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The Black Public Relations Society of Atlanta (BPRS/Atlanta) was named “Chapter of the Year” at the 2013 National Black Public Relations Society (NBPRS) Conference & Career Fair, held Oct. 3-6 in Atlanta.

The recognition was announced during the annual convention’s Founders Luncheon & Awards ceremony honoring outstanding individuals and companies committed to advancing the organization’s mission of diversifying the public relations industry with people of color.

“The tenacity of the BPRS/Atlanta chapter has made them the team to watch as they’ve revived their organization through strong leadership, innovative professional development and networking opportunities, and community support,” said Deborah Hyman, president, NBPRS. “Through all of this, they also hosted the national conference. Their journey has truly been monumental.”

Atlanta is one of 11 Black Public Relations Society chapters across the country. The local chapter was founded in 2001 to increase the active participation and employment of people of color in the practice and study of public relations through professional development, scholarship and networking opportunities.

“It is an honor to be recognized for all of the hard work, passion and commitment our board and membership have contributed to help grow the Atlanta chapter,” said Alexis Davis Smith, BPRS/Atlanta president and president and CEO of PRecise Communications. “We have dedicated ourselves to providing solid programs and networking opportunities to help multicultural PR practitioners and students move forward in their careers. The award is confirmation that we are fulfilling our mission and making a difference.”

Several notable local individuals and Atlanta-based companies were also celebrated for their achievements. The late Don Perry, former vice president of public relations for Chick-fil-A, received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously. Lori George Billingsley, vice president of community for Coca-Cola Refreshments, and W. Imara Canady, area development director for the United Negro College Fund, were both awarded the Pat Tobin Mover & Shaker Award.

Additionally, UPS was recognized with the 2013 Corporate Diversity Award, acknowledging its diverse communications team and long-standing commitment to the Black Public Relations Society nationally and locally.

(Photo: Award winner Lori George Billingsley (third from left), vice president of community for Coca-Cola Refreshments, is joined by Black Public Relations Society national board members Phyllis Banks (from left), member-at-large, chapter development; Deborah Hyman, president, national conference chair; Wynona Redmond, immediate past president; Richelle Payne, EVP, national conference programming chair; Imara Canady, member-at-large, national conference co-chair; Jennifer Johnston, APR, member-at-large, membership; and Zing Shaw, secretary.)

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