Jennifer Adler

Southern Scottsdale resident and founder of Adler Public Relations Jennifer Adler was named the bronze Stevie Award winner in the Communications Professional of the Year category in the 17th Annual American Business Awards. (Captured Moments by Rita & Co./Special to the Progress)

With over one decade of experience working at Phoenix-area advertising agencies, notably The James Agency located in Scottsdale, Jennifer Adler has nearly 20 awards and accolades to her name.

But it’s the southern Scottsdale resident’s most recent award that’s left her stunned.

Last month, Adler was awarded the bronze Stevie Award in the Communications Professional of the Year category in the 17th Annual American Business Awards.

“I definitely wasn't expecting to win such a huge national award, but it's obviously a really big honor,” she said. “To be in the company of everyone else who won is really humbling, especially now as I'm starting my new company.”

The new company to which she referred is Adler Public Relations, a boutique PR firm she founded in March.

Adler’s colleagues at The James Agency, where she worked for four years as the director of public relations, nominated her for the prestigious, national award.

It was the first time The James Agency staff nominated an individual for a Stevie Award.

“When I was at The James Agency ... my team won multiple Stevie awards for different PR campaigns, but we had never nominated me for Communications Professional of the Year,” Adler said.

The other bronze winner in the Communications Professional of the Year category was Sage Communications Public Relations Senior Account Executive Tommy Morgan, based in McLean, Virginia.

Skillz Inc. Communications Lead Roxana Bostwick, from San Francisco, California, won silver; and Cisco Senior Social Media and Talent Brand Manager Carmen Collins, from San Jose, California, won gold.

“The nominations submitted to the 2019 American Business Awards were outstanding,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards, in a prepared statement. “They illustrate the continued vibrancy of innovation and high level of achievement across the American economic landscape.”

More than 3,800 nominations were entered in the American Business Awards this year, and more than 200 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process to select this year’s Stevie Award winners.

Awards in these categories will be presented at the 17th Annual American Business Awards banquet on June 11 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

Adler will be in attendance.

“I actually had the opportunity to go out to New York around the same time last year,” she said.

Last year, Adler, along with 29 other women, was named PRWeek magazine’s 2018 Champions of PR.

“Actually, my mom got to go with me – which was really nice – to accept that award. So, it's funny, about a year later I'm about to go out there again,” she said.

Adler and her team at The James Agency have been recognized with many awards, including the Gold Stevie Award for its work on the grand opening of Moxy Tempe, a Silver Stevie Award and two platinum MarCom Awards in the corporate social responsibility and special event categories.

Adler left The James Agency in March – a difficult decision for her to make – and, shortly thereafter, founded Scottsdale-based Adler Public Relations.

“I loved my team that I worked with, and my clients were amazing. So, to walk away from that kind of a career, that kind of a position, was a really difficult decision because it wasn't like I was unhappy. I was just have always had this entrepreneurial spirit,” she said.

Adler almost started her own company in 2015, but she couldn't turn down the offer to work at The James Agency.

“I felt like I needed some more work experience under my belt, but I've always had that in the back of my mind, wanting to start my own company and do things my way and work with clients that inspire me,” she said.

When Adler turned 35, she knew it was time to take the leap.

“I was at a point where if I don't do it now, when am I going to do it? I’m really big with not living with regret, and I felt like the economy is booming now and ... I had a lot of opportunities coming to me and felt like it was the right time,” she said.

Adler Public Relations specializes in business-to-consumer lifestyle, hospitality and food and beverage brands.

Two months in, Adler has five clients and counting, while continuing to contract for The James Agency.

“I have so many proposals that are out right now that I'm waiting to hear back on. It’s been so humbling the amount of people that have reached out to me,” she said, adding:

“Once I made the announcement, both offering support and just opportunities and leads, the amount of new business meetings that I've been taking is just crazy and hard to keep up with – but [it’s] also a good problem to have.”

Before the end of the year, Adler would like to not only add more clients to her roster, but also add a couple of members to her team.

“I feel like I don't really know exactly what trajectory my business is going to take, which is exciting,” she said. “I like not knowing like where it's going to go and what's going to happen.”

Watch Adler accept her award live on June 11 at 4 p.m. MST at stevieawards.com/aba.