Mountain View, Calif., March 21, 2023 – PRSA Silicon Valley is awarding Diversity and Multicultural Scholarships in 2023 to promote a more equitable communications workforce. Equity at work means meeting the unique needs of individual employees.
What’s trending in this space? DE&I job listings grew by more than 123% in 2020 after political and racial unrest, according to a story in Senior Executive. However, recently, tech firms have scaled back on their workforce, primarily impacting DE&I initiatives.
“Improving diversity in the workplace is wise practice because it boosts team engagement, productivity and creates a pleasant sense of belonging. It’s also good for the bottom line because a culturally diverse set of workers can serve a like-minded and similar set of customers. You are a more attractive and innovative employer and vendor with a diverse team,” said Meghan Fintland, president of the PRSA Silicon Valley chapter.
San Francisco Bay Area residents who are full-time college undergraduates with a minimum of 3.0 GPA overall are eligible to complete and submit applications for the 2023 PRSA Silicon Valley diversity scholarship. The details including the deadline of April 30 are posted here.
In April 2021, PRSA Silicon Valley raised nearly $70,000 for a new diversity and m
ulticultural scholarship endowment, more than tripling its original $20,000 fundraising goal in less than 48 hours. Thanks to the generosity of supporters* (see list below), the PRSA Foundation will be able to fund scholarships through the Silicon Valley chapter in perpetuity.
PRSA Silicon Valley Diversity & Multicultural Scholarship endowment founding supporters: 10Fold, Aircover Communications, Bateman Agency, Bhava Communications, BOCA Communications, Breakaway Communications, Clarity Global, DoubleForte, Edelman Bay Area, Engage PR, Gravitate PR, Highwire PR, The Hoffman Agency, Hunter & Bard, Inkhouse PR, Karbo Communications, Method Communications, Mighty PR, Mindshare PR, Mission North, Offleash PR, Praytell Agency, Rob Roy Consulting, Spark PR, VSC, and generous individual contributors.
Corporate PR departments, PR firms and independent practitioners are encouraged to donate to the scholarship fund. The easy-to-use donor form is here which includes a space for a quote that the chapter will utilize for scholarship promotional materials. Thanks to our 2022 donor, Michelle McIntyre, president of Michelle McIntyre Communications LLC, we are able to offer two scholarships in 2023. Additional donations made prior to the April 30 application deadline will make it possible to award more than two scholarships in 2023.
Since its inauguration, PRSA Silicon Valley has awarded nearly $15,000 to 11 BIPOC students from local universities such as San Jose State University (SJSU), Stanford University, and University of San Francisco. The goal of this scholarship is to provide support to racially diverse PR students during their academic career and set them up for success post-graduation.
Past recipient, Samantha Saffold found career success with our 2021 scholarship donor, Highwire PR. Shortly after completing her PR degree, she began her career in PR as an intern with the agency and has since been promoted to full-time.
“I learned about this scholarship opportunity through the PRSSA club at my alma mater, San Jose State University. I received a $1,000 scholarship from PRSA in 2021.”
“Prior to PRSA, I was affiliated with PRSSA. I loved the club and community as it built up my strengths for the real world after graduating. I learned useful LinkedIn tools, attended seminars, and networked with those around me. This experience was a major resource into starting my PR career, as I still use and apply the skills I learned back then.”
“I currently work in tech PR as an Account Associate at Highwire PR in San Francisco. I plan to stay in the PR world as I love learning different media strategies, making an impact, and conveying a larger message to audiences around me.”
Samantha’s successful transition from communications major at SJSU to full-time public relations professional at Highwire is an example of how employers committed to diversity can join together to open doors for the next generation. Highwire was one of the first agencies to contribute to this scholarship program, and the first agency to hire a scholarship recipient full-time upon graduation.
“Interviewing and welcoming Samantha to our team after supporting this scholarship program since its inception truly brought things full circle for me,” said Jazmin Eusébio, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Senior Specialist & Public Relations Senior Account Executive at Highwire PR. “I’m proud of the work we have accomplished in PRSA Silicon Valley because of our continued dedication to supporting diverse PR professionals. Yet, there is still so much to be done.”
About DE&I Trends
- E&I job posts grew by more than 123% in 2020 after political and racial unrest (Senior Executive, 2/10/23
- However there have been staff cuts: “Monster and Workhuman researchers published their 2023 workforce trend reports, also noting DEI is among the “first to go” when leaders have their backs against the wall and need to cut company costs.” (HR Dive, 1/25/23)|
- Diversity Action Alliance analysis finds that only 21% of PR professionals are racially or ethnically diverse. (Platform Magazine, 10/2022)
BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
About PRSA Silicon Valley
PRSA Silicon Valley is a community-driven organization focused on empowering communications professionals looking to cultivate their best careers. A regional chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, PRSA Silicon Valley is part of a national network of more than 20,000 communication professionals focused on connecting and supporting individuals at all stages of their careers.
VP, Marketing, PRSA Silicon Valley