Countless professionals in the public relations industry were touched by the passing of Ofield Dukes, APR, Fellow PRSA. However, his zealous spirit and effective leadership will forever be ingrained in the public relations community.
Dukes delivered exceptional professionalism in all facets of our field for more than 40 years. Paying forward in a tremendous way, shortly two days after the loss of Ofield Dukes, the PRSA Foundation established a scholarship fund honoring Dukes. According to PRSA, “the scholarship fund will be established by a major gift from the PRSA Foundation and a matching gift from Prudential Financial, which will be the founding donor.”
Earlier this year, I contacted Dukes, asking him to share his perspective to young professionals in PRSSA on how his diversified background helped mold him into a strategic public relations professional. Dukes was an accomplished African-American public relations professional who served as a Champion for PRSSA and a member of the PRSA College of Fellows. His light shined in PRSA and within PRSSA as he mentored and inspired the industry’s future professionals.
In our correspondence, Dukes explained his drive to succeed in public relations:
“What made a big difference in the success of my professional career was getting up every morning with a strong passion to be excellent, on top of my game every day. Just as important was a profound understanding of myself, which produced high self-esteem and self-confidence to compete in the mainstream of the public relations profession. I had an ongoing love affair with my work and was inspired to work hard. There is no substitute for hard work and having the right work ethic. Another factor is inter-personal relations, treating everyone with respect and dignity, the way you want to be treated. President Lyndon B. Johnson had a wonderful philosophy, or I should add, a political philosophy of beating his enemies over the head with love and kindness. And that was also a technique of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In a greater sense, it is the art of winning friends and influencing people.”
— Ofield Dukes, APR, Fellow PRSA
On behalf of PRSSA, we would like to thank Ofield Dukes, APR, Fellow PRSA for blazing the trail and setting the mark high enough for us to appreciate a worthy challenge and move forward as effective public relation role models.
Danielle DuPree was the Vice President of Public Relations on the 2010-2011 National Committee. She graduated from Utica College in 2011. She currently collaborates with other Learning and Development leads at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston. Tweet her at @DanielleDuPree.