Special Awards

Pinnacles Awards Gala, 2019

Nominated by peers, these awards recognize exceptional leadership and action in the public relations profession. Both the nominee and the nominator must be CPRS Hamilton members in good standing unless otherwise specified. Due to the stringent criteria, some Special Awards may not be awarded annually. Special Award nominations must include a submission summary that details why the candidate fulfills the nomination criteria.

Learn more about the Special Award categories below. Nominations will be accepted annually in the spring.

Bill Cockman Memorial Award for Excellence in PR

The Award of Excellence is given for distinguished and dedicated service to the Canadian Public Relations Society and/or to the advancement/betterment of the practice of public relations at large.

Awarded to a CPRS Hamilton member whose personal activities and/or leadership and commitment to the society or affairs of the public relations profession resulted in a striking demonstration of the profession’s principles, the society’s mission and/or code of professional standards or a notable advance in CPRS Hamilton’s prestige or personal activities and/or leadership that went beyond the call of duty or responsibility to employer or client and made a pronounced contribution to the status and acceptance of the public relations function.

Three nominators are required and all must be CPRS members. Nominators must include a detailed written summary no more than two pages (300 to 500 words) outlining the nominee’s demonstration of:

  • Professional excellence or advancement of the practice of public relations
  • Service to CPRS Hamilton, the profession of public relations, employer or client
  • The nominee’s public relations-related accomplishments.

About Bill Cockman, APR: Cockman was one of the founding members of Hamilton’s first public relations society in the 1960s. He was an honorary life member of CPRS Hamilton at the time of his passing in 1997.

Recent Recipients: Dustin Manley, MA, APR, CMP (2021)

Student Award of Excellence

Awarded to a CPRS Hamilton student member of a full-time public relations program. The student will have demonstrated the following:

  • Clear understanding and application of the principles of public relations theory
  • Actions and behaviour that reflect professionalism
  • Leadership in personal and scholastic activities
  • Commitment to the future of the public relations profession
  • Perceived to have the ability to make future contributions to the status and acceptance of the public relations profession.

Nominators must submit a summary no more than two pages (300-500 words) outlining how the nominee fulfills the above criteria.

Recent Recipients: Ashland MacDonald and Devin Flynn (2020), Nicoles Mertens (2021), Sophia Cole (2022)

CPRS Hamilton PR Champion of the Year

Awarded to the lead manager of an organization who has demonstrated a commitment to and belief in the value of public relations as an effective business strategy. The award recipient will have established public relations as a high-level priority in creating business plans, will have empowered public relations personnel in the organization to be proactive, considers public relations a management function and a crucial organizational planning tool, uses public relations principles in making decisions and has created an environment where public relations can flourish.

Nominators must be members in good standing of CPRS Hamilton and should submit a summary of no more than two pages (300-500 words) outlining how the nominee fulfills the above criteria.

Bob Deans, APR Mentorship Award

The Bob Deans, APR Mentorship Award will be presented to a senior public relations practitioner who has demonstrated a commitment to and belief in the value of mentoring both those who are new to the profession and those who are committed to the practice of public relations. The award recipient will have demonstrated a commitment to speaking to post-secondary students, encouraging internships in the workplace, fostering exemplary relationships in the profession and serving the profession.

Nominators must be members in good standing of CPRS Hamilton and should submit a summary of no more than two pages (300-500 words) outlining who they nominate and how this individual fulfills the above criteria and exemplifies the attributes of this Mentorship Award.

Recent Recipients: Kim Zarzuela, MSc (2021)

Dr. Louis J. Cahill Memorial Award for Distinguished Service

The CPRS Hamilton Board of Directors is responsible for nominating and presenting this prestigious award. The Dr. Louis J. Cahill award may be presented to a member who has demonstrated a commitment to CPRS Hamilton in an exemplary way over the course of his or her membership.

