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2017 PRism Awards Honor Rochester PR Pros

The PRism Awards is the PRSA Rochester Chapter’s biggest event of the year. And this year, it broke norms, set records, and honored the best and brightest in Rochester, NY. 

In the last five years, the Rochester PRism Awards has nearly doubled in both entries and attendance. It has become a competitive night of celebration that brings together the Rochester PR community and truly showcases the best work of the year. In 2017, we held our biggest event to date, hosting over 250 attendees and presenting 47 first place and 40 second place awards. But with growth comes change, and this year’s event saw more than a few changes to its format, venue, entry system, and emcees. 

Gone are the days where PR professionals use reams of paper and three ring binders to showcase their work. In 2017, we rolled out an online entry system through OMNI Contests, which allowed businesses to create an account, save their entry, and view the status of their submission. In addition to making the submission process easier, OMNI Contests brought all the payments and judging into one easy-to-access portal – faster and easier than shipping binders or uploading 200+ entries into a Google Drive as we had in years past. 

The event itself also changed in a big way. Our 250 attendees had outgrown the event space we had used for the last five years, leaving the committee to scour the city for a new location. We chose the beautiful Arbor Loft, an upscale, industrial chic loft in downtown Rochester. 

For our emcees, we turned to our 2016 Best in Show winners. By selecting members of our own community to lead the event, we were able to showcase our professionals and their accomplishments in an even greater capacity. At the end of the ceremony, our Best in Show recipients presented the most prestigious award of the night and “passed the baton” onto the next set of winners. 

Our ceremony is never complete without a fundraiser for the Charles S. Smith Scholarship benefiting a PRSSA student in the community. This year, BINGO was the source of funds and fun! Attendees purchased BINGO boards which had words from the night’s script - names of campaigns and winners, award categories, common phrases, and our event theme were all added to the mix. The excitement in the room was palpable as attendees paid close attention and called out BINGO to win prizes. 

In a new twist this year, we also used our award ceremony as a platform to honor our chapter’s new and longstanding APRs. It has been a goal of our chapter to make APR more of a priority – both in encouraging new professionals to study and gain the recognition, and in honoring our seasoned professionals who have long held the prestigious title. During our event, APRs were recognized in a pinning ceremony led by our chapter’s APR Co-Chairs. 

It was a night of firsts for our chapter, but also a night of celebration, excitement, and fun as we continue to make the PRism Awards a highlight of our annual programming!