PRSA Greater Connecticut's
2020 Practitioner of the Year
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (Nov. 19, 2020) - The Public Relations Society of America Greater Connecticut Chapter is pleased to announce Mildred McNeill, the nation's first Black woman to become a TV news director, as its 2020 Practitioner of the Year.
The PRSA Greater Connecticut's Practitioner of the Year Award recognizes an individual who, throughout their career, demonstrated that he or she is an outstanding example of excellence in the industry, having helped to deliver meaningful results to improve the connection between his or her employer or client/s and related constituencies.
McNeill, a resident of Avon, Conn., retired this summer as executive director of communications and marketing at the University of Hartford. Mildred began her career in television, working for 13 years at Connecticut’s NBC affiliate (WVIT, Channel 30), where she became the first Black female television news director in the country and was ultimately appointed vice president, news and public affairs.
"Mildred is a connector and a trailblazer," said PRSA CT President Derek Beere. "She truly exemplifies all that's good about the practice of public relations and shares willingly with the next generation."
McNeill came to the University of Hartford in 2007 as a director of marketing communication, supervising the marketing staff responsible for the website, graphic design, advertising, and publications.
In 2008, she was promoted to lead the office of Communications and Marketing, charged with enhancing university visibility, recognition, and reputation. In 2011, she conducted the university’s first ever image and identity research to streamline and integrate university messaging, with an emphasis on overall academic excellence and student support. The result was an award-winning branding and image campaign introduced in 2013.
She has developed media outreach strategies and relationships, while planning and executing many high-profile and complex events, including President Obama’s visit to campus, senatorial and gubernatorial candidate debates, a 10-year 9/11 commemoration, construction kickoff and opening for the Handel Performing Arts Center, University High School of Science and Engineering’s first graduation ceremony.
Mildred also served as an inaugural participant in the Laura Johnson Initiative for Women Leaders, on the President’s Commission on Women, MLK Day planning committee, President’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, University Partnership Council, Foundations of the Future, Situation Management Team (SMT), the President’s Council, the Belonging and Being Seen Travelers Partnership planning committee, and as co-chair of the Faculty and Staff of Color Affinity Group.
Prior to joining the university, she worked in marketing at United Way of the Capital Area in Hartford, helping the now nearly 100-year old non-profit achieve record fundraising results of over $25 million and exceed its fundraising goals. Previously, she developed and implemented public relations and communication programs for the Connecticut Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, and for the Office of the State Treasurer.
PRSA Greater Connecticut's 2019 Practitioner of the Year was Dan Meaney, APR, Director of Public Affairs and Corporate Communications at Connecticut Water Company.
About PRSA Greater Connecticut:
The chapter is one of more than 100 that are part of the national Public Relations Society of America. PRSA Greater Connecticut was formed to advance the public relations profession and to support the public relations practitioner. Nearly 100 members strong and growing, the chapters represent a diverse group of mid to senior-level professionals who are committed to enhancing the practice of public relations in the state. Professionals in the chapter represent agencies, independent consultants, business and industry, government, hospitals and healthcare organizations, professional associations, education and nonprofit organizations. To learn more about the chapter, membership and its upcoming events, visit prsact.org and follow the PRSA Greater Connecticut on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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