Congratulations to the PRSA Georgia 2020 Chapter Champions

Kent Kimes is the recipient of the January 2020 Chapter Champion Award for his dedicated volunteer work with PRSA Georgia. He wrote the script for the 2018 and 2019 Awards Celebration, and served as the off-stage announcer for both of these events, and he also served alongside Chapter member Alison Tyrer as 2019 co-chair of the E-newsletter Committee. In this role, he assisted Alison, who led the charge in gathering, writing, copyediting and planning content for the weekly newsletter.

For 2020, he has volunteered to contribute new feature content to the recently revamped newsletter. Also in 2019, Kent helped judge the Richmond, Va. Chapter’s Commonwealth and Capital Awards.

“I joined the Georgia Chapter in 2015 because I was looking for networking, support and learning opportunities having recently entered the world of public relations following a 20-year career in print journalism,” he said. “After attending PRSA national and local conferences, and the Georgia Chapter’s Awards Celebration, I felt ready to step up, offer my services and dig in for an engaging membership experience. I often rely on the Chapter’s wealth of industry experts as a sounding board.”

Kent is Sr. Staff Writer for Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), where he manages the organization’s blog, unConventional, spearheads the Authority’s annual report, works on special projects, manages his department’s award entries, co-leads the launch of the Authority’s new podcast in 2020, and provides event support at the No. 1 convention, sports and entertainment destination in the world.

Kent earned a BA in English and History from Huntingdon College.

Prior to joining the GWCCA, Kent cut his teeth as a cub reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, served as government reporter for The Georgetown Times, arts and entertainment writer for The Augusta Chronicle, Staff Writer for OneStop.Com, pop culture reporter and assistant features editor for The Sun News, and founding editor of alt-weekly publication The Weekly Surge. He has also freelanced for various publications, including Creative LoafingGrand Strand Magazine, Strafford Publications, and CARE.

Rachel Cushing is the recipient of the May 2020 Chapter Champion Award for her dedicated volunteer work with PRSA Georgia since joining in 2013. Her passion for working with (and learning from) the next generation of communications and marketing professionals drove her to join the College Relations Committee in 2014, where she served for the next three years. After taking a short break from the committee in 2018, she returned to serve as Co-Chair in 2019, where she currently leads year-round advisor relations efforts as well as student programming logistics for the PRSA Georgia Annual Conference. Rachel also has served as a panelist for several PRSA Georgia Annual Conference sessions, represented the Chapter at various university engagements across Atlanta, and participated in judging both the 2018 and 2019 PRSA Richmond Phoenix Awards.

“The thing I love most about working in communications is the people. In Atlanta and throughout the state, the best place to interact with the brightest communications professionals is PRSA Georgia,” she said, “Because of that, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to be on both the giving and receiving end of thoughtful mentorship and advice from others in the industry. To me, that’s priceless.”

Rachel currently serves as the Media Director for Lenz Marketing, overseeing the agency’s social media, digital content, advertising and media relations initiatives. Since joining the agency, Rachel has worked with clients in the healthcare, nonprofit, higher education, small business, home services, and entertainment industries. She also serves as a guest lecturer at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health for the program’s Healthcare Marketing course. Prior to joining Lenz, Rachel worked in nonprofit development and political marketing. She is a proud graduate of Agnes Scott College and native Atlantan.

Maggie McDaniel is the recipient of the June 2020 Chapter Champion Award in recognition of her dedicated volunteer work with PRSA Georgia. She joined the Chapter in 2016 and since has served as a co-chair for both the social media and website committees. Additionally, Maggie was named one of PRSA Georgia’s inaugural “Forty Under 40” honorees in 2019.

“I volunteer with PRSA Georgia because it gives me the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other PR professionals throughout Georgia,” said Maggie. “Volunteering as a co-chair for both the social media and website committees has allowed me to serve as a leader, and given me the opportunity to learn new techniques and skills from other PR professionals.”

As a director at communications 21, Maggie leverages her diverse PR, digital marketing, content strategy and media relations expertise to guide her agency to success. She also is an alumna of Georgia Forward’s 2019 Young Gamechangers program, which included working alongside 44 other individuals from across Georgia on ways to overcome economic development issues in Monroe, Georgia.

Maggie graduated from The University of Mississippi in 2016, where she majored in journalism and minored in English.

Alicia Young, is the recipient of the July 2020 Chapter Champion Award for her dedicated volunteer work with PRSA Georgia. Since joining the Chapter in 2014, Alicia has served on several committees, including roles planning the Real World and Annual Conference events. She currently co-chairs the Membership Committee.

“Joining PRSA Georgia has provided invaluable opportunities to expand my professional ‘tool kit’ and network,” she said. “Additionally, volunteering is something that has always been a part of my life, so jumping in to help PRSA Georgia came naturally to me.”

Alicia is an Emmy-winning news producer who brought that skill set (and a lot of really great stories) to the PR world. She serves as Communications Manager for Jacobs Engineering Group, where she plans and implements community outreach prior to major utility projects. Her PR background also includes agency, non-profit and government work.

Alicia earned a BA in Broadcast News from the University of Georgia.

