Recent statistics show that while between 61% and 85% of all PR jobs are held by women, only about 30% of all global PR agencies are led by women. This includes both large international PR firms as well as smaller, independent agencies. With the appointment of Clare Parsons as its first female global chair, Public Relations Organization International (PROI), a community of top-tier independent PR agencies sends a clear signal: offering equal opportunities for men and women is not a question but the guarantee for success in today’s quickly changing ever-diversifying world.

At PROI’s recent global summit in Lisbon, the organization welcomed its members from around the world to come together and share the latest ideas, brainstorm about new and better ways to promote clients, discuss current and future trends and announce who would lead PROI for the next two years. This year the choice fell to Ms. Clare Parsons of Lansons PR in the UK. She is a co-founder of Lansons and has been a member of PROI for many years. With Ms. Parsons’ appointment, the board of PROI now consists of six women and two men, a rare happening in the PR world.

With women still being underrepresented in leadership positions in the PR industry and diversity becoming more important to businesses large and small, Ms. Parsons has made it her mission to further this important subject by making inclusion and diversity key points of focus during her two-year tenure.

A Champion of Diversity

Overall, PROI is already a great example of bringing together professionals from different backgrounds and origins. Today the organization has 75 members from 50 countries spread out over five continents. They represent a plethora of ethnicities, languages and religions and work together in a way that leverages the strengths of each one to support the community and help it grow.

Around the world, PROI’s member agencies are recognized as some of the finest in their local marketplaces. Frequently their campaigns win awards in their respective fields and catch the attention of the top players in the world of public relations.

Of the 75 partner agencies making up PROI today, close to 50% are currently led by women, a number way above the international average. One of them is Midas PR Group in Bangkok which was founded eleven years ago and has been led by Karin Lohitnavy from the beginning. In recent years, Midas’ work has received several awards for its work and Karin herself was the recipient of the Women Super Achiever Award at the Times Ascent World HRD Congress 2018 in Mumbai for being an exceptional business leader. This makes both Karin and Midas PR a perfect fit for PROI as the organization prides itself for bringing together and advancing some of the world’s best independent PR agencies.

A New Trend: Biggest Isn’t Always Better

With smaller PR firms gaining popularity, a body such as PROI is gaining importance and influence. It has proven itself as a valuable network within the industry as it ensures best practices and standards are upheld and also helps clients get access to pre-vetted representation around the world. “Across the world, clients are recognizing the strengths of independent public relations and communications agencies and that’s why so many PROI Worldwide partner agencies are growing rapidly at present,” explains Clare Parsons.

As the partners experience this growth and benefit from it, it will be interesting and exciting to see how PROI develops in the coming years and how it will use its influence to shape the PR industry in terms of diversity, inclusion and gender equality.