11 Must-Watch Diverse Marketing Influencers

Lists of people to watch in marketing often come under fire for being light on diversity. Here’s the thing: including those with ethnic, cultural and religious differences is not hard to do! Some say there’s a diversity deficit, and that may be true, but as with many things, my (obviously very biased) opinion is that solo PR pros are ahead on this.

Solo PR pros are well aware that valuing diversity among our colleagues is not just for multicultural clients and initiatives (duh) – and we have the relationships to prove it. It’s a fact that no two people have the same background, and those varied experiences shape our outlook and opinions (not to mention make life more interesting – can you imagine how boring the world would be if we were all the same?!). Embracing varied opinions is one of the keys to better PR and marketing, as we know.

You might not expect a post about diversity from a WASP-y southern gal like me, but perhaps that’s exactly why I need to write it. I’ve never done a “list post” before – they’re always subjective, and the odds are 100% that you’ll forget someone you meant to include. But with that caveat out of the way, here are some of the amazing colleagues who are impacting me each day:

Shonali Burke
Shonali BurkeShonali, principal at Shonali Burke Consulting, is an award-winning, accredited solo PR pro and founder of Twitter’s #measurepr chat. Originally from India, she’s a leading speaker on the topic of integrated, research-based, measurable communications that support business objectives (and the fact that she loves Elvis is a bonus!).

Jacqui Chew
Jacqui ChewJacqui is the founder and principal at iFusion Marketing, which specializes in helping media and Internet-enabled start-ups connect with their audiences. Co-organizer of TEDxPeachtree and a board member of the Atlanta Press Club, Jacqui is a dynamo whose energy never ceases to amaze me.

Mustafa Stefan Dill
Mustafa DillMustafa, known to regular participants in the #solopr Twitter chat as @MuslimNewMedia, is the founder of Ummah Relations. A former journalist, he specializes in media strategies for Islamic institutions/businesses, and has done so during some highly challenging periods in recent years. I greatly admire his ability to merge his passions with his business – something we can all learn from.

Wesley Faulkner
Wesley FaulknerWesley’s background is actually in technology, but his strategic smarts and engaging personality meant he was a natural to move into the marketing realm. A fixture on the social media scene since the very beginning, Wesley is now digital strategist for Snoball, a new company that makes social giving easy and fun. Social good has been a passion of Wesley’s for some time, and I’m proud of him for making his dream a reality.

Amanda Miller Littlejohn
Amanda Miller LittlejohnAmanda, social PR strategist and online branding coach at Mopwater PR, never backs away from a challenge. In addition to being a Columnist at Black Enterprise, she’s also Co-Founder of the new organization, ColorComm: Women of Color in Communications.  Amanda is one of those generous people who sees a need and fills it, and she’s been an enormous inspiration to me throughout the Solo PR Pro journey.

Jami ReyesJami Reyes
Jami (rhymes with mommy), Principal at Jami Reyes & Co., is a Honduran-born, DC-raised, and Miami-adopted public and government relations consultant. Always one to add some fun to a Twitter conversation, Jami also takes her work seriously and knows how to get great results for her clients.
 

Stanford Smith
Stanford SmithHaving just recently (belatedly) discovered his Pushing Social blog, I don’t personally know Stanford, but I’m determined to change that. With a fun-to-read writing style and a wealth of knowledge I need to learn, Stanford has reminded me that there are always great new blogs and voices to discover. I can only imagine how good he must be at his day job as VP Marketing/Strategy at Fluency Media – maybe this blog post will be our introduction (if he’s not afraid of my stalker-esque stance!).

Dee Stewart
Dee StewartDee is the owner of DeeGospel PR, where she merges her Christian faith with her business by specializing in supporting related publishers, music labels, musicians and authors. She started her Christian Fiction Blog in 2005, and under her pen name, Miranda Parker, Dee is the author of the Angel Crawford Bounty Hunter series of books. I love that Dee has built her business around what she finds most important (noticing a theme?), and she’s an amazing person to boot.

Karen D. Swim
Karen SwimAs many in the Solo PR Pro community can attest, Karen, public relations and marketing communications specialist at Words For Hire, LLC, is not just a consummate professional, but also one of the kindest people on the planet. An extremely early adopter of social media, she engages in none of the posturing one expects from others in that crowd. Karen’s Twitter bio states she’s “quietly doing work I love for people/orgs I believe in and that inspire my respect” – she has my utmost respect, to be sure.

Dr. Natalie Tindall
Dr. Natalie TindallDr. Tindall, chair of PRSA’s Diversity Committee, is a professor in the Department of Communication at Georgia State University. You may be surprised to learn that she’s also hilariously funny (I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Tindall at an event at UGA in 2008, and her comments from the peanut gallery kept me cracking up the whole time). Dr. Tindall will continue to be one of the leading voices on diversity in public relations moving forward, so she’s definitely one to watch.

Tiffany Winbush
Tiffany WinbushTiffany Winbush is a NYC-based solo PR and Social Media Strategist with a background in media issues, having worked with Clear Channel Communications. She’s also the creator of Women Making Moves, which highlights outstanding achievements of women in their careers, communities and business. Tiffany has always impressed me as someone interested in helping other pros get ahead, and I admire her generosity.

 

These are just a few of the literally thousands of diverse leaders in PR and marketing who influence me each year. Who are some of your influencers?

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  • What a terrific surprise, Kellye, and thank you! I know lists are subjective, but when they are created by someone whose opinion you respect (that would be you), they mean a lot. So thank you again – and also for showcasing the diversity that IS in our field!

  • Amazing crew on this list.  I’m honored to be named among them.  
    Great to meet you Kellye!

  • Pam Purifoy

    Kellye, how generous of you to do such a list! You’ve always impressed me. Continued success!

  •  You’re most welcome, Shonali, and thank you for the kind words!

  • Nice to meet you, too, Stanford. Thank you for tolerating my somewhat strange introduction. 🙂 Look forward to continued learning from you.

  • Thank you, Pam! Shining a light on what others are doing is one of the most fun things about having a blog. Appreciate your support.

  • KarenSwim

    Here I was reading and nodding along, wide eyed at all these wonderful minds and then totally gobsmacked to see my face! I am so humbled to be included. More importantly I hope that all will learn and be inspired from the wonderful people here. These talented professionals, typical of the Solo PR Pros I know, are not allowing themselves to be defined by dire predictions and statistics that limit their success. Each fueled by passion is leaving their imprint on the world and they are doing with panache! I found a few new faces to connect with and am excited to expand my vision and learn from these great minds! Thank you Kellye and to all of the Solo PR Pro community for a safe and fun place to learn, grow and connect!

  • Drnatalietjtindall

    Wow! Thank you for adding me to this list. This blog post popped up on my Google Alert. To be included with such great people is a honor. –Natalie Tindall, Ph.D.

  • As always, you have a way with words, Karen! 

  •  You’re certainly welcome, Dr. Tindall — well deserved.

  • pam purifoy

    Welcome