USN earns public relations awards for diversity work

Our independent school was recognized among regional and national public relations agencies and multinational corporations with four Parthenon Awards for the nine-month campaign “Renewing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at USN,” which culminated with the 2021 DEI Report.
By Juanita I.C. Traughber, Communications Director

University School of Nashville has been recognized with several regional public relations industry awards for its work in diversity, equity, and inclusion. During the Public Relations Society of America, Nashville Chapter’s 36th Annual Parthenon Awards Banquet on Monday, August 26, USN earned four Parthenon Awards for:
  • Most Effective Campaign on a Shoestring Budget (Under $5,000)
  • Most Effective Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign
  • Most Effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Campaign
  • Reputation and Brand Management
Despite it being the first school in the city to desegregate school-wide and its mission to be “an [educational] environment that represents the cultural and ethnic composition of Metropolitan Nashville,” USN faced tough criticism from students and young alumni regarding its commitment to diversity in summer 2020 as the nation faced a racial reckoning. During a well-coordinated communications campaign, administrators: went on a robust listening tour of its audiences; developed an internal audit to track DEI-related work; created a written report and accompanying magazine articles to share their results and reflections on ongoing DEI work; and, measured responses through surveys and focus groups. Through the nine-month campaign “Renewing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at USN,” the school was not only successful in reassuring its commitment to DEI work among its students, families, and alumni but also exceeded brand awareness goals, garnered national attention, and renewed donor support.

PRSA Nashville’s Parthenon Awards recognize exceptional work and thought leadership from the Middle Tennessee public relations community and are bestowed to projects and programs that demonstrate excellence in the public relations profession. This year, 169 programs and projects were entered across a broad range of industries and public relations disciplines were submitted this year, and public relations professionals in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, Northwestern Pennsylvania, and West Virginia were the judges. The highest scoring programs and projects earn Parthenon Awards. USN was recognized among regional and national public relations agencies and multinational corporations, including McDonald’s, Firehouse Subs, Bridgestone Americas, and Jack Daniel’s.
    • Director of Diversity and Community Life Roderick White, Communications Director Juanita I.C. Traughber, Director Amani Reed, and Head of High School Quinton P. Walker with USN’s four Parthenon Awards at the banquet held Monday, August 29.

    • Communications Director Juanita I.C. Traughber speaks on stage during the awards banquet.

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