Ad Council Gala Honors Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg

By Kyle O'Brien 

The Ad Council’s public service award gala returned this year and the event raised $6.4 million for its social good campaigns. It also honored Verizon chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg for his corporate citizenship.

The event, held in New York, honored Vestberg for his dedication to social good and philanthropy. Under his leadership, Verizon has played a crucial role in securing corporate funders and developing content to support the Ad Council’s Covid-19 vaccination education initiative. Vestberg also helped author the United Nation’s sustainable development goals and has led digital health and climate change initiatives as a founding member of the international telecommunications union broadband commission for digital development.

The event highlighted personal stories from individuals who were featured in Ad Council campaigns, including young mental health advocate Anna Ibarra, oncology nurse Nefe Iredia, founder of “Save the Boards” initiative Kenda Zellner-Smith, and Carol Rosenstein of Music Mends Minds, which brings music to those with dementia.

The Northwell Health Nurse Choir was the entertainment for the evening. The choir was formed in 2020 when a group of frontline workers gathered virtually for the first time to support Nurse Heroes, a nonprofit initiative helping to solve the nurse shortage through raising awareness and providing funds for nursing scholarships. Since forming the group of nursing specialists across New York went on to finish as a Top 10 Finalist on season 16 of America’s Got Talent. The choir continues to use its platform to represent nurses and frontline workers through the power of music.

Northwell Health Nurse Choir

The night was co-hosted by actor Terry Crews, news anchor Stephanie Ruhle and comedian/actor Kenan Thompson. The Public Service Award Dinner is the organization’s largest fundraising event, and it raised $6.4 million for its public service efforts. It also featured speeches by NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino, who is the Ad Council board chair, Verizon’s Diego Scotti, and Lisa Sherman, the Ad Council’s president and CEO, who noted the organization’s ongoing work to highlight Covid-19 vaccination efforts.

Linda Yaccarino, Hans Vestberg, Lisa Sherman and Diego Scotti

“Over the past two years we have seen our industry’s most innovative and impactful work yet, as we pivoted to address the significant needs of living through a global pandemic. The impact of this unprecedented industry collaboration changed millions of lives and saved even more.”