GVSU PRSSA alumnae, former Chapter President, Delaney MacKenzie, and former GrandPR CEO, Emily Gagnon, have been awarded the PRSA National Gold Key Award. The National Gold Key Award is known in the Public Relations field as the highest level of individual honor awarded by PRSSA. All around, these ladies are a huge deal.
Both Delaney and Emily spent the majority of their college careers expanding and building their resumes. The power duo embodies the phrase, “better together.” Not only did they manage and actively participate in PRSSA and GrandPR, but they were also a part of the GVSU team for the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) where they, along with the rest of the team, placed as finalists. They also presented at the East Central District QuickStart Conference to PRSA chapter leaders about empowering young people in roles as new pros. This is not the first award title that the two share. Just a few awards awarded to the pair during their time involved with GVPRSSA and GrandPR were three Teahan Awards, three GVSU Student Life Awards, two Pacesetter Awards for exceptional projects, and the eighth consecutive Star Chapter award for GVPRSSA. Phew, that’s just a few things that they did.
“From extended office hours, outstanding student organizations, career connections, and more, the GVSU APR program prepares students to apply themselves beyond the classroom,” Gagnon said, “Together, Del and I challenged each other to excel with creative solutions and executions at every chance we saw.” On their own, the pair are just as admirable and driven in their careers.
Starting with Delaney, she surpassed the requirements necessary for winning the Gold Key award. According to her former adviser, Dr. Adrienne Wallace, GVPRSSA Faculty Adviser, and School of Communications Assistant Professor, Delaney has always embodied not only a driven leader but a supportive friend and peer. “Delaney is a collaboration genius, juggling not only multiple projects, but multiple roles in projects, not just as a leader but also as a follower. This signals to me a maturation beyond most in her age-group,” Wallace said. “ It’s tough to be the leader of a successful group and then turn around to be the follower in another capacity, but at any rate, she shines.”
On top of being President of GVPRSSA and everything else listed above, Delaney also served as an active part of West Michigan PRSA (WMPRSA), GVPRSSA’s parent chapter. Additionally, she was part of GrandPR’s executive board, held multiple internship positions, and sometimes had two jobs while in school. “This is beyond humbling,” she said about being honored with the award, “I must, of course, credit the Grand Valley State University PRSSA chapter, Advertising and Public Relations program and my outstanding advisor, and friend, Dr. Adrienne Wallace.”
As for the former CEO of GrandPR, Emily Gagnon, she wore many hats and had a never-ending task list while in school. Not only did she maintain a 12 client roster for GrandPR, but she served on the GVPRSSA executive board, worked numerous internships, served as an Election Inspector for Georgetown Township, fulfilling all roles, including Chairperson. Additionally, Emily was the Marketing Coordinator for TEDxGVSU where she worked closely alongside Jaclyn Ermoyan, another former GrandPR CEO, and 2017 Gold Key Award recipient. Lastly, Emily was awarded the Excellence-In-A-Discipline award from the GVSU Advertising and Public Relations faculty and the Thomas M. Seykora Award for Outstanding Contribution award from GVSU this year.
Overall, the girls are shining stars that represent not only GVPRSSA, but GVSU Advertising & Public Relations students. Currently, they are both settled into their careers in the field and are continuing to embody what it means to be a Gold Key winner. Congratulations, ladies!