NASHVILLE — MP&F Public Relations founder Mark McNeely will be launching a new but related firm with his daughter, Kelly Brockman, June 1. McNeely Brockman will be housed in MP&F’s offices, and focus on executive-level media relations, media training,  crisis communications and strategic planning. McNeely will continue to work with some of MP&F clients.

PHILADELPHIA —Brownstein Group has launched a diversity and inclusion initiative, with the goal of having 20% of its staff comprised of talent from underrepresented backgrounds by the year 2020. The effort, called BG20 x 2020, will include the agency recruiting from schools with historically high percentages of students of color; getting involved in diverse professional groups; offering internships; and launching a day of service for employees.

CHICAGO — Agency parent company Beckerman has acquired Chicago Digital, a full-service digital marketing agency. The deal makes Chicago Digital’s capabilities available across Beckerman’s holdings, which include Beckerman PR, Antenna, Eco Branding and Paul & Zakheim Associates. Gould + Partners facilitated the acquisition.

CHICAGO —The Chicago firms Motion PR and AgencyMSI have merged into a  single agency, called Motion. Kimberly Eberl, former CEO & founder of Motion PR, will serve as as owner and CEO of the new entity. Dave Weiner, founder and CEO of AgencyMSI, is retiring after nearly six decades in the Chicago advertising industry. Marrying together AgencyMSI’s retail, branding, planning and digital capabilities with Motion PR’s  PR and digital practice for B2B and B2C clients, the newly-formed Motion can now serve clients as a multi-disciplined, creative communications agency.  It will be anchored by four leading divisions — creative, digital, public relations and branding.

FAIRFIELD, CONNECTICUT — Sacred Heart University will be offering a Master of Arts in strategic communications and public relations starting in the fall of 2018.  The SCPR degree will offer three concentrations: corporate communications and public relations; digital multimedia public relations; and political communication and multimedia production. The program is being launched in response to student and industry demand.

NEW YORK —  Executives appear to look up to and view positively those professionals that have strong social media presence, according to a report from the social media consultancy Qnary. The study, which surveyed 278 executives from Fortune 1000 companies, found more than 73% of participants answered positively when asked how they view senior leaders that have an active professional social media presence. A larger number, 87%, said it is important to very important that they are seen as an industry thought leader in their field. More than 90% of those surveyed stated that they look other executives up to review their backgrounds. 63% stated that an active professional presence can help their careers.

NEW YORK — Expanding its geographical reach, Worldcom Public Relations Group has added two new partners — Bakersfield, California-based Providence Consulting and Dublin’s Keating & Associates. Providence is a certified woman-owned marketing and communications firm, specializes in public affairs – representing industries, including oil and gas, mining, housing, solar power and others in complex permitting processes. Keating & Associates is a corporate communications consultancies that will offer Worldcom partners, clients and prospects access to public relations counsel across Ireland.