New York – July 28, 2021 — Germinder + Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce the PRSA-NY Board of Directors has selected the agency’s “Interviews with Zinaejah” entry in the Spotlight Category: Media Relations and Content Marketing. Being on the Shortlist means that Germinder + Associates’s support of Zinaejah Ozier’s work is in consideration for a Big Apple Award or an Honorable Mention.
According to PRSA-NY, the entry made the Shortlist as a nominee for the 2021 Big Apple Awards by representing the highest standards of excellence in the PR industry. The entry will be showcased amongst public relations peers across the United States during the Big Apple Awards.
Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, Germinder + Associates President is an agency veteran and recipient of the inaugural Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring award. She was looking for appropriate ways to approach the virtual agency experience during the pandemic and during the Black Lives Matter for Ozier, a young Black aspiring journalist turned PR pro-storyteller. The BLM movement was an opportunity for Germinder to listen, for the young intern to create.
“I’ve interviewed many students for internships over the years, but Zinaejah and her creative skills really stood out. The trick was figuring out an internship project where I could mentor her and yet she could still call it her own. With her creativity, interviews with diverse Black leaders I knew became “Interviews with Zinaejah.” Once she completed it, having been a judge, I thought it might have a shot at taking home an award and suggested we enter it in the Big Apple awards. Now we shall meet in person for the first time and hear the final results together on September 28th. No matter what the end result — this project epitomizes for me what mentoring is all about,” said Germinder.
For her part, Ozier is looking forward to spending time in New York, her first trip to the Big Apple.
“I really enjoyed conducting my “Interview with Zinaejah” series and to have it be nominated for an award is truly a blessing. Not only that, it shows me that hard-work pays off…even if it’s a year later! I’m so excited to travel to NYC for the first time, see Lea-Ann for the first time, and enjoy a night of awards. Even If I don’t win any, I’ve already won this amazing experience.”
Germinder + Associates, Inc. is located in New York City and Kansas City and serves several niche categories including the pet industry. The agency was founded by Lea-Ann Germinder in 1998 and has won numerous business and client service awards including the PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence and IABC Bronze Quill Awards. For more information contact Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA at 917-334-8682 or Lgerminder@germinder.com.
#BigApplePR #BigAppleAwards2021 #GerminderPR
Fundraising Begins, Scholarship Portal Set to Open June 1
(Kansas City, MO – May 17, 2021) — As the celebration of its 60th anniversary year continues, the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America Chapter (GKC-PRSA) has established its Advisory Committee for the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Fund. Fund Co-Founder and Past-President Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA will serve as Chair. Kaiser’s son Rick Kaiser will serve as Vice Chair. Fundraising has begun and a scholarship portal will open June 1. A donation link is available here. In commenting on these next steps, Germinder said:
“On behalf of the committee, we are thrilled to take this next step in honoring Inez Kaiser, a national pioneer who is one of Kansas City’s own. We look forward to joining with the chapter and the Kaiser family in celebrating the scholarship honorees this fall at the annual GKC-PRSA Prism awards.
The primary duty of the committee will be to administer the scholarship, however the committee will also help raise funds and continue to tell the Inez Y. Kaiser story in coordination with the chapter.
The chapter established the initial endowment at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation for undergraduate college scholarships this past February during Black History Month. The Fund, which the chapter hopes to increase in size by raising additional funds, is to help identify future Inez Kaisers. The first scholarships of $2,500 each will be announced at the October 21 GKC-PRSA Prism Awards.
“This is an important initiative for the chapter. To be able to celebrate the powerful legacy of a great pioneer like Dr. Kaiser and at the same time help enable future Inez Kaiser’s to pursue their dreams is something I am very proud to launch in our 60th anniversary year,” said Alex Miller, GKC-PRSA chapter president.
Inez Kaiser was born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1918. She was an educator first but became a businesswoman and public relations professional of many other firsts. In 1957, she founded Inez Kaiser & Associates. In 1963, she was the first Black woman to establish a national public relations firm with national clients in a Commerce bank building in downtown Kansas City – unheard of at the time. She was the first Black woman to join the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. She soon had an impressive roster of local (e.g.Commerce Bank, J.E .Dunn Construction, Hallmark) and national (e.g. Lever Brothers, Burger King, Sears) clients.
Yet it was her passionate commitment to volunteerism that defined her. She established the Jackson County Chapter of the LINKS of which Vice President Kamala Harris is a prominent national member. Kaiser was the first Black woman to join the Public Relations Society of America in 1966. She won many local and national awards. She was an advisor to Presidents Nixon and Ford to help Black businesswomen, but crossed the political aisle when as her son says, “she voted for Obama.”
“What my mother accomplished is still amazing to me. She was a great teacher, a great cook, a great businesswoman, but to me at the time, she was mama. And you didn’t mess with her! I know she would be thrilled to see all of us working together to not just celebrate her, as she was in fact modest about her accomplishments, but helping others in the profession she loved,” said Rick Kaiser.
The Greater Kansas City PRSA chapter is a community of public relations and communications professionals across the Kansas City area, from recent college graduates to leaders of some of the largest firms, agencies, and non-profits. Our members represent nearly every practice area and professional and academic setting within the public relations field. In addition, we support students from across the Midwest who are members of their campus Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapters. We hold virtual and in-person events to enhance our professional growth. Our chapter also boasts signature events, such as our annual PRISM Awards gala honoring the year’s best in communications excellence. At GKC-PRSA our mission is to be the professional resource and advocate for Kansas City’s Communications community.
For more details, go to the GKC-PRSA website here.
First Black Woman With A National PR Firm
As the celebration of Black History Month continues,the Greater Kansas City chapter of the Public Relations Society of America celebrates the start of its 60th anniversary year with a celebration of its own, an extraordinary member of the chapter, Dr. Inez Y. Kaiser.
The words that guided the career of Kaiser, a national public relations pioneer from Kansas City, Kansas, are now guiding the chapter. The chapter is honoring Dr. Kaiser this year by establishing a $25,000 endowment fund, the Inez Y Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Fund, at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation for undergraduate college scholarships. The fund, which the chapter hopes to increase in size by raising additional funds via a capital campaign, is to help identify future Inez Kaisers. Scholarships will be awarded starting in 2022.
Inez Kaiser was born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1918. She was an educator first, but became a business woman and public relations professional of many other firsts. In 1957, she founded Inez Kaiser & Associates. In 1963, she was the first Black woman to establish a national public relations firm in downtown Kansas City – unheard of at the time. She soon had an impressive roster of national clients. Yet it was her passionate commitment to volunteerism that defined her. Kaiser was the first Black woman to join the Public Relations Society of America in 1966. Rick Kaiser, son of Dr. Kaiser and Scholarship Advisory Committee Chair:
“I am elated and humbled that my mother’s accomplishments will be memorialized,” said Kaiser. “It’s quite wonderful and I thank the GKC/PRSA Inez Kaiser Scholarship Committee for everything they’ve done and especially for including me along the way. Growing up, I knew she was doing great things, but to me she was just “Mama” and working on this has given me a clearer picture of her extraordinary contributions to the community.”
