Greater Spokane PRSA Chapter is pleased to announce the following recipients for the 2015 Communication Leadership Awards. Thank you to all who took time to submit nominations.
Degerness Award for Excellence in Public Relations
Michelle Hege, M.S., APR
President & CEO, Desautel Hege (DH)
Michelle Hege embodies the spirit of the Ken Degerness Award for Excellence in Public Relations. Throughout her high-performing 23-year career in public relations and communications, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to the public relations profession through community service, community involvement, and nurturing the careers of many, many PRSA members.
Michelle is a senior strategist with extensive experience in developing communications and marketing programs to support key business objectives. She has lead countless communications and marketing initiatives in sectors including energy, government, tribal, health care, higher education and technology. A master facilitator, she helps clients through strategic planning, thought leadership campaigns, aligning goals to business strategy, brand and positioning work and marketing program development. She has consulted on complex mergers and acquisitions, controversial community issues, large-scale public health initiatives, global sales and marketing strategy and stakeholder engagement programs. She is dedicated to the tried and true public relations process and is highly committed to the PRSA code of ethics.
A committed community leader, Michelle is a board member at Greater Spokane Incorporated, an advisory board member for Gonzaga’s Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, a co-chair of the marketing and economic development work group for the Academic Health Science Center, a past chair of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women luncheon, a past president of the Greater Spokane PRSA Chapter and has advised many other boards, elected leaders and non-profit leaders on a range of community initiatives and issues throughout her 20+ year career. Michelle remains deeply involved in mentoring the next generation of public relations and communications professionals in the greater Spokane community. She never stops looking for opportunities to share information and knowledge to empower others.
Michelle holds a BA in English Literature from Whitman College and a MS in Communications from Eastern Washington University. She began her career in 1992 and co-founded Desautel Hege Communications with Jim and Cher Desautel in 1998. She is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) by the Universal Accreditation Board.
Executive Communicator of the Year
President & CEO, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce
It is hard to believe that it’s only been 12 months since Katherine Morgan took the helm of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce (GSVCC). Under Katherine’s passionate, powerful and positive leadership, the GSVCC is a shadow of its former self. The forward momentum in such a short time is a reflection of Katherine’s leadership, ability to rally community partners and exceptional focus on public relations and strategic communications. Recent economic challenges have left Chambers of Commerce struggling to prove their return on investment for members. Relevancy is key. With this in mind, Katherine launched The BIG 5, a community engagement effort to identify and drive community-wide initiatives. Katherine led the research, planning and launch of The BIG 5. She deftly managed and maneuvered this complex process down to five simple, yet powerful initiatives, demonstrating her strong understanding and support of public relations and communications. The BIG 5 communication strategy and branding is impressive. The movement has brought immediate relevancy for the GSVCC and has fostered a collective commitment to build a strong future in the Greater Spokane Valley.
Katherine Morgan has been the President and CEO of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce since October 2014. Prior to joining the GSVCC, Katherine was the Director of Development and Marketing for All Saints Catholic School. She spent five years directing the marketing efforts of the Spokane Home Builders Association and the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City. Katherine holds a BA and an MBA from Gonzaga University. She was recognized as Outstanding MBA Student of the Year in 2014. In April 2015, she was given the Spirit of NAWBO Award and in July 2015, she was recognized by The Journal of Business with a Rising Star Award.
Communications Professional of the Year
Senior Vice President of Marketing & Development, Associated Industries
Over the past year, Pam Pyrc successfully completed the rebrand of Associated Industries. With the values of the 105-year-old member service organization as a foundation, she conducted extensive research among key stakeholders before crafting a plan and executing a rebrand that beautifully captures the professional spirit of Associated Industries. While balancing the efforts of the new brand roll-out, Pam managed a public relations crisis regarding the association health plans offered by Associated Industries. The organization engaged in local, state and federal lawsuits to protect its members and uphold legal precedent. Lastly, Pam’s communications expertise was essential to the successful acquisition of a local human resource and management services firm by Associated Industries. Pam’s methodical use of the public relations planning process has effectively positioned Associated Industries for success and growth into the future.
With more than 25 years of experience, Pam Pyrc considers herself a passionate leader of branding and marketing communication strategies. In her role at Associated Industries, Pam spearheads strategic marketing initiatives to increase brand awareness, develop member services, and drive membership growth. Before joining Associated Industries, she led marketing and public relations departments at top organizations in Spokane including Inland Imaging, LeMaster Daniels (now known as Clifton Larson Allen) and St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute. Pam is actively involved in the Spokane community serving on committees and supporting organizations such as Transitions for Women, Start-Up Spokane, and Greater Spokane Incorporated. In 2014, Pam was honored with the Women in Business Leadership Award by Inland Business Catalyst Magazine.
Rising PR Star of the Year
Senior Account Executive, Desautel Hege (DH)
Hayley Graham is a budding public relations leader. Although she entered the profession less than four years ago, she has already established herself as a “force to be reckoned with” through her dedication and tireless effort to deliver top-notch communications strategy and deliverables for Desautel Hege’s clients. She is willing and eager to tackle some of the firm’s biggest challenges and opportunities. Hayley dove into the dynamic world of health care communications to build a sound communication strategy to guide Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and the broader health system’s marketing over time. She used the core public relations model to help Eastern Washington University create and maintain momentum on their strategic plan, earning raves about her leadership and skills. And, she dug into the research to tailor messaging and outreach tactics to reach and register Native American families for the Health Care Authority’s Apple Health for Kids program. Her work contributed greatly to the overall success of the campaign and the outstanding enrollment numbers which far surpassed previous campaign efforts to reach disparate populations.
Manager extraordinaire. Designer shopper. Adorable bulldog. Include Hayley on a project and you can count on it turning out right. She’ll never miss a detail or a deadline. She always raises the bar for quality as she radiates sunshine. In her role as Senior Account Executive with Desautel Hege, Hayley helps lead multiple accounts in a variety of industries. Hayley is a 2012 graduate of Gonzaga University with a BA in Business Administration and a concentration in public relations. She currently serves as the Programming Chair and Incoming President of the Greater Spokane PRSA Chapter.
The Communication Leadership Awards ceremony was held November 20.