Championing DE&I Across the Communications Industry and Beyond
By Yesenia Reinoso
Why diversity? It is a topic that constantly has been ringing across PR industry sectors (as well as everywhere else) for years. But why now? Why the urgency? Why this specific time period? If we’re going to tackle the diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) issues honestly, then we better tackle the whole thing from the root and not based on race. When people first think of the word “diversity,” they automatically assume it’s race, but it is not. It should address everything – race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and age. We have to address the entire diversity umbrella.
The topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion is way overdue. DE&I should already be on autopilot throughout private and public sector America. But it is not. For decades, brands focused their messaging catered to one specific group. However, as the country and demographics evolve, brands showcase difficulty in connecting with these numerous groups. The truth is the U.S. is a multiethnic and multiracial country – it’s embedded in our DNA. A melting pot of people from all backgrounds coming together to create a uniqueness that makes us stand out. We need to embrace that uniqueness, not reject it.
Educate & Implement
As the diversity issue continues to gain momentum, brands are on the clock to address the barriers in place as well as concrete initiatives to improve the overall makeup of these orgs. We need to see genuine effort. The diversity movement has been painfully slow for two reasons: One — companies genuinely struggle with discussing and implementing diversity. They do not know where to start. Two — companies do not adapt well due to limited revenue or level of comfort. Education is key. It’s good to see more DE&I roles popping up with executives of color leading the way. However, as a collective issue, the work must be done by both the minority AND the majority.
How do we close the gap?
- Implement training programs that educate individuals, especially decision-makers, on building DE&I plans.
- Revamp the recruitment and professional development process where companies find, maintain, produce, support, and grow diverse talent across the board – junior to executive level.
- Establish the brand and involve your organization in new markets. To attract a new market, you must go to them and genuinely bond with them through their voice. Whether it is internal programming, community engagement, media storytelling, high school/university recruitment events, or public policy objectives, you have a chance to make yourself known and form a loyal connection.
- Diversify the C-suite executives’ makeup. To make real change, organizations must have senior executives who reflect the audience. People will trust you if they see themselves reflected.
Why do we communicate diversity? Why do we communicate equity? Why do we communicate inclusion? DE&I promotes civility, respect, unity, and acceptance. It showcases the real makeup of our society. They all interconnect. Why hide it? Embrace it. Communicate about it. We should all feel empowered by our diversity.