The Influence of Betsy Plank and Women in the PRSA Hoosier Chapter

Call me a typical PR pro, but I love social media. I start my day by scrolling through Twitter to catch up on my daily news and events. On April 6, I saw many of our Hoosier affiliated PRSSA chapters and students using the hashtag #BetsyPlank to celebrate Betsy Plank Day. I was familiar with Betsy, but I took this day to learn more about her career.

Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA was known as the “First Lady of Public Relations.” According to the Plank Institute, she became the first woman president of PRSA in 1973. She also played a vital role in the development of PRSSA and went on to become the Champions of PRSSA founder. After reading more about her story, I came to the realization that the PRSA Hoosier Chapter has a lot of our own Betsy Plank’s.

The PRSA Hoosier Chapter is full of amazing women like Betsy who are dedicated to our profession and chapter. At PRSA luncheon and networking events, I love hearing seasoned women professionals share their stories or career tips. Their work in PR has helped pave the way for young women like myself to make a difference in our profession.

The impact of women in PR continues to grow at a rapid rate. In fact, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that nearly 63 percent of women make up the public relations industry. As the PRSA Hoosier Chapter director of membership, I am thrilled to hear that the number of women PR practitioners is growing. However, the membership team and I also want to focus on recruiting more male members to our chapter.

Do you know anyone who is interested in joining the PRSA Hoosier Chapter? Have them email myself, Mandy Bray, Deeksha Kapoor at We would love to buy them a cup of coffee and discuss our chapter, PRSA benefits and current membership specials. Or bring your guest to the next luncheon, “Women in Power: Gender Diversity in the C-Suite” on May 8. This luncheon is such a relevant topic and a great way to remember those like Betsy Plank who have made an impact in our industry.

Michele Bates currently works at Arlington/Roe as public relations specialist. She oversees the company’s email marketing, advertising and internal communications. Michele received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from the University of Indianapolis. She serves on the PRSA Hoosier Chapter’s board of directors as director of membership.

Twitter: @michelebates