February: A Celebration of Black Brilliance and Resilience

By Myisha Washington, Diversity & Ethics Chair

February is not just the shortest month of the year; it’s also Black History Month, a time to commemorate the rich tapestry of Black achievement and contributions to society. From groundbreaking scientists and artists to courageous civil rights leaders and everyday heroes. Black history is American history, and its lessons and triumphs deserve to be celebrated and learned from every single day.

Black history is filled with stories of trailblazers who shattered barriers and defined limitations. Not only is Black History about individual achievements, it’s also about the collective struggle for equality and justice. Black communities have faced unimaginable challenges with dignity, resilience, and unwavering belief in a better tomorrow. The legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and countless others who marched, protested, and spoke out against discrimination serve as a powerful reminder that progress, though often slow, is always possible.

While Black History Month is a vital time for reflection and celebration, it’s important to remember that Black history is not confined to a single month. We must continue to amplify Black voices, celebrate Black excellence, and challenge systematic inequalities throughout the year.

Let’s make February, and every month, a time to honor the rich legacy of Black achievement, acknowledge the ongoing struggles for equality, and commit to building a future where Black voices are heard, respected, and celebrated.

Here are some additional ways to celebrate Black History Month:

HOLLAND Collective Takes Best Of Show At PRSA Worthy Awards

FORT WORTH — In a tight competition amongst 23 Worthy award winners for strategic Public Relations programs and tactics, boutique agency HOLLAND collective took home the Best of Show honor for its Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival: A Campaign of Integrated Success at the Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA Worthy Awards competition.

More than 130 PRSA members and guests celebrated successes at the Fort Worth Zoo for their 10th Worthy Awards gala November 3.

“For a decade, the Worthy Awards have showcased the most strategic, creative and successful campaigns achieved for both local and global clients by world-class PR professionals who call Fort Worth home,” said Jessamy Brown, APR, president of the Fort Worth Chapter.

In addition to the competition, two community members were honored for their contributions to Fort Worth: Dr. Opal Lee, longtime activist and grandmother of Juneteenth, received the Communicator of the Year Award, and Matt Zavadsky, Chief Transformation Officer for Medstar Mobile Health, received the Douglas Ann Newsom PR Professional of the Year Award.

The Worthy Awards competition received a total of 63 entries in multiple categories ranging from websites and editorials to crisis communications and reputation management. Awards of Achievement, Excellence and the top-rated Worthys are bestowed based on a weighted point system assessing research, measurable objectives, execution and evaluation of results.

Judges were members of the Hoosier, Indiana Chapter of PRSA. Worthy Awards committee co-chairs were GFW Chapter board members Kim Brown, APR and Abigail Hoover, co-founders of Story and Strategy PR.

A complete list of Worthy award winners is on the GFW PRSA website here. A photo gallery is also here.

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About Greater Fort Worth Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America

The Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the profession of public relations by promoting the professionalism of its members, as well as the public perception of the value of our contribution to the betterment of the community.

The Public Relations Society of America, based in New York City, is the leading professional organization serving the communications community through a network of more than 400 professional and student chapters in the U.S., Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Puerto Rico.

Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA Announces the Recipients of the 2023 Communicator and Public Relations Professional of the Year Awards

Fort Worth, Texas (October 9, 2023) – The Greater Fort Worth Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is honored to announce Opal Lee, the ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth,’ as the 2023 Communicator of the Year and Matt Zavadsky, the chief transformation officer at MedStar, as the 2023 Douglas Ann Newsom PRSA Professional of the Year.

Opal Lee is a community leader and activist who has dedicated her life to fighting for justice and equality. She is best known for her tireless advocacy for Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. In 2016, at the age of 89, Lee embarked on a 1,400-mile walk from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of Juneteenth.

She made this walk annually, calling for Juneteenth to be recognized on a national scale. In 2021, Lee’s dream finally came true when Juneteenth was officially designated as a federal holiday. Her advocacy helped to educate millions of Americans about the importance of Juneteenth and to ensure that this historic event is never forgotten.

Matt Zavadsky serves as the spokesperson for MedStar Mobile Healthcare, an agency providing advanced life support ambulance services across 436 square miles of North Texas. As Public Information Officer at MedStar, Zavadsky is a key figure in coordinating with media and partners, providing crucial information about MedStar’s roles and activities in the community.

Often the first responder at tragic events, Zavadsky’s composed and sympathetic demeanor underlines his exceptional qualities as a spokesperson. With 42 years of experience in EMS, a master’s degree in Health Service Administration, and co-authorship of the book “Mobile Integrated Healthcare – Approach to Implementation,” Zavadsky embodies excellence in public relations and health care communication.

Opal Lee and Matt Zavadsky will be honored at the 10th annual Worthy Awards ceremony on Nov. 3, at the Fort Worth Zoo. The event begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now.

