Lou Capozzi
Lou Capozzi

In accepting PRSA Foundation’s 2018 Paladin Award last night, former MSL Group chairman Lou Capozzi challenged the audience to “touch one more life, mentor one more kid.”

The long-time champion of diversity spoke of the positive impact that the 200 people attending the event could make if they just reached out to help just one young person further his or her career.

He noted that while at MSL the input of “a person next door was equal to that of a person in an office across the ocean.”

Capozzi has been taken aback by the “resurgence of racism” in the US, which he blamed in part on the “toxic rhetoric of the president.”

He faulted the president for lacking the “moral authority” to lead the US.

Capozzi noted that America is a country of immigrants, who trace their roots to places that were once impoverished and looked down upon. His own family came from Naples and Sicily.

Paladin Awards

He made an exception for African-Americans, whose ancestors were “torn from their civilizations and sold into slavery.”

The past president of PRSA Foundation and current adjunct professor at the University of Oregon, received applause when he took a swipe at rapper Kanye West, who told TMZ on April 30 that 400 years of slavery was a choice.

Calling PR the “voice of the people,” Capozzi said PRSA Foundation’s mission to foster diversity and inclusion is as vital as ever.

Judith Harrison, PRSA Foundation president and Weber Shandwick’s senior VP for diversity and inclusion, introduced Capozzi as a friend and mentor.

She rallied the audience, saying, time’s up for words about diversity, it’s time for action.

Barby Siegel, Zeno Group CEO, and Lisa Ryan, Heyman Group senior VP, co-chaired the awards ceremony that was held at New York’s Helen Mills Event Space on West 26thSt.

Weber Shandwick, McCann WorldGroup, Zeno, Kekst, MSL, Edelman, Prudential, Best Buy, Axis, Bayer and the Neptune Family Foundation were among sponsors of the event.