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PRSA Fellow Awarded District’s Annual Platinum Award

East Central District Board of Directors selected Jaron Terry, MS, APR, PRSA Fellow (Central Ohio Chapter) as the honoree of this year’s Platinum Award.

Jaron Terry, MS, APR, PRSA Fellow (Central Ohio Chapter)

ECD’s Platinum Award recognizes outstanding professional service among district PRSA members. Every year, the ECD presents one Platinum Award in honor of former national PRSA board member and ECD board chair Donald P. Durocher, APR, Fellow PRSA. In Durocher’s memory, the district board recognizes a practitioner who has achieved a distinguished service record and is clearly identified as a role model for other professionals through chapter, district, and national service.

Jaron is an innovative collaborator, practicing public relations at the highest strategic, creative and ethical levels for four decades. An entrepreneur and veteran, she is an authentic, dedicated practitioner, teacher, mentor and friend. An independent practitioner since 1995, Jaron is president of Jaron Terry Communications where she utilizes the full gamut of public relations and marketing communications tools to favorably position organizations within their target markets. Specializing in health care, she is well-versed in strategic planning, media relations and marketing communications, and is an accomplished speaker and writer with numerous awards, including Central Ohio PRSA Tom Poling Practitioner of the Year.

Additionally, she enthusiastically champions APR, and actively mentors peers, young professionals, PRSSA students and her own nontraditional students as an adjunct professor at Franklin University.

Jaron is a champion for diversity and inclusion. She seeks opportunities to educate and inform fellow colleagues about diversity and inclusion initiatives wherever possible, helping to make the profession more well-rounded. She was a key driver in starting the Central Ohio PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which has received national recognition, and has been a presenter on this topic multiple times for organizations all around the country.  

Jaron holds a BS in Mass Communications, magna cum laude, and an MS in Media Management, from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Her nominator shared, “Jaron worked tirelessly throughout her career and is deeply passionate about advancing the PR profession. As an independent practitioner, she guides her clients to enhance their business success while communicating inclusively and effectively. Her work has been recognized with local and national awards.  She is passionate about growing and cultivating the next generation of PR professionals. She is one of the hardest working individuals and cares deeply for this profession. Simply put – our PR community is better because of Jaron’s leadership and contributions.”

Jaron joined PRSA in 1981 at the Richmond, Virginia, PRSA chapter. She transferred her membership when she moved to Columbus in 1986, and she immediately became involved with the Central Ohio chapter with committee service. Since that time, she has served in various roles from a local, district and national level. 

She is a sought-after speaker and regularly presents at the regional level to chapters within the East Central District and across the country, most notably regarding implicit biases and diversity and inclusion. 

Talking about diversity and implicit bias can make some people uncomfortable and reluctant to dive deep for fear of saying the wrong thing. Others want to have an open and honest discussion about how implicit (or unconscious) bias can negatively affect not only our workplace lives, but our personal lives, too, but are concerned about being “politically correct” and so say nothing. Jaron has successfully led several leadership forums in partnership with Gayle Saunders, APR, and Shanikka Flinn, on this topic for the East Central District and other local PRSA chapters. 

Jaron recently spoke at the Kansas City PRSA Chapter on the topic: “From Statements to Action to Anti-Racism: The Communicator’s Role.” The panel presentation provided attendees with substantive takeaways to encourage increasing inclusion from the executive level to the front line, making awareness of implicit (unconscious) biases part of organizational culture, and implementing eight actions to encourage anti-racism from execs to the front line.

Additionally, she has presented and moderated events within the Central Ohio PRSA chapter. Recently, she moderated a discussion in June 2021 on “Showing Support for the LGBTQ+ Community through Informed Communications.”

Jaron (right) with MJ Clark, APR, PRSA Fellow (Central Ohio Chapter and 2014 honoree of Platinum Award), and PRSA ECD Chair and PRSA Central Ohio member John Palmer, APR, at a Central Ohio Chapter event in 2016 when MJ and Jaron were recognized for being inducted into the College of Fellows. 

