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships, career development workshops, internships, mentorship, and educational enrichment programs to minority students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in advertising, marketing, and PR.
In 2012, Hunter launched KLH & Associates, a multicultural executive search firm specializing in mid-to-senior-level marketing, PR, and advertising talent with Fortune 500 companies and communication agencies. Clients have included Accenture, Bechtel, Entergy, Northrop Grumman, Northwestern Mutual, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Verizon, Waste Management, IPG's Constituency Management Group, and Burson-Marsteller.
Zenia Mucha is responsible for global communications for The Walt Disney Company, 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.
Her role also includes oversight of internal communications, the Walt Disney Archives, and D23 - The Official Walt Disney Fan Club.
Since 2002, Mucha has led communications and positioning strategy for all of Disney’s strategic business initiatives, including the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm; the company’s leadership in leveraging digital technology to connect consumers to creative content in new and exciting ways; and its expansion and international growth such as the landmark opening of Disney’s first theme park and resort in Mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort.
Under her direction, Disney launched D23, the first-ever official Disney fan club, with members in all 50 states and 35 countries. Since 2009, D23 has engaged Disney fans with experiences such as the biannual D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event, year-round member-only insider access events, and the award-winning quarterly magazine, Disney Twenty-three.
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.
Rubenstein founded his eponymous agency in 1954 and has since overseen work and been a valued counselor for hundreds of clients, from George Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees to the Metropolitan Opera, from Rupert Murdoch to News Corporation, to the Archdiocese of New York to the Association for a Better New York.
The leading organizations and public figures for whom he has worked represent a who’s who of civic, business, and cultural life and they exert a global influence.
The Council is dedicated to strengthening the recognition and role of public relations firms in corporate strategy, business performance and social education; to serve as an authoritative source of information and expert comment and to help set standards for the industry. The Council provides its members guidelines that include the Code of Ethics and Principles, which specifically addresses transparency and disclosure.
This is the foundation of a new, focused engagement – all to reflect our leading role in the world of marketing and communications. All to inform and inspire the Council’s mission. Expanding our resources. Enhancing our presence. Ensuring relevance and resonance for this evolving profession we call PR, today and tomorrow.