The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations hosts a series of webinars for public relations students, educators and professionals.  If you missed any, you may access them here. Please note:  The audio recordings are best accessed using Safari. Firefox may not support the files.

Millennials, Diversity and Inclusion in the PR Industry

Oct. 17, 2017 | 3 p.m. EST

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There is much discussion in the PR and communication industry about the role and impact of the millennial generation on the workforce and workplace culture.  Research shows that millennial communication professionals (MCPs) are the most diverse and socially and politically engaged generation to date, and that they expect organizations to be diverse and inclusive. However, there is a gap between desires and expectations, and how to actually achieve these conditions.  This webinar will focus on research about the experiences of MCPs, and specifically address the following:

  1. What does research tell us about MCPs and their views on diversity and inclusion?
  2. How do minority MCPs manage cultural perceptions – their own and those of others about them? What can this teach us about unconscious bias, stereotyping and how to avoid pigeon-holing of minority MCPs?
  3. What can be done, on the individual level and the organizational level, to actualize workplace cultures that are open, diverse, supportive and inclusive? How can MCPs work with other generations towards this goal?


  • Dr. Bruce Berger, Professor Emeritus of Advertising & Public Relations, University of Alabama
  • Aerial Ellis, Instructor of Public Relations, Lipscomb University
  • Dr. Juan Meng, Associate Professor of Public Relations, University of Georgia
  • Sarah Elise Vasquez, Brand Intern at Edelman (Los Angeles)

Moderator: Leah Seay, Assistant Manager, Public Policy Communications, General Motors


Hidden Figures- SocialHidden Figures in PR: Putting a Long-Overdue Spotlight on African-American PR Pioneers

When you think of the pioneers of the public relations profession who comes to mind? The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations hosted a webinar titled “Hidden Figures in PR: Putting a Long-Overdue Spotlight on African-American PR Pioneers.”

Our textbooks taught us the pioneers of our profession—Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays—but this webinar shines a light on those the textbooks missed. This on-demand webinar has students, educators and practitioners discovering the “Hidden Figures in PR.”

The webinar provides deeper insight and understanding of the history of our profession. Led by industry professionals:

  • Denise Hill, assistant professor, Elon University
  • Alicia Thompson, managing director, Porter Novelli

And introduced by Jada Culver, Public Relations Student Society of America past-president, The University of Alabama.

Access: Webinar RecordingSlide Presentation

Webinar- Post Promo copyThings I Wish I’d Known Before Entering the Workforce

Public relations students, are you eager to graduate and begin your career? Position yourself for even greater success by watching the webinar on-demand titled, “Things I Wish I’d Known Before Entering the Workforce.”

The webinar:

  • - Provides ten insights into how to impress your colleagues from day one
  • - Offers applicable tips to overcome perceptions of the millennial generation

The webinar featured the following industry professionals discussing their own experiences and what they wish they’d known when beginning their first job:

  • Rick Looser, COO, The Cirlot Agency
  • Jesse McCraw, brand strategist, The Cirlot Agency
  • Jacquie McMahon, account executive, Ketchum
  • Brian Price, digital marketing manager, Starwood Retail Partners

Access: Webinar Recording  /  Slide Presentation

Promoting Diversity & Inclusion Excellence

webinar-promoting-diversity-inclusion-excellence_103116How can you or your PRSSA chapter help support a stronger public relations profession? As future public relations leaders, you “set the tone for diversity and inclusion.” It’s up to you and your members to be “involved, accountable, and focused on creating an inclusive culture.”

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations co-hosted a webinar with PRSSA titled, “Promoting Diversity & Inclusion Excellence.” Diversity and inclusion is an important topic across many industries, especially public relations.

From examining previous research to understanding how top organizations are moving the D&I dial, this webinar will equip you and your chapter with key takeaways that can be implemented today to serve tomorrow’s public relations leaders.

The webinar featured experts who discussed their diversity and inclusion research, observations, and experience. The experts were:

  • Keith Burton, principal, Grayson Emmett Partners
  • Andrew Cook, VP of Advocacy, PRSSA 2016-2017
  • Pat Ford, worldwide vice chair, chief client officer, Burson-Marsteller
  • Dr. Nilanjana Bardhan, professor, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

If you missed the webinar or want it on demand, you can view it below.

Access: Webinar Recording  /  Slide Presentation

Getting a Job in Public Relations

WebinarAre you ready to get a job in public relations? Are you hungry to learn how to set yourself apart from the thousands of applicants? We hosted a webinar on “Getting a Job in Public Relations” that examined the characteristics and traits in demand for public relations positions, offered helpful tips on how to stand out from the competition in your job search and provided insight on how managers attract, retain and develop top performers.

