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The Story of PRSA and Diversity in PR

2010: Public Relations and Diversity video created and posted online. Coordinated promotional campaign launching in March.

PRSA began its first diversity outreach more than 20 years ago when a number of interested professionals approached the national leadership about forming a diversity committee.

A multicultural communications committee was formed and worked as part of the national leadership committee structure for a number of years. In the years that followed, member input drove initiatives and led the way for new developments in multicultural communications and diversity in public relations. What follows is a timeline of PRSA diversity initiatives.

Diversity Timeline

  • 1997: Under the leadership of Debra Miller, APR, Fellow PRSA, this committee was then rolled into a Professional Interest Section — the Multicultural Communications Section — in 1997.
  • 2000: Ofield Dukes, APR, Fellow PRSA, led first official PRSA National Diversity Initiative. Dukes began an educational campaign across the country, taking the diversity message to Chapters as one of the top priorities of the national leadership.
  • 2001: In conjunction with the Multicultural Communications Professional Interest Section and the College of Fellows initiative, the Society made strides in educating members about diversity and multiculturalism.
  • 2001: First-ever Chapter Awards for Diversity were given to PRSA Chapters in Detroit, Atlanta and Cleveland.
  • 2001: The PRSA Foundation worked with the Multicultural Communications Section to continue its scholarship awards program.
  • 2003: Chapter survey results show that more than half of the Society was participating in a diversity outreach, or planned to do so in 2004.
  • 2004: President and CEO, C. Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA, elevates PRSA’s diversity initiatives by creating the first National Diversity Committee, reporting directly to the board of directors.
  • 2004: Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, leads the first National Diversity Committee and develops the Diversity Tool Kit® for Chapter, District and Section use.
  • 2004: Launched “Advancing Diversity” with 20 PRSA spokespeople representing all areas of the U.S. and the Society.
  • 2004: Created diversity website within PRSA’s site (diversity.prsa.org) and developed the Diversity Pros database within Job Bank.
  • 2004: PRSA signs agreements with HispanicPRWire and with BlackPRWire.  LGBT Affinity Group begins its work.
  • 2005: PRSA leads the charge in the first ever PR Diversity Summit, along with allied organizations Arthur Page Society, IPR and IABC among others; PR Coalition publishes "FOCUS ON DIVERSITY: Lowering the Barriers, Raising the Bar" white paper.
  • 2005:  PRSA’s Diversity Tool Kit®  serves as foundation document for the Global Alliance for PR and Communications Management’s “Diversity Manifesto,” published in 2005.
  • 2005:  Public Relations Strategist conducted first diversity roundtable in Miami, FL.
  • 2005:  Developed and delivered first teleseminars on diversity
  • 2006: PRSA enters into partnership with Hispanic PRNewswire to conduct a Multicultural Communications and Diversity Tour, visiting Chapters across the country.
  • 2008: PRSA Diversity Today, a podcast series focusing on diversity and multicultural communications, is broadcast.
  • 2010: PRSA merged the Multicultural Communications Sections and LGBT Affinity Group with the Diversity Committee, under a broad structure intended to allow for a separate but coordinated focus of different aspects of diversity.
 

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