Diverse Dialogues

PRSA is proud to present a series of video conversations with leaders in the profession about Diversity and Inclusion and the way forward.

As communications professionals, our voices are critical in bringing about change within our organizations. We must be confident in speaking to our leadership teams and pushing forward critical, and often uncomfortable, conversations about current events and social matters among our employees.

Through Diverse Dialogues, we bring together leaders and experts in Diversity and Inclusion to share insights and best practices to guide communications professionals in having critical conversations to enable real change.

Advocacy and Unity Through Times of Change
Rich Ferraro, Chief Communications Officer, GLAAD

What’s DEI Got to Do With Me?

October 26, 2023 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)

The murder of George Floyd by police officers, the #MeToo Movement, the passage of laws targeting members of the LGBTQ+ community, acts of violence against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling are changing the view that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is only of interest to those feeling or experiencing discrimination. There’s a change in public sentiment as events like these impact larger populations and demographic groups. Shifts in public opinion are being driven by strategic communications at the local, state and national levels. PR practitioners are shaping public discussion.

This webinar will provide a brief history of past initiatives and campaigns, and highlight successful programs and tactics being implemented by PRSA members and Chapters that you can apply in your Chapter, organization and community. You will get a sense of where DEI is headed and how savvy communicators can be at the forefront of this wave.

William Patrick McSweeney, APR, Fellow PRSA
Marsha R. Pitts-Phillips, APR

Learn More

Participants with the APR credential earn 0.5 CEUs for a webinar.
Learn more about Accreditation.

Recorded Sept. 13, 2023

Join us at this PRSA Diverse Dialogues event, Bridging Equality: Communicating Post-U.S. Supreme Court Decisions, as we delve into the critical issues surrounding affirmative action in college admissions and anti-discrimination laws. In light of recent Supreme Court decisions, we aim to empower PR and communication professionals with the tools, methods, and approaches to effectively communicate the implications of these rulings, particularly the potential weaker protections for students of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Through an engaging panel discussion, attendees will gain a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape, messaging challenges, and opportunities to advocate for social justice. Experts in law, diversity, and communication will share their insights on crafting impactful narratives, navigating sensitive topics, and amplifying marginalized voices.

Moderated by:
Cayce Myers, Ph.D., LL.M., J.D., APR, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Virginia Tech, School of Communication

Participants with the APR credential earn 0.5 CEUs for a webinar.
Learn more about Accreditation.

June 22, 2023 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)

Moderated by Michelle Egan, APR, Fellow PRSA. 2023 Chair, the one-hour discussion aims to cover bias in AI and other challenges that communicators, public relations professionals and marketers face in this ever-changing technology.

Confirmed speakers include: Bharat Krish, adviser, investor and former president, Digital, TIME Magazine, HBO, NBCUniversal; and Jared Carneson, senior vice president and senior partner at FleishmanHillard. Jared is the San Francisco media and platforms team lead with a focus on digital communications.

In addition to professional and student members from PRSA, attendees will also include members from the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management.

Hosted by the PRSA DEI Committee.

Recorded March 1, 2023 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)
Black History Month is an important time in history for all of us to pay homage to Black Americans who shaped history in the United States.

In partnership with the PRSA DE&I Committee, the PRSA Black Voices Affinity Group is hosting the Black History Month program. The keynote speaker is Aba Blankson, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at the headquarters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Baltimore MD.

During the program, Aba will share more insights about her career journey as a Black woman ascending through the ranks, the importance of celebrating and honoring Black History Month in our community and in the workplace, and also share with us more about the future of the NAACP and its vision and impact.

Thomas Bennett, SVP at FleishmanHillard and PRSA Board Member and Chair of the PRSA Black Voices Affinity Group, will serve as the moderator.

Diverse Voices in Communications

Recorded December 7, 2022
5 p.m. – 6 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)

Please join for this lively discussion of panelists hosted by FINN Partners. They will share their journeys, lessons learned as well as their experiences with public relations/communications professionals and students.