Lea-Ann Germinder, APR Fellow PRSA, GKC/PRSA Scholarship Co-Chair: “I thank Cheryl Procter-Rogers for telling Inez Kaiser’s story, the Museum of Public Relations for all their kind assistance and for continuing to provide a platform for telling the history of public relations and in particular the stories of Black leaders in our profession. The GKC-PRSA chapter, its board and members are to be commended for recognizing Inez Kaiser on its 60th anniversary and in perpetuity with the endowment. History matters, and storytelling does indeed matter.”
BACKGROUND: The journey to establish the fund began in February 2020 when former chapter president Lea-Ann Germinder attended a presentation by Cheryl Procter-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA at the Museum of Public Relations in New York, entitled “Why History Matters: Making the Case for Storytelling,” that included the powerful story of Kaiser. Germinder became determined to find a way to honor Kaiser in her hometown chapter. She was thrilled her son Rick Kaiser and the chapter were amenable. Past president Norita Taylor was on board from the beginning. A committee was formed led by her and vice president of diversity and co-chair Carrie Stapleton. Committee chapter members include chapter past president Norita Taylor, APR; a PRSA past national chair Debra Peterson, APR; Anita Parran; Darius Lane; Sheba Clarke; Michael Grimaldi and current president Alex Miller.
Chapter members have written tributes to Kaiser which can be found on the main GKC/PRSA chapter website.
Information Courtesy of The Museum of Public Relations
Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA has been appointed GKC/PRSA Inez Kaiser Scholarship Committee co-chair by the GKC/PRSA board. Germinder previously had been named sponsorship chair. The appointment is in recognition of her work in bringing forth the idea of honoring Dr. Inez Kaiser, a national Black public relations pioneer and the first Black woman to join PRSA in 1966 and a member of the GKC/PRSA chapter. Germinder was past-president of the chapter in 1999, knew of Kaiser but had not met her. Carrie Stapleton, GKC/PRSA vice president of diversity and inclusion continues as co-chair, overseeing the implementation of the chapter’s overall D&I plan.
“I am honored to fulfill this role alongside my colleague Carrie Stapleton and fellow committee members. Since hearing Inez Kaiser’s story from Cheryl Proctor-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA’s excellent presentation last February at the Museum of Public Relations, I knew her hometown chapter would find a way to celebrate her. Now it is soon coming to fruition.”
The full committee includes co-chairs Stapleton and Germinder, committee members Debra Peterson, APR, PRSA immediate past-chair, Alex Miller, GKC/PRSA president, Norita Taylor, APR, a past-president, chapter members Sheba Clarke, Darius Lane, Anita Parran and board member Michael Grimaldi.
Christina Rabadan of Scottsdale, GA (a.k.a. @Confessionsofacrazycatlady) is the winner of the Charmed by the Love Goodnewsforpets 20th Anniversary Contest Grand Prize Package. Rabadan, a rescue volunteer, won the second Charmed by the Love contest.
As the recipient of the Grand Prize, Rabadan wins $500 in product from Goodnewsforpets 20th Anniversary Contest partners Purina Tidycats, Sleepypod, and Fetch for Pets. She also wins from Goodnewsforpets two items featuring her choice of her beloved Siamese mix or Syphinx cat breed, a pair of Elena Kreigner designed Heart-Paw earrings and the best yet, a $2,000 donation made in her name will be split between two rescues: Angels Among Us Pet Rescue and Bald and Bully.
The contest was featured throughout 2020 in honor of Goodnewsforpets.com’s 20th anniversary. Pet lovers had a chance to win a versatile Goodnewsforpets.com Heart-Paw Charm exclusively designed by Elena Kriegner, a choice of a prestigious American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) Decoding Your Dog or Decoding Your Cat book, a special partner prize, and a personal donation to a local shelter or rescue of each individual winner’s choice. The local shelter or rescue was also highlighted on Goodnewsforpets.com. In joining the contest earlier in the year, then ACVB president said,
“ACVB is pleased to join Goodnewsforpets.com in celebrating its 20th anniversary with the Charmed by the Love contest. Unwanted behavior is the number one reason dogs and cats are relinquished to shelters and we welcome the opportunity to have one more way to educate the public about the importance of solving pet behavior issues with science-based training,”said Ellen Lindell, VMD, DACVB, president of ACVB.
For two decades, Goodnewsforpets.com has celebrated the pet-loving community with direct donations and storytelling with posting of content, services and contests that feature donations to shelters and/or rescues of each winners’ choice. Brands and affiliate programs underwrite the site with sponsored content. To find out more about the Goodnewsforpets.com digital platform and how to participate in this contest, brands and organizations can contact Lea-Ann Germinder directly at Lgerminder@goodnewsforpets.com.
“Thank you to all our partners, all who entered the contest, and the Goodnewsforpets community. We were thrilled to offer a contest that celebrated the love of our pets, educated about behavior and helped less fortunate pets find their forever homes,” said Lea-Ann Germinder, Founder and Publisher of Goodnewsforpets.com.
Goodnewsforpets.com is the animal health and pet product publishing platform of Germinder + Associates, Inc. It combines an award-winning website and social media channels to curate news of interest and importance to pet parents, veterinary professionals and the pet industry. Editorial, contests, sponsored content distribution and advertising is available. Contact Lea-Ann Germinder at Lgerminder@germinder.com or 917-334-8682. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. #Goodnewsforpets20
— Award Recognizes Communications Excellence —
New York, August 10, 2020 — Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, president and founder of Germinder + Associates, Inc. and editor and publisher of Goodnewsforpets.com has been named the 2019 recipient of the Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award sponsored by the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA). Germinder was virtually presented with the award August 7 by Kate Benjamin during the organization’s first-ever virtual awards ceremony. Amy Shojai, CWA co-founder and a past-president nominated Germinder for the award.
“Lea-Ann Germinder has had a significant and consistent positive impact on improving the quality of life of cats, educating the public, promoting and facilitating the professional growth of cat writers. Having worked with her for more than two decades, I have seen her lift others high and celebrate their successes. I applaud her dedication to veterinary care and sharing responsible, vital information about our animal companions,” said Shojai.
The Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award honors extraordinary achievement and communications excellence. It recognizes the person who, by word, deed, public communication, and professional excellence best promotes the ideals, mission, and best interest of the Cat Writers’ Association. Nominees can include (but are not limited to) writers, editors, or publicists whose published work or actions have had a significant impact on improving the quality of life of cats, educating the public, promoting responsible cat breeding and ownership, and/or facilitating the professional growth of cat writers.
Germinder first became involved with CWA when Co-Founder and then President Amy Shojai agreed to become the first media partner for Goodnewsforpets.com twenty years ago. GNFP provided the first free platform that publicly announced CWA events and members books (which then columnist Steve Dale reviewed and helped promote), giving the new organization a much-needed visibility and legitimacy among animal care providers and corporate interests.
“I joined the Cat Writers’ Association in 2011 and since that time, I’ve gotten to know Lea-Ann very well,” said current CWA President, Deb Barnes. “Her contribution to not only the social growth and presence of the CWA, but to the positive impact of animal welfare at large speaks volumes and we are so honored to recognize her outstanding achievements and dedication by naming her this year’s Michael Brim Distinguished Service award winner.”
