Michael L. Herman Excellence in Mentoring Award

The North Carolina Chapter of PRSA proudly announces the call for entries for the 2023 Michael L. Herman Excellence in Mentoring Award is officially open through Friday, August 30, 2024.

A long-time PRSA member and Gold Anvil winner, Mike Herman was a tireless advocate for excellence in public relations education.

In honor of his memory, his commitment to professional achievement, and his unique role as a mentor to many in our community, each year NCPRSA is proud to recognize an outstanding professional with the Michael Lee Herman Memorial Award.

Please plan to celebrate this year’s winner at the 2024 NCPRSA Strategic Communications and Marcom Conference on November 22, 2024.


  • The Award for Excellence in Mentoring is presented to an individual who exemplifies the ideal image of a mentor through a sustained track record of hands-on instruction and overall support to others pursuing a career in public relations. Nominees must either practice, teach or have practiced or taught in North Carolina or mentored someone who works or worked in public relations or in communications education in North Carolina.

Criteria for Consideration: The following are examples of the qualities and practices that can contribute to excellence in mentoring, though a mentor need not display all of them:

  • Facilitates others in acquiring the skills and resources needed to succeed as professional communicators
  • Provides support, advice and encouragement in professional matters
  • Demonstrates concern and support of the personal development of mentees
  • Successful role model
  • Demonstrates a long-term commitment to mentoring

Submitting a Nomination: There is no nomination fee, and submissions should be submitted in an attached standard Microsoft Word document.

Nominations must be submitted by email to the Awards Chair Matt Lail by Friday, August 30, 2024. Please send an email to collards12@yahoo.com.

Entry checklist:

  • Nominee’s name, organization and title.
  • Narrative should not exceed five pages, single-spaced in a 12-point font
  • Strong nominating submission will include:
    • Years the nominee has served as a mentor;
    • Number of mentees the nominee has helped;
    • How the nominee exemplifies mentoring and mentorship; and
    • Examples of how the nominee has mentored others.

Recognition: The 2024 recipient will be honored at the 2024 NCPRSA Strategic Communications and Marcom Conference.

Nomination Deadline: Nominations close at midnight on Friday, August 30, 2024.

Questions? Contact Matt Lail at collards12@yahoo.com

In Memoriam:


March 25, 1947 – January 3, 2015

Past recipients


Roger Friedensen, APR

“Hours were spent under his tutelage thinking through all possibilities and potential roadblocks for our clients, while he simultaneously pushed me to lead and cheered me on along the way. His compassion, his talents, and his thoughtfulness knows no bounds. Still to this day, a comment from him brings a smile and reminds me I can be proud of who I am and what I do.”


Van Denton, NC Education Lottery

“Without a doubt, he has helped mold hundreds of North Carolina communications professionals with his steadfast commitment to AP style – albeit, not always much loved by his mentees— love of coaching new communications professionals, and innate desire to help others reach their full potential as writers and communicators.”


Kiersten Wolf Williams, Genesis Strategies, LLC

“[Kiersten’s] ability to collaborate and teach at the same time is incredibly valuable. And all the while, working to help others learn and improve their skills – from writing, promotion and business outreach to networking and developing clear messages, she helps others to improve their outcomes for the goal. Kiersten is invested in the process of helping others succeed.”


McGavock Edwards, APR, Eckel & Vaughan

“If we take Winston Churchill at his word —‘We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give’— then McGavock has made a truly remarkable life in her profession by so selflessly sharing her expertise and experiences with those around her. Those professionals’ careers have clearly been made richer by her mentoring.”


Kelly Williamson, President, North American Region, APCO Worldwide

“Great mentorship looks different for everyone. I was lucky to have a mentor who advocated for me; helped me see my potential; and also taught me to be patient when I wasn’t ready for the next step. I’m honored to be able to serve as a mentor to others, whether they’re returning to work after having their first baby, as they start their career in communications, or as they reach for new heights of leadership. I’m thankful to NCPRSA for recognizing me with this award and helping myself and others in the chapter continue to live Michael Herman’s legacy.”


Valerie Fields

“Receiving NCPRSA’s Michael L. Herman Award was an honor and an humbling recognition. I am grateful to my PR colleagues for their vote of confidence, and I appreciate the support from those who deemed my service and my work worthy of recognition.”


Chuck Norman, APR, Owner & Principal, S&A Communications

“Throughout his career, Chuck has promoted education, professional development and sharing of best practices. At S&A Communications, employees are encouraged to joint professional organizations, attend professional development events, and contribute their subject matter expertise to blog articles and guest articles in trade media. Student interns perform hands-on client work rather than just administrative tasks.”

“[Chuck’s] continued passion for sharing his knowledge and experience are evidenced by his participation in every NC State PR Day event to which he’s invited, his agency’s environment of welcoming interns and student shadows, and his participation in Leadership Raleigh and Leadership Cary.”


Tracy Phelan Lathan, APR, Account Strategist, Clairemont Communications

“Tracy mentors junior team members on day-to-day account management best practices and leads regular client service lunch-and-learn sessions for the agency.”

She “served in a mentor role as one of the first two professionals [IMRE] hired in Raleigh. Tracy was largely responsible for training and mentoring the additional employees the agency hired.”

“For the past five years, Tracy has served in the role of Accreditation chair on the Public Relations of Society Board of Directors to help other PR professionals in the Triangle work through the process to achieve this important designation…[She] meets with APR hopefuls to explain the process, provide study guides and recommend resources for areas of lacking knowledge. She is available for additional coaching throughout the several-month process.”


Raymond J. Hornak, APR, Owner & Principal, Forge Communications

“[Ray] is the best kind of teacher: one who aids his mentees in dealing with the real world. He has helped many practitioners at all levels learn how to interact with clients, bosses and vendors. He has coached many agency teams to successful client pitches. He has helped numerous writers find the clarity and vision to connect with an audience. And he has helped provide perspective for many individuals struggling to take those next, best steps in life…whether professionally or personally, even when it has meant seeing a dear friend or trusted colleague move on to the next adventure.”

“Ray is a true coach who knows how to encourage people to bring out their best, even when they don’t know it’s there. And there’s no one better or more willing to listen and offer smart advice, whether it’s about work or life.”