The webinar featured experts who discussed their observations on the hiring process within public relations agencies and corporations. The experts were:

If you missed the webinar or want it on demand, you can view it below.

Access: Webinar Recording / Slide Presentation


Building Your Brand and Finding That First Job

Building-Your-Brand-&-Finding-That-First-Job-Rev2-2Gary McCormick, Director of Partnership Development, HGTV, and Kevin Saghy, Manager of Communications, Chicago Cubs, talk about what students need to do right now to make sure they land that first job. The topics include what employers are really looking for, what questions to ask yourself to get ready for the search, what strategy to use, and how to build your public persona online.



Access: Webinar recording (Note: If you get an error message, you may have to update your JavaScript to the latest version.) / Slide presentation


Agency for the Future

GolinHarris CEO and President Fred Cook discusses the firm’s new G4 model called Prevolve and the factors that led to the restructuring of the agency. “We’re breaking away from traditional agency silos,” Cook said in announcing the new model. “We’ve replaced the standard, seniority-based hierarchy with global teams of dedicated specialists who are embedded in every account. As our world evolves, so, too, do the needs of our clients. Now, more than ever, clients value smart people who can provide actionable insights into their business.”

Access:  slide presentation / audio recording


Ethics in PR Education

Dr. Bruce Berger, Reese Phifer Professor in the Advertising & Public Relations Department at UA, moderates this session on ethics in PR education that includes presentations by Dr. Shannon Bowen, Syracuse University; Prof. Kathy Fitzpatrick, Quinnipiac University; Kevin Saghy, public relations & marketing specialist, Chicago Cubs, and Plank Center Board member; and Tom Martin, former SVP, corporate relations at ITT, former president of The Arthur W. Page Society, and now Executive in Residence, College of Charleston. Panelists address current research in PR ethics, best practices in teaching PR ethics, ethical dilemmas they’ve faced, how students view their ethics training, why it all matters.

Access:  slide presentation / audio recording


Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability:  So Far . . . and What’s Next

Our panel of experts discuss what CSR is today, the lessons learned, what the new world of engagement and advocacy means for your organization, key messages for educators, and where we go from here.  Rick White, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Wisconsin Energy Corporation, and Plank Center Board member, led the discussion with Chris Deri, Executive Vice President, Director of Global CSR/Sustainability Practice, Edelman; Billy Shore, Founder and Executive Director, Share Our Strength; and Dr. Bob Heath, Professor Emeritus, University of Houston.

Access:  slide presentation / audio recording


Landing a PR Job After School:  What Employers are Looking For and What You Can Expect to Make

Okay, so you are about to graduate with a PR degree.  Now what?  What kinds of jobs are out there?  For that matter, are there jobs?  Do you have what employers are looking for?  How much can you expect to make?  Rick White, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Wisconsin Energy Corporation, and Plank Center Board member, led the discussion with Keith Burton, President, Insidege/GolinHarris and Plank Center Board member; Mark Harris, Vice President, Communications, IBM Global Business Services; Lisa K. Hart, Program Leader, Communication Leadership Development Program, GE; Jessamyn Katz, Director, Heyman Associates; and Rick Looser, COO Cirlot Agency and Plank Center Board member.

Access:  slide presentation / audio recording


How Emerging Digital Media Are Changing Our World:  A Conversation for PR Educators

For public relations educators, social media are presenting new challenges.  How do we teach our students the new skills required?  How can we gain a better understanding of the problems facing organizations today?  How can we develop a curriculum to support these areas?  During this webinar, participants learned about the challenges and issues facing the profession from Jeff Beringer, Senior Vice President, Dialogue/GolinHarris; Robert French, Instructor, public relations and digital media, Auburn University; and Toby Ward, President, Prescient Digital Media.

Access:  slide presentation / audio recording


Deciding Between a PR Job and an Advanced Degree:  Making the Right Decision

Deciding what to do after graduation can be confusing.  Do you try to get a job in public relations?  Do you stay in school and go for an MA, or perhaps an MBA, or maybe even a JD?  This webinar explored topics such as the advantages of taking the job; the advantages of graduate school; weighing the pros and cons of an MA, MBA, and JD; and things to keep in mind if you are thinking about graduate school.  Moderated by Keith Burton, President of Insidedge/GolinHarris and a Plank Center Board member, the session included presentations by Brandi Boatner, a Past President of PRSSA; Doug Serton, an associate with Heyman Associates; and Dr. Karla Gower, associate professor of public relations at The University of Alabama and director of the Plank Center.

Access:  slide presentation

Resources of Interest

The Plank Center is committed to helping you expand your skills and advance the practice of public relations.