She has frequently offered advice and expertise to individual CWA members as well as the CWA administration having also served as the CWA’s P.R. Firm of Record for several years. She has tirelessly worked to connect CWA with potential sponsors and has herself secured several for CWA’s benefit. She sponsors GNFP Human-Animal Bond Award. She has been a frequent and popular speaker at many CWA conferences, sharing her expertise as a PR professional. Germinder pioneered and remains a leader in the establishment of an online presence for cat writers, and remains a leader in the dissemination of accurate information about cats and veterinary care.
“Shining a light on great work and teaching CWA members publicity and social media skills has been my pleasure. It has given me an opportunity to work with so many extraordinary leaders and members at CWA. And, I’m honored and humbled to receive this award named after Michael Brim, a consummate pr professional,” said Germinder.
Germinder is an accredited Fellow of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), a former national director of PRSA, a former national trustee of the PRSA Foundation and served as PRSA Midwest district chair, Tri-State chair-elect and president of the New York City and Kansas City chapters. She is a member of the PRSA Counselor’s Academy and member of the PRSA-NY Past-Presidents Council. Germinder received the Makovsky Mentoring in Excellence Award at the PRSA-NY Awards Banquet last year.
Reaffirms Commitment to City, Mentoring and Diversity Initiatives
New York – June 30, 2020 — The Big Apple poster created by Ogilvy & Mather in 1976 and signed by Robert Redford says it all, “You’d have to be a little crazy to live in New York, but nuts to live anywhere else.” The iconic framed poster has followed Germinder + Associates founder and president Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow, PRSA everywhere she’s lived and every office she’s opened since 1976.
On July 1st, as Germinder + Associates celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first opening of its New York City office, the poster special meaning. The poster was created in 1976 at a time New York City was going broke. Now, New York is in the midst of a pandemic and the poster is on display for all the Zoom calls as a good luck charm. New York will be back, and in the meantime, the company is marking its 20th anniversary with an affirmation of its commitment to New York City, mentoring and increasing diversity in the public relations profession.
The company formally opened its first New York City office in the Hudson Square area of Greenwich Village. It had launched Goodnewsforpets.com earlier in the year. The company has also had offices in the famous Meat Market district, Park Avenue and now is currently located in Midtown at 747 Third Avenue.
“There isn’t any area of New York City we don’t love and we look forward to when we can fully operate back in New York full-time. We were thrilled to open our doors in Kansas City in 1998, but to open the office in New York City in 2000 was a dream come true. While I grew up on Long Island, I came to the city every chance I had, and to me, even as we still battle the pandemic, the Big Apple is still the greatest city in the world,” said Germinder.
Mentoring is also important to Germinder. She has established intern programs at every agency she has joined before starting her own firm in 1998. As 2013 PRSA-NY Chapter President and as a longtime Big Apple Sponsor, she has made it a point to reach out to sponsor PRSSA students. In 2019, she received the PRSA-NY’s Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring Award in recognition for her years of mentoring public relations professionals. She is a member of the PRSA-NY Past Presidents Council.
“We are so incredibly grateful to all of the support and volunteerism that Lea-Ann has shown to PRSA-NY over the years,” said PRSA-NY President, Kellie Jelencovich. “Lea-Ann is such an outstanding mentor and is always guiding and helping students from PRSSA, as well as young emerging professionals with their careers. We are deeply appreciative to all that she has done to give back especially to students from diverse backgrounds, where Lea-Ann is constantly creating opportunities to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is an incredible time to be celebrating 20 years in the Big Apple and showcasing her students and their work in the process is typical of the opportunities she creates.”
As part of the PRSA-NY mentoring program, Germinder is currently guiding Alexandra Butman through the job-seeking process, as she is set to complete her graduate degree at NYU. In May she accepted the PRSA Champions challenge to help students impacted by the pandemic by hiring two students remotely from her alma mater, the University of Dayton. Abby Crotty, a senior and Zinaejah Ozier, a junior are the two interns. An unexpected development was the Black Lives Matter movement and how it would impact the work – in a positive manner. Listen to their latest video here.
While the agency has always considered itself committed to diversity and inclusion, honest conversations became front and center. The agency recently became the 40th firm to sign the Diversity Action Alliance pledge to adopt, champion and track diversity within the organization and the public relations profession. The Diversity Action Alliance is an alliance of the national top public relations organizations. The company also made a donation towards this initiative and other initiatives and made its own statements in support of Black Lives Matter.
Abby Crotty is handling Goodnewsforpets.com content, the Goodnewsforpets 20th Anniversary Charmed by the Love contest with brand partners, and handling donation communications to pet shelters. She’s found a way to incorporate the Black Lives Matter movement and message into the work she’s doing for Goodnewsforpets. Zinaejah Ozier is helping with Germinder public relations. Now Zinaejah Ozier, is conducting “Interviews with Zinaejah Ozier” with black leaders in her voice.
“What these young women have given back to me in terms of taking an honest assessment of where we stand and analyzing how we can all move forward is nothing short of amazing. Talking about 20 years of public relations successes, that’s easy for me. Openly standing up for what you believe in, that takes guts today. It is especially fitting to celebrate them on the occasion of our 20th anniversary. They are representative of all the young professionals I have had the privilege to work with, mentor and who mentored me back at Germinder +Associates,” Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA.
The Germinder Power of Pink Program (formerly Germinder Giving Back) is a companywide umbrella program developed to ensure the company and its employees contribute in meaningful ways to the local communities in which they work and in the specialized industries and professions they serve. The initiative is providing pro bono counsel during the COVID-19 Pandemic and supported the Black Lives Matter movement and mentoring for students, both monetary and in-kind support. The 2020 interns were hired under this program. For more information, visit www.germinder.com or on Instagram @GerminderPR or Twitter @GerminderPR
Updated from original post April 17, 2020.
First and foremost if you are reading this communication, we hope it finds you safe and well. While I founded our company in Kansas City in 1998, our office in New York City was founded two years later in 2000. We will soon celebrate 20 years in New York City with a satellite office in Kansas City. That is why as I celebrate my 40th year in public relations in these unprecedented times, we are extending the Power of Pink campaign to do more.
Our hearts go out to those sickened and those lost to COVID-19 in NYC and all over the world. We applaud all the healthcare workers, the delivery personnel, all the workers that have supported everyone, including us, during the stay at home requirements. Now that phased reopening is occurring there are still many challenges.
While we are working remotely, communications messages have changed daily, if not hourly, if not by the minute. Germinder + Associates is here to assist our clients and communicate with our partners and our colleagues during this time. Still, the global pandemic will continue to challenge us all for some time to come. In addition, we join with our member public relations and veterinary organizations in mourning the loss of black lives and join in the call for equality, justice and the end to racial discrimination.
Each year Germinder donates both time and funds to a number of worthy causes. Our niche website, Goodnewsforpets.com is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and once again our contest includes donations to animal shelters and rescues. Germinder + Associates celebrated its 20th anniversary with the Germinder20 Power of Pink Honorees and a donation program in their honor.
We launched the Power of Pink Virtual internship program in May, 2020 when called upon to help students by the PRSA Champions program. University of Dayton PRSSA Chapter leader Zinaejah Ozier is working on Germinder + Associates projects and conducting a series of Interviews with Zinaejah Ozier, video interviews with black leaders throughout her internship. University of Dayton PRSSA member Abby Crotty is running contests and helping educate the public about pets and COVID-19 and more via our Goodnewsforpets.com platform.
We have joined in solidarity with public relations and veterinary organizations to support the end to racism, injustice and discrimination with the Black Lives Matter movement. We have donated to organizations on behalf of our team. We have signed the pledge to do more.
We are also continuing to offer a probono 30-minute consultation service in 2020 to any individual or organization in need of pr services. We are also volunteering, providing mentoring services to students and graduating seniors.
Please contact me to schedule this 30 minute consultation at no charge at Lgerminder@germinder.com. We will have more announcements and do more under this program, which is a personal homage to my own successful battle with cancer almost eight years ago.
Providing PR counsel is what we do best at Germinder, but giving back is what we do well too. Every single facet of the global economy, of life has been impacted by this pandemic. Yes, we will overcome it together.
Speaking of coming together, to support my senior pr colleagues across the globe, I am participating in the International Public Relations Association (IPRA)’s COVID-19 Communications Task Force that is also offering this free service. To read more about the PRCA COVID-19 Task Force Initiative for Communications Leaders, click here.
I have been fortunate to include global communications in our portfolio for many years. Earlier in my career, I assisted the London office of an international import/export group in a similar manner to IPRA’s initiative. It is my honor to serve as a volunteer now.
We are a small 100% woman-owned business trying to do our part. My message here is if we can help each other a little bit each day with what we do best, we can make a difference. That’s the goal of my esteemed colleagues, that’s my goal.
Be safe and well everyone, and be in touch.
Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA
Dear Clients, Colleagues and Friends,
As this week comes to a close, our hearts are broken as we reflect with sadness on the loss of the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade, and so many others before them. Our country is also broken and we stand in solidarity with those who not only speak out but also strive to fix it. We also agree we are at a moment of national change.
We stand with our member public relations organizations that have expressed sentiments of support so eloquently. We are in alignment with Garland Stansell, APR, PRSA 2020 Chair’s letter to members who called for, “communicators to use our individual and collective voices to stand for truth, to speak out in our communities and workplaces to help cultivate a culture of diversity and inclusion that recognizes and celebrates the inherent value in each person regardless of age, race, religion and sexual identity.”
Ironically, I spoke at this time last year at the PRSA New York Big Apple Awards of my father’s recent passing upon receiving the PRSA New York Makovsky Mentorship in Excellence Award. In my speech I spoke of his leadership on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission initiatives within the Bell System. While I am so proud of his achievements, that was over 53 years ago. What would he say now? I think he’d say: keep going.
I have tried to follow through with my parents’ teachings to respect others of all races, creeds and gender, particularly Black minorities, passing that on to my own children and in my own professional life. I personally as a white woman of privilege know I have not done enough. Not nearly enough. It is a time for listening more, educating more, changing, doing more, for all of us of privilege.
The recently expandedPower of Pink initiative is part of my story, a program designed to celebrate success and help others achieve success. It is designed to help others under COVID-19. Now it embraces a commitment to achieve success in changing not only the conversation but also the practice of racial discrimination and inequities. We will be sharing more information on our platforms.
We have been having the necessary conversations internally and giving back to causes that are important to our team this week. We have done so in the past, we have done so at this moment, and we will continue to do so. Donations were made this week on behalf of our team members to funds such as the George Floyd Fund, Black Lives Matter, Black Visions Collective, YWCA Dayton.
We also contributed to the PRSA Foundation Diversity Action Alliance in honor of Inez Kaiser, the first Black woman to own a national public relations firm. Inez was from Kansas City, Missouri, where she launched her firm. It was where I started my firm too, but you already know I did not have the same battles to fight that Inez did. We still have so much work to do.
In closing, we are sharing the PRSA New York list of resources provided to members in a letter by chapter president Kellie Jelencovich. We will continue to work to further diversity, inclusion, and professionalism while supporting the Black community wherever we are.
Be well, be safe, and be kinder to each other, particularly our Black colleagues. All lives do matter, but at this time it must be stated definitively, Black Lives Matter.
Until we meet again,
Lea Ann Germinder, APR Fellow PRSA
Germinder + Associates, Inc.
Editor + Publisher
RESOURCES COURTESY OF PRSA NEW YORK
- Donate – Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Donate – I Run With Maud – Justice For Ahmaud Arbery
- Supporting the Next Generation of Multicultural PR Practitioners. Donate NOW to Empower the Next Generation of Diverse Talent in Public Relations through the PRSA Foundation. The PRSA Foundation stands at the center of an industry poised for change.
- Support and Donate to the Diversity Action Alliance, which is a coalition of Public Relations and communications leaders joining forces to accelerate progress in the achievement of meaningful and tangible results in diversity, equity and inclusion across our profession.
- Time for Brands to Stand Up – Richard Edelman
- Hire Great Talent to Hire Great Talent – LinkedIn Greg Butler
- Diversity Recruitment Strategies – LinkedIn Greg Butler
- Diversity Recruitment: What It Really Means
- Leading During Triggering Events
- Anti-racism resources for white people
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics
- Waking Up White – Debbie Irving
- White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
- How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement – Wesley Lowery
- 31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance
Two Students from the University of Dayton PRSSA Chapter Selected
Click here to watch Zinaejah Ozier and Abby Crotty’s interview to learn more about them.
Just one short week ago, the Germinder + Associates Power of Pink virtual summer internship program began. Accompanying founder of the company, Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, were two students from the University of Dayton(UD), Abby Crotty (senior) and Zinaejah Ozier (junior). They’re both members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is the student arm of PRSA. As a PRSSA Champion, Germinder reached out to students at UD during the Pandemic, providing opportunity for the two students to gain experience in the world of PR while also giving back to her alma mater during hard times.
Working remotely from Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and New York, the team members are tackling the 20th anniversary of the company’s Goodnewsforpets digital platform with multiple brand partner contests presented throughout the summer while also managing Germinder + Associates agency projects. The team is set to conquer important tasks for the company and bond via Zoom in spite of the world crisis going on.
Zinaejah Ozier is a junior at the University of Dayton who will become treasurer of the UD PRSSA chapter in the fall. She recently switched from journalism to public relations and is working on content and social media at the agency.C
“Going into a global pandemic was a scary experience, especially for us college students,” said Ozier, “but I’m so thankful that Lea-Ann took the time to reach out and offer an internship while in the midst of hard times. I can’t wait to see what this experience has in store,” said Ozier.
Abby Crotty is a senior at the University of Dayton and is a member of the PRSSA chapter. She was going to do an internship in Dayton that fell through due to the pandemic. She is working on digital content and social media as well.
“I was so grateful that Lea-Ann gave me an opportunity to further my knowledge in the PR world even with everything going on in the world right now,” said senior Abby Crotty. “I’m so excited to be able to work directly with her and Goodnewsforpets to try to further promote the site,” said Crotty.
Lea-Ann Germinder views the program as a natural extension of both her mentoring commitment and giving back through Germinder’s Power of Pink initiative. The Power of Pink Honoree and donation program was initially started to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Germinder & Associates, Inc. and honor those who helped make Germinder + Associates a success. She has extended probono services under the Power of Pink moniker during the pandemic. Giving back to her alma mater during a pandemic fits the bill.
