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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Working Toward a More Diverse Profession

While the practice of public relations in the United States has undergone dramatic changes, a lack of diversity in the communications profession persists. Many studies indicate that the industry still struggles to attract young black, Asian and Hispanic professionals to pursue public relations as their career of choice.

The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee is devoted to building consciousness by increasing visibility of DEI standards, resources and best practices for racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation and gender differences, as well as diverse skill sets, mindsets and cultures at all levels of the organization.

The DEI Committee commends PR firms and organizations that have established more diverse workplace environments, and those that have established management programs to help minority groups and LGBT practitioners move up the corporate ladder.

Also, the DEI Committee works closely with the PRSA Foundation, which helps drive diversity within public relations by funding numerous research initiatives for underserved populations, PR firms and employees.


Highlights from 2023 PRSA ICON DEI Awards Celebration


On behalf of PRSA and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, we extend our deepest gratitude to The Coca-Cola Company and to Kiara Lane, global customer communications & ERG Lead, for sponsoring the 2023 PRSA ICON DEI Awards Celebration. Coca-Cola has partnered with PRSA through its continued support of the DEI Committee's signature event -- recognizing the exceptional work of Chapters at the annual Awards Reception.



Diverse Dialogues:
What's DEI Got to Do With Me?

Recorded: Oct. 26, 2023 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. (EDT)

The murder of George Floyd by police officers, the #MeToo Movement, the passage of laws targeting members of the LGBTQ+ community, acts of violence against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and the Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson ruling are changing the view that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is only of interest to those feeling or experiencing discrimination. There's a change in public sentiment as events like these impact larger populations and demographic groups. Shifts in public opinion are being driven by strategic communications at the local, state and national levels. PR practitioners are shaping public discussion.

This webinar will provide a brief history of past initiatives and campaigns, and highlight successful programs and tactics being implemented by PRSA members and Chapters that you can apply in your Chapter, organization and community. You will get a sense of where DEI is headed and how savvy communicators can be at the forefront of this wave.

William Patrick McSweeney, APR, Fellow PRSA
Marsha R. Pitts-Phillips, APR

Participants with the APR credential earn 0.5 CEUs for a webinar.
Learn more about Accreditation.

PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Month

Observe Diversity & Inclusion Month in October and celebrate #PRDiversity with the PRSA National Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Connect with @PRSADiversity to join the conversation.
Diversity Leadership
William Patrick McSweeney, APR, Fellow PRSA
Managing Director
McSweeney Public Relations LLC
Milwaukee, WI

Marsha Pitts-Phillips, APR
Public Relations Consultant
MRPP & Associates Communications, LLC
Plymouth, MN

Staff Liaison
Jeneen Garcia
Executive Director of PRSSA
Public Relations Society of America 
New York, N.Y.

Diversity Awards

D. Parke Gibson Award

The D. Parke Gibson Award is PRSA’s highest individual award presented to a public relations professional that has contributed to the increased awareness of public relations within multicultural communities and participated in the promotion of issues that meet the special informational and educational needs of these diverse communities.

Learn More!


Chapter Diversity Awards

The PRSA DEI Committee will award up to three PRSA Chapters with a Chapter Diversity Award. The awards are given to Chapters that embody and demonstrate key values in diversity, equity and inclusion, and that contribute to advancing diversity as shown by submissions of their best practices and/or case studies. These awards recognize their local efforts, as well as provide further support for continued achievements at the Chapter level. Application deadline is September 8, 2023

2023 Application Form


2022 Winners
Tampa Bay PRSA Chapter – First Place
Orange County – Second Place
Dallas Chapter – Honorable Mention



Diversity Tool Kit

cover of DEI toolkit

The DEI Toolkit provides members with diversity-related research, materials, applicable tools and professional development opportunities.


Its creation rests on two objectives:

  • To educate members by providing them with the resources they need to help them manage the diversity and inclusion initiatives of their own Chapters, Districts and Sections
  • To influence the composition of their professional development and membership so that the diversity of its membership reflects and embraces the diversity of the profession

Foundation programs focus on three pillars: Industry best practices, mentorship imperative and career catalyst.

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PRSA Diversity and Inclusion
Strategic Plan

Download PDF 

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