Ken Sain, partner, PK-12 education, FINN Partners
Javon Dobbs, communications manager, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Laura Vinci, vice president, health media, FINN Partners
Keisha-Gaye Anderson, senior director of communications, The JED Foundation

Kaelin Sanchez, account supervisor, FINN Partners


October 4, 2022 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)

Reputational damage from a DE&I issue can be fast-moving and long-lasting. The best communications counsel begins with informed research that directs scenario planning with consideration for risk and opportunity. With insight from its Reputation Management and True MOSAIC (DE&I communication) practices, FleishmanHillard team members have built a client-centered, surround-sound approach to crisis management that includes a global lens to DE&I issues and reputational guidance that looks at risks and opportunities to ensure thoughtful and inclusive counsel is given, no matter the situation.  

Learning objectives strategic and tactical takeaways:

  1. Identify client pain points and risks at the intersection of reputation and DE&I.
  2. Establish credibility with clients on DE&I strategic counsel.
  3. Build a post-crisis go-forward plan inclusive of training, agency tools and process development.

Video Coming Soon!

September 26, 2022
5 p.m. – 6 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)

This Hispanic Heritage Month webinar will feature a select panel of experts who will share their experiences as Hispanic professionals in communications. It’s imperative to have conversations that highlight and address the challenges faced by professionals of all levels – but especially those that impact this historically marginalized community. It’s unfortunate, but fact: only 13.6% of PR specialists identify as Hispanic or Latino – and only about half of that number are at a leadership level, with just 7.6% describing their role as a PR manager, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Register now to hear from a group of top Hispanic PR and communications leaders from across industries as they share best practices to collectively increase Hispanic-Latino representation in our industry, along with how they’re mentoring the Hispanic leaders of tomorrow. You’ll learn about their professional journeys as well as some of the challenges and victories they’ve faced along the way. Most importantly, you will hear how you can be an ally, and continue to grow your own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. This Diverse Dialogues panel discussion is hosted by the PRSA Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

June 22, 2022 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

For communications and public relations practitioners who want to ensure both their strategic messaging and their workplaces are inclusive, having a better understanding of the “T” in the LGBTQ+ community is of paramount importance. It’s essential that publicists, marketers, and storytellers learn about barriers caused by misunderstanding that can leave transgender and nonbinary team members, customers, clients and target audiences unseen, unheard, and unincluded. In PRSA’s “Diverse Dialogues: Understanding Gender Identity and Intersectionality to Improve Communications,” attendees will learn from a select panel of transgender and/or nonbinary communications professionals about how to drive advocacy for transgender/nonbinary inclusion in the workplace and how being a better ally to the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community improves inclusion and communications. 

Jaron Terry, APR, Fellow PRSA, Co-Chair PRSA’s D&I Committee

Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière, (she/her/hers) PR Specialist, Dixon Schwabl + Company
Diego Sanchez, APR, (he/him/his), Director Advocacy, Policy & Partnerships, PFLAG National
K Terry Smith (they/them/their), Consultant Innovation Marketing, Nationwide

Recorded April 27, 2022 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

For the deaf and hard of hearing community, sharing stories with a wider audience has its challenges – how can people from the hearing community be better advocates and allies for these important stories. As publicists, marketers and storytellers who are on the frontline dealing with the press and media, what can we learn from artists and storytellers from the deaf community to better strengthen our communications efforts and be more inclusive with all our outreach. In PRSA’s “Diverse Dialogues: Supporting Deaf Representation in Media” attendees will hear from respected deaf actors and other storytellers, plus disability advocates, on how we can be better allies and more inclusive communicators.

Daniel Durant, Actor, Academy Award-winning film CODA (2021)
Delbert Whetter, Vice Chair, Board of Directors, RespectAbility

Moderator: Maria Monte de Rey, Chair, California Association of the Deaf Media Committee

February 22, 2022 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. ET

This webinar will feature a select panel of experts who will share their experiences as Black and African American PR pros. They will also focus on the current challenges organizations face in recruiting and retaining Black PR talent, and rising opportunities for BIPOC members to make their voices heard.

You’ll learn about their professional journeys as well as some of the challenges they’ve faced and victories they’ve celebrated along the way. Most importantly, you will hear how you can be an ally, and continue to grow and progress in your own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. 

