Cathy Engel Menendez Becomes Inducted into PPRA Hall of Fame


Cathy Engel Menendez and PPRA President Lisette Bralow.

On May 20th Cathy Engel Menendez was welcomed into the PPRA Hall of Fame! PR professionals, friends and family joined the celebration of this milestone in her career. Cathy exudes passion and enthusiasm in all that she does. As Director of Communications for PECO, she is a trusted source to news media across the region.

Merrill Reese of CBS Radio and the Voice of the Philadelphia Eagles was the Master of Ceremonies.


Master of Ceremonies, CBS Radio’s Merrill Reese with Hall of Fame inductee, Cathy Engel Menendez.

Guest speakers included:

Craig L Adams, Presidnet and CEO of PECO
Danielle Cohn
Action News Wpvi TV 6-Abc‘s Kenneth Moton
@CBS Jim Donovan
FOX 29 Dennis Bianchi
NBC10 Philadelphia‘s Tracy Davidson

Visit the Facebook Album to view more photos from the event.

(Photos by Ed Savaria)

Honoring WMMR’s Preston and Steve Show with the PPRA Gold Medal Award


The Preston and Steve Show crew holding up their PPRA Gold Medal Award and posing for a picture with Philadelphia Flyers captain, Claude Giroux.

On Wednesday November 12 in the Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel, PPRA honored WMMR’s Preston and Steve Show with the PPRA Gold Medal Award. Aside from their hilarious jokes and their witty deliverance of talk radio the crew of the Preston and Steve show has demonstrated a positive and influential impact throughout the Philadelphia region since they first appeared on air.

One of their most notable events includes their annual participation with the region’s largest hunger relief organization, Philabundance. In 1988, Preston and Steve recognized the need to emphasize the issue of hunger relief, which affects almost a million people in the Delaware Valley every day. Their goal was to collect at least one ton of food for the hungry. They exceeded that goal. In 2013, approximately 386 tons of food was donated to their Camp Out for Hunger cause from devoted listeners and businesses.

Preston, Steve, Kathy, Casey, Nick and Marisa not only strongly advocate for hunger relief, they also highlight a growing issue within the region which is the lack of blood donations. Every year they hold their annual blood drive reminding listeners that you can save up to three lives by carrying out the small gesture of donating your blood.

Attendees were asked to bring perishable goods to the event to support Preston and Steve's Camp Out for Hunger cause.

Attendees were asked to bring nonperishable goods to the event to support Preston and Steve’s Camp Out for Hunger cause, which begins on Monday, December 1st, 2014.

Well known “media people” showed up to honor the Gold Medal Award recipients and some such as Marc Summers, from “Double Dare,” “Family Double Dare,” and “What Would You Do?” as well as the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, Claude Giroux, celebrity chef and author, Robert Irvine, WMMR’s very own legendary DJ, Pierre Robert and Preston and Steve’s Program Director, Bill Weston spoke about the group’s energetic attitudes and the ups and downs of working with the sarcastic group.

Congrats Preston and Steve on your well deserved award! We look forward to tuning in as we continue to be astonished by all your hard work and dedication to the Philadelphia community.

Photo Credit: Anthony Sinagoga

Honoring A True Star: Meredith Avakian-Hardaway


From left-to-right: Tracy Davidson, Larry Margasak, Brian Williams, Gerhart L. Klein, Claire Smith, Meredith Avakian-Hardaway, and John Oates. Photo Courtesy of Ryan S. Brandenburg, Temple University.


Life boils down to what you stand for, what you represent. The Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA) represents its members, communication professionals who exhibit honesty, diversity, and cooperation. Meredith Avakian-Hardaway, President-elect of PPRA, represents all of these qualities and more. Meredith brings honesty, character and a healthy work-ethic to everything she does, from her role as director of communications and marketing for the Philadelphia Bar Association to her work promoting justice for Armenian refugees. For all of these reasons and more, Meredith received the Lew Klein Rising Star in the Media award on Friday, September 26, at the Lew Klein Awards Luncheon at Temple University.

The Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Awards honors media and communication professionals who excel in their fields and whose achievements bring honor to their profession. Meredith was honored alongside well-known media professionals Brian Williams and Tracy Davidson of NBC. John Oates, from the band Hall & Oates, Gerhart L. (Jerry) Klein, of Anne Klein Communications Group, retired Associated Press journalist, Larry Margasak and ESPN news editor, Claire Smith.

At the awards luncheon, a short video played. The video, which featured Meredith’s friends, family and colleagues, displayed just how many lives Meredith has impacted on a personal and professional level. From her husband, Marques Hardaway, to Chancellor William P. Fedullo of the Philadelphia Bar Association, we learned how Meredith’s honest and professional character positively affects the lives of every individual she encounters. In her eloquent acceptance speech, Meredith managed to thank all the right people and find the time to help aspiring PR professionals; telling the crowd to “reach down to lift someone up.”

“She exhibits the very best qualities of a public relations professional. A highly poised and effective communicator, she has a creativity, vitality and passion for her work and a true devotion to advancing her profession,” said Mark A. Tarasiewicz, PPRA Hall of Famer and Executive Director at the Philadelphia Bar Association.

“My first impression of Meredith Avakian-Hardaway was that she’s a truly put-together woman with high aspirations,” said Lisette Bralow, current PPRA President. “We met through PPRA and at every meeting Meredith projected a professional demeanor. Most importantly, if she accepted an assignment, there was never any question that it would be completed on time with great attention to detail. Working with Meredith has been a pleasure; she follows me as president and immediately saw the advantages of working together to create continuity so that programs wouldn’t stop at the end of a presidency.”

Meredith knows the secret to forging real connections with people in a short time; you have to make a personal gesture. For Gina Rubel, President and CEO of Furia Rubel Communications, it was a handwritten note of thanks.“I met Meredith when I presented to her public relations class, she immediately followed up with a written note of thanks and we have remained in contact ever since. She is not only a wonderful PR executive and role-model; she is also someone I am honored to call a friend.”

Meredith is that special sort of person always actively seeking out promising young people to mentor; “everyone should be so lucky as to have a mentor like Meredith, as I have for the past five years,” said Jessica Lawlor, Communications Manager at Visit Bucks County. “She excels at taking young professionals under her wing and getting them involved in organizations that will help them develop professionally and make valuable connections.”

“Meredith’s thumb print is all over today’s up-and-coming Philadelphia PR practitioners. Countless new professionals I meet consider Meredith an inspiration, if not a personal mentor. And they should. Meredith is a consummate communicator, an inspiring professional, a generous volunteer and a natural leader,” said Christopher Lukach, President at Anne Klein Communications Group.

Meredith continues to help and impress everyone she encounters, making no one more deserving than her to receive the Lew Klein Rising Star in the Media Award.

Congratulations, Meredith!

This post was written by PPRA member Faiz M. Mandviwalla. Faiz is a junior at Temple University studying public relations. He also interns at the Philadelphia Bar Association where he has the pleasure of working with Meredith. Connect with him on Twitter @faizmand. For a pre- Lew Klein Awards post he wrote visit Temple University’s  PRowl  blog here.

It’s PPRA Awards Season

Although PR practitioners spend most of their time behind the scenes, there are still ways for the best professionals in our industry to stand out from the crowd. Each year, the Philadelphia Public Relations Association recognizes our region’s most talented, passionate and promising PR professionals — honoring one standout student and one exceptional young professional.

The Dr. Jean Brodey Student Achievement Award is awarded annually to a college junior or senior who has exhibited outstanding professional promise in the field of public relations, has an excellent academic track record and contributes to his or her community.

The PPRA Fast-Track Award honors a member of PPRA who has made great contributions to the organization, profession, the community and who exemplifies PPRA’s vision for the future.

Nominations for both the Dr. Jean Brodey Student Achievement Award and the PPRA Fast-Track Award are due May 2, 2014. You can find more information on the awards and the nomination forms here.