Philadelphia may be in Bonnie Grant's DNA, but few know that Bonnie is not native to the city.
Seems strange, because to think of Bonnie now is to think of her strong connections to the city she has called home since moving here as a grade-schooler. But at one time, she was a stranger in a strange land.
Philadelphia was the "big city" -- a far cry from her native Arkansas.
She moved here at age 9 and was instantly drawn to Philadelphia. She loved the street games that kids would play in her Olney neighborhood. She was drawn to the spirit of the people she would meet.
Bonnie stayed in Philadelphia for college. She moved away briefly to Houston, but made her way back.
With her fine arts degree, people told her to "move to New York." Only, Bonnie saw things differently.
Where outsiders saw a city that was down on itself, Bonnie saw potential -- the centerpiece of a large metropolitan region, one of the largest cities in America. A city that could shine like a diamond - when it set its mind to it.
"You look at Philadelphia today, and it is hard to believe what people
thought of the city in the 1980s," said Bonnie, who joins the distinguished PPRA Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 17. "The rest of the country saw the city one way. We needed to present it in a totally different light."
Bonnie's resume reflects her dedication to our region -- former City Representative under two mayors (a political rarity). Director of communications and spokesperson for Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition. Communications head of the Philadelphia Eagles; in-house communications professional at Spring Garden College, Chestnut Hill College and Chestnut Hill Academy.
For one year, she was PPRA President -- the first president under whom I served as a PPRA Committee Chair.
Over the past 10 years, Bonnie has served as the executive director of PHL Life Sciences, a critically important arm of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. Life sciences meetings represent close to 50 percent of convention business in the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Center City hotels. And Bonnie is helping to bring those groups here.
Like the city itself, Bonnie has also overcome adversity. Perhaps she sees a bit of herself in the 2018 Super Bowl Champs -- a group that overcame injuries and doubters to make history.
For example, Bonnie is a breast cancer survivor. For most of her career, she was a single mother with two sons, Michael and Shane.
She has had professional setbacks, too. Not every day for Bonnie has been "always sunny in Philadelphia."
"But I have always gotten back up -- even when I have been knocked down," Bonnie says. "I've never once believed that things would never work out."
Please join me in congratulating PPRA's newest Hall of Fame inductee, Bonnie Grant. I hope you will join us to honor her on Thursday, May 17 at the Liberty View at Independence Visitors Center.
Philadelphia Public Relations Association
PPRA programs are hitting the heights
The Programs Committee, headed by Deirdre Hopkins, continued its run of successful events. "Crisis Comms Done Right: Experts Share Case Studies on How to Handle the Hot Seat" featured PPRA's own Meredith Z. Avakian, Christopher Lukach and Jeff Jubelirer along with Kelly Jankowski, Senior VP, Edelman and Jessica Sharp, Principal, Maven Communications. It was held at coffee company Saxbys headquarters, proving that learning with lattes is an unbeatable morning combo. Then, "Channel Chat: Who's New, What's Up, How's it Changing?" brought an outstanding panel of local broadcast journalists, producers and editors who offered the inside scoop on pitching your stories to a packed room. PPRA's NYC media tour included visits to the New York Times, Fox News and NBC.
Although, not as informative as an official program, the Super Bowl bet payoff with Boston's Public Relations Society of America chapter proved quite tasty: PPRA board members enjoyed Boston Cream Pie while showing off their Philly Pride.
Scoop USA Newspaper, the oldest black-owned newspaper in Philadelphia, has moved to 1354 West Girard Ave., 2nd Floor Rear, Philadelphia, PA 19123. The weekly seeks to provide a platform for stories not covered the mainstream press.
from Brûlée Catering by Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix secured a two page spread in the national publication,
Catering Magazine's Jan/Feb issue
. It featured The Wistar Institute's 125th Anniversary Gala at Dilworth Park and the event's science-themed menu.
