September 28, 2021

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations will return its 2021 DEI Summit on Nov. 11, 2021 from 2:00 – 5 p.m. at the Union League Club of Chicago. The Plank Center’s Summit on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion provides a forum for practitioners, educators and students to come together to forge a deeper immersion into DEI and to enhance their knowledge of developing strategic DEI programs for our profession. ​The Plank Center’s Milestones in Mentoring Reception will follow in the evening.

The summit will feature senior and emerging public relations leaders who will discuss how to build pathways to leadership for diverse professionals. They will provide tips, anecdotes and advice on how we may better develop diverse leaders at all levels in the public relations profession. Keynote speakers include Dr. Felicia Blow, APR, Associate VP for Development, Hampton University, and chair-elect, national PRSA board of directors, and Dr. Chuck Wallington, Cone Health, who will be interviewed by Plank board member Dr. Juan-Carlos Molleda, Dean, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon. Preceding the keynote will be a workshop hosted by Zeno Group and EGAMI Group; following the keynote will be two panels detailed below. 

  • Zeno Group & EGAMI Group Workshop
    • Title: DE&I Progress Propellers: How Next Gen Communicators Can Advance our Profession
    • Description: In the past year, the communications industry collectively has been taking action – helping to combat racism and advance racial diversity – pushing ourselves, business and organizations to be more and do more. But while we’ve made progress (with a lowercase p), the next gen of communicators can serve as the catalyst to bring about real and lasting change not only in our profession, but within other industries. Join Zeno Group’s EVP of DE&I Andrea Richardson and EGAMI Group as they discuss the promise they see in our newest communication colleagues, the 10 things next gen comms pros and educators can do to continue to advance DE&I initiatives in the workplace and how to strengthen our DE&I mindset.
  • Emerging Leaders Panel
    • Topic:  How can emerging leaders position themselves to support the advancement of DEI? How do emerging leaders engage in DEI at this stage of their careers?  What kinds of mentorship skills and leadership opportunities are they seeking and where are they finding them? 
    • Moderator: Eric Winkfield, Vice President, M Booth (NYC)
    • Panelists: Camille Howard – Hill & Knowlton (Chicago), Carolyn Lok – Weber Shandwick (PRSSA National President 2020-2021), Zoe Krey – Walgreens, Chicago
  • Senior Leaders Panel
    • Topic: How can senior leaders successfully mentor emerging diverse practitioners to develop leadership skills and knowledge and open pathways for leadership opportunities?
    • Moderator: Barby Siegel, CEO, Zeno Group
    • Panelists: David Albritton, Founder & CEO, Nineteen88 Strategies, Dr. Jinx Broussard, Professor & Scholar, Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University, Bob Jimenez, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cox Enterprises
  • Closing Remarks
    • Carmella Glover, President of the Diversity Action Alliance

“We are honored to be hosting these much-needed discussions about the importance of diversity within our profession. We look forward to the timely and relevant conversations of our incredible panelists and hope this will spark even more conversations and change moving forward.” – Bridget Coffing, chair, The Plank Center Board of Advisors.

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities for this year’s event, including the Milestones in Mentoring Gala, can be purchased on The Plank Center’s Milestones in Mentoring webpage.


About The Plank Center 

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations is the leading international resource working to support students, educators and practitioners who are passionate about the public relations profession. Founded at The University of Alabama in 2005, the Center is named in honor of Betsy Plank, the “First Lady of PR.” Betsy’s legacy and vision continues on in the Center’s programs and initiatives to advance the profession and public relations education. For more information, please visit and follow our social media channels (@PlankCenterPR). 

Contact Information 

Colleen Dolan 

Communications Specialist, The Plank Center | 205.348.7250