Broom Center Inspired Change at 5th Annual Center Lecture

March 14, 2022
broom center
Credit: Brett Michel. Keynote Speaker Charlene Wheeless.

SAN DIEGO — A full house of students and PR professionals shared their support for diversity and belonging with the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations on March 1, daring to change the industry one individual at a time.

The Broom Center hosted the 5th annual Allen H. Center Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations to urge students and PR professionals to push for change moving forward.

Keynote speaker Charlene Wheeless delivered a message on empowerment, diversity and inclusion in everyday life. She told her story of beating cancer to then changing her life for good.

“It’s choice, not chance, that changes your life. If you don’t like your circumstances, change them. Change the situation or change for where you’re situated,” stated Wheeless.

Through this mindset, Wheeless built a career by knowing her worth and demanding other people know it too.

“Just because you have a seat at the table doesn’t mean that others are comfortable with you being there,” Wheeless said.

Her speech brought up the ongoing battles within PR and urged students to reserve seven seconds of courage in order to make the changes you wish to see in the world. Angela Rojo, a student attendee, is going to apply Wheeless’ seven seconds of courage.

“As a person of color, I found it comforting and inspiring to see someone like (Wheeless) rise above obstacles that she has faced. I’ll create change by applying what Charlene said about taking seven seconds of courage,” said Rojo.

The team of 11 PR seniors collectively worked nearly 900 hours in research, planning, implementation and evaluation to put on the biggest event of their career. In addition to Wheeless’s speech, amenities included branded swag, cookies, raffles, a networking experience and a question and answer session. There were multiple interactive tables inviting attendees to think, “How do you dare to change PR?”.

Molly Crawford, an account coordinator at Allison+Partners, returned to campus for the first time since graduation in 2019.

“Throughout the evening, I was reminded about how many times people in our profession have stood up for what they believe in and started a domino effect,” stated Crawford, an alumna of the PR program at JMS. “People typically don’t set out to change the world, but when they stand up for what they believe or even stand up for themselves it can have that impact.”

Crawford walked away from the evening with more than inspiration. The Broom Center raffled off a full sponsorship for the accreditation in public relations exam fee, which Crawford won. Julia Kelly, a PR student at JMS, won a Public Relations Student Society of America membership. Other raffle winners walked out with copies of Wheeless’ book “You Are Enough,” and gift cards.

About Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations: improves the public relations industry through investing in the people who practice it. With programs aimed at untenured PR professors, PR students and practitioners, the Broom Center focuses on the people who will shape the industry in the coming generation. Founded in 2012, the Broom Center is housed in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University. The Center takes its name from the iconic professor Dr. Glen M. Broom, who wrote Cutlip & Center’s Effective Public Relations, the most-used PR textbook and defined the industry.

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