Partnerships & Collaborations Can Advance D&I Movement Recap

One of the amazing benefits of being a member of PRSA is access to the most amazing talent in the industry and the open opportunity to engage and grow as a communicator. This has been a very challenging year on many levels and the need to clearly communicate has never been greater. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee has hosted several “Diverse Dialogues” webinars that address communication responses to key cultural issues. 

The most recent event I attended was on Wednesday, December 9, and the topic was “Partnerships and Collaborations can advance the D&I Movement." The panel discussion was incredible and ended up going longer than one hour due to the compelling exchanges throughout. The discussion was moderated by Felicia Blow, APR,  co-chair of PRSA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Andrea Gils Monzon, co-chair of the PRSA Diversity and Inclusion Committee and joined by:

  • Garland Stansell, APR, PRSA Chair
  • Lauren Wesley Wilson - Founder and CEO, ColorComm Media Group
  • Naomi Tacuyan Underwood - Executive Director, Asian American Journalists Association
  • Terry Allen - National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Media Related Task Force Chair
  • Rebecca Aguilar - Emmy Award-Winning Reporter and President-Elect for the Society of Professional Journalists

The question, "How can we have more diversity and inclusion, where do we find solutions?" was raised during the hour. The need is urgent and the answers begin from within. We have the ability right now where we work to create dialogue and seek collaborations and partnership. It was suggested that laziness and not lack of diverse talent is a pressing issue. Look within your current organization and support and advance those individuals that have the ability to excel and not just do the job. Be creative and strategic and think outside the box.

The recurring theme was partnerships. How do we effectively communicate with our corporate partners and share our needs and be as strategic as we can be. If our own organizations are not diverse, “how can we preach it?" The group conveyed many times that there needs to be less talk about change and more action.  The good news is advocacy meetings are taking place on local, regional, and national levels to address the situation.  One panelist, Terry Allen, said it very well: “We cannot turn a blind eye, we cannot live in a silent agreement that everything is okey-dokey”. The definition of diversity is “I see you, inclusion is defined as “I hear you." We truly need to empower each other so true equity can exist.

Not only is action the right thing to do, it is good for business.  Many comments were shared about the financial rewards for companies that embrace diversity and Inclusion and gender diversity in all levels of the organization. It is very similar to the concepts of synergy that Stephen R. Covey spoke of in his “7 Habits of Highly Effective People;" we all accomplish more than we do when we work alone. I also think of painter Bob Ross who created new perspectives by blending what was already on the canvas and creating something unique.

The exciting news is PRSA has been very proactive and engaging its member base to create collaboration and solutions. PRSA has launched it’s D&I Strategic Plan 2020-2022. The PRSA 2021 board is the most diverse ever and has an excellent vision for this organization of over 21,000 members. We are thankful for our Central Ohio D&I representative, Shanikka Flinn. It is wonderful to see our chapter support this amazing initiative.

Let’s all be a part of this conversation. Let’s increase our collaboration as a chapter and where we work. Let’s be intentional with our communication and help equip our existing team members to be recognized, promoted, and encourage equity and excellence.  Think outside of the box and never be afraid to share. We learned these lessons early in life, now is the time to consistently put them into action. Go to Diversity & Inclusion and make a difference for our future and a stronger PRSA.

Chris Grindrod, