Winner: Carrie Martin, The American Red Cross
During her first Red Cross disaster assignment in August of 2001, Carrie Martin was given expert advice from veteran Red Crossers, with the most resonant being, "Never leave home without a hammock, because you never know when you might wind up in Guam." This mantra of preparedness has helped define Martin's eight-year career in nonprofit PR and crisis management, and it has proven particularly relevant over the past year.
In May 2005, Martin was promoted to senior officer of strategic planning and communication, and now manages four staff members who help support the communications needs of the leadership of the American Red Cross. This role also involves working proactively to incorporate the organization's strategic plan into the department's fiscal year goals and objectives.
Beginning with the string of four devastating hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004, followed by the December tsunami in southeast Asia, and culminating with hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, Martin's work behind the scenes, which included traveling more than eight times to disaster-affected areas, has increased media requests for interviews with Red Cross leadership.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, no one predicted its unprecedented impact. Martin and members of the Red Cross PR team battled to overcome negative stories in the media and engage the public in the positive work of the organization, as well as promoting the need for funds. She has been a leader in developing important messaging used by senior leadership, and has been a valued spokesperson in her own right – she has conducted interviews with the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and .
Martin showed adaptability and eagerness to expand her role at the Red Cross, and became a valued thinker and contributor to the communication and marketing department's senior management team. Over the past year, she was tapped to serve as the lead of the Red Cross media team made up of individuals representing each line of service in the organization. Hosting biweekly meetings, Martin increased communication and coordination among media team members and was able to provide management with a clearer picture of the organization's proactive media outreach activities.
Martin also took on the responsibility of managing the department's relationships with a variety of media service vendors. She has taken the lead on renegotiating contracts, which has saved the organization more than $100,000, and scheduled training sessions with vendors and key staff members to ensure that these services were being utilized effectively to benefit the organization.
Honorable Mentions: Leslie Gaines-Ross and Raymond L. Buse III
Leslie Gaines-Ross, Burson-Marsteller
As chief knowledge and research officer worldwide and executive board member at Burson-Marsteller, Leslie Gaines-Ross has initiated breakthrough CEO reputation research. For over nine years, she has built the firm's thought leadership, proprietary knowledge development, and strategic knowledge-sharing programs. As the architect of landmark research into CEO reputation, corporate reputation, and reputation recovery, she is one of the world's most widely recognized experts on corporate leadership issues. Media including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The New York Times, and the Economist have featured her work. This past year proved a busy one for Gaines-Ross, as she served as a guest speaker or panelist at 21 different events across the globe, from New York and Boston in the US, to Oslo, Zurich, London, and Durban, South Africa.
Raymond L. Buse III, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber (formerly Greater Cincinnati (Chamber of Commerce)
Raymond Buse has distinguished himself over his 14 years with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber as one of the most passionate PR practitioners. As PR manager, his creativity has led to positive media placements about the Cincinnati region in media across the globe, including CNN, VH1, BBC, USA Today, and The New York Times. In 2005, he executed Chamber media relations when it launched a new brand for the three-state, 15-county region, "Cincinnati USA: All together surprising." An active member in the Cincinnati chapter of the PRSA, Buse served on and steered the committee that guided the development of a new logo and tag line for the area as well. Buse championed the launch of the Wi-Fi riverfront iniative, connecting Cincinnati and Newport and Covington, KY with a virtual internet bridge.
Raymond L. Buse III
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
American Red Cross
Factiva, a Dow Jones and Reuters Company, provides essential business news and information together with the content delivery tools and services that enable professionals to make better decisions faster.