CSU alumna’s strides in PR field lead to national post

Alumna Jane Dvorak has made significant strides in the public relations field since graduating from Colorado State University.

The owner of Denver-based public relations firm JKD & Company, who earned her bachelor’s degree from CSU’s journalism department in 1983, has been named 2017 chair of the Public Relations Society of America’s national board of directors.

The PRSA is the nation’s largest community of public relations and communications professionals, consisting of 22,000 members and 11,000 students.

After graduating from CSU, Dvorak worked for the American Heart Association for five years as a PR coordinator and PR director. She launched her own independent practice in 1989.

Since then, her clients have included Applewood Heating Plumbing & Electric, Rocky Mountain Agribusiness Association, Modern Bungalow, University of Phoenix, University of Colorado Hospital as well as nonprofits CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Jefferson and Gilpin Counties and the Boys and Girls Club.

Dvorak has been a contributing member to the PRSA since 1980. She has been a member of the Colorado PRSA board, including serving as president in 2003. She was PRSA Western District Chair in 2007 and inducted into the organization’s College of Fellows in 2010.

“I am very honored — it’s not easy to be nominated to serve as chair of PRSA,” Dvorak said. “As chair, my responsibility is to drive the next strategic plan from 2017 to 2019, which focuses on keeping up with the ever-changing PR world. I also work with other board members and oversee the CEO.”

She has earned two prestigious Silver Anvil Awards from the PRSA during her career, in 2011 and 2016. The first was for a brand management campaign to launch a phone app for Applewood Plumbing, and the second was for a campaign that resulted in a 20 percent increase in business for a Denver Realtor.

“It is humbling to have that big of an impact on companies,” Dvorak said. “I never would have thought that it would have been a possibility to win the highest award in PR, but I get to do really incredible work that I am passionate about, and being recognized for my work is the most rewarding feeling.”

Dvorak has also received two Grand Gold Pick Awards, along with winning PRSA’s small business award in 2010 and 2015.

“I am an independent competing with agencies and boutiques that have multiple people working on one project,” Dvorak said. “Having your business recognized at the same level and ability as these bigger agencies is humbling.”

Dvorak and Professor Edward L Bernays

Although Dvorak has made an immense impact within the PR world, she said she could never have done it without her education at CSU.

“My education highly prepared me for the workplace,” said Dvorak. “It was well-rounded and exposed me to the skills I needed to be successful, including a writing foundation and expansion on learning outside of the curriculum, which gave me the opportunity to succeed, and in that regard I am forever grateful.”

She was also the second public relations professional recognized as an outstanding alum and was inducted into the CSU Journalism Hall of Fame this year. Dvorak now gives back to CSU as she mentors the student organization CSU PRSSA, and was recognized by PRSA as mentor of the year in 2013.

“CSU gave me the foundation, the ability, to test and trust myself, and be the very best PR person I could be,” Dvorak said. “I’m so glad CSU said yes to me.”