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Diversity & 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 & Inclusion Committee is devoted to building consciousness by increasing visibility of D&I 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 D&I 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 D&I 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.


Responding to Racial Injustice with Change and Healing Part II 

Responding to Racial Injustice with Change and Healing Part II
Recorded Jun 18, 2020, 11 a.m. EDT

Panelists: Anita Ford Saunders, APR, Felicia Blow, APR, Kim Clark, and Deme Jackson

Just as in the previous session, we will keep this an open conversation where panelists will share their insights and answer questions from attendees. We’ll focus on the following themes that surfaced in the first session:

  • Advising leaders on communicating the Black Lives Matters movement and taking the necessary actions beyond just saying the right words.
  • Recognizing and stopping “minstrelism” and tokenism in your organization

While we will provide some actionable takeaways, including sharing links to resources that will be useful in building your strategy moving forward, our main objective is to answer your questions and build your confidence in having authentic and honest discussions about racial injustice and diversity and inclusion.

Responding to Racial Injustice with Change and Healing 

Responding to Racial Injustice with Change and Healing
Recorded Jun 4, 2020

Panelists: Anita Ford Saunders, APR, Felicia Blow, APR, Kim Clark, and Deme Jackson

As communications professionals, our voice is critical in bringing about change within our organizations. We need to have confidence in speaking to our leadership teams and pushing forward conversations among our employees about current events and social matters. We are in a critical moment as human beings to stand up and speak up on the issue of racial injustice.

We have brought together leaders and experts in Diversity and Inclusion to share insights and best practices that will guide communications professionals in having critical conversations to ensure that real change happens. Our goal is for PRSA and PRSSA members to walk away with ideas and resources for having conversations with their leadership teams about ensuring Diversity and Inclusion is not just a focus in this critical moment but remains a foundational part of the values of all organizations moving forward. Specifically, we want our members to be confident in leading conversations within their organizations about the Black Lives Matter movement and combating racism.

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
Vice Chair
Immediate Past Chair
Board Liaison
Staff Liaison

Felicia Blow, APR
Associate Vice President of Development
Hampton University
Hampton, VA 23668

Andrea Gils Monzon
Marketing and Communications Manager
University of Kentucky - International Center
Lexington, KY 40506

Anita Ford Saunders, APR
AFS Communication 

Shanita Baraka Akintonde, MBA, M.Ed., DTM
Associate Professor
Columbia College Chicago
Chicago, IL 60605

Jorge Francisco D'Garay
President and CEO
MXUS Public Relations
San Diego, CA 92143

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


Diversity Awards

Chapter Diversity Awards

The PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Committee will award up to two PRSA Chapters with a Chapter Diversity Award. The awards are given to Chapters that embody and demonstrate key values in diversity 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. 

PRSA 2020 Chapter Diversity & Inclusion Award Winners:

First Place:  Minnesota PRSA Chapter
Second Place: Orange County PRSA Chapter
Honorable Mention: Central Ohio PRSA Chapter

The 2021 D&I Chapter Awards application will be posted in July 2021.

D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award

Established in 1990, the D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award is PRSA’s highest individual honor presented to a PR professional who has contributed to increased awareness of public relations within multicultural communities and has participated in promoting issues that meet the needs of these diverse communities.

The winner of the 2020 D. Parke Gibson Award was Marsha R. Pitts-Phillips.

The 2021 D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award application will be posted in July 2021.  

Diversity Tool Kit

The D&I 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

Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit 

Toolkit de Diversidad e Inclusión 

A Celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

PRSA Webinar recorded May 19, 2020

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 

Get Involved Gallery 4