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PR Women with Influence

Breaking Through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges


Juan Meng and Marlene S. Neill

PR Women with Influence: Breaking Through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges makes a unique and timely contribution by exploring how women in public relations navigate through attitudinal, structural and social barriers in advancing their leadership roles. The book is thoroughly grounded in rich empirical evidence gained through two phases of a funded research project conducted in the field. Phase I involves 51 in-depth interviews with current female leaders in public relations and Phase II captures women’s perceptions on gender-related barriers in leadership advancement by recruiting a national panel of female public relations professionals. 

Results presented in this book provide a compelling, current picture of women and leadership in public relations. By emphasizing our discussion on key issues and barriers as related to women in PR and their leadership advancement, the authors call for real actions and change to develop a constructive ecosystem within the organization to embrace leadership for women in PR. 

Given its sharp topic focus, wealth of empirical data, and the relevance of the topic to today’s public relations profession, this book is suitable for different audiences both nationally and globally. Such audiences include but are not limited to public relations scholars, educators and professionals, both leaders and emerging leaders, men and women, young professionals, women of color, and public relations majors. This book is appropriate for senior-level undergraduate and graduate courses in public relations and communication management to facilitate critical thinking, leadership development, and gender-related topic discussion. 

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Chapter Nine Support Network



Support Network

Work-Family Integration & the Influence of Mentors for Women in PR


When discussing the challenges facing women senior executives in public relations, it becomes apparent very quickly that the 24/7 demands associated with a career in public relations along with family responsibilities require some difficult sacrifices and at times no good resolutions. Social media has heightened the demands for public relations executives. As a vice president of communication for a nonprofit organization explained:

You’re just on call 24/7. My husband had a heart surgery this year, and I took the day off to be with him at this heart surgery, and I mean it was all day long – emails, and phone calls, and “what about this,” “what about that,” “have you seen this on Facebook?” “Yes. It’s not a big deal. I’m in the hospital” … It’s very difficult to take off. In fact, I have not been able to use all my time off that I’ve earned this year. And part of it is because over the weekend, or in the evenings, something happens and then you’ve got to get on the phone with the media, or on social media, or something else. It’s the nature of the communications now.

Working fulltime in a demanding profession such as public relations places unique challenges for women on how to prioritize their careers and divide family commitments. Such a challenge is particularly intense when they are...

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