NEW YORK (February 9, 2016) – The PRSA Foundation, the leading non-profit public relations organization focused on increasing ethnic diversity in the public relations field, announced the election of new Officers and the appointment of five new members to its Board of Directors. Joining the Board of Directors are Ron Culp, Gary Grates, Kim Hunter, Lisa Ryan and Kathleen Donohue Rennie.
Torod Neptune, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications, Verizon Communications, Inc. was named President of the Foundation by the Board of Directors. Judith Harrison was elected as President Elect, assuming Neptune’s former position. Also assuming the roles of Vice President are Lori George Billingsley, Vice President, Community Relations at Coca-Cola North America and Monica Talan, Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications & PR at Univision Communications Inc.. Craig Rothenberg, Founder and CEO of Rothenberg Communication LLC, will continue his role as Secretary, and Kathy Cripps will remain the Foundation’s Treasurer.
“The PRSA Foundation welcomes the addition of these new Board Members,” said Neptune. “Their commitment to promoting diversity in public relations aligns with the PRSA Foundation’s mission to attract talented people from all background, and to ensure that they have the tools and support necessary for long-term success.”
Ron Culp is a veteran public relations executive who consults and serves as Director of the Graduate Program for Public Relations and Advertising at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Prior to joining DePaul, Ron was a Ketchum Partner responsible for the Chicago and Pittsburgh offices, as well as the agency’s North America Corporate Practice. He also served as managing director of the Chicago office of Sard Verbinnen & Company. Before joining the agency world, Ron held senior communications positions at Sears, Sara Lee Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Eli Lilly and the New York State Assembly. Ron received PRSA’s Gold Anvil award and was inducted into the College of Fellows in 2015.
Gary F. Grates is a globally renowned, recognized and respected expert in change management communications. He is a Principal at W20 Group, the parent company of WCG, Twist Marketing, W20 Ventures, and NextWorks. A member of the W20 Executive Team, Grates has more than 25 years of corporate, marketing/brand, labor, and strategic communications experience with a particular expertise in organizational (change) management/employee (internal) communications. Grates has counseled more than one hundred organizations and CEOs including: General Motors, PepsiCo, Caterpillar, Shell, Kraft, Nissan, GE, Novartis, Exxon/Mobil, Shell, Visa, eBay, Volvo, United Airlines, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, The McGraw-Hill Companies, and Dell, to name a few. He is an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, a Teaching Professor and member of the Advisory Board at ABERJE – the Brazilian Association for Corporate Communications, a former Trustee of Utica College of Syracuse University, a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, PRSA, IABC, National Corporate Directors Association (NACD), and the Institute for PR Research (IPR). He was named one of the Newhouse School’s top “40” graduates.
Kim L. Hunter is the Chairman and CEO of The LAGRANT Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships, career and professional development workshops, internships / entry-level positions, mentorships and educational enrichment programs to ethnic minority students pursuing degrees in advertising, marketing and public relations. As Chairman and CEO, Hunter has raised more than $9 million for the Foundation in 17 years and awarded $1.83 million in scholarships to 331 ethnic minority students across the country. An advocate for education, Hunter previously served as an adjunct professor at California State University, Northridge’s School of Journalism where he taught Diversity and the Media for three academic years. Hunter is also the President and CEO of LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS, a multicultural integrated marketing communications agency, and the Managing Partner of KLH & Associates, a minority executive search firm. Hunter has been listed in PR Week’s 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 “50 Most Powerful People in PR.”
Lisa Ryan serves as Senior Vice President/ Managing Director for Heyman Associates. With her knack for finding the right fit, Lisa handles executive searches in corporate communications, public relations, marketing communications, branding and public affairs for the firm’s blue-chip clients, including Fortune 500 corporations and nonprofit organizations. While her industry expertise includes healthcare, consumer products and manufacturing, she also handles assignments for academic institutions. Based on her early career, she has an affinity for colleges and universities, where she serves as a frequent speaker, including at the Public Affairs Council, Rutgers University and the University of Southern California.
Kathleen Donohue Rennie, Ph.D. is Managing Partner of the mcgraw group, joining the firm in 1998 to deliver a full range of integrated marketing communications services and counsel to a diverse portfolio of state, regional and national clients. While co-leading her accomplished firm, Kathleen single-handedly reintroduced undergraduate public relations education to Seton Hall University (SHU). Kathleen was instrumental in gaining university approval in early 2013 for a new graduate public relations degree at SHU. Kathleen has mentored hundreds of PR students and dozens of graduate business students, PR professionals, and APR candidates.
“We look forward to working with such highly esteemed individuals,” said Neptune. “Their contributions to the industry and fresh perspectives on diversity will be valuable assets to the PRSA Foundation.”
For more information about the PRSA Foundation, or to see a full roster of Board of Directors, visit www.prsafoundation.org.
About the PRSA Foundation
The PRSA Foundation, an independent, 501 (c)(3) charity, supports outreach to diverse students to attract them to PR and make them better prepared to contribute to the profession, and to society, when they enter the workforce through partnerships with leading universities and professional organizations. For more information regarding the PRSA Foundation, its activities and its full board of trustees, visit www.prsafoundation.org.