“We’ve had many interns over the years, and operated virtually with vendors and contractors for decades,” said Germinder, “but this is the first time we’ve coordinated with interns virtually. When the call went out from PRSA to help, I decided the timing was right to develop a Power of Pink virtual internship program.”
As a past-president of PRSA-NY, Germinder also plans to participate in the New York City based Save the Internships program. The effort is essentially a website that features the profiles of students in the fields of advertising, public relations, marketing, design, and communications from City University of New York (CUNY) colleges. Each student on the website has to be nominated by a professor.
“These are extraordinary times, but there are a number of ways to keep our students engaged in the public relations profession. Paid internships and mentoring are important aspects of keeping our profession relevant and offering students much needed real-world experience. I encourage agencies and senior practitioners to look into these programs to participate however they can. There are plenty of options,” said Germinder.
About Germinder + Associates
Germinder + Associates, Inc. provides communications services for the pet/vet sectors and other niche industries. The woman-owned company was founded by Lea-Ann O’Hare Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA in Kansas City and has offices in New York City and Kansas City. The company connects and consults with executives in both established companies and organizations interested in entering the vet and pet industries in the U.S.
Agency Founder and Goodnewsforpets Editor & Publisher Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA is the recipient of the PRSA-NY 2020 Makovski Mentoring in Excellence Award, a former PRSA national board member, and past-president of the New York and Kansas City PRSA chapters. She is presently a member of the PRSA-NY Past President’s Council. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @GerminderPR and on Facebook and LinkedIn at Germinder & Associates.
Goodnewsforpets combines an award-winning website and social media channels to curate news of interest and importance to pet parents, veterinary professionals and the pet industry. Editorial, contests, sponsored content distribution and advertising are available. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @Goodnewsforpets and on Facebook and LinkedIn at Goodnewsforpets.
PR Expertise, Content, Contests, Interviews, Products Showcased
Goodnewsforpets, (www.goodnewsforpets.com) the digital pet/vet platform for Germinder + Associates, is extending its COVID-19 content and 20th anniversary program to include additional online outreach to the veterinary community with the launch of its VMX Virtual booth. Parent company Germinder + Associates, Inc.’s Power of Pink Honorees are also featured in the booth.
VMX Virtual is a 3D, immersive and interactive platform launched January 8 by the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC). During these extraordinary challenging times, the concept is helping transform the trade show industry experience, connecting conference exhibitors and attendees 24/7, 365 days a year. As a veteran communicator, Goodnewsforpets publisher and founder Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow, PRSA understands the critical need to be on 24/7 now more than ever before.
“We are thrilled to have a VMX Virtual booth and participate in this break-through technology. In addition to publishing Goodnewsforpets for twenty years, we’ve communicated and handled crisis comms for many veterinary organizations. But communicating about and during this COVID-19 global pandemic is different. It affects all of us, all the time. We invite the veterinary community to come visit us at our VMX Virtual booth to see how we can best work together during these challenging times,” said Germinder.
VMX Virtual is powered by a highly sophisticated and award-winning technology company Simulocity, LLC. Simulocity was founded by Dr. Manny Dominguez, a former CIO for the U.S. Air Force’s Global Medical Modeling & Simulation Program and architect of a virtual reality-based hospital for the U.S. military. He is a pioneer in the areas of simulation technology, gamification, and immersive platforms. As CEO of Simulocity, he’s led the organization to numerous industry awards including Top 10 Simulation Solutions Provider.
“The time has arrived to complement your existing shows with a truly immersive and virtual presence. Now we can infuse new revenue streams and increase access to exhibitors, products and a myriad of services, year-round! Our groundbreaking platform makes attendees feel “Virtually There” and for exhibitors…well, the show no longer ends on Friday, said Dr. Manny Dominguez, Founder & CEO, Simulocity LLC.
VMX Virtual introduces advanced gamification and simulation technology and applies it for the first time to the virtual trade show industry. With companies spending $97 billion a year on trade show exhibitions in the U.S., this “On-Demand” platform provides a new way to reach and engage customers and opens the door for conference attendees to see everything they want, spend quality time at each exhibit, and expand the number of employees that can affordably “attend” and experience a trade show.
In a related interview on Goodnewsforpets about VMX Virtual, Manolita Moore, Vice President, Exhibit Sales & Operations, NAVC, sees a benefit to the pet owner.
VMX, the world’s largest and most comprehensive veterinary conference with more than 700 exhibiting companies and 17,000 attendees from 80 countries, opened its virtual exhibit expo hall to the veterinary community with long-time industry partner Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. as its inaugural VMX Virtual Exhibitor. VMX Virtual is not a replacement for the live exhibitions, but rather an extension and additional year-round engagement opportunity for both exhibitors and attendees. The NAVC is the first to introduce this capability in the veterinary field.
“If veterinary professionals have access to current products and services, it also means they will be seeing the latest products and innovations in the veterinary industry throughout the year from a trusted organization such as NAVC. By having easier and faster access to this type of information, veterinary professionals will save time, money, and be able to focus and provide better care for their patients. Ultimately the pet owner will benefit from this new technology.”
Goodnewsforpets.com is based in New York City and Kansas City. The digital publishing platform of Germinder + Associates, Inc combines an award-winning website and social media channels to curate news of interest and importance to pet parents, veterinary professionals and the pet industry. Contests, sponsored partner content, hot products, guest interviews are featured and advertising is available. Germinder + Associates provides traditional and digital communications services. Contact Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA at Lgerminder@germinder.com or 917-334-8682. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. #Goodnewsforpets20
Germinder + Associates’ digital pet/vet news platform, Goodnewsforpets.com has launched it’s next Charmed by the Love Contest.This contest features the luxurious Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed. The winner will also receive a Goodnewsforpets.com Heart-Paw Charm, a choice of a prestigious American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) Decoding Your Dog or Decoding Your Cat book.
Sleepypod will also donate a second Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed along with the Goodnewsforpets $100 donation on behalf of the winner to a local shelter or rescue of the winner’s choice. The local shelter will also be highlighted on Goodnewsforpets.com. To enter this Charmed by the Love Contest, click here.
As we near the end of Black History Month, I’m sharing a tribute to one of Kansas City’s very own national public relations pioneers.When I was president of the Kansas City chapter in 1999, there was a decidedly diminutive exquisitely dressed “older” African-American woman at the PRISM awards I had not met before. I asked someone who it was. I was about to give a speech, and the only thing I can honestly recall was the response, “oh, that’s Inez Kaiser.” I went up to give my “all-important” speech and the moment to meet Inez was lost. I don’t recall seeing her again.
Fast-forward 22 years later. I was attending the Museum of Public Relations 5th Annual Black History Month event as the guest of speaker Cheryl Proctor-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA, past chair of PRSA and a noted PR Business Strategist/Executive Coach. Cheryl not only knew who Inez was, she celebrated her as one of the black pioneers of the public relations profession in her presentation, “Why History Matters: Making the Case for Storytelling.”
I learned that night and subsequently: Inez Kaiser was born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1918. She worked 20 years for the Kansas City school district before entering public relations. She started Kaiser & Associates in Kansas City, and she was the first African-American woman to own and run a public relations firm with national clients in the U.S. She was the first African-American woman to join PRSA nationally. She was also the first African-American woman to join the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. She wrote a guest column for the Kansas City Star, “As I See It” and a syndicated column, “Fashion Wise and Otherwise” to help other African-American woman and promote pictures of women of color. She was a counselor to presidents Nixon and Ford – but as noted by her son voted for Obama! The list goes on.
