Pinnacle Awards & Annual Meeting

    November 20, 2019
    11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
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    Norfolk Yacht & Country Club
    7001 Hampton Boulevard
    Norfolk, VA 23505


    Join us as we honor and recognize phenomenal PR work at the annual Pinnacle Awards Luncheon and Annual Meeting. The luncheon will also serve as the chapter's end of year meeting and the new officers and board directors for 2020 will be elected.

    We will present merit and excellence awards for a variety of programs and campaigns, and honor the following individuals for their outstanding work in public relations and the chapter: 

    P. Lee Starkey Professional of the Year Award

    Dr. Vincent Rhodes, PhD, APR

    Vincent Rhodes, PhD, APR, serves as Assistant Vice President and Chief Communications & Marketing Officer for Eastern Virginia Medical School. He oversees public and media relations, executive communications, content marketing, crisis communications, creative services and digital media. Dr. Rhodes also is an educator in the School of Health Professions teaching Strategic Communications. Previously Rhodes worked as Communications Manager and Clerk of the School Board for Norfolk Public Schools, the largest urban school system in Virginia and one of the top 150 largest school systems in the country.

    Dr. Rhodes has served on the PRSA Hampton Roads Board of Directors and co-chaired the chapter professional development conference twice. He also has served on the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Institutional Advancement (GIA) conference national steering committee.

    Dr. Rhodes’ work has been recognized with a variety of awards from PRSA, PRSA Hampton Roads, PR News, Vital Speeches of the Day, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the National School Public Relations Association, the Florida Magazine Association and others. He has received two PRSA Awards of Excellence (Silver Anvil finalist).



    Member of the Year Award

    Sonja Barisic, APR


    Sonja Barisic, APR is a public relations professional who has spent nearly three decades telling people’s stories. Sonja began her career reporting for The Associated Press, covering the military, business, politics, travel, the arts and more for 18 years. That brought Sonja, a daughter of Croatian immigrants who was raised in Ohio, to Virginia. Sonja transitioned to public relations and spent the last 11 years working in nonprofit marketing communications in Hampton Roads. A former Rising Star award recipient, Sonja has been a member of the local PRSA chapter since 2009 and earned the Accreditation in Public Relations in 2015.


    Sonja has volunteered for the chapter as a committee chair, board director, secretary, treasurer, president-elect, president and immediate past president. She recently was elected to serve as treasurer of the PRSA Mid-Atlantic District in 2020. Sonja also is a freelance restaurant reviewer for The Virginian-Pilot.


    Christine Brantley, APR

    Christine Brantley, APR, is the marketing and communication manager for Virginia Beach Public Library where she enjoys sharing stories of how libraries transform lives each day. She has more than 20 years of experience and earned accreditation in public relations in 2015. A member of PRSA Hampton Roads since 2008, Christine served on multiple committees before joining the board as a director in 2012. She served successively as secretary, treasurer, president-elect, president and immediate past-president from 2013 to 2017. Since retiring from the board, Christine has been a chair of PRSA Hampton Roads membership committee as well as the PRSA National membership committee. Outside of PRSA, she volunteers as public relations manager for Virginia Miss Amazing, a non-profit that creates opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to focus on their abilities.


    The program will be emceed by Joel Rubin, APR.

    Joel Rubin, APR

    Joel R. Rubin APR is President of Rubin Communications Group, a Hampton Roads based public relations, advertising, video productions, media training and internet consulting firm. Rubin Communications Group provides services to a host of organizations in such fields as energy, real estate, technology, law, entertainment, workforce training, and banking as well as for several leading non-profits.

    Prior to founding Rubin Communications Group in 1991, Joel was an award-winning correspondent for WAVY TV, where he specialized in political and feature reporting and later was producer and host of a weekly Sunday morning news and public affairs talk show called “On the Record” on WVEC TV.

    A native of Richmond and 1975 graduate of the University of Virginia, Joel was inducted in 2009 into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame and in 2013 was named PR Practitioner of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America Hampton Roads Chapter.  Joel is past chair of the Board of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and is past president of the Virginia Beach Forum and is currently on the boards of Zeiders American Dream Theater and the Hampton Roads Sports Commission. Joel and his wife Sara Jo, who is CFO/COO of their company, live in Virginia Beach and are the parents of two UVa grads, Molly and Danny, and the grandparents of Lucy, Niv, Nora and Shai. 


     Early bird registration ends on Friday, November 8, so register today. If you are interested in purchasing a table for eight, please contact Dan Shuman.


    $35.00 Member
    $30.00 Earlybird rate before October 25

    $40.00 Guest
    $35.00 Earlybird rate before October 25

    $25.00 Student