Skip to main content

Innovation Award Winners in Communications, Grassroots and Lobbying Honored at The Advocacy Conference

By January 30, 2024March 20th, 2024Uncategorized

Innovation Award Winners in Communications, Grassroots and Lobbying Honored at The Advocacy Conference


Laura Horsley
Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
Public Affairs Council
[email protected]

Austin, Texas (Jan. 30, 2024) – The Public Affairs Council honored the winners of the 2024 Innovation Awards today during its annual Advocacy Conference, held this year in Austin.

The winner in the Communications Innovation category is the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) for raising awareness of the challenges people in the disability community face in air travel and building support for accessibility improvements to air travel during FAA reauthorization. A key part of the campaign were documentary-style videos of an MDA employee and a journalist/advocate as they flew to Washington for the association’s annual Hill Day. The videos showed the difficulties people living with disabilities experience when flying – such as going through security, boarding and exiting planes, and the frequent damage to their wheelchairs that occurs in transit. The videos were promoted on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and LinkedIn and shown to members of Congress and their staff. Advocates sent more than 10,000 letters to Congress on MDA’s campaign page. The result of their efforts included an FAA reauthorization bill passed by the House in July that included many improvements that hopefully will be passed by the Senate in early March. MDA is also partnering with the Transportation Security Administration to establish training for interactions with travelers with disabilities.

The Winner in the Grassroots Innovation category is International Paper (IP) for its “Period Poverty Initiative” to combat period poverty in communities and raise awareness of the problem. International Paper, who makes the fluff pulp absorbent material that goes in menstrual products partnered with its customer Procter & Gamble, maker of the Always brand, to assemble and distribute packets containing menstrual products. Last year, IP hosted packing events in 62 locations in nine countries, donating 31,000 kits.  A hallmark of the program is to advocate for passage of the Menstrual Equity for All Act, introduced in 2021 and 2023, to expand access to menstrual products in schools and government buildings.

The winner in the Lobbying Innovation category is Grupo Estrategia Politica (GEP) for their successful campaign that strengthened the efforts to regain the Category 1 safety classification for the Mexican aviation industry after it was downgraded to Category 2 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). After two years of close work between the civil aviation authorities in both countries, the Category 1 classification was reinstated, allowing Mexico to add new service and routes. The sector was able to present a united front — airlines, pilots, trade associations and others — and successfully got the approval of the reform that was the remaining element needed for recovering the category.

“The ingenuity, creativity and political savvy of our members once again amazes me,” says Council President Doug Pinkham. “This year’s Innovation Award winners take our understanding of innovation to a new and increasingly sophisticated level, offering a model for other organizations to aspire to. What they have done and continue to do is inspiring.”

The Innovation Awards are presented annually at The Advocacy Conference in the categories of Communications, Grassroots, and Lobbying.

About the Public Affairs Council
Both nonpartisan and nonpolitical, the Public Affairs Council is the leading global association for public affairs professionals. The Council’s mission is to advance the field of public affairs and to provide its 750 member companies, nonprofits and universities with the executive education and expertise they need while maintaining the highest ethical standards. Learn more at


Laura Horsley
Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
202.787.5963 | [email protected]

Featured Event

Covering emerging issues affecting local, state and federal government relations professionals, expand your network while getting answers to your toughest policy questions.

Washington, D.C. | Sept. 25-27