She was an extraordinary national trailblazer that is one of Kansas City’s own.
Inez Kaiser passed away at 98 years old in 2016. I started my own woman-owned firm in Kansas City in 1998. I know how hard it is to start a business as a woman, but to start a business in 1957 as an African American woman? I’m glad I got to know her story, but regret I never really met her. We have so much to thank Inez, but as a woman who started a business in Kansas City, I have much to be thankful to for this incredible woman and so many woman entrepreneurs before me – black or white or of any color. And that was a point also made in Cheryl’s presentation – these pioneers are a significant part of our history –certainly our public relations history — and should be celebrated.
Thank you Inez and thank you Cheryl-Proctor Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA and the Museum of Public Relations, for calling attention to Inez Kaiser’s enduring legacy. Lastly, thank you to the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Public Relations and Norita Taylor, APR, GKC-PRSA Immediate Past President for joining me and others in moving the celebration of Inez forward.
Note: An earlier version of this post appeared in the GKC-Kansas City blog. If you knew Inez Kaiser, please email Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA at Lgerminder@germinder.com or Norita Taylor, APR, at email@example.com.
(New York – January 30, 2020) – Germinder + Associates, Inc. today announced the kick-off of the 20th anniversary celebration of Goodnewsforpets.com®. The award-winning site was originally launched February 20, 2000 at the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) in Las Vegas. The site has changed with the times, but in 2000, the site featured a virtual newsroom sponsored by Merial to complement the traditional newsroom – an innovation at the time.
“While I was at WVC, the launch of our newsroom on Goodnewsforpets.com was an integral part of becoming a more technologically advanced organization. As my team and I launch VMX Virtual at VMX 2020, I congratulate Lea-Ann and her team not only on their anniversary but their commitment to evolve as well. We’ve all come very far in the last 20 years,” said Manolita Moore, Vice President and Co-Innovator of VMX Virtual, North American Veterinary Community.
The 2000 site included the Cat Writers Association and the Dog Writers Association of America as the first media partners with Steve Dale as the first featured columnist. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, Fort Dodge Animal Health, the American Animal Hospital Association and Addison Laboratories were featured on the site. Other exhibitors at the conference could post their news in addition to “.com” companies in the “Discovery Zone.”
“At the time there was just so much negativity out there we needed what pets give us every day, and that’s good news,” says Steve Dale. “I was instantly intrigued and happy to support the upbeat vision of Good News for Pets.” Read the full release here.
— First Recipient of Formerly Named Dorf Award in Honor of Philip Dorf Accepts Challenge to Push the Profession Forward —
New York — Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, Founder and President of Germinder + Associates, Inc. received the Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring Award at the June 24 PRSA-NY Big Apple Gala held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Ken Makovsky, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Makovsky + Company presented Germinder with the award. She is the first recipient. The award honors individuals who lead, guide and inspire and selflessly stimulate the careers of PR professionals.
In accepting the award, Germinder says, “I am humbled to accept for doing something I love to do. The call at the Big Apple Gala for more diversity and inclusion in our profession is clear, and I accept that challenge through mentoring. I know there are very high standards to maintain, and I am committed to helping push the profession forward.”
The Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring Award honors individuals who lead, guide, and selflessly counsel and stimulate the careers of PR professionals. Candidates for the award must meet the following criteria:
- Leadership in guiding and inspiring the careers of entry-level and other young PR professionals.
- Demonstration of the highest standards of the profession in a selfless role as a mentor.
- Service to young professionals beyond the scope of the nominee’s professional duties.
Leslie Gottlieb, PRSA-NY president said, “Mentorship is something that is personally very important to me and with all the changes in our profession is more important than ever before. Mentoring helps make our profession thrive. We are very grateful to Ken Makovsky for his generous sponsorship of this important award. We are thrilled Lea-Ann Germinder, one of our past-presidents was named the first recipient. She embodies the spirit of the award and will help carry our mentoring program forward.”
In her acceptance speech Germinder called for all levels of the profession to embrace mentoring through networking, reverse mentoring, cross mentoring and sponsorships. The PRSA-NY chapter has a robust mentoring program and recently introduced a Senior Pros program that has broadened the mentoring discussion.
Natan Edelsburg, chief operating officer of MuckRack and district chair-elect of PRSA-Tri-State nominated Germinder for the award and said: “Lea-Ann is constantly offering amazing mentorship to myself and others. Her mentorship has had a huge impact on my career. When I graduated from NYU and went into PRSA-NY, I was very unsure what it was going to be like. She treated me as an equal, made me feel wanted and that the ideas I had could make a difference. Later she recruited Al Chen and I to revitalize PRSA-Tristate. I’ve met some amazing people in addition to her as a result.”
View the full Natan Ellsburg mentorship interview here:https://youtu.be/SgoJjFZD8ew
Germinder founded Germinder + Associates, Inc. a New York City and Kansas City based public relations firm and publisher of niche digital platforms in 1998. Her company launched Goodnewsforpets.com in 2000 and GNFP Digital in 2017. Germinder + Associates celebrate its 20th Anniversary last year with the Germinder20 Power of Pink Program.
Germinder has been named a national Honoree for Enterprising Women and a Top 25 for Women Who Mean Business by the Kansas City Business Journal and the Kauffman Foundation. Germinder is also a member of IPRA, the New York Women in Communications, the Publicity Club, the Dog Writers Association, the Cat Writers Association, VMAE, Vet Partners, and WPIN.
She and her teams have won dozens of public relations awards including the PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence and a VMX Bronze Vetty Award. Germinder is an accredited Fellow PRSA, a former national director of PRSA, a former national trustee of the PRSA Foundation and served as PRSA Midwest district chair, Tri-State chair-elect and president of the New York City and Kansas City chapters. She is a member of the PRSA Counselor’s Academy and member of the PRSA-NY Past-Presidents Council.
Germinder earned a bachelor of Communication Arts degree from the University of Dayton. She is a PRSSA Champion and as a student was the PRSSA public relations director for the University of Dayton chapter.
#germinderpr #bigappleawards #mentoring #BigApplePR
What’s Your Story Now? Own It! Writers & Bloggers Need Their Own Story To Help Communicate & Connect With Today’s Feline Lovers
Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA will provide writers and bloggers with real-time tips and take-a-ways as a featured speaker at the 25th Anniversary CWA Conference May 16-18, 2019. Attendees will learn what works now in the rapidly changing digital and traditional media space to engage with pet parents.
Communications techniques, best practices and go to resources for both the digital space and media will be covered. As a follow-up to last year’s conference session, the latest developments in transparency and privacy regulation in the social media space and resources will be discussed as a group.
Germinder has been a member of CWA since 2000. The conference will be held at the Drury Hotel, St. Louis, Mo. To register for the full conference, click here.
This summer has been filled with so many challenges and opportunities. In the end, the opportunities and ending result far outweighed any challenge that was faced. Here are a few of the highlights from this summer here at Germinder + Associates.
