Tag Archive: Inez Kaiser

  1. A Word on Juneteenth and the Importance of Standing Up for What You Believe

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    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

  2. The Launch of the Z Blog and A Scholarship Too!

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    BLOGPOST#1

    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. 

  3. Germinder Appointed GKC/PRSA Inez Kaiser Scholarship Committee Co-Chair

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    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.

  4. Celebrating Inez Kaiser – A National PR Pioneer and One of Kansas City’s Own

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    Inez Kaiser
    Inez Kaiser

    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 norita_taylor@gmail.com.



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