NCPERS Recognizes Industry Leaders with Inaugural Public Pension Communicator of the Year Award
The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems announced the winners of the inaugural Public Pension Communicator of the Year Award during the 2024 Pension Communications Summit.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) announced the winners of the inaugural Public Pension Communicator of the Year Award on January 22 during the 2024 Pension Communications Summit. Read the event recap here to find other highlights.
As the largest trade association of public pension professionals in the US and Canada, NCPERS is uniquely positioned to bring together and identify best practices from leading professionals across the industry. The newly-created award honors the communications staff person at a public pension who has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills; shown superior innovation and creativity; and created an impact with their communications endeavors in the preceding year.
“Last year, NCPERS held its first Pension Communications Summit to provide a space for public pension communications professionals to share best practices, network, and learn from each other. With the Public Pension Communicator of the Year Award, we're thrilled to recognize the impressive communications efforts at our member pension funds and honor the individuals within these organizations who are leading the way and making a real impact,” said NCPERS Executive Director and Counsel, Hank Kim.
Using the scoring criteria, judges selected three winners in categories based on funds' assets under management (AUM) and awarded one Honorable Mention:
Alison Taylor-Thévenin, Deputy Director, Member Communications for the New York City Board of Education Retirement System won the 2023 Public Pension Communicator of the Year Award in the less than $10 billion AUM category. With a background in graphic arts, she prioritizes aesthetically pleasing, understandable, and user-friendly communications. She has worked to help NYCBERS utilize Plain Language Guidelines and remains committed to ensuring the fund's communications are accessible, relatable, and representative of the diversity of its members and the city. She has worked for NYCBERS for more than 14 years.
Taneda Larios, Chief Benefits Analyst for the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System won the 2023 Public Pension Communicator of the Year Award in the $10-50 billion AUM category. She has taken a data-driven approach to strategically improve LACERS' communications, recognizing the diverse communication preferences of the fund's members and working to create efficiencies through technology and innovation. Larios led the creation of LACERS' web-based Retirement Application Portal, with 73 percent of eligible members choosing to retire using the portal in the last year. Her leadership skills and vision for serving LACERS' members were recently recognized with the elevation of her section, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, to a full-fledged division.
Patrick von Keyserling, Senior Director of Communications for Colorado PERA won the 2023 Public Pension Communicator of the Year Award in the greater than $50 billion AUM category. He recently oversaw the launch of Colorado PERA's first mobile app—which has had more than 20,000 downloads since July 2023. A natural collaborator, von Keyserling co-led an initiative to develop 60-second informational videos to help educate members in a format that is easy to digest. He has taken an innovative approach to improving employee engagement, overseeing the production of an organization-wide employee newsletter and an employee video news segment (PERAPhrase TV). To ensure the success of organization-wide initiatives, he led the effort to provide change management training to organizational leaders last year.
Michelle Holleman, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations for the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund received an Honorable Mention for the 2023 Public Pension Communicator of the Year Award for her leadership abilities and contributions to both CTPF stakeholders and the broader community. Following the July 4th shooting in Highland Park (where she served as a volunteer Councilperson), Holleman used her crisis communications skills to support the coordinated response. She served as communications lead on the committee to distribute funds to victims and used the tragedy as an opportunity to educate public pensions on crisis communications best practices.
NCPERS would like to thank the judges for their time and efforts in selecting this year's winners: Laurie Mitchell, senior business consultant for Tegrit; Joe Potischman, marketing specialist for Linea Solutions; and Margaret Rogers, director of communications and member relations for the National Institute on Retirement Security.
The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) is the largest trade association for public sector pension funds, representing approximately 500 plans, plan sponsors, and other stakeholders throughout the United States and Canada. Organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, it is a unique network of trustees, administrators, public officials, and investment professionals who collectively oversee approximately $4 trillion in retirement funds. Founded in 1941, NCPERS is the principal trade association working to promote and protect pensions by focusing on advocacy, research and education, including online learning, for the benefit of public sector pension stakeholders.
# # #