The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) today honored its Orange County and Minnesota Chapters with the PRSA 2011 Chapter Diversity Award at the PRSA Diversity Mixer. The Nashville Chapter received an Honorable Mention.

“We are proud to honor the accomplishments of our PRSA Chapters in advancing and supporting diversity within their communities and the public relations profession,” said Anne Dean, PRSA Diversity Committee chair and senior director of communications at Argosy University. “Their efforts demonstrate a commitment and dedication to ensuring that our work as practitioners reflects and engages the diverse populations we serve and support.”
PRSA promotes educational outreach programs for its members and the public relations industry by using diversity as a smart business strategy to achieve and maintain a competitive edge in today’s diverse marketplace. The Chapter Diversity Award, sponsored by the PRSA Diversity Committee, is given to PRSA Chapters that embody and demonstrate key values in diversity, as well as succeeded in the following areas:
  • Initiated and maintained a successful diversity program within the last year.
  • Recruited or mentored members with interests and expertise in diversity.
  • Demonstrated a significant contribution toward diversity.
  • Showcased diversity as one of the top three strategic goals for the Chapter.
The Orange County and Minnesota Chapters received a $250 award to be put toward the Chapters’ diversity efforts. The Nashville Chapter received a Certificate of Achievement for their work and commitment to diversity.
Orange County Chapter
Accepting on behalf of the PRSA Orange County Chapter were Chapter President Brad Lotterman, APR, and Laarni Dacanay. The Chapter was honored for year-long initiatives to increase recruitment of diverse members, provide training and development opportunities, and encouraging diverse members to consider leadership roles in the Chapter. The Chapter was actively participated in many local diversity programs, such as the Orange County Black Chamber Education Fund, including presenting a $250 scholarship to the organization for a student majoring in communications.
The Chapter continued education efforts by co-hosting a social media webinar, coordinating a workshop, “Networking With HR Execs: What Diverse Candidates Need to Know in the Digital Age,” and hosted their 7th Annual Diversity Conference, “Census 2010 Changes the Landscape: PR & Marketing Strategies for a New America.” The event provided opportunities for recent college graduates and volunteers to gain event planning and networking experience. They also highlighted best practices used during Census 2010 to reach Arab Americans, mature adults and Latino populations.
Minnesota Chapter
Accepting on behalf of the PRSA Minnesota Chapter were Brooke Worden, APR, Chapter president; Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC, Chapter vice president; Ann Lewicki Long, APR,Chapter secretary; and Melanie Boulay Becker, APR, Chapter board member. The Minnesota Chapter took deliberate efforts to shed the image that there is no diversity in Minnesota, and in 2011, began implementing programs to attract diverse professionals to the Chapter.
Initiatives included Tweet chats and a column spotlighting ethnic professionals in the area. The biggest initiative, however, was the first-ever Minnesota PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Panel in September 2011. The Chapter achieved a major goal of making this event free to all attendees by securing sponsorship. They used the panel to launch a second event that would be co-hosted by the Twin Cities Media Alliance, a group of citizen journalist, and community and ethnic media. This event allowed their members to learn more about the growing ethnic media in Minnesota.
Nashville Chapter
Accepting on behalf of the PRSA Nashville Chapter was Chapter President Peter Woolfolk,Nashville Diversity Committee chair. In 2007, the Nashville Chapter created a standing Diversity Committee. Since its creation, the committee has produced numerous programs and panels spotlighting diverse professionals, particularly from the Hispanic community.
In 2011, the Nashville Chapter hosted a panel discussion with chief diversity officers from Ford Motor Credit, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Hospital Corporation of America. Each discussed their organization’s successful diversity programs and how those programs grew in meaning and acceptance by senior staff and employees. The takeaways for Chapter members were case studies of how to successfully incorporate diversity efforts into their own organizations.

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