On my return, I was excited to see all the new opportunities I’d be able to take on due to everything I got to do last year. With the “Interviews with Zinaejah” series, I got to speak with so many awesome Black professionals and with the Inez Y. Kaiser Initiative being one of the main focuses for this summer, I was excited to see what I could accomplish next.
Lea-Ann and I decided to enter my “Interviews with Zinaejah” series into the 2021 PRSA-NY Big Apple Awards. Upon entry, I was just happy to learn how to enter into an award and everything that comes with it. It was a process, but it allowed me to see the ins and outs of getting something submitted.
Getting started on creating content, I was excited to use my creativity to create the new “Z Blogs” idea where I linked the story of Inez Y. Kaiser to my own story and made a blog out of it. I ended with six blogs which were all very successful. My final blog featured an interview with Richlynn Kaiser Bailey, granddaughter of Inez Y. Kaiser. It was such an honor to get to speak with her and hear the amazing stories and advice that she learned from a legend.
In the midst of creating my blogs, I also did some work with our Good News For Pets site. As an affiliate partner of Chewy, lots of posts centered around the many summer deals they showcased. I was ecstatic to see the Chewy official account on social media respond and thank me for promoting their products. It was such a cool experience and has even become a bragging right of mine whenever I mention to family and friends what it is I do at my internship.
One of the most rewarding parts of this summer was creating content for the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America (GKC-PRSA) social media pages. After emailing the entire advisory board about my project, I was able to get quotes for each of them that symbolized the importance of the scholarship and any meaningful words they wanted to say about Inez Y. Kaiser. The final project was beautiful and it was so rewarding knowing that I was able to give each member a voice.
Along with the project, I created a video to help promote the scholarship. After advice from board member, Darius Lane, I was able to come up with something amazing and even got compliments on the video! I was so proud of my final product and couldn’t have asked for a better coach.
Nearing the end of my internship, I received word back from the PRSA-NY Big Apple Awards entry that I submitted earlier in the summer. To my surprise, I was informed that my entry was shortlisted as a nominee for an award or an honorable mention! I was in shock and so excited all at the same time. Lea-Ann and I planned our trip to New York in September for the in-person awards to celebrate the accomplishment.
Overall, this summer has taught me so much. It taught me that some of the most rewarding experiences are what you can do for other people, hence what I did with the GKC-PRSA social media content and my Z blogs where I helped tell the story of the late Inez Y. Kaiser. I also learned that hard work pays off, even if it’s months or a year later. Here I am, a year after I completed the “Interview with Zinaejah” series and now I get to go to New York City, a place I’ve always wanted to go since I’m a nominee. On top of that, after a long and challenging summer, I was able to complete two PowerPoints on Germinder + Associates and Good News For Pets to add to my portfolio. Everything is paying off and this experience makes me even more excited for what the future holds for me.
Writing about Inez Y. Kaiser has been a pleasure and a blessing. Along the way I’ve gotten the chance to learn so much about a powerful Black woman who paved the path before me as well as made connections with a few amazing people who are in the field currently.One of those amazing people was Richlynn Kaiser Bailey, granddaughter of Inez Y. Kaiser.
Bailey shared her thoughts on the initiative under her grandmother’s name as well as some memorable aspects of her grandmother that she wanted to get across.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to highlight her story and share a little bit about who Inez Kaiser was and what she stood for,” Bailey said. “The scholarship in her name is about paying it forward and supporting students who are aspiring to make their mark in communications. We hope the scholarship will propel recipients forward to pursue their dreams.”
Being a young, Black woman, it’s always inspiring to see people like her who are advocating for the generation below them. I expressed to her some of the anxiety and fears I had when it came to entering the corporate world as I near my senior year at the University of Dayton.
From this, I learned about her deep commitment to the advancement of women and women of color who are navigating this world and overcoming the feeling of “imposter syndrome” causing one to feel like they aren’t worthy to be in the position they’re in, especially while raising two daughters.
“I want to raise my girls to be confident and to know that they are enough,” she said. “I want them to know that they are valued and that they have unique and amazing contributions to make in this world. Those are values that my grandmother instilled in me. Working on this scholarship has reminded me of who my grandmother was and what she stood for.”
After learning more about who she was and that she strives to be, we ended with a conversation about leading those following after you. Being an example and a physical representation of what you don’t usually see people like you do is so important in this day and age.
“Representation is so important, and if you don’t see it, then you don’t know you can be it,” Richlynn Kaiser Bailey said. “Whether you’re considering work at a PR agency, a corporation, a volunteer option, advertising, or whatever it may be, it’s important that people see themselves reflected back.”
Representation matters. Being a part of this initiative for the summer opened my eyes to something important. While I and many others never got to meet Inez Y. Kaiser, we are fortunate enough to get to know her story. Just because we leave this earth doesn’t mean the legacy, accomplishments, and paths we pave for those following behind isn’t remembered and cherished. Inez Y. Kaiser’s legacy will live on forever because she took the time to be a representation of what many women of color can be in life, despite the opinions of those who say we can’t.
Don’t forget to check out the video I created that emphasizes Inez Y. Kaiser and other modern trailblazers in communications:
Qualifying students can apply for the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship now!
I’m just a young, Black woman. What difference can I really make? I find myself asking this question to the girl in the mirror constantly. My smile slowly fading to a minimal grin as I stare back at someone who’s just one person.
The lack of diversity within the classroom has always been something I’ve noticed since I was a kid. Now, in college, it amazes me how much this hasn’t changed. Serving on the executive board of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at the University of Dayton, I often feel like there’s something more I need to do in the world of public relations.
When I first entered the public relations (PR) world in my second semester of sophomore year, I wasn’t shocked to see that I was the only black kid when walking into the room. After all, I attend a predominantly white institution. Now, when dealing with internships and learning about the world of PR, I constantly hear about the lack of diversity around the world in this career field.
Hearing this statement in the midst of working on an initiative like the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Fund has given me the motivation to want to push forward diversity in the workplace.
That girl who stares back at herself and wonders what change she can make in the world gains her smile back.
Women like Inez Y. Kaiser and any other modern women in communications who have had “firsts” probably had the same thoughts. No, we can’t change the world as one person. However, we can make a difference with the small stepping stones we make.
From graduating from college to breaking stereotypes, I have found that being a Black woman in the professional world in and of itself sets me up to be a trailblazer. For too many years we’ve only seen success as white or male. Looking at Kaiser accomplishing something like launching a firm with national clients as a Black woman is inspiration alone.
I may not be able to completely turn around the world of PR but I can start somewhere. Simple things like being on the exec board of PRSSA and using my voice on that platform is something.
Advocating for change and even hoping for change somehow gives the earth a little push on its axis even further. I can’t wait to see what all I can accomplish with just the girl in the mirror.
Check out this video created by Zinaejah Ozier that emphasizes Inez Y. Kaiser and other modern trailblazers in communication.
Qualifying students can apply for the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Fund now!
We all have talents. A lot of us have jobs, but outside of those jobs, our hobbies and down-time activities host some of our most powerful gifts. It’s the things we’re most passionate about that will make the greatest impact in this world.
I saw this with Inez Kaiser. With roots in journalism she used those writing and communicating skills and transferred that into her journey in the civil rights movement with getting messages across and creating an impact. I want to do this for myself as well.
