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A Dream Realized:Celebrating A National Trailblazer: Inez Kaiser



First Black Woman With A National PR Firm

Inez Kaiser
Inez Kaiser 1957 Credit: The Museum of Public Relations

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