At the end of this webinar, you will gain: 

  • A basic knowledge of historical facts about notable Black PR professionals.
  • Examples of transformative strategies and tactics to apply to your work, organization and teams.
  • Ideas on how to drive advocacy for Black PR pros in the workplace.

The Diverse Dialogues panel discussion is hosted by the PRSA National D&I Committee and the PRSA Black Voices Affinity Group.


Sheryl Battles, Vice President, Global Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement, Pitney Bowes
Daphne Dickerson, Group Director, Strategic Communications, Coca-Cola
Victor R. Scott II, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, Pharmaceutical Segment, Cardinal Health
LaTricia Harper Woods, APR, Owner, Mahogany Xan Communications LLC


Netta Conyers-Haynes, VP Communications, Sequoia Consulting Group

Bringing Your Multicultural Voice as a PR Leader

Recorded March 24, 2022, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Eastern

As a woman being a leader has its challenges – for women who represent historically marginalized communities, the challenges can be even greater. Learn how to turn these challenges into superpowers by attending PRSA’s “Diverse Dialogues” on March 24. Register now to hear from a group of top women PR and communications leaders from across industries as they share what they’ve learned in using their multicultural background in empowering themselves and their peers, as well as how they’re inspiring the next generation of women PR leaders. Panelists:
  • Justine Houston-Brown, APR, Account Supervisor, Ogilvy; PRSA 2022 Western District Chair; PRSA Latinx Affinity Group Lead, Immediate Past President, OC/PRSA
  • Suzi Kim Scott, Communications Director, American Public Media Group
  • Leshelle V. Sargent, Vice President, Communications, ViacomCBS MTV Entertainment Group; Board of Director, Vice President, PRSA-LA
Moderator: Karen Mateo, Chief Communications Officer, PRSA; (Former North 6th Agency, CBS Radio, CBS New York, CBS Sports)


January 25, 2022 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Learn about the PRSA National D&I Committee’s new Affinity Groups by attending this Diverse Dialogues webinar. The first two groups – Black Voices Affinity Group and LatinX Affinity Group – will begin operations in 2022, with others to follow. Hear a distinguished panel discuss how Affinity Groups will: Convene like-minded members to strengthen connections, inspire ideas and build relationships. Advance personal member growth, professional advancement and overall well-being.

Attract new members to PRSA through building awareness of PRSA’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. Develop and retain PR professionals who are also members of under-represented groups including, but not limited to, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous Persons of Color), LatinX (Hispanic and Latino), LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Plus), Veterans, Disabled, and others.

Will roll out over a multi-year period, with two groups in 2022: Black Voices and LatinX; other groups TBD.

Anita Ford-Saunders, APR, co-chair, PRSA National D&I Committee
Thomas Bennett III, VP Business Development, OCHIN
Sabrina Browne, VP Corporate, BCW Global Andrea Gils, Marketing Director, JacobsEye Marketing
Jaron Terry, MS, APR, Fellow PRSA, co-chair, PRSA National D&I Committee

Video on-demand available soon

Join key corporate public affairs and communications leaders for an in-depth discussion on the correlation between corporate citizenship and DEI, as well as how adding DEI communications strategies can elevate organizations, year-round.

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, key Hispanic leaders and stakeholders in the PR industry will come together to showcase initiatives and programs aimed at increasing Hispanic representation within the profession and how agencies, corporations & nonprofits can get involved.

PRSA thanks its sponsor for this program:

Recorded Jun 22, 2021 04:29 PM

June 12th is the five-year marker of the Pulse nightclub shootings, a tragic day in American history. As we remember the 49 angels who were lost, we reflect on how this tragedy has propelled awareness, advocacy and action while recognizing the work that is yet to be done.

This event and the ensuing media attention put a magnifying glass on Orlando. We will hear from Central Florida LGBTQ+ leaders and communications professionals whose lives and lives work changed that day. They will share models for nonprofits, businesses, foundations and government institutions for working together to create inclusive community for all LGBTQ+ people. They will challenge communications leaders to continue a dialogue that will lead to change.

