Lexington’s PRSA Thoroughbred Chapter Announces Communicator of the Year, Communications Excellence Awards

By Holly Wiemers

LEXINGTON, Ky., (June 5, 2024) – The Lexington, Kentucky based Thoroughbred Chapter of Public Relations Society of America has named Devine Carama, director of ONE Lexington, community activist and hip hop artist, as its 2024 Communicator of the Year. The award recognizes a person who is not a public relations professional but who did an outstanding job of communicating during the past year.

This award and others recognizing communications excellence will be presented at a ceremony hosted by the PRSA Thoroughbred Chapter on June 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Pasta Garage’s Banchetto 972, 972 Delaware Ave. in Lexington. The event is open to attend. Tickets can be purchased at www.kyprsa.org/event/june-awards-event.

In addition to the award for Communicator of the Year, three area communications professionals will also be recognized for their remarkable accomplishments. Those winners include Megan Moloney with the Career Achievement Award, Andrea Gils Monzón with the Communications Impact Award and Mallory Olson with the Rising Star Award.

“As the leading professional organization serving the communications community, PRSA is fortunate to have and thrilled to recognize such tremendous talent right here in Central Kentucky,” said Katie Neal, president of the PRSA Thoroughbred Chapter.

Communicator of the Year

Carama was nominated by members of the Thoroughbred Chapter’s board in recognition of his impact on the Lexington community. He is a 2022 Emmy Award-winning hip-hop artist, educator, community activist and motivational speaker from Lexington. He is also the director of ONE Lexington, the Lexington Mayor’s youth gun violence reduction program, which has launched several new initiatives in its first year under his direction. Additionally, he is the founder and director of a youth-focused nonprofit organization called Believing In Forever, Inc.

Carama was voted “Best Lexingtonian” in Smiley Pete’s inaugural “Best of Lex,” appearing on the cover of Chevy Chase and The Southsider in April 2024. He was also named among the top four musicians in Lexington. Additionally, he was awarded the 2024 MLK Jr. Unity Award.

“Devine Camara is a visionary leader, creative catalyst and community builder. His message of hope, peace, non-violence and community support is inspiring and omnipresent across the city – and evident in many ways,” Neal said. “No one is more deserving of being called Communicator of the Year given the impact he has on the people of Lexington every day.”

Nominators point to statistics showing a decrease in gun violence through his organization’s efforts. They also highlight the success of Believing in Forever’s annual winter coat collection, which has resulted in more than 15,000 coats being collected for children in Central and Eastern Kentucky in the past eight years.

Blending community activism and art, Carama recently released his book, Pages Full of Rhymes, which chronicles his 20-year rap career through 100 thought-provoking, revolutionary, personal and poetic verses from his music catalog. He talks about his writing process, the grind of being an indie artist and how this beautiful culture not only helped him find his purpose but created a platform to advocate for social change.

Career Achievement Award

Megan Moloney, vice president of marketing and communications at Transylvania University, was named recipient of the Career Achievement Award, an award recognizing someone who is a current member of the PRSA Thoroughbred Chapter or who has been a member in the past five years who has more than 15 years of experience and has demonstrated a commitment to excellence.

Since joining Transylvania University in 2018, Moloney has led efforts to expand their outreach and public relations efforts. Leading a small team of creatives, including writers, designers, content creators and marketers, Moloney has focused on raising the university’s profile in the community and nationally.

Under her leadership, Transylvania’s Marketing and Communications team has been recognized with 24 awards in the last three years, including one best-of-show and 14 Gold awards at the Educational Advertising Awards and the Collegiate Advertising Awards. Notably, the 1780 blog, which Moloney launched in 2018, has received six gold awards in each of the three years it has been entered.

Prior to her position at Transylvania University, Moloney had a multi-decade career in federal government communications, including with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the U.S. Secret Service and the White House.

Communications Impact Award

Andrea Gils Monzón, founder & CEO of Shiftmakers Consulting, was named as recipient of the Communications Impact Award. The award recognizes someone at the mid-level range in their career, doing outstanding work in the profession, with five to 15 years of PR/communications experience.

Through her visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to excellence, Gils Monzón has not only set new benchmarks within the public relations industry but has profoundly impacted its strategic direction with her multicultural insights and expertise.

Over the past 12 years in the U.S., Gils Monzón has leveraged her deep understanding of diverse cultural dynamics to drive meaningful engagement across various organizations and communities, enhancing the inclusivity and global reach of her initiatives. Her career has been guided by her deep commitment to diversity, education and ethical practices, earning her extensive recognition. Her innovative approaches to integrating AI, coupled with her dedication to inclusivity and ethics, have reshaped public relations practices to effectively address the needs of an increasingly globalized society.

Additionally, her leadership has transformed PRSA’s strategic direction and set new standards for inclusivity and professional integrity in the industry. Gils Monzón has held numerous volunteer leadership roles within PRSA at the local and national levels. Previously, as co-chair of the PRSA National Diversity & Inclusion Committee, she spearheaded the first three-year strategic diversity and inclusion plan. She has served on the PRSA National Board since 2023.

Rising Star Award

Mallory Olson, media relations manager at TimelyCare, was named as recipient of the Rising Star Award, an award recognizing someone new to the field, with two to five years in a PR or communications role.

At TimelyCare, Olson is an integral part of the strategic communications team, serving as the primary point of contact for journalists and oversees the company’s awards program.

Olson began her career as a TV news journalist, having worked as a reporter and weekend news anchor in State College, Pennsylvania, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In August 2019, the University of Kentucky hired Olson for her first public relations role as a PR officer. In the three years she worked at UK, she focused on enterprise storytelling for a variety of UK and UK HealthCare entities.

In July 2022, Olson joined the team at TimelyCare, higher education’s most trusted health and well-being provider, as the second person hired in the strategic communications department. There she has seen tremendous success and professional growth as a rising star in the industry.

Additional information about the PRSA Thoroughbred Chapter, including membership, is available at www.kyprsa.org.