Working Toward a More Diverse Profession

While the practice of public relations in the United States has undergone dramatic changes, a lack of diversity in the communications profession persists. Many studies indicate that the industry still struggles to attract young black, Asian and Hispanic professionals to pursue public relations as their career of choice.

The Diversity & Inclusion Committee is devoted to building consciousness by increasing visibility of D&I standards, resources and best practices for racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation and gender differences, as well as diverse skill sets, mindsets and cultures at all levels of the organization.

The D&I Committee commends PR firms and organizations that have established more diverse workplace environments, and those that have established management programs to help minority groups and LGBT practitioners move up the corporate ladder.

Also, the D&I Committee works closely with the PRSA Foundation, which helps drive diversity within public relations by funding numerous research initiatives for underserved populations, PR firms and employees.

Felicia Blow, APR
Associate Vice President of Development
Hampton University
Hampton, VA 23668

Andrea Gils Monzon
Marketing and Communications Manager
University of Kentucky – International Center
Lexington, KY 40506

Anita Ford Saunders, APR
AFS Communication

Immediate Past Chair
Shanita Baraka Akintonde, MBA, M.Ed., DTM
Associate Professor
Columbia College Chicago
Chicago, IL 60605

Board Liaison
Jorge Francisco D’Garay
President and CEO
MXUS Public Relations
San Diego, CA 92143

Staff Liaison
Jeneen Garcia
Executive Director of PRSSA
Public Relations Society of America
New York, N.Y.


The D&I Toolkit provides members with diversity-related research, materials, applicable tools and professional development opportunities.

Its creation rests on two objectives:

  • To educate members by providing them with the resources they need to help them manage the diversity and inclusion initiatives of their own Chapters, Districts and Sections
  • To influence the composition of their professional development and membership so that the diversity of its membership reflects and embraces the diversity of the profession

Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit >>

Toolkit de Diversidad e Inclusión >>

Chapter Diversity Awards

The PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Committee will award up to two PRSA Chapters with a Chapter Diversity Award. The awards are given to Chapters that embody and demonstrate key values in diversity and inclusion, and that contribute to advancing diversity as shown by submissions of their best practices and/or case studies. These awards recognize their local efforts, as well as provide further support for continued achievements at the Chapter level.

PRSA 2020 Chapter Diversity & Inclusion Award Winners:

First Place:  Minnesota PRSA Chapter
Second Place: Orange County PRSA Chapter
Honorable Mention: Central Ohio PRSA Chapter

The 2021 D&I Chapter Awards application will be posted in July 2021.


D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award

Established in 1990, the D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award is PRSA’s highest individual honor presented to a PR professional who has contributed to increased awareness of public relations within multicultural communities and has participated in promoting issues that meet the needs of these diverse communities.

The winner of the 2020 D. Parke Gibson Award was Marsha R. Pitts-Phillips.

The 2021 D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award application will be posted in July 2021.