Articles

Celebrating Black History Month

Let’s Do Brunch: Remembering Inez Kaiser

by Anita K. Parran

I was honored to join the inaugural Inez Kaiser Scholarship Committee. That invitation was the catalyst for remembering a long-ago memory.The pre-Fall late morning Saturday was crisp and sunny. The furniture and floors had been polished, and the rugs vacuumed. The dining room table was tastefully decorated with flowers, and the serving plates and cutlery arranged for easy access. The caterer had artfully arranged the food, and soft music was playing in the background.

I continuously peeked out the front windows, anxiously awaiting the first guests to arrive. It was brunch time at my humble abode and the invitees were fellow communicators representing a wide variety of disciplines. The brunch objective was to make new acquaintances, revive past relationships, and enjoy current connections.

Guests arrived at a steady flow, some staying one hour and others the entire three hours. At halftime, there was a singular surprise guest who appeared at the front door. As usual, she was impeccably dressed, smelled delightful, and breezed through the door capturing everyone’s immediate attention. Who was this diminutive older African American woman who seemed to capture everyone’s attention? None other than Inez Kaiser.

There she was – smiling broadly and exuding friendship and goodwill. After giving Inez a warm welcome and she greeted a few women she knew and seated herself in one of the two high-back white chairs in my living room.

I was asked ever so often, “Who is that?” One by one, I introduced the inquisitor to Inez. She graciously engaged in brief conversations with each one. I admired how Inez deftly shared stories, responded to questions, and gave sage advice. The feedback elicited from those who spoke with Inez said they were in awe and vowed to learn more about her public relations history.

I will never forget having met Inez Kaiser, a renowned public relations professional and trailblazer who was the epitome of success. I salute GKC-PRSA for recognizing Inez Kaiser in such a grand manner and am excited to participate in this adventure that will benefit students who aspire to career in public relations.

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Inez Yeargan Kaiser (April 22, 1918 – July 31, 2016) was an American educator, public relations expert and entrepreneur. She was the first African-American woman to run a public relations company with national clients. She was a well-known member of both GKC-PRSA and PRSA. Kaiser was born in Kansas City, Kansas. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from Pittsburg State University in 1941 and later a master's degree from Columbia University. In 1957, she founded Inez Kaiser & Associates, which was both the first public relations firm led by a black woman and the first business owned by an African American to open in Kansas City. She was the first black woman to join the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Public Relations Society of America. Credit: Museum of Public Relations. Visit prmuseum.org for more information about Inez Kaiser and other pioneers in the industry. Additional chapter information about Black History Month from GKC-PRSA can be found here.https://kansascity-prsa.org 

Inez Kaiser Scholarship

“Believe, Conceive, Achieve" - 2021 Inez Kaiser Scholarship Committee Update

The Inez Kaiser Scholarship Committee is dedicated to honoring this Kansas City icon of the industry and is forming a fundraising committee to help raise money for the scholarships. Please contact Lea-Ann Germinder at [email protected] if interested.

Inez Kaiser was the first Black woman to join PRSA in 1966, and she has a deep history here in the Kansas City region. Find out more about Ms. Kaiser here.

The Inez Kaiser Scholarship Committee is led by board members Carrie Stapleton and Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, chapter committee members include president Alex Miller, Norita Taylor, APR, Anita Parran, Sheba Clark, Steve Wilson, Darius Lane, Debra Peterson, APR, and Jackie Clarke, APR, Fellow PRSA. Stay tuned for more information about this scholarship on our chapter website.