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Celebrating Our PR Mentors who Led the Way

Wednesday, April 29, 2020  
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Blog for PRSA NY, Lynn Appelbaum
In Celebration of Women’s History


Celebrating Our PR Mentors Who Led the Way

This Goes Out to the 75%


In this time of COVID-19, it’s challenging to muster the spirit to celebrate Women’s History Month when so many among us have life-and-death challenges. Thanks to the PRSA-NY for the invitation to contribute to this blog. I offer a special shout out to health care workers and those who provide strategic communications for related industries and government during this challenging time—especially all women in the medical and healthcare industry.

Writing this blog is a gift that takes me away from the daily challenges of quarantined life, to celebrate all women PR professionals and our sisters who came before us. I recognize superb industry executives like Barri Rafferty at Ketchum, Kathy Bloomgarten at Ruder Finn, Grace Leong at Hunter, Gail Heimann at Weber Shandwick, and many others. 

This post celebrates the women who make up the PR workforce, about 75% of all PR professionals (PR News). Women are the primary worker bees who create and deliver smart, strategic communications for their clients day after day.  If you’ve ever attended PRSA NY’s Big Apple Awards or the PRSA Silver Anvil Awards, you’ll recall winning teams primarily comprised of women who accept the award for outstanding work. Women ARE the face and hands of the PR industry.

As I reflect on our celebration of women during March, I’m particularly grateful for women who are superb mentors and champions to younger pros, beyond being outstanding practitioners in their own right. In 1982, early on in my PR career, my boss at NYU’s Office of Public Affairs, Helen Horowitz, took me under her wing, taught me how to think and write like a PR professional and championed my successes to clients, the deans of NYU’s School of Law and the Tisch School of the Arts. This meant everything to me as a newbie and was my foundation for a rewarding career in PR.

I never forgot what it meant to be supported, validated and celebrated by a woman whom I looked up to, and who invested in my talent and ability. This was perhaps the most important confidence boost I could have had as a young professional. Since 1993, as a professor at The City College of New York, I have tried to give to my students the same kind of support to help them find their own confidence and voice to be successful beyond what I teach in the classroom. 

Brava, PR women past and present, for being the engine of our industry and for helping to nurture and cultivate the next generation. 

Do you have a woman in your professional life who you want to thank? It’s always a great time to tell her.

The New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America is one of the oldest, largest, and most prominent public relations chapters in the country. Located in the media capital of the world, it offers top-level professional development, networking, mentoring, and awards. PRSA-NY serves communications professionals in agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government, as well as independent practitioners.

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