The D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award is PRSA's highest individual award presented to a public relations professional who has contributed to the increased awareness of public relations within multicultural communities and participated in the promotion of issues that meet the unique needs of these diverse communities.
Kern Foxworth is a pioneer in research of diversity in public relations. She is the author of Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben and Rastus: Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and co-editor of Facing Difference: Race, Gender and Mass Media. She has studied and researched diversity history in public relations and shared her findings with the communications community.
Kern Foxwoth has served PRSA in a variety of roles throughout her career. In 1982 she was among a group of PRSA members who founded the PRSA Minority Affairs Committee. Additionally, she was the first faculty member of color to be selected as the National Faculty Advisor of the Year by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) in 1985.
The PRSA Chapter Diversity Award is given to a PRSA Chapter that embodies and demonstrates key values in diversity, and that contribute to advancing diversity as shown by submissions of their best practices and/or case studies. These awards recognize local efforts as well as provide further support for continued achievements at the Chapter level.
The Orange County PRSA Chapter continued to embrace diversity and achieve its goals in 2014. The OC/PRSA Chapter’s Diversity Committee set out to showcase diversity as a top priority, encourage greater diversity with the public relations profession and observe the committee’s tenth anniversary. OC/PRSA planned and executed several programs throughout the year to achieve its goals.
In March, OC/PRSA lead a diversity roundtable at the PRSA Western District Conference in San Diego. The following month, the committee held a cultural media mixer, bringing together editors, writers and staff of various cultural and ethnic publications for a meet and greet with public relations professionals. Members of the committee also served on diversity panels at various events.
To celebrate the committee’s tenth anniversary, the OC/PRSA held its annual forum which explored how to continue to move the needle forward for diversity. PRSA National Board member, Marisa Vallbona, APR, Fellow PRSA attended the event and helped commemorate the special milestone.
The PRSA 2014 International Conference Diversity Mixer was hosted by the PRSA Diversity committee and sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company.
About the Public Relations Society of America
PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 110 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 340 colleges and universities.