Ana Toro, APR, Fellow PRSA, is a bilingual and bicultural public relations leader as well as an educator, mentor, writer and public speaker with over 25 years of experience. Throughout her career, she has developed programs and campaigns for the federal government, nonprofit organizations, Fortune 500 companies and other consumer brands including Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, BMW, Chrysler, Coors Brewing Company, Merck, Philip Morris International, Royal Caribbean, Shell and Volvo Car Corporation. Currently she serves as project director at ICF where she oversees multiple federal contracts for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health. Before joining ICF, Toro was a vice president at FleishmanHillard where she led FH Multicultural, a global practice.
She moved from Puerto Rico to Georgia in 2002, and immediately joined the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) a few months later. During her first years in Atlanta, she served as director of public affairs at the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and also did consulting work as A. Toro Business Relations.
In her native Puerto Rico, she advocated for professionalism of the PR practice while leading national campaigns and crises, teaching at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon, and chairing the Puerto Rico Public Relations Association, the youngest at the time. Before having her own practice on the island, Toto worked for Focus Business Communications as account director, Publics, at FCB Puerto Rico as account executive, and at the Ana G. Mendez University System as communications official. She began her career as a contributing writer for Puerto Rico’s oldest newspaper, El Mundo, and later supporting the Oscar-nominated film director, writer, producer and actor Jacobo Morales as press agent.
In the U.S., she has been a constant advocate for diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the profession at national, professional and student conferences, in the media and in her local PRSA Chapter. As chair of PRSA’s National D&I Committee in 2016 and 2017, she published PRSA’s first blog post in Spanish and was an active contributor to PRSA’s D&I Toolkit, Twitter chats and webinars. For PRSA, she conceived the D&I Checklist and proposed the D&I liaison role for all PRSA Chapters. Today she is still a member of the D&I Committee, serving as the Chapter Relations chair.
Toro’s commitment to making public relations a more diverse and inclusive profession inspires her to volunteer at Real World PR, a collegiate conference in Atlanta where she mentors college students and volunteers in resume-critique sessions. She also is involved with DECA, an international student organization that promotes careers in business among high school students. Most recently, she was a judge of the Public Relations Project at DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, and Atlanta. She’s also a mentor through PRSA College of Fellows.
Toro loves to speak in public. Recently she spoke at the Religion Communicators Conference in Atlanta, and at the PRSSA Regional Conference in San Marcos, Texas. In 2017, she was guest speaker at PRSA Anchorage Communicator’s Exchange Conference, Texas State University’s Mass Communications Week, and the PRSA International Conference in Boston, where she co-presented on two panels.
Her major contributions to the profession could be those of promoting the national diversity and inclusion dialogue within PRSA. In August 2015, she reached out to the PRSA D&I Committee leadership expressing her interest to volunteer with them. Since she had been interviewed by PR Week several times on D&I topics, she was invited to join the Committee. Prior to the PRSA International Conference, she co-hosted the Diversity Mixer along with other committee members, and mentored PRSSA students during the event. During the Conference, she began tweeting for the first time using the #PRDiversity hashtag among the presentations that directly or indirectly fell under the D&I umbrella. As a result of her efforts, the Committee invited her to lead a #PRDiversity Tweet Chat in November, right after she became one of the Conference’s top influencers based on the number of retweets she received. According to Media Miser, the #PRDiversity hashtag was one of the top 10 trending topics of the Conference. Two months later, she was invited to be one of the D&I Toolkit reviewers. After her review, she proposed and developed a Diversity & Inclusion Checklist that was added as a complement to the toolkit for the PRSA Chapters. Later she was invited to lead the Committee as chair due to her contributions, ideas and results to elevate the D&I dialogue nationally. For two years, she chaired the D&I Committee where she developed and implemented the national D&I strategy for PRSA, oversaw the Chapter D&I Awards, and implemented a series of innovations such as D&I infocards, with quotes from Board of Directors members, the appointment of Chapter D&I liaisons and the first Chapters’ Chat on D&I. Today she continues working with PRSA past-presidents and other D&I leaders to draft PRSA’s strategic D&I plan.
Even before moving to the U.S., she also contributed to the industry in her homeland by bringing international PR experts as guest speakers to the Puerto Rico Public Relations Association (ARPPR) annual meeting. In 1999, she planned and held “De aquí y de allá: Relaciones públicas a lo latino,” the first ARPPR meeting with guest speakers from Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Panama and the United States. She brought the international scene to the local market due to her previous relationships with members of the Inter American Confederation of Public Relations (CONFIARP), when she reached out to international presenters and personally invited them. For her, it was essential to learn from other experts’ experiences whose cultural, political and media systems provided new perspectives and strategies for local practitioners. This opportunity provided a valuable exchange of ideas to over 250 counselors and educators on the Island.
Toro has earned numerous awards and recognitions from the industry, academia and her peers. She has a bachelor’s degree in media writing, summa cum laude, and a master’s degree in public relations from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in Puerto Rico. She also holds a Certificate in Hispanic Marketing Communications from Florida State University.