Outstanding Young Professional 2017

Haggard's ability to cultivate media relationships stood out, as did a fearless, tenacious attitude that helped her achieve results through perhaps the most difficult PR channel: earned media.

Winner

McKenzie Haggard
Method Communications

It’s difficult for a seasoned PR pro outside Silicon Valley to excel in the tech sector. The fact McKenzie Haggard, account executive at Utah-based Method Communications, has done so at such an early career stage is just one reason judges bestowed her with this honor.

"An impressive young talent who delivers above and beyond for clients," commented one arbiter.

Haggard’s ability to cultivate media relationships stood out, as did a fearless, tenacious attitude that helped her achieve results through perhaps the most difficult PR channel: earned media.

Judges took particular note of her ability to convince national reporters to travel to Utah for events and press gatherings for an impressive list of clients that include Qualtrics, Pluralsight, Raise, and Stance.

The Utah Valley State University graduate’s initial entry into PR was in the fashion and entertainment industries. With Method since 2014, she has quickly become one of its most trusted AEs. And it was Haggard’s fashion experience that helped the firm land the Stance account.

Her keen insight and strategic prowess helped Stance, a company that uses tech and celebrity partners to revolutionize the sock and underwear industries, to reach a mass audience beyond industry titles. Haggard successfully secured a lengthy BuzzFeed piece about the men’s underwear line.

Haggard equally shines on the mentorship front. She actively recruits students at Utah’s three top universities. Internally, she played a key role in establishing Method’s internship program.

Not only does Haggard recruit interns through her strong relationships with local professors, but she also has helped develop the training program that guides interns through their initial period at the agency.

"McKenzie clearly understands how vital relationships are in PR," added one judge. "A rising star.


Honorable Mention

Stefanie Urso
Voya Financial

Despite her brief tenure at Voya, executive communications specialist Stefanie Urso leads comms efforts for the company’s chairman and CEO, as well as the COO. She plays a key advisory role on strategy, measurement, and budget. When the company recently underwent major organizational changes, Urso was one of only four team members on the project. Outside activities include the launch of a student/alumni mentor program at her alma mater, The College of New Jersey. "Her impact at the C-suite level is undeniable," said one judge.

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