The National Black Public Relations Society was co-founded in 1998 by the late Pat Tobin, a PR industry icon and president of Tobin & Associates, based in Los Angeles. The organization was established to “Serve as an advocate for black professionals in the public relations, media relations, corporate communications, investor relations, government affairs, community relations and related fields.”
Prior to creating NBPRS, Ms. Tobin and her firm were public relations staples in Los Angeles for more than 25 years, representing prominent Black movie stars, producers and celebrities; national corporations; and non-profit civic organizations. Producer/director/actor Spike Lee, super star attorney Johnnie Cochran and the Toyota Corporation were among her more notable clients.
Pat Tobin was also considered a “networking guru” with a Rolodex that was the envy of all of Hollywood. However, often Ms. Tobin would lament to her close colleagues, “Having a Black PR firm is tough work. We have to work extra hard to get the big clients and even harder to keep them. And then people always doubt that we can do the same quality of work as the large, white firms. It’s always a struggle.” Pat Tobin and her firm did the work, and in fact, won numerous awards for their efforts.
She was tirelessly committed to ensuring that students and young professionals had opportunities in the public relations field. She also strongly believed that African Americans needed to be actively involved and positively portrayed in every aspect of a PR project, whenever possible. Pat Tobin lost her battle with cancer in 2008, but her memory and spirit live on through her creation, NBPRS.
About the the GSMNS’s PR pioneer series
Please read, enjoy and most importantly share the following links with others about the stories of“real” African American PR pioneers:
The Global Social Media News Service, a news-gathering, reporting and distribution company, proudly presents the stories of an overlooked and underreported group of African American communication pioneers.
Decades before Scandal’s Olivia Pope confidently sashayed across America’s television screens; had unchecked access to a fictional White House; and “fixed” the screw-ups of her former Boss-In-Chief and others, there were real African American men and women who practiced public relations, often in less glamorous surroundings and with considerably less fanfare. Before there was the celluloid Olivia, there was a real Moss Kendrix, D. Parke Gibson, Ofield Dukes and Pat Tobin.
Finally, there are many, many more men and women nationwide poised to take their places in Black PR history: Terrie Williams and former NBPRS President Deborah Hyman (New York); Bruce Crawley and current NBPRS President Richelle Payne (Philadelphia); Lauri Fitz, Gwen McKinney and Wendy Campbell (Washington, DC); David Thompson (Washington, DC); Michelle Flowers-Welch and NBPRS President Emeritus Wynona Redmond (Chicago); Jim Hill (Oakland); Kim Hunter (Los Angeles); and, of course, the “real” Oliva Pope, Judy Smith (Washington/Los Angeles).