Inez Kaiser: History of the First Black Woman to Own a PR Firm
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Memorializing the PR pioneer who paved a way for Black women in the PR industry
By Sherelyn Weber
When we think of the word “hero,” our first thoughts are more than likely Superman or Hercules. However, if you’re like me who appreciates the women of our history, I look up to a former PR practitioner named Inez Kaiser. Kaiser was the first Black woman to own her own PR firm, forever opening up doors to girls like me. She is truly an inspiration and her life tells a captivating story.
Honors and Impact
Kaiser was not only the first Black woman to own a PR firm, she was also the first to join the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. As a republican, Kaiser also advised under the Nixon and Ford administration regarding African American women in business, and represented at the Women’s Economic Conference
Along with her multiple “first” titles, Kaiser used her success to help minority businesses grow. Supporting Black-owned businesses has become a profitable trend in 2020. Yet Kaiser has been assisting Black businesses since the 70s. Making her a truly underappreciated figure.
Kaiser grew up in the south during the Jim Crow era. Making a way for herself was going to be necessary, but difficult. However, she was smart, sassy and assertive. Earning her way up in an industry that she’s been told was out of reach. Kaiser applied to Pittsburg State University and was accepted. Although she was on a segregated campus, she was able to further finesse the system by earning her bachelor’s degree in education in 1941. She later received a master’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate from Lincoln University.
Kaiser worked as a home economics teacher for junior high students for almost 30 years, until she decided to quit and get into journalism. She got her start in the PR industry when she began writing a column called “Fashionwise and Otherwise,” that highlighted major fashion shows in Los Angeles and New York. It started out being published for only five African American newspapers. Then the column grew so popular, it began being used in Black newspapers nationwide. 1957 is the year she founded Inez Kaiser and Associates PR firm, earning reputable clients such as 7-Up and Sears.
“I developed personal relationships with all the people I worked with,” said Kaiser. “Be honest with your clients, deliver well and on time, and be able to advance the image of your client. ”
Inez Kaiser was a pioneer. She didn’t let any obstacles get in the way of the goals she tried to obtain. Further, she was able to accomplish a lot during a time when opportunities were limited. Even with these accomplishments, she still doesn’t get the recognition she deserves.
About the Author:
Sherelyn Weber is a senior Journalism major with a concentration in Public Relations at the University of North Texas in Denton. She is also a social media influencer who has done brand ambassador work for VS PINK, Aritzia, Hairfinity and Luxe Fitness.
Helm, A. (2017, January 12). Inez Y. Kaiser, 1st Black Woman to Own National Public Relations Firm, Dies at 98. https://www.theroot.com/inez-y-kaiser-1st-black-woman-to-own-national-public-1790856316
Meade, J. (2020, June 05). Remembering The First Black Woman to Own a PR Firm. https://www.prnewsonline.com/Kaiser-PR-owner-black-woman
The Museum of Public Relations (2015, February 19). Interview with Inez Kaiser Https://www.prmuseum.org/video-and-audio/#inez.