On Oct. 29, PRSA Diversity and PRSSA National hosted a chat on Twitter to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion in public relations. Members from PRSSA chapters all across the country, as well as some international chapters, tuned in to talk about diversity and inclusion.
Here are a few of the cool things we learned that will help you in the PR industry.
1. What is diversity and inclusion?
Diversity and inclusion means creating space for varying perspectives, backgrounds, cultures and ways of thinking so that everyone can feel welcomed in an organization and encouraged to be an active member, which in turn improves that organization. Diversity and inclusion should be a priority in an organization, because when people who think and see the world differently talk through issues, better and more effective solutions can be found.
2. What is the importance of having a diverse leadership?
According to The Holmes Report, and cited on The Harvard Business Review, women make up 70 percent of the PR industry, but they only hold 30 percent of executive positions. This contributes to continuous wage gaps; however, some firms are going against this trend. According to hbr.org, Ketchum appointed Barri Rafferty as the first female global CEO. One response on Twitter, from @theryanwill said, “Having diversity among leadership is impactful for younger generations to see that things that make us different (gender, race, nationality, etc.) don't inhibit our abilities, potential, or endeavors.”
3. How do we measure diversity efforts?
Diversity can be measured by numbers and demographics, but inclusion is qualitative. Ask members how included they feel, and watch retention in members. Showing success is one of the main challenges in diversity and inclusion, but we must always continue to pursue it. As members of an organization, we must maintain diversity and inclusion as a priority and keep our minds open so that our organization is constantly improving. If we think we have succeeded in creating diversity and inclusion, and stop pursuing it, the organization will suffer.
4. As prospective employees, how can you tell if an organization is inclusive?
One respondent, @cade_fleming said, “Listen to the kinds of language a company uses to describe themselves. Inclusivity should be evident in how they speak about their employees, culture and clients.” Make sure when you are applying for jobs or internships, you research a company’s values. If an organization does not prioritize diversity and inclusion, this will show up in their work.
5. Why is diversity so important among Millennials and Gen Z?
Younger generations want to see more diverse leadership. With social media connecting us to people and ideas that are different, we are more aware of the shortcomings of a homogeneous leadership group. One response from @alyssamurt said, “Having different generations is a form of diversity within itself! But, having diversity within those generations brings perspectives of all types of individuals who have lived through different times/experiences.”
6. Who are some inspirational diversity leaders in public relations?
Judith Harrison (@JudithDiversity ) is the senior VP of diversity and inclusion for Weber Shandwick, and she has worked for the betterment of women in the communication field and created awareness for diversity in the PR industry. She is just one of the inspirational leaders work to increase diversity and inclusion. Who do you look up to?
If you want to learn more about diversity and inclusion in public relations, read more of the tweets from the Twitter chat by using #PRDiversity.
By Makayla Williams, Co-VP of Diversity and Inclusion