PR practitioners are influencing clients to "match public interests and innovate ways to bring the two together," Sarabdeep Kochhar, second-year Ph.D. student in the Dept. of PR at the University of Florida, told the PR Foundation dinner April 24 at which the late Daniel J. Edelman was honored with the Paladin Award.

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Kochhar at the awards event April 24.

Kochhar, who received the $1,000 Chester Burger Scholarship for Excellence in PR, described PR practitioners as "global influencers and innovators" who work within their own organizations at first but then shift to "influencing stakeholders outside the organization and across borders."

Trust is being built in small as well as large countries as PR people innovate "shared-value propositions" and
"mitigate risks to reconcile the interests of clients with the public interest," she said.

Kochhar, who has worked at Burson-Marsteller in India, said PR people have moved beyond being "just the negotiators or story-teller or relationship managers."

She expressed her gratitude to the PR Foundation, Arthur W. Page Society, Institute for PR, and individual donors for the scholarship.

Burger, who died March 22, 2011, "provided counsel, advice and inspiration to generations of PR practitioners around the world," said Kochhar. She credited him with motivating her to seek a doctoral degree in the U.S.

She also thanked her mentor Juan-Carlos Molleda, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Florida.

Besides working at B-M, she has had PR roles with the Government of India and private and public companies.

Her research focuses on international PR, business strategy and business diplomacy.

A contributor to PR conferences nationally and internationally, and an author of chapters for books, she is currently co-authoring a book on international PR.