LGBTQ Expertise

RENEWPR is certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. This certification, noted on every page of this website, signifies that RENEWPR is an LGBT-owned and operated business. 

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In June 2019, RENEWPR President Ben Finzel was honored as one of 50 Legacy Leaders Over 50 by BEQ Pride Magazine. That month, he was also profiled for his history of engagement in the Washington, D.C. LGBTQ community by Washington City Paper

He has a long history of professional involvement in the LGBT community; a summary of Ben's involvement is outlined below

Community Engagement 

 

Ben's engagement in the community extends more than twenty-five years.

  • In the 1990s, he was a fundraising volunteer for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and helped launch the organization's first spring fundraiser, Serving with Pride. He volunteered with the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and served on that organization's DC area steering committee. He was a founding member of the Lesbian and Gay Congressional Staff Association. While serving as a public affairs communications professional at Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, Ben co-lead development of the internal human resources proposal for LGBT benefits that resulted in the firm’s first national LGBT benefits offering in 1998. 

  • In 2018, Ben launched DC Family Communicators, the first and only professional network for LGBTQ communications professionals in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The group hosts networking events, shares job leads and provides leadership opportunities for the diverse, but often unconnected LGBTQ communications community in the Nation's Capital. 

  • Ben served one term (2016 - 2019) as a member of the Board of Directors of OutServe-SLDN, the largest national advocacy group for LGBT servicemembers, veterans and their families (and the predecessor organization of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network). 

  • Ben is also actively politically, co-hosting fundraisers for LGBT elected officials and candidates and supporting the work of organizations such as the LGBTQ Victory Fund, GLAAD and others. 

Global Communications Leadership

  • Ben was founding global chair of FH Out Front, the global gay and lesbian communications practice at FleishmanHillard (FH) he co-launched with colleagues in two other markets in November 2004. The first such practice of its kind in the world, FH Out Front grew under Ben’s co-leadership to include more than 50 FH professionals in twenty FH offices on four continents.

  • During this time, FH Out Front worked with more than one dozen clients representing a broad cross section of consumer, corporate and association market segments including Kodak, Motorola, UPS, Ernst & Young, Fellowes, Olivia, PFLAG and Commercial Closet Association.

  • In his role as FH Out Front co-chair, Ben also advised Omnicom’s legal team on the international advertising and public relations firm holding company’s first-ever Corporate Equality Index submission to the Human Rights Campaign. 

  • During Ben's co-leadership, FH Out Front was the official communications firm of Gay Games VII in Chicago in 2006; more than one dozen FH offices worldwide provided media outreach and support to help promote the games generating significant global coverage on scale not seen for previous Games. FH Out Front also helped manage the successful bid by Cleveland in 2009 to win Gay Games IX, which took place in Cleveland in August 2014. 

  • In 2006, Ben co-developed and launched the public relations industry’s first gay and lesbian communications blog – www.outfrontblog.com – and he served as editor, managing a fluid team of six-eight bloggers from throughout the FleishmanHillard network for nearly three years. Over this period, he contributed more than 200 blog posts to the Out Front Blog and interviewed LGBT icons such as Billie Jean King and Greg Louganis and LGBT community leaders such as Jody Huckaby and Neil Giuliano. 

  • In 2019, Ben collaborated with PR firm leaders from five other firms to launch The Change Agencies, the first and only national network of independently-owned public relations firms focused on inclusive marketing to multicultural and LGBTQ communities. Read more about the back story of the creation of this innovative new collaboration on our blog here

Media and Public Speaking

  • Over the past fifteen years, Ben’s perspectives on gay and lesbian communications have been included in coverage by news outlets and publications around the world including the Associated Press, The New York Times, USA Today, PR Week, O'Dwyer's, The Advocate, The Windy City Times and The Washington Blade.

  • He has also spoken at international LGBT travel and tourism conferences, moderated media panels at industry journalism conferences and addressed the corporate advisory council of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Client Work 

  • At RENEWPR, Ben has: offered advice, counsel and outreach assistance to Gill Foundation; provided publicity and media relations support to the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington; and collaborated with Family Equality on two campaign projects to support enactment of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, among other projects.

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