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Minnesota PRSA Honors Paul Maccabee with Donald G. Padilla Award

Published on 5/16/2018

Using 30 Years of PR Experience, Maccabee has Supported Causes that Focus on Community Improvement, Social Justice

MINNEAPOLIS(May 16, 2018) – Paul Maccabee, president of his namesake PR firm based in Minneapolis, was awarded the Donald G. Padilla Distinguished Practitioner Award as part of the Minnesota Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Classics on April 19. The peer-judged award, created in 1996, honors the late public relations pioneer Donald G. Padilla and recognizes an individual who has made selfless contributions to the public relations community and demonstrated exceptional professional achievement.

During his 30 years in the public relations industry, Maccabee has supported several organizations whose focus is to create a more inclusive and tolerant community. Supporting those who fight drug addiction, lymphedema, eye diseases, orthopedic conditions and eating disorders has been central to his public relations career, in addition to his being a champion for LGBT rights. 

“In our community, Paul is not only an icon but also a champion for our profession as well as those in-need,” said Eva Keiser, APR, president of Minnesota PRSA. “The enthusiasm and passion he exerts in every aspect of his life is infectious. He is truly an inspiration for those around him and for our extended community.” 

Before co-founding his Minneapolis agency in 1996, Maccabee began his career as PR director for the federal anti-poverty agency Community Action of New Haven. Since that time he has helped Carlson Companies publicize their efforts to fight global sex trafficking, dedicated time to helping the Padilla agency and Minnesotans Against Terrorism fight anti-Semitism, coordinated Hazelden campaigns against drug addiction, and helped organize opposition to Minnesota’s proposed same-sex marriage ban and staff cuts at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

With this background, one could feel that Maccabee was destined to win this award, one year. However, Maccabee accepted the award with great humility and understanding regarding the nature of the honor. He said his first reaction was ‘Surprise and Delight.’

“Especially because past Donald G. Padilla Award winners, such as the glorious Rose McKinney, Dave Mona and Doug Spong, have been friends, heroes and role models for me,” Maccabee said. “Throughout the Classics Banquet, speakers referred to our PRSA Minnesota ‘community’ - and it’s really true. My biggest mentors have been the men and women who run the PR agencies that compete with mine. I’ve been referred clients and employees by other PR agencies. Even when we ‘pitch’ against each other for a potential client, when the battle is over – we often gather together to solidify professional friendships. Winning the Padilla award? I accept it as a symbol of this entire community of Minnesota PR pros, who are so supportive of the growth of everyone involved in PRSA.”

With a rich professional and personal background in working to better the lives of others in the Twin Cities community and beyond, Maccabee said he has received mentorship from fellow PR professionals. Maccabee said he is aware of the important role in which these instances of advice, encouragement and motivation helped to frame his service-oriented mindset.

“Apart from my late parents, who loaned me the seed money to start the Maccabee PR agency in 1996, my guiding star and mentor has been Dave Mona, co-founder of Mona Meyer McGrath & Gavin (now Weber Shandwick- Minneapolis),” Maccabee said. “Dave’s compassion, integrity and empathy in what can be a very competitive business world continues to inspire me. I wear a figurative ‘What Would Dave Mona Do’ bracelet on my wrist, whenever I’m faced with an ethical issue for clients or my staff.”

As part of the award, $500 is donated by both Minnesota PRSA and Padilla to the charity of the recipient’s selection. Maccabee chose the organization Protect Minnesota. 

“With the mass shootings of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland so fresh in our minds, it felt right to honor their courage with a donation to one of Minnesota’s brave non-profits fighting gun violence,” Maccabee said. “I love the fact that the techniques of public relations can be used for social justice. The ‘Parkland Generation’ of students have demonstrated how publicity for the public good, social media and public advocacy can be used to further the improvement of our society.”