In celebration of the Philadelphia Eagles making it to the SuperBowl,
invited media to the maternity ward at Holy Redeemer Hospital for a pep rally. All the major Philadelphia TV stations came out to see newborns don hand-made Eagles caps, earning a live shot from
Good Day Philadelphia
and national coverage by
ABC World News Tonight
worked with Reading Terminal Market to help secure 66 placements for the Market's 125
anniversary, including coverage by
Philadelphia Media Network
, WDAS, KYW Newsradio,
and NPR. Additional engagement via social media, including a
recap video of the day's event
and posts from
Philadelphia International Airport
, and other stakeholders, reached more than 2 million users.
senior living community, Paul's Run, was featured on
. Ninety-nine-year-old resident Fred Gloden, who played for the Eagles in 1941, was interviewed. The story also was picked up by
of Presby's Inspired Life, secured placement in an
story about how the federal tax overhaul could potentially change Affordable Housing inventory in Philly.
Dr. Erin Kenny, Chief of the William Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center at
The Eye Institute of Salus University
, was interviewed
by Frankie Darcell of WDAS 105.3 FM about blindness, low vision services, and the importance of comprehensive eye exams.
Visit Bucks County
has earned HSMAI Adrian Awards for its Photo Walk series and the 'Bucks County is My Home' video series, as well as a Ragan PR Content Marketing Awards Honorable Mention for its innovative
marketing strategies and video content in 2017. In addition, Visit Bucks County r
ecently hosted popular Philly foodie Instagrammers behind @PhillyFoodies and @Love_PhillyFood for a day trip around several Bucks County restaurants to promote THE food scene in preparation of the first ever, Bucks County Restaurant Week, April 29 - May 5. Finally, New Hope, PA, ranked in Top 25 list of American's Favorite Destinations on Expedia.com.
Cari Felier Bender
shared her secrets of media relations success recently in front of a live audience during a TEDX talk. Feiler Bender's address - "How to make your story the BIG Story"
- featured three key tips on how to elevate the stature of your client's message within the news cycle: Cooperate with the Big Story, Compete with the Big Story and Co-Op the Big Story. The presentation also touched on Feiler Bender's many experiences -- from working with Pope Francis in Philadelphia to overcoming anti-Semitism in her native Savannah, GA. The talk is available on You Tube through this link
Feiler Bender owns and operates Relief Communications, a firm that provides communications services to the non-profit sector.
PPRA Board of Governors member and past president
Meredith Z. Avakian
, director of communications and marketing at the Philadelphia Bar Association, presented an opening plenary session on leadership communications and media relations at the American Bar Association's Bar Leaders Institute in Chicago.
late husband, Stan, will be honored at the National Adoption Center'
s Celebration of Family gala on Thursday, April 6 at the Crystal Tea Room when Gloria will present the Stan Hochman Compassion for Kids Award to adoptive parent and advocate Kelly Wolfington.
has been named Director of School and Community Relations for the Lower Merion School District. Buckman, a graduate of Lower Merion High School and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University (BSJ/MSJ '86), was a longtime reporter and producer for 6abc Action News. Since January 2015, she has served as Manager of Public Relations and Special Events at Philadelphia Media Network, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com.
PPRA Hall of Fame member and blogger
is the host of
, a new half-hour TV show on the
network. On the show Dan interviews people from all walks of life who tell their stories, share life lessons and express their views on a wide range of topics. If you or someone you know would like to appear on the show, contact Dan at
attending March's PPRA Board of Directors meeting as a representative the PPRA Hall of Fame members, was reminded by President Adam Dvorin that this year is Rubin's 30th anniversary since being President of PPRA and 20 years since his induction into the Hall of Fame. Rubin's reaction: "Time has passed quickly, I'm the only person at this board meeting today who has gray hair."
Win an award? Speaking on a panel? Landed an amazing media hit?
Email us your good news at
or tweet us using #PPRAProud.
Student Program: "Careers 101: From College to Career"
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
PECO, 2301 Market St., Philadelphia, PA
Does it seem like you're always getting the same advice on landing your first job out of college? "Be patient, an opportunity will come along" and "Go on as many informational interviews as possible in the meantime" are truths of the post-grad (or soon to be) life. Still, PPRA knows you need more answers than that!
