PRSA Foundation Appoints Aerial Ellis as President; PRSA Names 2 as Senior Counsel to the Board

February 2021
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The PRSA Foundation, an independent, 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion within the PR profession, has appointed Aerial Ellis as its president.

Ellis is an entrepreneur, educator and advocate of improving diversity, equity and inclusion within public relations. She was elected to serve as president by the PRSA Foundation’s Board of Directors following her appointment by the organization’s nominating committee. 

She had previously served on the PRSA Foundation Board as a representative of the PRSA Board of Directors. She succeeds Joe Cohen, APR, following the completion of his tenure as president.

“The PRSA Foundation has a significant opportunity to build on past efforts and accelerate toward greater action,” Ellis said in a statement. “Our students need us now more than ever. We must channel every effort to those who will benefit most. There is no time greater than this.”

Ellis is managing principal of Advisory 83, a communication consultancy committed to helping build sustainable and authentic organizations through strategic planning and curriculum development. She is also CEO of My Village Votes, a market research firm that partners with advocacy, civic and nonprofit organizations to improve consumer and civic engagement catered to the insights of communities of color.

In addition, Ellis is an assistant professor of PR and PRSSA Chapter adviser at Lipscomb University. An active member of PRSA, Ellis recently served as senior counsel to the Board of Directors. She is a co-chair for the Champions for PRSSA, a professional development initiative for students in public relations. A native of Memphis, Aerial has a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University and a master’s from Middle Tennessee State University.

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PRSA Names 2 as Senior Counsel to the Board

PRSA named Ben Butler, APR, and Rick Callender as Senior Counsel to the 2021 Board of Directors. 

“Ben and Rick have each proven their strong commitment not only to PRSA but also  to the continued evolution of the communications profession,” said Michelle Olson, APR, PRSA’s 2021 chair. “They will be valued advisers as we continue to navigate these challenging times, and advocate for and promote civil discourse, diversity and inclusion, and the importance of combatting disinformation.”

Butler is the founder of Top Hat, an award-winning design and marketing communications agency in Pittsburgh and St. Petersburg, Fla. Callender is the CEO of Valley Water in Santa Clara, Calif.

Senior Counsel is a nonvoting position and is for a one-year term.

Have You Updated Your Member Profile?

In an ongoing effort to improve member value, PRSA recently updated its member profile attributes. The goal is to understand more about you and your needs as PR professionals. 

Please visit your member profile and answer the new, more comprehensive questions, as well as review your contact information, title and organization details. If possible, provide an optional second email. 

Even if you have completed this information in the past, we strongly encourage you to update your profile based on the new and more inclusive categories provided. Doing so will help us help you through a better understanding of the PRSA membership. More robust information will also facilitate the design of solutions and opportunities to help you achieve all that you aspire to in your professional life.

Return to Current Issue The Art of Storytelling | February 2021
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