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Minnesota PRSA Honors Joel Swanson, APR with Donald G. Padilla Distinguished Practitioner Award

Friday, April 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Catherine Roman
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Padilla Award recognizes exemplary service to the PR profession and the community


The Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) honored Joel Swanson with the Donald G. Padilla Distinguished Practitioner Award at the 38th Annual Minnesota PRSA Classics Awards last night. 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.


“I am honored to join the distinguished mentors and icons of our local industry who have gone before me in accepting this award,” said Swanson. “Their example encourages public relations practitioners to embrace the power and potential of public relations for contributing to society. We are uniquely equipped to drive positive change and influence society for good causes.”

“Joel Swanson is a respected leader in our community because of his professional accomplishments and his selfless giving to others,” said Jason Sprenger, APR, president of Minnesota PRSA. “His resume of service is lengthy and distinguished, and superseded only by his commitment and passion for helping those around him.  Joel personifies what the Padilla Award stands for, making him an incredibly worthy recipient of this signature award.” 


As immediate past president of Minnesota PRSA, Swanson has been a tireless advocate for public relations by shaping the perception of PR within the business community, developing the professional of tomorrow and guiding the direction of the chapter.  During his 20+ year career in public relations, Swanson has honed his expertise in the agency setting (Risdall Public Relations), as well as in the health care industry (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota) and the education field (Bethel University and Minnesota Education Association). Throughout his career, Swanson has focused his efforts on helping mission-driven organizations build their brands and create effective go-to market strategies and execution, as well as prepare for crises and management of critical issues.


In addition to his career achievements, Swanson serves on the board of directors of Clearway Minnesota and the marketing committee for Medical Alley, an organization he helped rebrand last year. He also previously served on the board of Ronald McDonald House, Upper Midwest. Swanson served three separate terms on the board of directors for Minnesota PRSA, and provided thousands of hours of volunteer work as co-chair for numerous committees and a PRSA Assembly delegate.


During the course of his career, Swanson has won numerous industry awards including two health care Clios, a SABRE award, a Silver Quill and Bronze Quill from IABC, a PRSA Bronze Anvil, a Silver Anvil finalist, dozens of PRSA Classics Awards and several Best of Blues (Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association).


As an adjunct instructor at St. Cloud State University, University of Northwestern (St. Paul) and Inver Hills Community College, Swanson has shaped the next generation of professionals. He is a frequent guest speaker on communications topics for groups such as Anderson Center Speakers Forum, Enterprise Minnesota, Minneapolis Chamber, American Marketing Association and Today’s Business Radio.


Swanson graduated from St. Cloud State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and business management.


About Minnesota PRSA

Chartered in 1949, Minnesota PRSA is the ninth largest chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the world’s largest organization for public relations professionals with nearly 32,000 professional and student members. PRSA is organized into 112 chapters nationwide, including 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas. Minnesota PRSA is comprised of more than 350 professionals from agency, corporate, non-profit, government and freelance sectors. (

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

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