Minnesota becomes nation’s first chapter to elect Board-level Diversity and Inclusion Officer;
2019 Board of Directors unanimously elects Marsha Pitts-Phillips to newly created role.
MINNEAPOLIS (January 25, 2019) – The Minnesota chapter of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) placed newly-elected and returning members of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors in the roles they will fill throughout 2019. The transition took place during the Board’s first meeting of the year on Jan. 9 in Minneapolis.
President Gregory J. Zimprich, APR, Fellow PRSA, who serves as Director of Finance Communications at Medtronic, takes the reins of the more than 300-member Minnesota PRSA chapter comprised of corporate, agency, independent, non-profit and government public relations practitioners from Minnesota, the Dakotas and western Wisconsin. The Minnesota Chapter also serves as the advisory organization for the nine PRSSA student organizations within the region, including those locally at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, the University of St. Thomas, and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, among others.
At its 2018 annual meeting in December, Minnesota Chapter members unanimously passed several bylaw amendments including one that created the nation’s first full-voting, Board-level Diversity and Inclusion Officer position to serve as part of the chapter’s Executive Committee. Marsha Pitts-Phillips, a long-time advocate for diversity throughout her distinguished career in communications, was unanimously elected to fill this new role at the group’s January Board meeting.
“I am honored, humbled and excited to be at the forefront of this initiative and take this responsibility very seriously,” Pitts-Phillips said. “Having the full weight of the Board, leadership and membership behind this is extremely important to create progress, and we have that. As members of the communications profession, we are at a time to join in on the discussion – and – to take action surrounding diversity and inclusion.”
While other chapters have previously created Diversity and Inclusion committees, Minnesota PRSA is the first to incorporate a full-voting, Board-level position into its Executive Committee. Pitts-Phillips said she plans to draw from past professional experiences in the Twin Cities community – as a working broadcast journalist, non-profit public relations leader and individual communications consultant – to develop relevant programs, initiatives and partnerships aimed at greater inclusion and understanding among chapter members and those in the local community of practice.
“Diversity and inclusion is a business imperative and should be woven into the fabric of, and reflected by, every professional entity.” Pitts-Phillips said. “In the case of Minnesota PRSA, we will utilize the basic tenets of good research to better understand what has been done, and how we can, moving forward, reflect the values we stand for through our programming and interactions with the broader community.”
Through its programs and services, Minnesota PRSA promotes engagement among its members at every stage of their careers with the knowledge, resources and connections to achieve professional excellence. It also focuses on driving ethical and strategic outcomes while advocating for the profession.
“It’s a great honor to lead this organization in 2019 and to follow in the footsteps of so many inspirational leaders in the local community who have held this role in the past,” Zimprich said. “We have an exciting and aggressive agenda in the year to come, and I couldn’t be more excited about partnering with Marsha to take meaningful steps when it comes to the diversity and inclusion opportunity both for our Chapter as well as the profession more broadly.”
The chapter’s 2019 leadership consists of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors as follows:
● President – Gregory J. Zimprich, APR, Fellow PRSA, Medtronic
● President-Elect – Dan Hauser, APR, Minnesota Medical Association
● Treasurer – Jennifer Bagdade, APR, PR UNSPUN, LLC
● Secretary – Dave Neuger, APR, Neuger Communications Group
● Ethics Officer – Brooke Worden, APR, Weber Shandwick
● Diversity and Inclusion Officer – Marsha Pitts-Phillips, MRPP & Associates Communications, LLC
● Immediate Past President – Eva Keiser, APR, plural i
Board of Directors
● Membership Committee – Jacqueline A. Larson, APR, City of St. Louis Park
● Accreditation Committee – Sean McDonnell, APR, McDonnell & Co. LLC
● Classic and Awards – Tammy Nystuen, APR, Cargill
● Diversity and Inclusion – Marsha Pitts-Phillips, MRPP & Associates Communications, LLC
● Professional Development Committee – Ben Saukko, APR, AmeriPride Services
● Student Relations Committee – Janet Swiecichowski, APR, University of St. Thomas
● Career Center Committee – Meredith Voltin, APR, UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation
● Communications Committee – Ayme Zemke, APR, Beehive Strategic Communication
About Minnesota PRSA
Minnesota PRSA is the ninth-largest chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the world’s largest organization for public relations professionals with nearly 32,000 professional and student members. A strong, active part of Minnesota’s communications community since 1953, Minnesota PRSA’s membership is comprised of more than 300 corporate, agency, independent, nonprofit and government public relations professionals from Minnesota, the Dakotas and western Wisconsin. Through its programs and services, Minnesota PRSA delivers on its mission of engaging members at every stage of their careers with the knowledge, resources and connections to achieve professional excellence, drive ethical and strategic outcomes, and advocate for the profession. Learn more at www.minnesotaprsa.org