Trey Newstedt is the recipient of the August 2020 Chapter Champion Award for his dedicated volunteer work with PRSA Georgia since joining in 2016. He is passionate about giving back to students and young professionals, serving as a co-chair of the Young Professionals SIG for two years. This year, Trey serves as a co-chair on the Mentorship Committee.

“I had a great experience with PRSSA in college, and knew that I wanted to continue my involvement with PRSA as a professional,” he said. “I am passionate about paying it forward and helping people in the same way I have been helped throughout my career. PRSA Georgia gives you the opportunity to connect and learn from PR leaders across various disciplines. It is exciting to see the impact we have on the PR community in Georgia.”

Trey is the PR Manager, Global Marketing, Commercial & Technology for IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group). In this role, he is responsible for highlighting the industry-leading work happening across marketing, commercial and technology at IHG including guest experience and hotel innovations, B2B offerings and more.

Since joining IHG as a Communications Specialist in 2017, he has worked across its Holiday Inn, IHG Rewards Club and Upscale brands. Trey also supported the global team in the development and execution of campaigns including Clues to the Neighbourhood for Hotel Indigo and on partnerships with Grubhub and OpenTable. Prior to joining IHG, he worked at Edelman and Rountree Group Integrated Communications.

Trey graduated from Elon University in 2013, where he majored in Strategic Communications.

Barbara Myers, APR, is the recipient of the September 2020 Chapter Champion Award for her volunteer work with PRSA Georgia since joining in 2007. She has most recently served on the Professional Development and Annual Conference committees.

“As a life-long learner, I believe it’s very important to continue to develop professionally throughout your career,” she said. “PRSA has provided many opportunities to enhance my knowledge and skills, including through the Accreditation in Public Relations which I earned in 2015. Connecting with colleagues in my profession and having career resources readily available have also proved invaluable.”

As a dedicated volunteer with PRSA Georgia, Barbara has worked across several committees for the chapter. Her work with the Membership Committee included recruiting and retaining members, and she led the team to relaunch the “Gwinnett PRSA In Your Neighborhood” event. Barbara was an integral part of the planning process for the 2020 Annual Conference, where she also staffed the event at The Coca-Cola headquarters in February. Most recently, she coordinated a presentation for the  Professional Development Committee, “The Comeback is Stronger than the Setback: How to Build Effective Media Relations Strategies Into Crisis Communications Plans.”

Barbara works as the Public Relations Manager for PCOM Georgia, a healthcare professional school in Suwanee which offers doctoral and masters’ degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies and biomedical science.

With more than 25 years of healthcare public relations experience, she has also worked as the Director of Public Education and Advocacy for Prevent Blindness Georgia, and as the Director of Community Relations and the Director of Physician Services for Gwinnett Medical Center (now Northside Gwinnett).

In addition, Barbara was the co-founder and Marketing Director for The Myers Group, a healthcare market research firm that was named to the 2003 Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing privately held companies. A graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, Barbara is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and is a past President of the Rotary Club of Sugarloaf. She is a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett, Gwinnett Senior Leadership, and the 2013 High Potential Diverse Leaders Class sponsored by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. She is a proud mom of four adult children.

Quiana Pinckney, APR, is the recipient of the October 2020 Chapter Champion Award for her dedicated volunteer work with PRSA Georgia since joining in 2006. With a true passion for helping PR Pros earn their Accreditation in Public Relations, she has been a member of the APR Committee since 2018. Additionally, she has volunteered as an APR panelist, Jumpstart trainer and mentor since earning her accreditation in 2015. Quiana has also volunteered at the Real World Conference and as a member of PRSA Georgia Annual Conference Committee.

“I’m extremely grateful for PRSA Georgia, it’s amazing members and the countless opportunities to grow professional and personal,” said Quiana.  “I am elated to be part of one the best chapters in the country!”

Quiana is the Vice President of Strategic Communications and PR at EmployBridge, the nation’s largest industrial staffing company. Prior to joining EmployBridge, she was Head of Strategic Communications and PR for HD Supply, a wholesale distribution company based in Atlanta. Quiana earned her APR in June 2015, a Master’s in strategic communications from George Washington University and a B.A. in journalism from University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

PRSA Georgia is proud to honor Elizabeth Edel as our December 2020 Chapter Champion in recognition of her dedicated service to the Chapter. Elizabeth first served as a social media committee member upon joining PRSA Georgia in 2019, later assuming the co-chair role in 2020. She also serves as a co-chair for the Young Professionals Special Interest Group (YP SIG), where she and her team plan events that connect young PR pros with industry leaders. Earlier this year, Elizabeth offered expertise to student attendees as part of the PRSA Georgia Annual Conference’s “The First Year: What You Need to Know for Agency, Non-Profit & Corporate” panel.

“I joined the PRSA Georgia Chapter to expand my network and find exciting ways to get involved in the industry,” she said. “I’ve met so many outstanding pros in my time with PRSA and owe a lot of those connections to volunteering with the chapter. The insights I’ve gained from my work with PRSA and chapter programming have been vital to my career!” 

In her “day job,” Elizabeth is an Account Executive at Arketi Group, leveraging her diverse media relations, social media strategy, community engagement, event management and marketing background to provide strategic counsel to B2B technology clients. Her client placement roster includes a host of high-profile media outlets, including Business Insider, Fox Business, NerdWallet and U.S. News & World Report. 

Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

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