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News & Press: General Announcements

Special Message from PRSA-NY President

Monday, December 17, 2018  
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Sharon D. Fenster
President, PRSA-NY

Dear Colleagues,

With the holiday season upon us and 2018 drawing to a close, it’s the perfect time to look back at a truly remarkable year for PRSA-NY. 

With movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, diversity dominates the headlines. That these efforts are controversial hints at the pushback diversity initiatives face from people who are resistant to diversity and people who feel like they aren’t represented. But in truth each of us has much to gain from equality in the workplace and the world at-large. 

In 2018 we made an impact on this important issue. 

Here’s one big reason why- the demographic shift predicted by the U.S. Census Bureau - that by 2045, people of color will make up the majority of the U.S. population. This has made diversity in the PR workplace no longer an option but a business imperative. More and more clients require agency partners to become more diverse and to mirror client consumers. Corporations like HP, Verizon, General Mills, USAA and more have been vociferous advocates of diversity among their agency teams. And their RFPs reflect it.

Because it’s also a matter of social justice and being on the right side of history, the Chapter has advocated for two issues within this - the submission of diversity data and greater diversity in agency C-suites. We believe that what gets measured gets done, and, that if you don’t know where you stand then how can you decide where you are going. We say that the influx of diverse executives in the C-suite is crucial to the success of an effective D & I program since that is where all the decisions are made. 

But there was more happening at PRSA-NY in 2018.

This year marked the 31st anniversary of the Big Apple Awards and it was a memorable experience for both the winners and their guests. The ceremony was totally sold-out, breaking records of years past. I am proud to say that our panel of Big Apple judges was the most diverse ever. Submissions were looked at through the lens of many perspectives and, as a result, with over 75 winners, some of the best, most successful campaigns were awarded in the history of the Big Apple. It was also the culmination of the Chapter’s efforts to encourage PR agencies to submit their diversity data with the President’s Diversity Data Honor Roll Award. Given in partnership with diversity supporter, HP, the award recipients were honored for their boldness, courage and transparency on the floor of the glamorous Oriental Mandarin Hotel on that beautiful night in June.

Our commitment to diversity prevailed even further in 2018 as we hosted a clothing drive for Dress for Success. And we just had a gala fundraiser at Aureole to benefit the charity. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion dovetailed perfectly with the population Dress for Success serves. We felt compelled to make a difference in the community as part of our diversity efforts.

With my tenure as president coming to a close at the end of this month, I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your membership and support of our great Chapter in 2018. It has been both an honor and a pleasure.

Happy holidays to you and yours!


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