PR Diversity Education Summit in D.C. Oct. 10

Dating back more than a decade, the Public Relations Society of America has not shied away from the issue of diversity in the public relations field; committees and initiatives date back to the 1990s.

But in a recent issue of PR Journal, which focused on a wide range of diversity issues from race to age to sexual orientation, one point was clear: “Despite these important efforts to address diversity in public relations, more work remains to be done,” wrote guest editor Dr. Bey-Ling Sha, APR.

Public relations agencies have responded to criticism for their lack of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity at senior management levels by putting a greater focus on recruitment a more diverse pool of talent. But what role does and should higher education play in developing the talent that feeds into that pipeline?

This topic will be the focus of the Diversity Education Summit in Washington, D.C., Oct. 10, 1-5 p.m., at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, co-hosted by San Diego State University and the PRSA Foundation.

The event kicks-off with a keynote address by Dr. Rochelle Ford, APR, professor and chair of the Public Relations Department at Syracuse University. Then, the summit offers two panels featuring speakers who are experts in their respective fields.

The first panel, called Diversity in Education, addresses the standards of ACEJMC accreditation, strategies for preparing practitioners for a changing media market, and the value of dual-language competence in the recruitment of Hispanic professionals. Speakers are Judy Phair, APR, Fellow PRSA; Dr. Maria Elena Villar, and Dr. Bey-Ling Sha, APR.

The second panel, Diversity in the Workplace, looks at the impact of diversity on employee well-being and organizational performance, starting one’s own business and how internships play a role in diversifying the public relations field. Speakers include Dr. David Ballard of the American Psychological Association and Ms. Yolanda Caraway of The Caraway Group.

The summit cost is $12 (which includes coffee, tea and cookies), and summit attendees do not need to be registered for the PRSA/PRSSA conferences to attend. Practitioners in the DC area are particularly welcome to attend and share their insights on diversity in public relations.

Register today at


Nicole Vargas, San Diego State University

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