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Highlighting Women in PR

Every March, we celebrate Women’s History Month, dedicated to honoring and celebrating the achievements of women. Here at Farrow Communications, we do the same – specifically highlighting the work of women in the realm of Public Relations and Marketing. Check out the wonderful women of PR and their significant contributions below!

 

  1. Doris Fleischman Bernays: Doris Fleischman Bernays was a key figure in the development of PR in the early 20th century. She was a partner in the firm that would become known as Burson-Marsteller, and she is credited with helping to shape many of the industry’s fundamental practices. Born in New York City in 1891, She attended Cornell University, where she studied journalism and became one of the first women to graduate from the university’s College of Agriculture. Doris married Edward Bernays, who is often referred to as the “father of public relations,” in 1922. Together, they formed a dynamic partnership that revolutionized the field of PR. Doris Fleischman Bernays played a crucial role in shaping many of the fundamental practices of modern public relations. She was a trailblazer for women in the industry and challenged traditional gender roles, often working alongside her husband on client projects and campaigns. Doris was a vocal advocate for women’s rights and equality in the workplace. She was a founding member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and worked to promote gender diversity and inclusivity within the field of public relations.

 

  1. Inez Kaiser: Inez Kaiser was one of the first African American women to own a PR firm in the United States. She broke barriers in the industry and worked with major clients including McDonald’s and Sears. After pursuing further education at the University of Minnesota, studying journalism, Inez Kaiser founded Inez Kaiser & Associates, becoming one of the first African American women to own a public relations firm in the United States. Her firm specialized in providing PR services to a diverse range of clients, including businesses, nonprofits, and political campaigns. Inez Kaiser faced numerous challenges and barriers as an African American woman working in a predominantly white and male industry. However, she persevered and succeeded in establishing herself as a respected and influential figure in the field of public relations. Throughout her career, Inez Kaiser received numerous awards and honors for her contributions to the field of public relations and her advocacy for diversity and inclusion. In 2009, she was inducted into the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) College of Fellows, one of the highest honors in the PR profession.

 

  1. Betsy Plank: Often referred to as the “First Lady of PR,” Betsy Plank was a trailblazer for women in the field. She was the first woman to head a PR firm in Chicago and the first female president of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Betsy Plank began her career in PR in the 1940s, working for the Illinois Bell Telephone Company. She quickly rose through the ranks and became one of the company’s first female executives. Betsy Plank was actively involved in professional organizations throughout her career. She served as the first female president of the Publicity Club of Chicago and later became the first female president of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 1973. Throughout her career, Betsy Plank was a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in the PR industry. She worked to increase opportunities for women and people of color and championed efforts to create a more diverse and representative workforce. Betsy Plank played a key role in shaping PR education and accreditation standards. She was instrumental in the development of the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential, which recognizes PR professionals who demonstrate high levels of skill and expertise.

 

  1. Barbara Hunter: Barbara Hunter was a pioneer in the field of sports PR. She worked with numerous athletes and sports organizations, including the New York Yankees and Muhammad Ali, and helped to shape the way that athletes are marketed and promoted. Barbara W. Hunter was born in Westport, New York. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University, where she likely studied journalism or a related field, given her later career in public relations.Hunter co-owned Dudley-Anderson-Yutzy Public Relations and later founded Hunter Public Relations. Her work in these firms likely involved providing PR services to a variety of clients, including corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies. Hunter held several leadership positions within the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). She served as the president of the New York Chapter of PRSA in 1980 and later became the national president of PRSA in 1984. These roles involved overseeing the activities and initiatives of PRSA at both the local and national levels.

 

  1. Charlotte Beers: Charlotte Beers was a highly successful PR executive who served as CEO of both Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson, two of the largest advertising agencies in the world. She was known for her innovative approaches to branding and marketing. Beers began her career in advertising in the 1960s, working for the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson (JWT). She quickly rose through the ranks and became one of the few female executives in the industry at that time. Beers held several high-profile leadership positions in the advertising world. She served as CEO of Tatham-Laird & Kudner in the 1970s, then moved on to become CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in the 1990s. Later, she became the first female chairman of J. Walter Thompson. Beers was known for her innovative and transformative approaches to marketing and branding. During her tenure at Ogilvy & Mather, she spearheaded successful campaigns for major brands such as American Express, IBM, and Dove.

 

  1. Anne Gregory: Anne Gregory is a prominent figure in the field of PR education and research. She has authored numerous books and articles on PR theory and practice, and she has played a key role in shaping the curriculum of PR programs around the world. Anne Gregory is a leading academic in the field of public relations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Manchester and a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from Manchester Metropolitan University. Gregory has had a distinguished career in academia, with a focus on public relations education and research. She has held various academic positions, including professorships and leadership roles at universities in the United Kingdom. Gregory has played a significant role in shaping public relations education globally. She has been involved in curriculum development, accreditation processes, and the establishment of academic programs in PR at universities around the world. Gregory is widely regarded as a thought leader in the field of public relations. Her research and writings have helped to advance understanding and practice in the profession, particularly in areas such as ethics, professionalism, and strategic communication.

 

These are just a few examples of the many women who have made significant contributions to the field of public relations. Their work has helped to shape the way that companies and organizations communicate with the public, and their legacies continue to influence the industry today.