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The original item was published from 7/6/2015 1:05:44 PM to 11/1/2015 12:05:01 AM.

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Charleston County Parks News

Posted on: July 6, 2015

[ARCHIVED] American Business Awards honors CCPRC Marketing Director as Marketer of the Year

Image of Gina Ellis-Strother

CHARLESTON COUNTY – Gina Ellis-Strother, Marketing Director for the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC), was recently awarded as Marketer of the Year by the American Business Awards. Ellis-Strother beat out five other finalists from throughout the country to win the Gold Stevie Award.

At the ceremony held in Chicago on June 22, Ellis-Strother dedicated her award to the nine victims of the Mother Emanuel AME church shooting, in light of the work she did to promote the recently opened McLeod Plantation on James Island.

Gina Ellis-Strother has 20 years of experience in marketing and joined CCPRC as marketing director in June 2013. In 2014, she led a staff of eight to deliver the organization’s first marketing plan for a 10,000-acre park system featuring over 40 special events. Major accomplishments undertaken during Ellis-Strother’s first year as director included the launching of a rebranding effort, the consolidation of print material to allow for cross-promotional opportunities, and the debut of an aesthetically-pleasing new website with enhanced search and navigation capabilities.

Ellis-Strother has also developed and directed five TV advertisements and numerous radio commercials promoting CCPRC parks and events. She spearheaded several creative promotional campaigns that resulted in record-breaking attendance and revenue at CCPRC parks, including Nickelodeon character appearances at three waterparks, a sweepstakes with Carnival Cruise Line, and a park pass promotion offered on Cyber Monday. Her public relations savviness lead to extensive media coverage of the 25th Anniversary Holiday Festival of Lights, which was awarded third in the nation for the Best Public Lights Display by USA Today. She supported CCPRC’s non-profit partner The Parklands Foundation by securing $250,000 in free advertising and launched the foundation’s first marketing campaign to raise money.

“For Gina to receive this award among an impressive list of some of the country’s best known private business marketers makes it so much more meaningful,” said CCPRC Executive Director Tom O’Rourke. “Gina has never forgotten that she works for the people we serve, within an agency that they own. She understands that her role carries tremendous responsibilities and that is what separates her from the rest. We are so proud and happy to have Gina be a part of the CCPRC team.”

Second place’s Silver Stevie award winners for Marketer of the Year are: Phil Murphy with C-4 Analytics, Saugus, MA; Mike McGovern with Fareportal, New York, NY; and Jon Whitlock with Kaspersky Lab North America, Woburn, MA. Bronze Stevie winners are: Christie Cox, with HighPoint Global, Reston, VA and Brian Sullivan with Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, Providence, RI.

According to its website, The American Business Awards are the premier business recognitions program in the U.S. Awards are open to all organizations operating in the U.S.A., and feature a wide variety of categories to recognize achievement in every facet of the workplace. Since 2002, the Gold Stevie Award has been conferred for achievement in business to organizations and individuals in more than 60 nations. In the Stevie Awards competition, the top scoring qualifying entry in each category receives a Gold Stevie Award. The name Stevie is taken from the name Stephen, which is derived from the Greek for "crowned." For more information on The American Business Awards, visit

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