Women dominate the public relations industry. According to The Women’s Network, the percentage of women who hold public relations jobs is about 63%-73%. However, there is a difference between dominating an industry logistically and dominating an industry by leading it. While most public relations jobs are held by women, the majority of leaders are men.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we put together a list of women leading the public relations industry. These five women have been recognized by PR News Online and are breaking boundaries by redefining what it means to be a woman in the PR.
1. Brandi Boatner – IBM
Brandi Boatner is a digital and advocacy communications manager at IBM. After graduating from Loyola University New Orleans and Hawaii Pacific University, she gained experience in the public relations field through different positions. In the past decade, she has been involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as both a National President and Immediate Past President. She is now an integral part of the IBM communications team and leads internal communications. She is passionate about social justice communications and knows the importance of a true connection between employee advocacy and public relations.
2. Crystal Borde – Vanguard Communications
Crystal Borde is the Vanguard Communications Vice President and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Practice Lead. In this position, she provides counsel on the direction and business of the company, keeping thoughtful leadership and DEI communications at the forefront of campaigns. In an effort to address issues such as racial justice, mental health and substance abuse, she creates compelling campaigns for agencies, nonprofits, foundations and associations. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
3. Heather DeSantis – Publicity for Good
Heather DeSantis was named a finalist for a Platinum PR News Award, CEO of The Year. She is one of the 2021 honorees for top women in PR in the entrepreneur category. She has received these notable mentions because of her work in Publicity For Good, a full service media agency that provides clients with a high share of attention, which she created herself. Publicity For Good is known for its effective use of technology and its purposeful storytelling. Working with clients from multiple industries, DeSantis is an example of women in public relations that are going above and beyond the regular communications career.
4. Marielena Santana – The Sway Effect
A University of Florida graduate, Marielena Santana serves as the Executive Vice President and Managing Director at The Sway Effect and was named a PR News Top Woman in Public Relations in 2021. She is an excellent example of a woman dominating and leading the industry. Santana has had such a successful career in public relations because of her strategic thinking. She has a big picture lens that allows her to work tactically through little details. Santana has used this talent on The Sway Effect’s biggest clients such as Univision, Microsoft and Refinery29.
5. Natalie Asorey – University of Florida
Natalie Asorey is one of our own. As the former Managing Director of Alpha PRoductions, the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications graduate now serves as the program lead for CJCxNYC. Asorey serves on the board of the Hispanic Public Relations Association. She also teaches classes in public relations writing and social media management while serving as the faculty adviser for many College of Journalism and Communications organizations. She has experience in education, agency and in-house work, and has even worked in governments and nonprofits. She has excelled in all of her positions, and she has chosen to share her knowledge with students at the University of Florida.
These five women are a small percentage of the women who have become entrepreneurs, educators, mentors and leaders within the public relations field. This Women’s History month, we encourage our readers to take a deeper dive into the people behind their industries. How are people just like us changing the world with one public relations move at a time? Yet more importantly, how can we continue to push the limits and make space for diverse voices?