Join us for the annual Careers 101 event to hear from a panel of communication industry professionals who have been in your shoes and come out on the other side with a job offer. You'll have the chance to ask all your burning questions and network to your heart's desire with folks with connections potential employers.
PPRA Helps One of Our Own: Happy Hour with Mary Salisbury
Thursday, April 12, 2018
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Field House, 1150 Filbert St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
Mark your calendar for a fundraising event in honor of PPRA Member Mary Salisbury, who is rehabilitating following a serious spinal cord injury. Money raised will be split between Mary's continuing care and Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.
It is a way for PPRA Members to help one of our own. Mary is a 2017 Graduate of Temple University, an employee of Tonic Life Communications and a former intern at Brian Communications.
There will be celebrity bartenders, silent auction items and the chance to meet Mary and wish her luck as she continues rehabilitation.
2018 Hall of Fame Luncheon Honoring Bonnie Grant
Thursday, May 17, 2018
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
The Liberty View at Independence Visitor Center, 6th & Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA
The PPRA Hall of Fame recognizes public relations professionals whose accomplishments have brought honor and recognition to the profession. The award is the Philadelphia region's most prestigious recognition of a public relations professional for his or her superior contributions to the public relations industry, the community, and the Philadelphia Public Relations Association.
As Executive Director of PHL Life Sciences, a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bonnie Grant is responsible for marketing greater Philadelphia, ranked the second-largest life sciences sector in the country, as "America's Life Sciences Meetings Destination." In her role, she manages more than 60 regional life sciences leaders from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, leveraging common resources to enhance awareness of the region as a vibrant destination for life sciences meetings and conventions.
2018 Annual Meeting Celebration: "#MeToo: A Conversation with Tarana Burke, Founder of a Social Media Movement"
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
5:30 - 8 p.m.
Science History Institute, 315 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA
Please join us as we present the 2018 PPRA Fast Track and Dr. Jean Brodey Achievement Awards. We will also salute our outgoing President Adam Dvorin and the 2017-18 Board of Governors. We will induct our incoming president Nina Scimenes and the 2018-19 Board of Governors.
Our keynote speaker is Tarana Burke, who created the #MeTooMovement in 2006 to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society. She has a Philadelphia connection having moved here in 2008 and serving as managing director of Art Sanctuary. Ms. Burke served as a consultant for the movie,
Selma. Burke will share the heartbreaking story behind the genesis of the viral MeToo Movement, which began on social media and now has captured international interest.
We are looking forward to welcoming our members and prospective members to the Science History Institute (formerly The Chemical Heritage Foundation) where the stories of innovators and discoveries that shape our lives are shared.
our PRoactive program allows members to lend their time and talents as public relations professionals to a new nonprofit partner. This year we're helping literacy-advocate Tree House Books. You can support our PRoactive partner by making a new or gently used book donation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
New faces have joined PPRA. Make sure to say hello if you see them at one of our next events!
- Sharyn Flanagan, The Associated Press
- Megan Keohane, Buchanan Public Relations
- Beth Lawrence, Beth Lawrence LLC
- Allison McDaniel, Janney Montgomery Scott
- Brian McDermott, Nasdaq
- Jennifer Robinson, Purposeful Networking
- Justin Solar, Slice Communications
- Michelle Sonsino, Germantown Friends School
Your dream career could be a few clicks away. Visit
PPRA's Job Bank
for more details on the following positions:
- Head of Corporate Public Relations, Vanguard
- Public Information Coordinator, WHYY
- Specialist, Communications, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site
- Healthcare Senior Account Executive, Spryte Communications
- Account Coordinators, Assistant Account Executives, Account Executives, Vault Communications
- Account Executive, Maven Communications
- Public Relations Account Supervisor, Hornercom
- Part-Time Public Relations Pro, Geneva Global
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