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Minnesota PRSA Honors Sara Gavin with Donald G. Padilla Distinguished Practitioner Award

Friday, April 10, 2015   (0 Comments)
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The Minnesota chapter, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) honored Sara Gavin with the Donald G. Padilla Distinguished Practitioner award at the 37th annual Minnesota PRSA Classics Awards banquet last night. The peer-judged award was created in 1996 to honor 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.


As president of Weber Shandwick North America, Gavin directs the firm’s talent and resources for its 23 offices in the region by fostering an environment of collaboration, innovation and creativity so colleagues can produce the best results for clients.


“This award celebrates the heritage of accomplishment, innovation and community stewardship that characterizes the public relations industry in our state and community, something we can all be proud of, and I’m honored to be part of that tradition,” said Gavin. “Sara’s impact on our industry has been profound,” said Eric Pehle, general manager of Weber Shandwick Minneapolis. “From building Minnesota’s largest public relations agency to now running the North America region for Weber Shandwick, Sara has helped shape public relations in this market. But perhaps her greatest legacy will be her impact on our community. Sara’s commitment to the community and giving back is unquestioned. As one of the original founders of Mona, Meyer, McGrath & Gavin, now Weber Shandwick, Sara instilled the understanding that community service was a cornerstone of a successful business. And she backed up that belief with a career marked by action.”


Throughout her career, Gavin has upheld the standards of public relations through her work in positioning, brand and reputation management, crisis communications, grassroots and advocacy building, consumer education, media relations and social media.


Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, Gavin spent three years at the international public relations firm, Hill and Knowlton, where she was vice president. She is also one of the founders of Minneapolis-based Mona, Meyer, McGrath & Gavin, which became part of Weber Shandwick in 1988.


In addition to her career achievements, Gavin serves on the board of directors of Securian Corporation, where she sits on the Governance and Human Resources committees. Gavin also serves on the boards of College Possible, a national nonprofit organization that helps make college success an attainable goal for students and Second Harvest Heartland, one of the nation’s most innovative hunger relief organizations. Gavin also previously served on several community boards, including Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media Group, Saint Catherine University, the regional board of Teach for America and the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable.


Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal recognized Gavin for her contributions to the Minnesota business scene by naming her one of Minnesota’s “40 under 40” and later, one of “Minnesota’s 25 Most Innovative Women.” Saint Catherine University named Gavin one of the Centennial 100, for her significant impact in shaping the university during its first 100 years. The award describes Gavin as, “An intelligent, trusted and insightful advisor,” who embodies the characteristics of a leader.


Gavin graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Saint Catherine University with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science, and she completed master’s degree courses in business at the University of Minnesota.

Minnesota PRSA 1660 Highway 100 South, Suite 500-309 Minneapolis MN 55416 Phone: 952-237-9258 Email:

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