National Black Public Relations Society Conference--Celebrating African American Achievements and Promoting Diversity in PR
BY LAUREN PITCHER
Wyonona Redmond, president of the National Black Public Relations Society (NBPRS) speaking at the opening reception held at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee
The National Black Public Relations Society (NBPRS) held their annual conference, October 27-30, 2011 in Milwaukee and this year I had the opportunity to be there. The theme for this year’s conference was: “The Network at Work: Managing Transitions, Techniques and Technology for Business and Career Success.” Some of the most respected African Americans in the communications industry were there including former journalists who started their own boutique PR agencies, corporate communications professionals, agency PR practitioners, bloggers, PR freelancers, authors and community relations professionals.
Throughout the conference I had the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops but one that particularly stood out to me was: “Breaking In & Staying In: Realities & Strategies for Blacks in PR.” The panel highlighted the importance of building relationships with co-workers to bridge racial differences and we discussed the value of not focusing on being the only minority at the company but rather being aware of how to constantly develop new skills, think outside the box, promote integrity and stay up-to-date with the clients business.
Although only 4.7% of the marketing, advertising and PR industries are made up of ethnic minorities, conferences such as this are a huge step to help diversify the industry, recognize African Americans in the industry and showcase their achievements. Wyonna Redmond, president of NBPRS, defines PR as this: “Our job in the public relations field is to communicate ideas, evoke feelings, shape images, enhance or change perceptions and build relationships.” More diversity in the industry will mean more perspectives and different ideas being shared, which can only lead to helping grow the industry. Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American female senator, said it best in her keynote address at the conference: “When all the cream is allowed to rise to the top, the butter is bound to be better!”
Tags: conference tips, diversity, training