Porter Novelli

This message originally appeared in a worldwide Porter Novelli staff email.

As we recognize International Women’s Day and International Women’s Month, we at Porter Novelli join with others around the world to #PressForProgress. While there is much that we need to do, I’m proud to say that Porter Novelli was one of the first major PR agencies to break the CEO glass ceiling when Helen Ostrowski took the helm of Porter Novelli in 2002-2008, and Karen van Bergen, now Omnicom PR Group CEO, in 2013-16. Today, women make up more than 50 percent of our executive committee and more than half of our senior ranks. We also maintain gender pay parity. Despite that women make up more than 70 percent of our industry, most agencies are unable to make these same claims and we hope that changes soon.

Here are a few ways we are commemorating women this month:

  • CARE Walk in Her Shoes This year, Porter Novelli will make a donation on behalf of the office that raises the most funds and will send the top individual fundraiser to see CARE’s work in action in possible locations such as Mozambique, Bangladesh, Honduras and Georgia.
  • We partnered with CARE and WeWork to host a panel discussion on “Economic Empowerment for Women.” Participants included: Claire Baumann of the United Nations Foundation; Nanette Braun, UN Department of Public Information, Christina Wegs with CARE, and Julie Ciardello Schumacher, Porter Novelli NY and Chicago Managing Director.
  • We helped launch Omnicom’s New York chapter of Omniwomen, whose mission is to “retain and cultivate the best female talent in the industry.” Kate Cusick, served as co-chair for this momentous event. Elsewhere, Fenella Grey, UK Managing Director, has been instrumental in Omniwomen UK, and Karen Ovseyevitz, Latin America regional president, and Sandra Kleinberg, Mexico MD, are leading efforts for Omniwomen Mexico.


I’d also like to acknowledge a few leaders who have been recognized for their excellence:

  • Karen Ovseyevitz, Latin America regional president, was recently interviewed the Mexican business magazine “Lideres Mexicanos” and share the challenges and opportunities in Latin America and her experience leading as a woman.
  • On March 1, Jess Schmidt, vice president in Southern California, was recognized at the March 1, LA Kings hockey game during PRIDE night.
  • Atlanta Managing Director Alicia Thompson was named one of The Network Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business and will be recognized at a ceremony on March 16.


These are just a few examples of what’s happening across Porter Novelli to celebrate women. We hope you’ll join us to #PressForProgress in every way.


Soon Mee Kim is executive vice president and global diversity and inclusion leader for Porter Novelli.