Michael L. Herman Excellence in Mentoring Award

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.


  • 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, marketing or other communications field.
  • Nominees must either practice, teach or have practiced or taught, in North Carolina or mentored someone who works or worked in public relations, marketing or another communications field, 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. They are listed in no particular order of importance, and 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 a standard Microsoft Word document. Nominations must be submitted by email to the NCPRSA Awards Chair.

Entry checklist:

  • Nominations should include the nominee’s name, organization and title.
  • The nomination narrative should not exceed five pages, single-spaced in a 12-point font and fully explain why the nominee stands out as a mentor in the communications field.
  • Those submitting nominations should consider including as part of a strong nominating submission:
  • The years the nominee has served as a mentor;
  • The number of mentees he or she has helped;
  • How the nominee exemplifies mentoring and mentorship;
  • Examples of how the nominee has mentored others.

Recognition: The receipient is typically honored at our annual in-person conference.

Nomination Deadline: TBA

Questions? Contact Carrie Pitts-Densmore pitts.carrie@gmail.com or Matt Lail matt.lail@vlsci.com

In Memoriam:


March 25, 1947 – January 3, 2015

Past recipients


Van Denton, NC Education Lottery


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.”