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October 14, 2012

PRSA Names IBM’s Iwata 2012 Public Relations Professional of the Year

SAN FRANCISCO (October 14, 2012) The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has selected IBM Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jon Iwata as its 2012 Public Relations Professional of the Year. The award, which honors the highest-levels of achievement in the practice of public relations by an individual or team, was presented today at the PRSA 2012 International Conference in San Francisco.  

PRSA selected Iwata for his outstanding leadership in managing a global marketing team responsible for promoting IBM’s portfolio of products and services, market development and insights, communications, corporate affairs and brand stewardship.
“Jon is a pioneer in enterprise public relations and has an impeccable record of accomplishment at IBM, where he has spent his entire career,” said PRSA chair and chief executive officer Gerard Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA. “Aided by his vision and passion, IBM has achieved an enviable record of accomplishment, while sustaining its position as one of the preeminent global brands. He is an inspiration to public relations professionals everywhere who aspire to have and well employ the ‘seat at the table.’”
Iwata managed several high profile IBM initiatives, including the company’s “Centennial Celebration of Service,” which won a PRSA Silver Anvil Award and the Best of Silver Anvil Award in June of this year.
The global campaign motivated a remarkable 88 percent of IBM’s 400,000 member global workforce, and 10,000 of the company’s clients, to donate roughly 3 million hours of community service to more than 5,000 community service projects in 120 countries, helping more than 10 million individuals in need. Ten cities issued proclamations honoring IBM’s volunteerism in their communities.
Iwata also was responsible for two other stand-out communications initiatives: “IBM at 100,” a retrospective of the company’s “proud past, relevant present and inspirational future” that served to update internal and external perceptions of the company, and the wildly popular “IBM’s Watson Takes on Jeopardy!” in which IBM’s ground-breaking artificial intelligence computer system competed on Jeopardy! for three straight days, defeating two of the show’s greatest champions.
"At IBM we see the communications role evolving to include responsibility for the company's 'corporate character'- the mission, values, and purpose that make a company unique," said Jon Iwata, senior vice president marketing and communications at IBM. "Because of today's transparent world, the authenticity of our company's performance and the actions of every IBMer have a powerful effect on our brand and reputation. Our Centennial was an opportunity for us to celebrate what makes IBM unique, and to engage the world with the ideas that shaped our company."

Recent recipients of PRSA’s Public Relations Professional of the Year Award include the Pepsi communications team, former White House Press Secretary Robert L. Gibbs, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and the public relations team responsible for promoting Vice President Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film, “An Inconvenient Truth.”
About the Public Relations Society of America

PRSAis the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relationsand greater diversityamong public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 112 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sectionsthat focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America(PRSSA), which is active at more than 320 colleges and universities.
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