Diane Davis Beacon Award

Each year an elite Circle of Honor grows through the addition of one of PRSA Boston’s most accomplished and generous public relations practitioners or academics. The Diane Davis Beacon Award recognizes a PRSA Boston member for his or her example of exhibiting the highest qualities of leadership, generous service, unimpeachable ethics and professional achievement.

The individual stories of the Diane Davis Circle of Honor recipients encompass decades of robust contributions in the areas of career mentoring for future generations of PR practitioners; professional ambassadorship; noteworthy achievements; and exemplary service to the PRSA Boston community that cumulatively transcend years and positions.

  • Nancy Sterling, APR- 2018
  • Darlene Hollywood – 2017
  • Mark McClennan -, APR 2016
  • Hank Shafran – 2016
  • Julie Dennehy, APR – 2015
  • Jack Jackson – 2014
  • Vic Beck, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.) – 2013
  • Peter Morrissey, APR – 2012
  • Larry Weber – 2011
  • Professor Steve Quigley, APR – 2010
  • Barbara Wellnitz, APR, Fellow PRSA – 2009
  • Ann Getman, APR – 2008
  • Professor Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA – 2007
  • Pat Pollino, APR, Fellow PRSA – 2006
  • Barry Wanger, APR, Fellow PRSA – 2005
  • Professor Otto Lerbinger, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA – 2004

Nomination Instructions, Eligibility + 2019 Deadline

  • Recipient Eligibility: Nominees must be members in good standing of PRSA Boston. They can be a past nominee who has not yet received this award.
  • Nominators: Any active member of PRSA Boston can submit nominations for this award, including self-nominations. The name of the Submitter is redacted from the form prior to judging to keep the focus on the Nominee’s story.
  • Deadline: Nominations are due by Wed., Oct.2
  • Liability: PRSA Boston cannot be held responsible for technical difficulties that impede or prevent the electronic submission. We encourage you to confirm receipt by email.
  • Form Labeling: The Nominee’s name and the Submitter’s contact information should be included in the Header of each page. Every page should be numbered.
  • Ownership: Content of the submission becomes the property of PRSA Boston and may be used for publicity.
  • Judging: Accredited members of the PRSA Boston Chapter by closed ballot.


Questions to 2018 Awards Chair: Josh Gitelson, APR at joshg1068@gmail.com


Submit Your Nomination

If you are, or know, a standout contributor, we hope you will submit a nomination!

Apply Here

Meet the 2018 Diane Davis Beacon Award Honoree:

Nancy Sterling

Ethics Chair: Nancy Sterling, APR, Fellow PRSA

The Diane Davis Beacon Award, PRSA Boston’s highest honor, was presented to Nancy Sterling, saluting her as one of our chapter’s most accomplished public relations practitioners, and recognizing her leadership, generous service and professional achievement.

Nancy is Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications at ML Strategies. She has a wide-ranging practice that includes reputation management, strategic public relations consulting, community relations, and litigation support. She also specializes in crisis communications, where she has counseled clients in both the private and public sectors. Clients have ranged from Fortune 500 companies to individuals in need of comprehensive and immediate PR services. Nancy has handled controversies surrounding criminal and civil charges, employee accidents and deaths, sexual harassment and abuse, financial improprieties, and labor and employment issues, including strikes.

As a crisis counselor, Nancy has particular experience in the fields of business, construction and real estate, education, health care, and bankruptcy. She has helped organizations communicate during restructurings, takeovers, and buy-outs. Nancy also designs crisis communication plans to help organizations avoid crises and effectively manage through them should they occur. In addition, she provides media training for executives to help them effectively navigate national and local print, broadcast and social media.

She is a member of the following multi-disciplinary practice groups at the firm: Consumer Product Safety, Media Litigation, and Education. Her education practice consists of counseling clients in both secondary and higher education in communications strategy. As a former acting vice president at Boston University, Nancy managed the public relations, marketing, new media, and related departments for the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. She was also the Acting Director of Communications at Phillips Academy, Andover. For education clients, her primary focus is in crisis communications and executive compensation.

Nancy also has broad experience in proactive public relations, promoting everything from real estate development to food-related products to biotech treatments. Before joining ML Strategies, Nancy was director of community relations for Mount Auburn Hospital, a Harvard teaching facility. Earlier, she was director of communications/chief spokesperson for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), a 7,000-person transit system. She was also director of informational services and chief spokesperson for the Boston Police Department, where she was the first woman on the command staff.

She began her career as a news writer for WCVB-TV, Boston (ABC), where she advanced to assignment editor and series/field producer. She held a similar position at the CBS affiliate in Boston before becoming planning editor at WOR-TV in New York City.

She has lectured widely on media and crisis communications. Nancy has taught crisis communications at Curry College and is presently teaching at Lasell College.