Joel Swanson, APR
As Senior Vice President of public relations at Risdall McKinney Public Relations (RMPR), Joel leads account teams, works with clients, spearheads new business efforts, develops younger staff, and helps build the brand and reputation of Risdall McKinney Public Relations.
Joel has clients in many industries, but specializes in health care, education and nonprofits, for whom he helps create and establish their brands in the marketplace. That work includes research, identity and visibility campaigns using advertising, public relations, social media, and other ways to facilitate two-way communications with key audiences.
Prior to joining RMPR in 2007, Joel led strategic public relations planning, execution and measurement for several areas of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota for seven years, where he helped build record enrollment and increased brand measures. Those efforts ranged from a product launch for young adults without health insurance to handling media for an attorney general lawsuit. Others: organize prize patrols and videos for champions of health, promote fitness and nutrition in elementary schools throughout Minnesota, build Blue Cross' ownership of the uninsured issue, research and write about health plan movement, and more.
Previously, he led internal communications and media relations for a Twin Cities University, as well as community outreach programs for the state's teacher's union. Joel shares a passion for public relations as an adjunct professor/instructor with St. Cloud State University, an instructor with Northwestern College in St. Paul, and through his work with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
Taught advertising, public relations and related mass communications classes
- Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications, Public Relations Sequence: St. Cloud State University, 1994. Graduated summa cum laude.
- Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management: St. Cloud State University, 1994. Graduated summa cum laude
- Master of Arts in Christian Thought (philosophy and theology): Bethel Seminary, 2002. Graduated magna cum laude
Professional Associations and Development
1991 to present - Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Minnesota Chapter
- Panelist on agency relations, Midwest District Conference (Sept. 2006)
- Instructor, public relations accreditation prep courses (2006 to present)
- Chair of the Accreditation Committee (2005 to present)
- At-large member, Board of Directors (2003 to 2004)
- Board liaison to Professional Development Committee (2003 to 2004)
- PRSA Classics judge (2004 to present)
- PRSA Bronze Anvil judge (2003 to present)
- Chair of the Monthly Meetings Committee (2002)
- Organizer, writing workshop for Friday Forum (2001)
- Chair of the Professional Development Committee (2000 to 2001)
- Host for Pro-Am Day students (1994 to present)
- Committee member for various other committees (1991 to 2000)
- Participant, PRSA/PRSSA National Conference: Orlando (1993)
2000 to 2007 - Member, Minnesota Council of Health Plans communications committee
2004 to present - Guest speaker, Bethel University business and public relations classes
2004 to present - Guest speaker, Metro State public relations introductory courses
2004 to 2005 - Substitute instructor, Inver Hills Community College logic and ethics courses
- Board member, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest (2007 to 2009 term)
- Video participant, Community Giving Campaign at Blue Cross (2006)
- Participant, Heart of Blue volunteerism program at Blue Cross (2005 to present)
- Den Leader and member of Cub Scouts Leadership Council, Pack 367 of the Indianhead Council of The Boy Scouts of America (2002 to present)
- Board member and 9-10 year old director, Irondale Youth Baseball League (2006 to present)
- Member, Sunnyside Elementary School (Mounds View) Parent/Teacher Association (2002 to present)
- Covenant Partner, Woodland Hills Church, Maplewood (1995 to present)
- Other recent volunteerism has included Armful of Love, Courage Center, and Lupus Foundation
- 2006 - Best of Blue Award, Public Relations, for strategic PR program titled "Trend Mining"
- 2006 - IABC Silver Quill Award of Merit for "Trend Mining"
- 2005 - IABC Silver Quill Award of Merit for strategic PR program titled "The Epidemic of Obesity"
- 2004 - Minnesota PRSA Classics Award for interactive CD ROM
- 2003 - IABC Silver Quill Award of Excellence for issues management, titled "Hospital Expansion Trends and Issues"
- 2001 - IABC Minnesota Bronze Quill Award for video production, "Champions of Health"
- 1999 - Asked to present on media relations at national conference of Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities
- 1997 - National Education Association PR Council Award for Education - Minnesota's 1996 Minnesota State Fair exhibit
- 1996 - Minnesota PRSA Classics Award for Education - Minnesota's 1996 Minnesota State Fair exhibit
- 1996 - Naional Education Association PR Council Award for Education - Minnesota's 1995 Minnesota State Fair exhibit
- 1995 - IABC Minnesota Award of Merit for feature news release on teachers' out-of-pocket expenses
- 1995 - Women in Communications Inc. Crystal Clarion for Education - Minnesota's 1994 Minnesota State Fair exhibit
- 1995 - Minnesota Association of Government Communicators Award of Excellence for Education - Minnesota's 1994 Minnesota State Fair exhibit