Waves of Practical Skill + Heart
After more than 35 years practicing journalism and public relations at the highest levels, I’ve become pretty good at spotting talented communications professionals.
In public relations, talent is measured in a practitioner’s strategic, tactical and writing skills, and in their management of tasks, projects, clients and teams. Talent also appears in intangibles – heart, drive, commitment to mission, ethics, and if someone is just good people.
I can’t recall when I first met Angela Minicuci, but I will never forget the day she set off my talent and good people alarms.
We were gathering at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in downtown Lansing for a major event: a news conference to announce the kickoff of the I Vaccinate statewide campaign to boost childhood immunization rates in Michigan. Media were coming from around the state, and a senior official from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was attending to speak in support of the campaign. About 90 minutes before start, when I arrived to help set up the room, there was a very – very – pregnant Angela moving chairs and tables – by herself, shooing away anyone who tried to help. We feared the baby (who turned out to be Angela and Josh’s son, Cal) was going to join us right then and there. My two immediate reactions were to plead with her to “stop!” and to smile and think to myself, “now that’s heart.” (Or maybe she was just trying to coax Cal into the world. 😊)
In the months leading up to the I Vaccinate launch, our Martin Waymire team worked closely with Angela – who was then our client – and various divisions at MDHHS to research, write and edit the I Vaccinate website, all the news conference materials, the social channel and legacy media content and ads, and much more. (Our team also includes the uber-talented Brogan & Partners advertising agency.) I Vaccinate content is not easy to generate as it is heavily rooted in medical science. Throughout the entire process, Angela’s practical skills came in waves: she asked good questions, offered edits that improved copy, challenged us and what we wrote, challenged her MDHHS team, and worked with us day and night until everything was ready and right.
But moving tables and chairs while literally nine months pregnant? After that, I told several MW staffers that Angela Minicuci would be working at Martin Waymire someday – and now she is.
In her first year at Martin Waymire, Angela helped us win our fifth national Silver Anvil Award, the nation’s top award for public relations excellence, for our I Vaccinate work. She also works on many other important client teams, including the Capital Area Transportation Authority, MESSA, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, and more.
Angela has become an essential and trusted member of our Leadership Team. We’ve seen her manage Zoom meetings with literally no roof on her house (the roof was being replaced and she kept working through the demolition), and with the chaos and commotion of a young family swirling around her during the COVID pandemic.
Angela has also given back much to our profession, serving as a mentor for younger professionals, serving on the board of the Central Michigan Public Relations Society of America Chapter (CMPRSA) for nearly a decade, and more.
On May 13, Angela was named CMPRSA’s 2021 PACE Maker of the Year. The PACE Maker is the top individual practitioner award given at our chapter’s annual awards ceremony. Winners are nominated by their peers. Angela is so very deserving of the honor. In one of her nominating letters, Michigan State University Professor of Practice and Associate Chair Andy Corner, APR, wrote:
“Some people view PACE Maker as sort of a ‘lifetime achievement award’ that should be given to an old-timer who has been around the block a few times. Angela is certainly not an old-timer. However, she has just as certainly been around the block – and more than once. Her work in promoting vaccines is essential, now more than ever, and her accomplishments will live well beyond this moment. And based on how bright her future is, she may even become the first practitioner to be PACE Maker twice.”
Please join me in congratulating Angela Minicuci, CMPRSA’s 2021 PACE Maker of the Year.