The award was presented last evening in Atlanta during the PRSA 2015 International Conference Diversity and Inclusion Mixer. The Diversity Award is given to a PRSA Chapter that embodies and demonstrates key values in diversity, and that contributes to advancing industry diversity. These awards recognize the local efforts of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter, as well as provide further support for continued achievements at the Chapter level.
“In order to truly address diversity issues in the public relations industry, the PRSA San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter took their initiatives beyond theory and talk,” said PRSA National Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair, Cheryll Forsatz. “The work that they have done this year to foster greater diversity awareness and build a more inclusive profession is to be commended. Every PRSA Chapter who made diversity and inclusion a priority and submitted an entry for this important award has set an example of innovative and creative programs that can help us move the needle.”
PRSA San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter began its diversity initiatives by first assessing the diversity climate within the Chapter. To do so, the Chapter’s Diversity Committee developed a comprehensive online survey, delving into attitudes and perceptions of diversity within the Chapter and the profession as a whole. Informed by the results of the study, the Committee developed a two-year strategic plan for diversity and inclusion.
In order to share information about diversity, Chapter Diversity Committee established a presence on the Chapter website by creating a dedicated web page where members could learn about the Committee, its objectives, current initiatives and opportunities to participate in its activities. In addition, the Committee developed a diversity centered column that would spotlight public relations professionals with diverse backgrounds.
On April 28, 2015, the Chapter hosted its flagship event, the San Diego Diversity Mixer. The event attracted over a hundred professionals from diverse business, communications, and media organizations throughout the county and Southern California region, including the Black Public Relations Society of Los Angeles and the Hispanic Public Relations Association.
Finally, in order to tackle the lack of diversity at both a National and Chapter level, the Committee has an active proposal to begin an early outreach program targeting high school students in their junior and senior years. As a part of the program, the Diversity Committee members and/or PRSA members would attend career days and mentor students interested in pursuing a degree in PR or communication.
In order for a PRSA Chapter to be eligible for the Chapter Diversity Award, the Chapter must have:
- Initiated and/or maintained a diversity program between July 31, 2014 and July 30, 2015.
- Recruited or mentored members with interests and expertise in diversity.
- Demonstrated a significant contribution toward diversity through submission of best practice or case study.
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.