Nobody who believes that the public relations industry needs to make diversity an urgent priority is entirely satisfied with the progress that has been made in recent years, but most of them would agree that much of that progress is attributable to the work done by Kim Hunter, founder, president and CEO of Lagrant Communications and founder and chairman of the Lagrant Foundation.

That means Hunter leads one of the largest and most successful multicultural communications firms in the US and runs the most significant non-profit promoting diversity in the PR industry, a dual role that makes him a worthy recipient of one of this year’s SABRE Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement.

The award is particularly appropriate this year, as the Foundation— which provides scholarships, career development workshops, internships, mentorship and educational enrichment programs to minority students—celebrates its 15th anniversary, over which time it has awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships to more than 220 students; helped more than 200 students secure scholarships with PR agencies and departments; and hosted more than 750 career development workshops.

This year, it will award another $250,000 in scholarships and host events in New York (May 20) and Seattle (May 30).

Hunter is frequently asked to speak at universities and seminars. He served as an adjunct professor at California State University, Northridge at the School of Journalism where he taught a course, "Diversity and the Media," for three academic years. He was also appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles to both the Cultural Affairs and Animal Services Commissions for the City of Los Angeles, serving a total of seven years.

At the age of 25, Hunter became the youngest marketing manager for Pharmaseal, a division of Baxter International, the largest manufacturer and distributor of health care products worldwide. He founded Lagrant Communications 22 years ago, building an integrated marketing communications firm with expertise in advertising, marketing and public relations services targeting African American and Latino consumer markets.

The firm is headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in Dallas and New York, working with clients including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, H&R Block, Harley-Davidson, the Islands of the Bahamas, MetLife, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Southern California Edison.