Recorded May 19, 2021 5:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join PRSA Diversity & Inclusion National Committee in celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and recognizing the essential role ALL diverse communities play in advancing the rights, equality, equity and inclusion of the AAPI community and other Black, Indigenous, and People of Color groups. The program will cover strategies and examples of current partnerships built to combat hate.

Our panelists will discuss how to drive unity through coalition building and authentic allyship, and share tactics for PR/Comms practitioners to implement and activate as we seek to keep unity efforts moving forward.

Scott Shirai, APR, Fellow PRSA, Chair & President of Visual Perspectives

Cheryll Forsatz, VP of PR and Corporate Communications at Ferrero USA
Marsha R. Pitts-Phillips, President and Founder of MRPP & Associates Communications, LLC
Jorge F. D'Garay, President & CEO of MXUS Public Relations

Media companies and international broadcasters are addressing inequality in front and behind the camera, microphone and news sites.

What does this mean for communicators? What learnings can we take from this and how does this challenge our current thinking for our clients and our own organizations? Who is the face of an organization, who speaks and appears for the corporate body, who creates your content, shapes your viewpoints and is the lens through which you present the corporate view?

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Diversity & Inclusion Network in conjunction with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Diversity & Inclusion Committee, will explore how broadcast and news organizations are addressing diversity, increasing representation of diverse groups and challenging how the World is presented to viewers.

Moderated by Avril Lee, Executive Committee Chair, Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Recording coming soon!

Recorded Mar 24, 2021 05:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

March is Women's History Month – commemorating and encouraging the observance and celebration of the vital role of women in the PR industry and beyond. Join us during Women’s History Month this year, as we celebrate the women in tech that are disrupting the industry and learn about the latest technology, advancements, and innovations that communications professionals need to know.

During our session, panelists will share perspectives on how technology is impacting the PR industry today and how we can better position tech to advance our industry, whether for clients or in-house. Join the conversation using #PRDiversity and tagging @PRSADiversity.

Recorded Mar 16, 2021 04:28 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

PRSA and PRSSA hosts a special virtual panel to discuss the impact of xenophobia, discrimination and assault on the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The one-hour session provids insight, guidance and shares strategies on how communications/PR professionals and college students can apply themselves, or on behalf of their organizations, to not only speak up in support but to take action.

Carolyn Lok, PRSSA National President & Haniya Shariff, PRSSA, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion
Grace Meng, Congresswoman
Cady Lang, Staff Writer, TIME
Bill Imada, Chairman and Chief Connectivity Officer, IW Group, Inc.

Recorded Feb 23, 2021 5 p.m. EDT

Learn what you need to know about Historically Black Colleges and Universities in our first 2021 Diverse Dialogues panel celebrating Black History Month. HBCUs have served as pipelines for diversified intellect, creativity, and talent for decades, but they have particularly garnered center-stage attention following the historic appointment of the first female, Black, South Asian U.S. Vice President, Kamala Harris, also an HBCU graduate.

Although the D&I Committee, along with PRSA Foundation, has worked to provide scholarships and conference grants reducing the financial barriers to HBCU students and advisers, there is still much work to be done. During our session, panelists will share perspectives on the challenges faced by students of color in our profession, students’ accomplishments at these iconic institutions, and the part PRSA members can play in ensuring their future and ours. Some of our most talented and successful PRSSA Chapters hail from HBCUs, and as PR professionals guard railing our future, it is our duty to mentor these students, help them overcome challenges, and support them in reaching their fullest potential.

Join the conversation using #PRDiversity and tagging @PRSADiversity.

