As the vice president of events and fundraising, I oversee the Regional Conferences that PRSSA endorses each spring. While attending the events in Boston and Chicago as the official delegate from the National Committee, I’m grateful to have taken part in conversations about covering, bringing your most authentic self to work, and educating people of color and allies on how to navigate challenges in the workplace.
Seeking to share, educate, and celebrate black public relations leaders both past and present this Black History Month, PRSSA produced content focused on being #PRoud and what that means. As an advocate for diverse perspectives and inclusive workplaces, it was a privilege to interview professionals like Anthony Harrison, Director of Corporate Media Relations at Facebook, Monique Kelley Gigliotti, Global Client Experience Lead and Senior Vice President at Weber Shandwick, and Brandi Boatner, Social and Influencer Communications Lead at IBM.
These trailblazing professionals shared their thoughts on what it means to be #PRoud while at the PR Advanced: Find Your Voice Regional Conference hosted by BU PRSSA. To hear their responses, check out these videos shot by Regional Ambassador, Kate Stewart:
A week after PR Advanced, the #PRedictTheFuture Regional Conference hosted by the Chapters at DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, and Loyola University Chicago, focused on diversity as a core theme alongside globalization and ethics. Keynote speakers Judith Harrison, Senior Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Weber Shandwick, and Helen Shelton, Senior Partner at Finn Partners, shared experiences leading to their success and how they’ve helped pave the way for women of color in the industry.
Although not a person of color, I grew up in a military family and lost my mom to breast cancer in high school. Through my own experiences, I’ve grown to understand the importance of listening, empathy, and accessibility. For me, being #PRoud is embracing who you are, where you come from, and what it means to be you.
Celebrating the accolades of people of color, women, and marginalized populations helps to empower and inspire the next generation of public relations professionals. By actively learning, educating, and hearing the diverse voices of the marketing communications industry, we dedicate to building a more collaborative community that learns from and values our differences to improve the way we approach storytelling.
Ryan Will is the 2018-2019 vice president of events and fundraising.