Published on April 19, 2016, at 11:30 a.m.
by Lindsey Young.
Betsy Plank: professional, advocate, friend and inspiration to public relations students everywhere, even after her passing in 2010. Professionals in the public relations industry know that Betsy Plank is a household name, and many claim to be inspired by her accomplishments daily.
Plank completed a career that should be the envy of any passionate public relations enthusiast. She served as executive vice president of Edelman and an executive at AT&T. She was very passionate about students and professional development. In 1973, she became the first female president of the Public Relations Society of America; helped establish the student version of PRSA: PRSSA; and founded Champions for PRSSA, an organization dedicated to the mentoring of students.
Today, Plank is known as the “godmother” of PRSSA and the first lady of public relations. Any woman in the industry can learn from the amazing accomplishments of Betsy Plank. Actually, any person can be inspired by her work!
In 2005, Betsy Plank founded The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations with a mission to “develop and recognize outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors to advance ethical public relations in an evolving, global society.”
For the past three years, The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations has been celebrating Betsy’s life through a daylong celebration called Betsy Day. The celebration was amplified last year when the Center announced that the day would feature a competition between PRSSA chapters across the nation. Twelve schools participated in the challenge and taught students on their individual campuses about the legacy Betsy Plank left behind.
Because PR students are clearly very passionate about the legacy of Betsy Plank, the Center announced the extension of this year’s celebration from a day to a month:
“This year, there’s a twist. To celebrate Betsy’s life, we decided to take our annual Betsy Plank Day celebration, April 7, a step further — 29 steps, in fact — to present the first‐ever installment of the 30 Days of Betsy. In addition to Betsy’s Birthday on April 3 and #BetsyDay, we’re launching a celebration of Betsy’s life and legacy throughout the entire month of April.”
Thirty Days of Betsy began on April 1 and will continue all the way to April 30. Instead of hanging your favorite inspiration on your mantel, or writing it on your bathroom mirror, as Betsy did, you will be able to get your daily dose of inspiration from Betsy Plank. The Plank Center will feature advice, quotes, fun facts and inspiration every day of April on its social media platforms. Professionals, students and educators alike have been excited to celebrate the life of their favorite five-foot-tall PR queen.
The Plank Center “aspires to inspire” students across the country, professionals at every level and educators from all backgrounds to continue to learn and lead like Betsy. Through #30DaysofBetsy the Center is inadvertently cultivating leaders and ethical practitioners by providing them advice from an amazing role model. Next time you need motivation to get through your busy PR life, try looking to Betsy Plank, the first lady of PR.