Session: Celebrating Black Public Relations History
Presenter: Lori George Billingsley, The Coca-Cola Company, Neil Foote, National Black Public Relations Society, David Brown, Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication
Moderator: Rochelle Ford, Ph.D., APR, Elon University
Recap: The overarching theme of this session was viewing the intersectionality of who we are and not being ashamed of the experiences we go through. First, the speakers discussed the pioneers that are typically mentioned during introduction classes to public relations such as Edward Bernays, Ivy Lee and Joseph Baker. Next, they gave advice to students that will be helpful while becoming a professional. The speakers emphasized the importance of bringing awareness to history. Students must educate themselves to find their story. Once the story is found, they can blaze their own path. In conjunction with this, the presenters suggested that students visit the Museum of Public Relations in New York as it is filled with valuable information about the evolution of this field.
The speakers then transitioned to highlight how students can further their education by getting involved in local PRSA Chapters and particularly the National Black Public Relations Society for students of color. The mission of this group is to nurture, enlighten and inform its members. The last piece of advice that they gave the audience was to be passionate about what we are doing and always ask questions. Things like who are we? Who do we know? How can we help people? How can we serve the community?