At the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, we take great pride in our commitment to the development and advancement of public relations leaders. It has been another wonderful year for the Center. While there are many things to celebrate, here are our top 10 moments to reflect on 2018:
- The Plank Center sponsored the North American Communication Monitor, the first survey of its kind in North America, to explore the status quo, qualities and trends of communication management in North America. The monitor tracks trends in fake news, issues management, leadership, work stress, social media skills and job satisfaction.
- The 20th Koten Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations was delivered by Jon Iwata, the former senior vice president and chief brand officer for IBM, and one of the most respected leaders in corporate communications. The lecture series is named for John “Jack” Koten, an inaugural member of the Board of Advisors of The Plank Center and an influential public relations leader.
- We created two resource guides. Specifically, with educators in mind, Educate & Elevate is filled with the best practices in leadership, mentorship, and diversity and inclusion; lessons from leaders; classroom activities; and much more. Lead with Purpose is a comprehensive guide designed to position students, educators and professionals with lessons from PR professionals, research in leadership and mentorship, best practices, scholarship opportunities and additional resources for professional development.
- In an effort to advance leadership at all levels, we hosted the third Challenge for Emerging Leaders, an intensive, two-day leadership workshop for engaged, high-achieving and diverse university seniors majoring in public relations. Fifty-seven students have completed the workshop so far and received a Certificate of Leadership Achievement.
- We have placed more than 65 educators in world-class corporations and public relations agencies for two weeks, including two this summer, through our Educator Fellowship Program, now in its ninth year and the only one of its kind in public relations.
- Our “Milestones in Mentoring” Gala, held in Chicago each year and dubbed the “best night in public relations,” honored seven deserving public relations leaders and continues to be an inspiring and motivational evening. More than 50 mentors, including seven this year, have been honored for demonstrating a superior commitment to mentoring others.
- Prior to our “Milestones in Mentoring” Gala, we co-hosted the #PlankMentor: Student Mentoring Session with DePaul PRSSA. Students from Chicago-area chapters and The University of Alabama were in attendance to ask our “Milestones in Mentoring” honorees the tough questions on career advice, networking, mentoring and more.
- To add to our webinar series, we hosted “Women & Leadership in Public Relations,” a webinar that discussed bridging the pay and opportunity gaps in the industry, including action items for current leaders at all organizational levels. This webinar series is available on demand on our website.
- We continue to honor our namesake with a national celebration, Betsy Plank Day, now in its sixth year. As Betsy said, “Unless it’s illegal, unethical or immoral, volunteer for everything!” Many PRSSA Chapters celebrated Betsy Plank Day by giving back and volunteering on their campus and in their local community.
- We hosted the inaugural Summit on Diversity and Inclusion in Public Relations, which provided professionals, educators and students with a deeper understanding of the barriers of D&I in the profession and best practices to develop and implement strategic programs to grow, mentor and retain diverse populations within the field.
Everything the Center has accomplished over the last 13 years is directly attributable to our dedicated and active Board Members who exemplify public relations leadership.
Betsy Plank’s legacy lives on in the Center’s research and work in advancing the profession and public relations education. Thank you to the organization and friends who have generously supported The Center this year. With your support, we can continue to make a legendary difference in the development and advancement of outstanding public relations leaders through a variety of programs, such as fellowships, initiatives, research and awards.
We invite you to support a stronger public relations profession by making a tax-deductible gift. Every dollar we generate or receive goes back into our programs, grants and scholarships.