Shanita Akintonde, MBA, M.Ed., DTM, professor in The School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago

B. DàVida Plummer, Dean at Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, Hampton University
Dr. Tia C. M. Tyree, Professor and Interim Associate Dean of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, Howard University
Ranata Hughes, Visiting Professor and Internship Coordinator at Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication

Recorded Dec 9, 2020

Growing partnerships and collaborations is a key feature of the PRSA D&I three-year strategic plan. As we look to develop and execute programs and activities that advance awareness of D&I and seek additional opportunities to “tell the D&I story” with external stakeholders including agencies, corporate leaders, journalists and more, we have to start and continue the conversations with these groups and thought leaders towards a better shared future in the industry. Moderators:

  • Felicia Blow, APR - PRSA 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chair
  • Andrea Gils - PRSA 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chair


  • T. Garland Stansell, APR, PRSA Chair
  • Lauren Wesley Wilson - Founder and CEO, ColorComm Media Group
  • Naomi Tacuyan Underwood - Executive Director, Asian American Journalists Association
  • Terry Allen - National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Media Related Task Force Chair
  • Rebecca Aguilar - Emmy Award Winning Reporter and President-Elect for the Society of Professional Journalists

Recorded Oct 6, 2020

Today, more than ever, voter education is vitally important. Communicators are leading the charge in helping Americans understand important issues around where, when, and how to vote.

Moderator: Felicia Blow, APR, Co-Chair, of the National Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Panelists: Zara Haq - Voting Rights Advocate, ACLU Sarah Courtney - Senior Director, Communications and Digital Strategy, The League of Women Voters Kelly Mason - Director, Corporate Communications, Levi Straus & Co Dan Lewerenz - Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund Angela Sailor – Heritage

Recorded Sep 22, 2020 6 p.m. EDT

Panelists discuss the role of communications and media in educating, engaging, and advocating for critical issues affecting Hispanics: health, voting, and civil rights. Experts share effective strategies they've implemented in their roles to communicate with Hispanic stakeholders around these issues (from clients to employees and leadership), as well as anticipated challenges this population will face in the coming months. Participants will learn about organizations that are effectively leveraging their brand purpose as a strategy to connect with their Hispanic audiences, and what we can do as PR/communications professionals to advance the inclusion of Hispanics in our respective organizations. This event has a live SPANISH interpretation. El evento contará con traducción en vivo en ESPAÑOL Moderator: Andrea Gils, International marketing and communications Manager, University of Kentucky Panelists: Zandra Zuno, Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing, UnidosUS (formerly NCLR) Pepe Maldonado, Account Supervisor, Zeno Group Ana Toro, APR Fellow PRSA, Public Affairs Officer, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Hugo Balta, News Director, WTTW. President, NAHJ. Owner, Latino News Network

Recorded Aug 26, 2020

This hour-long presentation offers an inside look at the lessons learned from the advocates in LGBTQ workplace discrimination cases before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Gerald Bostock, petitioner in the landmark civil rights case Bostock v. Clayton County, his legal counsel, Tom Mew of Buckley Beal, and lead communications counsel, Megan Paquin, APR, CPRC of Poston Communications, offer a look back at the road to the Supreme Court. They not only address the legal victory and how it came to pass, but they describe the importance of communications, engaging core stakeholders, and others in this critically important Supreme Court victory and matter of public concern.

Recorded June 25, 2020

Hear from some of the country’s leading LGBTQ PR professionals on how they are building and engaging the LGBTQ community when we can’t be together. Panelists will discuss the importance of authentic LGBTQ -inclusive communications and how PR professionals’ work is crucial in promoting and preserving unity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Moderator: Troy Blackwell Jr., Former National Director of Press Advance of Tom Steyer
  • Ben Finzel, President of RENEWPR LLC, and Founder of The Change
  • Debbie Ebalobo, Director of External Communications, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Rich Ferraro, Chief Communications Officer, GLAAD
Recorded Jun 4, 2020


  • Anita Ford Saunders, APR
  • Felicia Blow, APR
  • Kim Clark
  • Deme Jackson
Recorded Jun 19, 2020

Moderator: Carolyn Lok, President, PRSSA 2020-2021 National Committee Panelists:

  • Angela Chitkara, Researcher and Consultant, World in 2020 Project
  • Soon Mee Kim, Executive Vice President and Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Porter Novelli
  • Ted Nguyen, Immediate Past President of OC/PRSA and National Delegate; Senior Manager of External Affairs at the Orange County Transportation Authority

Section & Chapter Programs

The Role of The Black Press
Provided by: PRSA Maryland Chapter