Change PR. Change the World.

March 16, 2022

Charlene Wheeless closed her keynote speech at the 5th Annual Allen H. Center Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations on March 1 with a quote that still echoes through attendees’ minds.

“I want you to dare to change PR, but I do not want you to stop there. I want you to dare to change the world and let PR follow,” Wheeless said.

The 113 PR students and practitioners at the Tula Community Center geared up to learn how they can champion diversity in the public relations field.

Wheeless asked the audience to remember three pieces of advice.

1. You are Enough.

Wheeless shared her testimony of being in the PR industry for years. She talked about the need to shift and change parts of herself to fit in.

2. Choice, Not Chance Changes Your Life.

Throughout Wheeless’ talk, she was not one who had everything given to her. She fought for what was hers. She reminded the audience that the change they wanted wasn’t going to magically appear, but rather, they had to choose to change their circumstances.

3. Seven Seconds of Courage.

One might think that change happens through acts of bravery over time. Wheeless’ speech taught us we only need seven seconds of courage to make small changes that will amount to lasting change.

Final Charge

As the event ended, Wheeless changed the minds of each individual daring to change PR that day. Jarred Reid-Dixon, a PR professional, was one of them.

He stated on LinkedIn:

“One thing (Charlene Wheeless) mentioned really stuck with me: ‘Mentors are great, we always need mentors to provide guidance and counsel … But what we really need are CHAMPIONS. Champions are the ones that provide guidance and are in the room (when you aren’t) mentioning your name for opportunities you don’t even know about’.”

Wheeless dared the crowd to change PR. And she challenged those to answer the call.

You can watch Wheeless's keynote speech at the 5th annual Allen H. Center Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations on YouTube.

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