Whenever I think of things I’m passionate about, I immediately think of the Black story. More specifically, my story. Growing up in a world where having beautiful hair meant you were mixed with something or where the use of proper English made me “better” than other black girls oddly encourages me.
My second passion of writing and storytelling drives me to tell my story to the world in a creative way.
I used to hate my story. I used to be embarrassed to be from a place like Flint, Michigan. I use to hate having to explain to people that I grew up without my biological mother in my life. All of the things that represent the life of a stereotypical black family was simply embarrassing to me to talk about. However, that’s when I learned exactly why I should love my story.
The story is the journey. The journey is what makes us who we are. We are everything that our story is and that is why telling that story is so important, no matter who you are.
When I first started writing, I was hit with the hard truth of, “You can’t become better without reading.” As I progressed with my writing and reading skills, I discovered the power of a story. Whether a fairy-tale or a revealed truth within a real-life story, the story itself is something that resonates deep within me.
Being a future public relations professional, I often think of the impact I can make. That impact includes helping to pave the way for more people like me, just like Inez Kaiser did and telling my story in a creative way in order to showcase all that one can become despite everything they had to do and go through to get where they are today.
Don’t forget about the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Fund! Learn more about it here.
Picture this. It’s 9:00am on a Monday morning. You’re walking to class and you’re trying your hardest to keep your head up after a long weekend of studying, social mishaps, and finding yourself. You get to class and all you see is the back of dozens of heads of people with skin not like yours. You push yourself to relate, but it’s just not working…These are the thoughts that go through my head on a daily basis.
From the time I was little, I’ve had these experiences. Growing up in a place like Flint, Michigan then moving to the suburbs of Grand Blanc, Michigan in order to get a better education was both rewarding and scarring. Like the scraping at the knee, everything I had known before shifted into a culture that I tried so hard to mold into.
In classrooms I would sit and glance at the few brown-skinned children with puffy hair in hopes of making an automatic connection in an unknown world. Quickly, I was linked with a child like me, who’s friends became my friends.
Thinking back on this reminds me of the book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race” by Beverly Daniel Tatum. Oftentimes when walking into a school setting, clusters of different races are boldly scattered around the lunch room and on the playground. My own experiences see this phenomenon as a level of comfortability. This same dynamic stands at the university level.
I sometimes question why segregated school were pronounced unconstitutional decades ago, yet we are still in school were getting a good education means going to a predominantly white school.
It can be hard attending a school where you’re one of the “only ones.” As a writer, I know the power of relatability and establishing relationships within a story as well as the real world. For this reason, I believe the stress endured by brown-skinned individuals all over campus can be severe. It almost seems like the lack of relatability is so normal that no one really seems to pay attention to what we have to go through. This very situation caused me to be stuck between choosing a HBCU (Historically Black College and University) and a PWI (Predominantly White Institution). On one hand, I wanted to attend a place where my people were better represented and supported in one space. On the other hand, the benefits of a PWI can be far greater when it comes to funding and great opportunities.
For the generations after me, I don’t want them to have to choose. At times, choosing can be the difference between an understanding of one’s mental health and a push to the side due to the normalization of being the only Black kid.
To read Zinaejah Ozier previous blog, click here.
I used to sit and watch as the colorful fireworks flew through the sky and sliced through the air with a big boom or crackle. I used to love the 4th of July. Being able to stay up all night and from wherever I was, I could see beauty in the night sky, kissing the stars.
According to Britannica, Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, and a number of other states followed suit. The day is also celebrated outside the United States, with organizations in a number of countries using the day to recognize the end of slavery and to celebrate the culture and achievements of African Americans.
With Juneteenth coming up, I started to think back to what else school didn’t teach me. This holiday has become such an important topic with the rise in police brutality and the high demand for justice for the black community. However, I never learned about this holiday until my college years. As I stare at the Juneteenth celebrations that have gone on in other states like Texas, I crave the heartwarming gatherings that stamp the day that my people actually gained their independence from the country that claimed they were “free.”
This craving got me thinking of the time when Inez Y. Kaiser went to Pittsburg State where one instructor told all the black students to leave the room. Kaiser responded with, “I’m not going anywhere.” I couldn’t help but picture the famous “no” stated by the one and only Rosa Parks. Year after year, generation after generation, it feels like the black community is slowly standing up for ourselves. Although I live in a country that doesn’t always accept my black skin, I’m gradually watching legends like Kaiser and Parks show me that I don’t have to be afraid.
I believe the same thing goes for Juneteenth. Gatherings of hundreds of Black people celebrating our true independence should become normalized. Yeah, the 4th of July is fun, but this can be too. Most importantly, it can be ours. Celebrating my black skin should be festive, and not odd. Loud, and not hidden. Simply unhidden for young boys and girls like me, who were blind to the essence of our culture due to the overbearing “American” culture that isn’t even ours. I hope that one day, I won’t have to say, “no” like Inez Y. Kaiser and Rosa Parks. I hope to live in a country that openly recognizes my skin and sees it as good and not bad.
Don’t forget to check out Z Blog #1 on our site!
Also, don’t forget about the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Fund! Learn more about it here.
Zinaejah Ozier is returning to Germinder + Associates this summer with the debuts of the “Z Blog” as an extension of last summer’s “Interviews with Zinaejah.” Her first post coincides with the launch of the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship. Details on the scholarship here.
Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass. Each of these powerful names ring an alarming bell in the heads of many across the country. Now, with the series of events that took a toll on our country in the summer of 2020, many pronounce the name of the victims who have lost their lives to police brutality and injustice with the famous hashtag, #saytheirname.
So many names spoken, yet so many names unheard of. In my return as an intern here at Germinder + Associates, I was introduced to Inez Y. Kaiser, a Black woman I had never heard of.
With my constant presence in the field of writing for almost my whole life, it surprised me that I was never taught about her. What surprised me the most was the number of things we had in common. Both Kaiser and I were part of journalism, PR, and most of all, we are Black, we are women, and we are in America.
First introduced to me by Germinder + Associates president and founder, Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow, PRSA with her initiative as Co-Founder and Chair of the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Fund Advisory Committee to create a scholarship under the name of Kaiser, I wanted to be a part of this. Knowing that there was someone like me who took giant leaps in the same field as me gave me hope.
I remember reading a piece called, “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens” by Alice Walker during my freshman year at the University of Dayton (UD). I remember taking a pause after only the first page due to the relatability of the piece. Tears of sadness and joy falling like raindrops onto the bottom of the page provided me with a deeper understanding of why I felt the way I did at times. As a Black woman in America, I am in constant search of the gardens of our ancestors who suffered, mourned, and sang deeply rooted songs to numb their pain. A pain so deep that generations later, I too can feel that pain, especially when a victim of injustice is murdered on camera.
As my main focus of the previous summer was to listen to Black professionals and get insight on their journeys, I wanted to tell my own story. My journey of entering a classroom filled with white students at a PWI. My journey of taking a leap of faith and sitting on the board of my Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter as the only black student in the organization. My journey of trying to navigate a world so heavily flawed, that my black skin is mistaken as blob of ignorance and anger.
Like Inez, I want to pave the road to success for aspiring young black woman after me and change the world of PR for good. I want the world to know her name. With this series I plan to share her story and mine. I want the world to not only read my words, but to feel them, just as Alice Walker and Inez Y. Kaiser did for me.
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