Diversity & Inclusion

PRSA Pittsburgh’s ongoing efforts

We formed the D&I Committee simply because we needed a dedicated task force to tackle the lack of diversity in the PR industry. 

The Institute for Public Relations reports that “White women dominate the profession at lower organizational levels, and White men hold most upper-level positions.” Although more women are in leadership roles and more people of color are entering the field today, problems still persist, such as lack of racial and ethnic diversity and inequity in pay

As PR professionals, we are ethical storytellers. We’re responsible for producing truthful, accurate and fair communications materials. If a company’s employees do not reflect the larger society they belong to, the messages they create are at a greater risk of being culturally insensitive and offensive.

PRSA Pittsburgh is dedicated to elevating the voices and telling the stories of those who are so often unheard in the PR industry. Diverse perspectives are integral to changing the narrative and creating a future of equitable and inclusive opportunities for all. 

The Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Pittsburgh Chapter is driven by this goal — to build awareness by increasing visibility of D&I standards, resources and best practices inclusive to groups of different racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation and gender backgrounds; as well as to those who are differently abled. We want to increase this visibility to underrepresented groups during all phases of their career.

Our efforts (so far) in 2020

  • Diversity & Inclusion Committee

    To encourage an approach that reflects best practices in PRSA Pittsburgh’s programs and initiatives, we’ve established a workflow that ensures our efforts support D&I initiatives in four categories: 1) content, 2) audience appeal, 3) speaker/panelists and 4) impact. This helps us pause and reflect as a collective group. 

  • Strategies to Cultivate a Diverse & Inclusive Environment

    On Wednesday, Aug. 26, PRSA Pittsburgh held a lunch & learn panel discussion with local D&I professionals to discuss recent events and the ways in which we can implement diversity & inclusion efforts in our workplaces and communities.

    Featured Panelists included:

    • Paloma Denardis, Head of Inclusion & Diversity, DICK’S Sporting Goods
    • Malesia Dunn, Executive Director, PPG Foundation, Global Corporate Social Responsibility, PPG
    • Tracey McCants Lewis, Deputy General Counsel and Director of HR, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • PR Summit: Hard Conversations About Diversity & Inclusion

    This year, PR Summit went digital with weekly presentations in October featuring topics in recognition of Global Diversity Awareness Month. Every Wednesday during the month of October, PRSA Pittsburgh hosted 1-2 sessions facilitating hard conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the PR industry.

    These sessions included:

  • 2020 Public Service Partnership: SWSG

    SWSG hosts its annual fundraising breakfast gala each August, the Strong Awards. However, due to the pandemic, this year’s event was held online. The Strong Awards recognize women, girls, and companies in the Pittsburgh region who demonstrate outstanding service to the community and who uplift women and girls.

    PRSA Pittsburgh provided communications and marketing planning, which included media relations, social media, email marketing, and partner outreach for the Strong Awards.

    Learn more about our efforts here.

  • PRSA Pittsburgh Black Excellence Award

    While the practice of public relations in the United States has undergone dramatic changes, a lack of diversity in the communications profession still persists. Many studies indicate that the industry still struggles to attract young Black professionals to public relations careers.

    The city of Pittsburgh doesn’t have a great track record either. Just last year, Pittsburgh was labeled the worst city in America for Black people by local writer Damon Young and the worst city for Black women to live in by the city’s Gender Equity Commission. So, it’s not surprising that the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey found that Black people are rapidly leaving the city. PRSA Pittsburgh has had its own struggles attracting, retaining and developing Black PR leaders. Our membership is only 2% Black. Over the last five years, our Board has only had three Black members. We can do better. We must do better. We need to do more to show talented Black communications, public relations and marketing students that there is a home for them here in the Pittsburgh PR community.

    We need to show them that we see, hear and need them. We need to do more to identify, hire and develop these future leaders.

    In its inaugural year, the Black Excellence Award is intended to assist and recognize young Black men and women for outstanding academic achievement and commitment to the practice of public relations, and commitment to the city of Pittsburgh. Sponsored by Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW), PRSA Pittsburgh will award a endowment in the amount of $2,000 to a new graduate who is of African-American/Black ancestry and working in the PR, marketing or communications field in the region.

    Learn more and apply here.

  • 2020 Public Service Partnership: PHV

    On Tuesday, Nov. 10, PRSA Pittsburgh’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee invited our public service nonprofit partner, Pittsburgh Hires Veterans (PHV) to appear in a special Screen to Screen episode on Facebook Live, “Why You Should Be Hiring Veterans.” The event aimed to highlight inclusive hiring practices for veterans and the unique qualities they bring to the workforce.

    Featured Panelists included: 

    • Dayna Brown, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Hires Veterans
    • George Scott, USMC Veteran
    • Brian Harkins, Employment Specialist, Pittsburgh Hires Veterans

    Learn more about our efforts here.

Forward-Thinking

PRSA Pittsburgh is proud to stand by and support individuals of all races, genders, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientation, disabilities, and any other beautiful identifier. Unfortunately, a lack of diversity continues to exist in our field. Your voices and stories are integral to changing the narrative and creating a future in which opportunities are equal. We look forward to implementing efforts that support your professional development and bright future.

We welcome your feedback and interest to get involved with our efforts.

Please contact our Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chairs with any questions, concerns or ideas.

Taylor Fife

Taylor Fife

Digital Marketing Specialist, Manchester Bidwell Corporation

“We are committed to ensuring marginalized professionals in our area are recognized, respected and valued. We hope to create a more welcoming and supportive environment for the underrepresented in Pittsburgh’s PR and communications industries by implementing unique programming that promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”

Megha Pai

Megha Pai

MBA, Copywriter & Content Strategist, Freelance

"At PRSA Pittsburgh, we want to elevate the voices that often aren’t listened to enough. By giving underrepresented populations a way to be seen and heard, we’re using our platform to help enact real social change — and hopefully, inspire others to continue the momentum within their organizations. Together, we have the power to make everyone feel respected and included."

Contact Us

Resources