2019 Offers Diverse New Opportunities and Challenges for Strategic Communicators

We’re already entering the third month of 2019, and it’s clear that communications professionals can play an active role in helping employers and clients benefit from greater cultural diversity in the workplace and the greater community. Those benefits are both reputational and contribute to an organization’s bottom line. In 2019, communicators can be strategic partners to leaders in their roles as culture builders.

Several recent articles I’ve read, and conversations with D&I leaders and communications colleagues, have reaffirmed the business importance of developing more diverse leadership. Companies like Netflix, M&T Bank, and Uber have deliberately increased the diversity of their organization’s leadership, and their businesses are thriving because of it. Research confirms the real benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace can lead to improved organizational performance and success. Organizations whose executive teams reflect the diverse culture that is the American melting pot are growing and succeeding.

As communicators, we can leverage our professional platforms both internally and externally to enhance appreciation for D&I programs. Furthermore, we can help with the ongoing challenges of recruitment and retention – a problem for many organizations, especially in the advertising/marketing/public relations sector – by connecting our employers and clients with organized community efforts, attracting desirable executives in a systematic way.

Recent studies by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and 247wallst.com rank Milwaukee among the top five worst cities for African Americans holding corporate leadership positions. To address this problem, 80 business and community leaders from various sectors in Milwaukee have come together to develop and support a growing pool of diverse and talented African American leaders. The goal of the African American Leadership Alliance (AALM) is for Milwaukee to rank as the best city in the U.S. for African American executives by 2025!

In short, helping to increase D&I awareness, facilitating participation in community improvement initiatives, and partnering with organizations such as AALM present unique opportunities for PRSA members and our strategic communications colleagues to demonstrate a new level of value for our organizations.

We must seize these opportunities to lead as only we can, helping to form diverse multigenerational works teams that bolster creativity and innovation, and producing communications deliverables that help our organizations achieve revenue, reputation, corporate social responsibility, and D&I goals.

Besides, bringing diverse viewpoints and cultures to the table is a proven deterrent to organizational missteps, which often require communicators to shift into “crisis mode” at a moment’s notice.

The choice is ours – be proactive or reactive.

Debra A. Miller, Ed.D., APR, Fellow PRSA
President and Senior Counsel
Global Communication Strategists, LLC
Chapter Diversity & Inclusion Committee Chair

Notice of 2018 Annual Meeting

All members are hereby notified that the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America will be:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm  at:

Italian Community Center, 631 E Chicago St, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (free parking in back)

The following item of business will be brought before the members: The slate of officers, board members and committee chairs to lead the PRSA chapter in 2019:

President – Ryan Amundson

President-elect – Jeff Dardis

Immediate Past President – Patrick McSweeney

Treasurer – Christine Dunbeck

Secretary – Stephanie Graham

Membership Chair – Katharine Foley

Ethics Officer/Midwest District Liaison – Carolyn Schamberger

Director, Marketing – Nicole Koremenos

Director, Community Service – Katrina Schwarz

Director, PR Palooza – Allison Kucek



Diveristy & Inclusion – Debi Miller

Accreditation – Annie Gentil

Mentorship – Emily Bultman

Education/PRSSA – Heidi Fendos


Judges Needed

PRSA is currently recruiting judges for the Sierra Nevada Chapter awards. Sierra Nevada graciously volunteered their time earlier this year to judge our Paragon Awards, and now it is time to return the favor. Judging is a great way to see the great work that another chapter is doing, and also give back a bit to your PRSA chapter. Judging will be from September 18th (entries sent to judges) – October 2nd (entries due back to the chapter). Each volunteer judge will judge between two and four entries (depending on final number of entries and judges). Please sign-up for judging no later than September 1st.

If you are interested or have questions, please email Immediate Past President, Sara Rude at srude@c-k.com.