While the issuance of this award is at the discretion of the CPRS Hamilton Board of Directors, members may submit nominations for consideration. Nominators should submit a written summary (300-500 words) to awards@cprshamilton.ca outlining the member’s service to CPRS Hamilton and industry accomplishments. While we appreciate all nominations, the award may not always be issued each year.

About Louis J. Cahill: Known as Canada’s “Dean of Public Relations”, Cahill was a true pioneer in the field. His unmatched achievements spanned a 70-year career.

He co-founded the Niagara News Bureau in 1936 supplying news and photographs to newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the U.S. It grew into one of the oldest and largest privately-owned public relations consultancies in Ontario, possibly Canada.

Lou, who worked to age 92, pioneered countless public relations precepts that guide the profession today. Many in Ontario’s public relations industry gained their expertise with advice and counsel from Lou.

A Life Member of the Canadian Public Relations Society, Lou received their numerous honours and awards including the inaugural award of CPRS “Fellow”. CPRS Hamilton’s Distinguished Service Award was named in Lou’s honour after he won the award in the early 2000s.

Sharon Little, APR Legacy Fund Scholar Award

In honour of our colleague and friend Sharon Little, APR, who passed away November 6, 2014 after a courageous battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Sharon was a member of CPRS since 2009 and was a 15-year employee at Halton Region where she was the Manager of Communications. Sharon served as Treasurer of the Hamilton chapter from 2010 to 2012 and as Vice-President from 2012 to 2013. Her insight, calm demeanour, wit, professionalism and positive approach to life and work made Sharon a valued member of the society and the communications community. The award was renamed in her honour and is now called, the “Sharon Little APR Legacy Fund Scholar Award”.

Call for Applications
CPRS Hamilton is calling for applications for the Sharon Little, APR Legacy Fund Scholar Award. If you have completed a graduate level program between September 2021-December 2022 with a minimum overall standing of a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale (i.e. at the Master’s level, Ph.D. or MBA in public relations or communications) and are a member in good standing of CPRS Hamilton for at least two years (at the time the award is presented), you could be eligible to receive a scholar award in the amount of $1,000.

The objective of the award is to promote the importance of continuous learning and professionalism in the field of public relations. Selection will be based on the submission that best meets the objective and criteria mentioned, including the highest marks among applicants. The Sharon Little, APR Legacy Fund Scholar Award, which is administered by the Hamilton Community Foundation, is a permanent endowment fund established by CPRS Hamilton. This award was funded through the exceptional efforts of a committed group of members, led by Kimberlee Lambe, APR that hosted a CPRS National conference in Niagara Falls.

If you qualify, please send a letter to awards@cprshamilton.ca c/o Sharon Little, APR Legacy Fund Scholar Award member-jury outlining your eligibility in meeting the objectives of the award and include your transcript (in a sealed envelope from Office of the Registrar).

Recent Recipients: Daryl Barnhart, MA, APR (2021); Kim Sweeney, MEd, MCM, APR (2020)

Heather J. Pullen Memorial Award

Named in memory of Heather J. Pullen, MCM, APR, FCPRS, a valued member of CPRS Hamilton who served as Accreditation Chair from 2014 to 2019. Heather passed away on September 15, 2020, following a three-year battle with cancer; however, her indelible impact on CPRS Hamilton and her students—APRs, undergraduates, and graduates—continues to live on.

Recognizing her commitment to lifelong learning, the Heather J. Pullen Memorial Award will fund a current CPRS Hamilton Student Member’s transition to Affiliate Member status.

Application Requirements: Applicants must be a CPRS Hamilton student member graduating by June of the award year from a college diploma, undergraduate, or post-graduate certification program in public relations, communications, or a related field with a minimum 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

To apply, please send a letter to awards@cprshamilton.ca with the subject line: Heather J. Pullen Memorial Award, including:

  • A 300-500 word letter outlining your eligibility and what lifelong learning means to you, and
  • a PDF of your current academic transcript

Recent Recipient: Rita Stranges (2021)