The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Chicago, one of the country’s largest chapters, announces the launch of the PRSA Chicago Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellowship.
The new initiative was created to grow the pipeline of upcoming multicultural talent in the field of public relations and communications while honoring the impactful contributions of one of the nation’s leading marketing communications veterans.
“PRSA Chicago is creating more opportunities to close the diversity gap in the public relations industry by launching the Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellowship Program,” explains Dane Roth, president of the PRSA Chicago Chapter. “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the ethnic makeup of the PR industry in the U.S. is nearly 88 percent white. As a Chapter that represents one of the most diverse cities in the world, we must invest in the development of the next generation of multicultural PR practitioners. We are working toward creating a future state of PR that is dynamic, equitable and inclusive. The Fellowship Program establishes a long-term investment in our profession and builds a highly qualified pipeline of diverse talent.”
The program consists of two awards, each in the amount of $3,000, which will be presented to two talented juniors who major in communications and are of African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Pacific Islander ancestry.
The two fellows will be announced in February 2021. Interested college students can visit www.michelleflowersfellowship.com to learn more and apply for the fellowship.
The fellowship will include a summer internship at a Chicago agency affiliated with PRSA Chicago between the Fellow’s junior and senior year. The award is renewable for the Fellow’s senior year based on attaining a 3.0 GPA. While in school, Diversity Fellows will be able to attend PRSA Chicago chapter events and programs at no cost. The Fellows also will be recognized at PRSA Chicago’s annual Skyline Awards.
Following graduation, the Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellows will be considered for additional employment opportunities at PRSA Chicago member agencies. Membership in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is preferred, but is not a requirement.
By providing financial assistance and employment opportunities, PRSA Chicago aims to attract, train and retain people of color to the practice of public relations and communications. The Diversity Fellowship pays tribute to the meaningful contributions of Michelle Flowers Welch, an award-winning expert in the field of multicultural communications. The visionary public relations and marketing entrepreneur founded Flowers Communications Group, one of the nation’s top multicultural integrated marketing agencies, in 1991.
One of the firm’s core values is focused on cultivating the next generation of multicultural communications practitioners. In support of Flowers Welch’s lifelong commitment to diversity in the public relations industry, Flowers Communications Group is a founding sponsor of the PRSA Chicago Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellowship Program.
A strategic, innovative thought leader, Flowers Welch serves as a trusted senior counselor to clients and an inspiring mentor to young professionals. She holds a master’s degree in advertising from Northwestern University and is a magna cum laude graduate of HBCU Winston-Salem State University. A charter inductee into Northwestern University’s Medill Hall of Fame, Flowers Welch is the recipient of the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Lifetime Achievement Award, was named PRSA Chicago’s 2017 Distinguished Senior Leader and is a member of the PR News Hall of Fame. She currently serves on the boards of The Salvation Army Metropolitan Chicago, PRSA Chicago and the PR Council. Her firm has received more than 150 industry awards for communications excellence. Most recently, Flowers Communications Group was named to Forbes list of America’s Best PR Agencies.