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Charleston Chapter Honors Gina Ellis-Strother as AMA Marketer of the Year
3/26/2015 8:45:38 PM

Gina Ellis-Strother
On March 11, the Charleston Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) hosted the 2015 SPARK! Awards to honor the most innovative marketing and public relations professionals in the region. Gina Ellis-Strother, marketing director for the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, was awarded as AMA Marketer of the Year. The ceremony took place at Rue de Jean in downtown Charleston.

Gina Ellis-Strother, who has 20 years of experience in marketing, joined the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (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 have 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.

The American Marketing Association is a professional association for individuals and organizations leading the practice, teaching and development of marketing knowledge worldwide. The AMA’s SPARK! Awards provide an opportunity for members of the marketing and public relations industry to receive recognition for outstanding and creative work. Winners of the AMA Marketer of the Year award must demonstrate marketing excellence in his or her job as well as contributions to the overall marketing industry in Charleston. For more information on the SPARK! Awards or the Charleston chapter of AMA, visit

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