Tag Archive: Kansas City

  1. 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.

  2. My First Business Trip: Traveling with GNFP Digital/Germinder to the KC Animal Health Corridor & CVC.

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    During my internship with GNFP Digital/Germinder, I got the opportunity to travel to Kansas City for the conference at the CVC and the Animal Health Corridor. As a college student, finding opportunities to get real world experience is absolutely vital. Since it was my first time traveling for work, I did not know what to expect or how things would work, nonetheless, uncertainty would not stop me from making this trip. I packed my bags, flew to Kansas City and happily joined Lea-Ann Germinder, the President & Founder of the company as well as the publisher of Good News for Pets.

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    Having the opportunity to travel across the United States for work was a huge step in my career. I knew that GNFP Digital/Germinder was investing a lot of money to help me grow as a professional. To me, this meant that I would aid in all the projects, help establish relationships, assist with any task, and provide the most outstanding results possible at all times. During the trip, my purpose was to build the company to the best of my ability. I hoped that the company would be recompensed with hard work and a positive attitude.

    I tried to have everything ready at all times. In all situations, I tried to be one-step ahead of the game. This way Lea-Ann would have everything she needed without having to ask for it.

    “Can you take pictures of the tradeshow?” – Done.

    “Can you get the gift bags ready?” — Done.

    “Can you help me pack the contents for our table?” — Done.

    “Can you take pictures of the Investment Forum?” — Done.

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    I didn’t wait to be given instructions, instead I tried to anticipate what would be necessary and have it ready before hand. I tried to find ways to solve issues and facilitate projects so our schedule would run smoother (Lea-Ann agrees!).

    My favorite part of the trip was attending the networking events at the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor. I got the chance to meet really incredible individuals that had achieved great things within the veterinary industry. I had a great time talking to industry professionals and building relationships with individuals from different companies. I was delighted to mix and mingle with all the CVC and KCAHC attendees! I met Kim Young, the President of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor at the “Women in the Corridor” event; she was part of the panel of speakers. As I indulged in different conversations with people, I learned so much about my own knowledge and character. Apparently, 4 years of college prepped me enough to give me the ability to talk to strangers about the advertising industry (I’m an advertising/PR major) and to have the confidence to stand my ground when asked questions about my opinions regarding those topics.

     

    Naturally, I enjoyed spending extra time with Lea-Ann and visiting Kansas City. I walked around The Plaza, I visited the WW1 Memorial and made new friends. Lea-Ann and I took some client prospects from the conference to eat at a traditional Kansas City BBQ at Arthur Bryant’s! We went to go get drinks afterwards to a Blue Room, where they played Jazz.

    arthurbryant

    I also got the opportunity to attend a press conference. As an Advertising and PR major, I have read about press conferences, written papers about them and heard plenty of funny stories about all the things that could go wrong during a press conference. Very rarely, college students are given the opportunity to attend as part of the press. Even more rarely, do they get to attend a press conference and participate by live tweeting during the conference. Thanks to my company I was one of the lucky few.

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    I felt very grateful for the responsibilities that were bestowed upon me during the conference. Another incredible opportunity came up, when I was given the task to interview CVC speakers. While I was in NYC, I had done research on the background of the speakers. I had picked a handful that I wanted to interview, so I reached out to them and scheduled a time to meet.  I met with young professionals who are successful women making their dreams come true. After each of their lessons, I walked up to them, introduced myself and asked to interview them. They were pleased with the questions I asked and felt grateful to be interviewed. We had so much fun filming and getting to know each other. They were both a pleasure to work with!

    I grew in my knowledge of PR, in my professional abilities and in my character. I got the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone over and over again. Not only did I aim to step outside of my comfort zone, but to thrive in unprecedented situations.

    This trip was once-in a life time dream trip for any intern starting at any PR agency. From attending the press conference, to the networking opportunities to interviewing the attendees– this trip was truly a blessing in my career.

    And to add the cherry on top of the perfect weekend – I got to play with puppies.



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