NEW YORK — The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has announced that Barbara Paynter, president of Paynter Communications, is among 11 new members elected into the national organization’s prestigious College of Fellows. The College is an honorary organization within PRSA comprised of more than 350 senior practitioners and educators, each of whom has left a significant footprint on the public relations profession.

The 2017 College of Fellows inductees will be welcomed officially on Saturday, Oct. 7, at a special ceremony and dinner in Boston.

“These 11 College of Fellows inductees are prime examples of the standard of excellence all practitioners are striving to achieve. They demonstrate strategic leadership that includes serving as sage counsel, mentors and role models for the entire profession,” said PRSA 2017 National Chair Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA. “I congratulate them on their well-deserved honor and encourage them to continue challenging their peers to strive to be leaders at every level.”

Paynter has more than 30 years’ experience in public relations, and is a trusted advisor to clients in a variety of industries. She specializes in strategic communications, reputation management, crisis communications and issues management. She has helped clients communicate effectively during high-stake situations, including environmental incidents, sudden leadership changes, accusations of unethical and criminal behavior, labor disputes, medical malpractice, data breaches and product recalls.

Paynter currently serves on the Board of Directors of JumpStart, as the public representative on the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association-Northern District of Ohio Chapter, and on the Marketing Committee of the Beck Center for the Arts. She is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Cleveland. She has served as president of both the Cleveland and Akron Chapters of PRSA, and is a member of PRSA’s Counselors Academy.

Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including two PRSA Silver Anvils, the industry’s highest honor, and a “Best of Show” Cleveland Rocks Award from the Cleveland Chapter of PRSA. A graduate of the University of Missouri, she began her career as a newspaper reporter.

Election to the College, which was created in 1989 as part of an initiative focused on the future of public relations, is considered the pinnacle of a professional’s career. Fellows are seen throughout PRSA and the profession serving in Chapter, District, Section and National leadership positions, mentoring students and professionals, and teaching and engaging in professional practice.

To qualify for admittance into the College of Fellows, the public relations practitioner or educator must have at least 20 years of experience, hold the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential, and have demonstrated exceptional capability and accomplishment in the practice or teaching of public relations. Fewer than 2 percent of PRSA members are accepted into the College of Fellows.


About the Public Relations Society of America
PRSA is the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community. The organization’s mission is to make communications professionals smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their career. PRSA achieves this by offering its members thought leadership and innovative lifelong learning opportunities to help them develop new skills, enhance their credibility and connect with a strong network of professionals. The organization sets the standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct for the public relations industry. PRSA collectively represents more than 30,000 members consisting of communications professionals, spanning every industry sector nationwide, and college and university students who encompass the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Learn more about PRSA at