David Albritton, General Motors executive director, communications, and Terry Edmonds, first African-American speech writer for President Clinton, are among speakers tonight at 6 p.m. at Baruch College CUNY.
The program observing Black PR History Month is sponsored by The Museum of Public Relations and Corporate Communications International.
Emcee is Donald Singletary, president, The Singletary Group, and adjunct professor at Baruch.
Also speaking are Terrie Williams, PR counselor to stars including Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, and Judith Harrison, senior VP, Diversity and Inclusion, Weber Shandwick, and president, PR Society of America Foundation.
The event is in room 14-220, Baruch College, 55 Lexington Ave.
First Event Hampered by Snow
The inaugural Black PR History Month event was Feb. 9 but it was hampered by a snow storm that closed Baruch. Edelman donated its penthouse conference room and more than 150 attended. More than 300 had registered.
Those who showed up at the new location heard two hours of descriptions of blacks who have been prominent in PR but whose contributions have mostly been overlooked, particularly in PR textbooks.
Four panelists cited the contributions of blacks—Denise Hill, Ph.D., Elon University who served as moderator; Rochelle Ford, Ph.D., Syracuse University; Judith Harrison, SVP, North America diversity and inclusion and president, Foundation of PRSA, and Donald Singletary, Singletary Group, New York, and adjunct professor at Baruch College and Syracuse University.
Special recognition was given to pioneering black PR firm founder Inez Kaiser who practiced in Kansas City. Kaiser, who died in 2016 at the age of 96, was the first African-American to open a PR firm.
Her son, Rick Kaiser, accepted a memorial award in her behalf.
Five Heads of PR Groups Attend
The event attracted the heads of five PR groups: Roger Bolton, Arthur W. Page Society; Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., Institute for PR; Renee Wilson, PR Council; Marcia DiStaso, Arthur Page Center, and Patrick Ford, The Plank Center, who also served as emcee.
Also not present was Michael Paul, who has been an ardent supporter of the need for more blacks to be in top PR jobs. Paul is now SVP with Publicis Media heading PR for the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Panel Proposed for PRSA/National
Donald Bates, an organizer of the event, said that the extensive history of blacks in PR presented as by the panel should be duplicated at the PRSA national conference Oct. 8-10 in Boston.
PR Jobs Among the Most Stressful
Addressing the gathering was this reporter who noted that, year after year, Careercast ranks “PR executive” as one of the most stressful jobs. The 2017 ranking puts the post at No. 8.
We also noted the current O’Dwyer column by Fraser Seitel which has the title, “Donald Trump and the End of PR.”
Seitel says Trump is violating numerous basic principles of PR including “Never lie,” “Always check your facts,” “Never attack the media,” “Don’t bad mouth your adversaries,” and “Always take the high road.”
Asked about this added stress on PR people, panelists said that minorities are used to being discriminated against and are better equipped to handle the stress that comes with a PR post.