PRSA Chapter Service: 

Jaron has been an integral member of the Central Ohio Chapter for four decades. She has served the chapter in various leadership roles, including: Ethics Officer, an assembly delegate for three terms, a member on the Board of Directors from 1995 to 1999 and 2009 to 2011, and a founding member of the Master’s Committee. Jaron served as the president in 2010 during the chapter’s 60th anniversary. 

As the 2016 Ethics Officer, Jaron co-led a task force along with board member and current Ethics Officer, Gayle Saunders, APR, to explore and implement the chapter’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiative. A formal committee was set up at that time to promote diversity and inclusion in the PR profession, support PR professionals from diverse backgrounds, and educate our members through timely, relevant content and educational programs. The committee has received national PRSA recognition three times, due to the involvement of Jaron and committee members. The chapter introduced its first D&I Officer position in 2020. 

Jaron is passionate about discussing how our workplaces and PRSA can achieve diversity and inclusion and the importance of it. As a member of the Central Ohio PRSA Chapter’s D&I committee, Jaron has worked with her fellow committee members to:

– Host quality programming on various topics, including: “Getting it Right: Writing and Communicating To, About and With the LGBTQ community,” “Uncovering and Confronting Implicit Biases,” and “Creating Inclusive Campaigns,” “From Statements to Action to Anti-Racism: The Communicator’s Role in Making the Statement a Reality”

– Provide a comprehensive list of resources about racism to members 

– Add a Diversity & Inclusion category to the chapter’s annual PRism Awards

– Author articles for PRSA National’s Strategies and Tactics and Central Ohio PRSA 

– Provide implicit bias training to the Board 

– Help ensure diverse representation in programming

In addition to her committee support and leadership roles, Jaron’s work has received several PRism Awards, Central Ohio PRSA’s awards program. In 2011, Jaron was named the Tom Poling Practitioner of the Year, which is the chapter’s most prestigious honor and recognition.

PRSA Service: 

Not only is Jaron actively involved on the local PRSA level, but she also dedicates her time and talents to serving national PRSA. 

Jaron was named to PRSA’s national-level Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) committee in 2016 and currently serves as the co-chair. The committee is devoted to building consciousness by increasing visibility of D&I standards, resources and best practices for racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation and gender differences, as well as diverse skillsets, mindsets and cultures at all levels of the organization.

In 2016, Jaron earned PRSA’s highest distinction by being inducted into the College of Fellows, an honorary organization within PRSA composed of more than 250 leading professionals and educators who have left a significant footprint on the public relations profession. 

Jaron also is a regular presenter at the national level presenting through PRSA-led webinars and at ICON. In May 2021, she presented on a panel discussion focused on uncovering implicit bias to achieve PR success. During the webinar, the panelists discussed how our workplaces and PRSA can achieve diversity and inclusion goals by uncovering our own implicit biases, building diverse teams, and recognizing the value and strengths in cultures we consider different.

Jaron has spoken for several ICON presentations and will be a featured speaker during this year’s international conference presenting on the topic of “Understanding the ABCs of DE&I: Allyship, Bias and Civility.” In 2020, she presented at ICON on “Getting it Right: Diversity & Inclusion in LGBTQ+ Inclusion.” Jaron also spoke at the 2017 PRSA International Conference on “Proudly Said – Writing and Speaking for LGBTQ Inclusion.” 

In addition to her many presentations, Jaron also is a frequent contributor and author to national PRSA and industry publications on relevant public relations and diversity and inclusion topics.

PRSSA Service: 

Jaron is recognized as a teacher and mentor to other professionals within the industry. 

She is a long-standing member of Champions for PRSSA, which is designed to reinforce strong and productive relationships between professionals and students. As a Champion of PRSSA, she gives back to the profession by regularly meeting with and supporting students through PRSSA. 

In addition, Jaron has served as an adjunct professor at Franklin University since 2010, teaching public relations courses online and face-to-face, including Media and Crisis Communications, as well as an undergraduate elective course, Creative Thinking. At Franklin University, she also serves on the Public Relations Advisory Board for the College of Arts, Sciences and Technology. 

Jaron enjoys counseling students – from Franklin University, as well as, from local PRSSA chapters – about their career goals and providing guidance to them as they enter the workforce. Jaron also is passionate about expanding opportunities for making the public relations field more diverse and inclusive. 

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