About the Communicator of the Year Award
The Communicator of the Year award is presented to a community member who has demonstrated significant leadership and communications ability in the greater Fort Worth region.

The recipient must be a role model for communicators and must have made a significant contribution to the community through their communications work.

About the Douglas Ann Newsom PRSA Professional of the Year Award
The Douglas Ann Newsom PRSA Professional of the Year Award is presented to a public relations professional in North Texas who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the public relations profession. The recipient must have demonstrated excellence in public relations practice, leadership, and service to the community.

About the Greater Fort Worth Chapter PRSA
The Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA is an organization dedicated to enhancing the profession of public relations by promoting the professionalism of its members, as well as the public perception of the value of our contribution to the betterment of the community.

PRSA creates a professional environment, serving the needs of its members by providing educational, networking, mentoring and social opportunities for professional growth and development. Learn more at fortworthprsa.org.

Media Contact
Jessamy Brown, APR President of GFW PRSA
817-675-5356
gfwprsapresident@gmail.com

social media secret sauce

New location for May 3 PRSA program: Mira Vista Country Club

We have a new location for our May 3 program, “Social Media Secret Sauce: Finding Your Unique Voice to Engage Your Audience.” The event will now take place at Mira Vista Country Club, 6600 Mira Vista Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76132

The time remains the same, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., May 3, 2023. Please note that Mira Vista has a no jeans or denim policy so please keep that in mind.

We apologize for any inconvenience. This change was necessary due to an unexpected disruption of utilities at Ridglea Country Club. 

We look forward to seeing you on May 3! If you have any questions, please email gfwprsapresident@gmail.com

PRSA ICON 2022

Dallas-Fort Worth Chapters Shine at PRSA ICON 2022

By Andra Bennett House, APR, PRSA ICON Local Host Committee Co-Chair 

We did it! The Dallas and Fort Worth Chapters knocked the hospitality at Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s ICON 2022 out of the ice park at the Gaylord!

More than 1,000 PR pros, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors gathered at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine to learn and grow Nov. 12-15, and they got an extra helping of Texas hospitality on the side. And guess who brought the most money and peeps to the party? GFW PRSA! We had 54 registrants, more than any other chapter in the U.S. Dallas was second with 51 registrants.

I want to begin by thanking those who answered the call last year to be on the DFW Host Committee, co-chaired by Thomas Bennett, III and myself: Cambria Jones; Andrea Huguely; Christy Jones; Michelle Sing; Blake Lewis, APR, Fellow PRSA; Kim Brown, APR; and Maricar Estrella Hastings. We met virtually on a monthly basis to brainstorm potential sponsors, plan the welcome reception and hospitality booth activities, and promote the conference. Most worked the hospitality booth at some points during the conference as well.

We served up a spicy hot welcome at our Hospitality booth with dozens of jars of salsa donated by Mrs. Renfro’s, client of Balcom Agency. Those were gone by the end of Day 1! We also provided raffle items with a gift basket from Visit Frisco, Starbucks gift cards, 12 tickets to Dallas Wings 2023 home games, and pins and maps from Grapevine CVB, Visit Fort Worth and Visit Dallas.

Thanks to all the hospitality booth volunteers from the Dallas and Greater Fort Worth Chapters:

Alyssa Christian
Ashley Freer
Richie Escovedo, APR
Susan Schoolfield, APR
Lesley Dupre
Carol Murray, APR
Glenda Holcomb Moreno
Isabelle Scott
John Ponzio
Joy Donovan Brandon
Kathleen Sams
Lesley Mason
Linda Goelzer
Malinda Miller
Michelle Sing
Paula Cobler
Prescotte Stokes III
Taylor Bartley
Terry Allen
Tiara Tucker
Krista Roberts

And did you know Fort Worth brought the Hypnotoad to ICON when TCU PRSSA — out of all the PRSSA Chapters in Texas — stepped up to host PRSSA students at ICON? What an exciting and unique learning experience for all students involved in coordinating this major event. Thank you, Dr. Amiso George, APR, Fellow PRSA for leading that effort.

Finally, if you haven’t seen the photos from the welcome reception, go here to see PR People. Having. Fun. The dance floor was not large enough for all the folks wanting to learn line dancing! And Prowler the mascot from Panther City Lacrosse has surprisingly deft footwork, er, paw work.

Next time you see Ken Ross, APR from Lockheed Martin Aerospace, be sure to thank him for LM’s generous donation to fund the Welcome Reception entertainment and decorations, as well as Balcom’ssupport.

PRSA National staff and board members are all still singing the praises of our chapters and are glad they chose to return to North Texas after a 30-year absence. We should all be extremely proud of the way we represented the Lone Star state and our profession. Next year, Nashville has its work cut out to top the DFW team!