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)

Remembering A Beloved PPRA Member: Sally Berlin


The Philadelphia Public Relations Association has lost a long-time and beloved member of its family. We are saddened to announce that Sally Berlin has passed away this past weekend on Saturday, October, 25th. Sally, a well-known PR pro in the Philadelphia area, served as PPRA’s President in 1976-77. She was one of the first women to become inducted into the PPRA Hall of Fame in 1986.

Sally stood only 4 feet, 10 inches tall but was known as a PR giant and ageless dynamo by those who knew her. She cherished the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, making it a high priority to attend PPRA programs. She eagerly volunteered her time and demonstrated her passion for the public relations industry by sharing her influential and creative ideas to help boost a city in which she loved, the city of Philadelphia.

Aside from her affiliation with PPRA, Sally worked hard to expand the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia, (PAL). Working as an adviser for PAL well into her 90s, Sally raised millions of dollars for the non-profit corporation throughout her career.

Sandy Harris, Senior Development Coordinator and Auction Manager at PAL as well as a long-time colleague and friend of Sally’s highlighted her powerful personality in a tribute post on the Philly PAL blog.“Working with Sally and getting to know her is something that I will always treasure.  I learned so much from seeing her in action.  If she called you in regard to a donation and you didn’t call her back, you can bet she would persistently call you until you told her when she could expect the check.  She never took no for an answer and knew how to make everyone she talked to feel special.”

“In all the years I had the privilege of knowing Sally, I never heard her say an unkind word about anyone. In fact, she saw the best in everyone and became their champion, spreading the word about their talents and achievements,” said Gloria Hochman.

Dan Cirucci reminisced on Sally’s unstoppable can-do attitude in a tribute post on his personal blog. “She was also a pioneer — part of a generation of women who broke through the glass ceiling before anyone even knew what the glass ceiling was. And then she went on to mentor countless others. She did it all without a second thought. In fact, it probably never occurred to her that anything could stop her — and nothing ever did.”

We have truly lost an extraordinary individual and vibrant personality. Sally will be missed by all that were lucky enough to cross path’s with such a genuine person.


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.