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Diversity, inclusivity and professionalism - how the Public Relations Society of America is taking on the challenge of 21st Century PR

July 30, 2013


Mickey Nall, PRSA Chair and CEO 

PRSA is a community of more than 21, 000 public relations and communications professionals across the United States. How do you engage with such a wide membership? How do you facilitate and enhance the creation of a sense of community among your members?

  • PRSA strongly encourages participation in local Chapters and PRSA Sections as well as the various conferences we host throughout the year.
  • My platform this year revolves around “One PRSA.” It is the notion that no matter where you are, there’s a true sense of community within PRSA. Our members do more than merely represent the public relations profession, they also support one another.
  • Membership with PRSA is dynamic. Our Board of Directors actively interacts with PRSA Section, District and Chapter leadership. This not only facilitates communication about programs at the national level but also allows National to understand the needs and concerns of our membership.


  • Additionally, we work closely with PRSSA and its 11,000 members in more than 300 student chapters because we believe that supporting and building a better profession in the US starts with students and young professionals. We encourage and support collaboration between the student chapters and our PRSA Chapters.



What role does social media play in outreach to PRSA audiences and in its members engagement strategy?


Social media is incorporated into every marketing and communications plan PRSA creates. We live in an incredibly social world and we would be irresponsible not to use those channels to communicate with our membership and members of the profession.



How does PRSA facilitate the interaction and the knowledge exchange between the academic community and the professional one?

  • Almost 20 percent of the PRSA membership is composed of educators. This allows PRSA to have great access to the academic community and the research and student work being conducted in that community.
  • We have the ability to take the work being generated at the university level and share it with public relations firms and professionals through our publications: the Public Relations Journal, Tactics and Strategistt.



The United States is a country with a high ethnic and cultural diversity. How do PRSA local chapters deal with such a high multiculturalism and how do they engage with ethnic and racial minorities, making sure they contribute to the development of the profession?


  • Diversity is so important to PRSA, and paramount to the profession, that one of our strategic pillars is Diversity. Much work is being done by PRSA and other groups representing diverse communications professionals to ensure that the public relations profession is consistent with the communities it represents.
  • We are not where we need to be as a profession, but like most things American, we continue to work together toward solutions and building a more diverse and inclusive PRSA, and by extension profession. This is a goal everyone in our association believes in and is actively working toward achieving.
  • Materials such as the PRSA Diversity ToolKit, created by the PRSA Diversity Committee, are helping to achieve the goal of a more diverse profession by serving as a tool to educate practitioners on how they can help foster inclusion.



What does the “Business case for PR” activity consist of? How can it benefit PR professionals?


The “Business Care for Public Relations” is an effort to foster more accurate and better-informed perceptions of the value and role of public relations in the diverse organizations it serves. The main goal is to drive industry recognition and growth by helping professionals in the field educate key audiences about public relations’ roles and outcomes, demonstrate its strategic value and enhance its reputation.



PRSA International Conference 2013, to be held in October 2013, will focus on the theme “One world: Connection, community and collaboration”. In what ways can “collaboration” be considered as the key step further for the implementation of an effective strategy?

  • Collaboration by definition means to work together to accomplish a task and/or realize shared goals. Implementing an effective strategy often requires the input and assistance of multiple people to be successful.
  • As previously noted, we believe that collaboration at all levels fosters better communication which aids in the implementation of effective strategies. Through collaboration comes communication, and effective communication is always the end goal in public relations.