cover of book

Betsy Ann Plank: The Making of a Public Relations Icon
by Karla K. Gower
University of Missouri Press, 2022
Cloth: 978-0-8262-2259-6 | eISBN: 978-0-8262-7473-1
Library of Congress Classification HD6053.G68 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 650.1092

In 1973, Betsy Ann Plank became the first woman to chair the Public Relations Society of America in its twenty-five-year history. It was a tumultuous time to assume the national association’s leadership. Civil society seemed to be fraying at the edges, and trust in political institutions and corporations had plummeted in the aftermath of Watergate. Nevertheless, Plank, in her fearless style, took up the challenge head-on. From the start and throughout the span of her sixty-three-year career in public relations, she managed to overcome the very real barriers she faced due to gender-based discrimination in what was a male-dominated industry. As a PR practitioner, Plank served as executive vice president of Daniel J. Edelman, Inc., director of PR planning at AT&T, and assistant vice president of external affairs at Illinois Bell. Beyond her service in the professional realm, Plank grew her legacy by taking the time to mentor countless PR professionals, educators, and students. She saw this dissemination of knowledge as her greatest gift to the field of public relations. In this highly readable biography, Karla Gower explores Plank’s personal life and career, tracing her evolution from a low-level job in advertising through her contributions to the rise of the rapidly changing PR industry in the 1960s and the evolution of her personal devotion to the enhancement of public relations education.
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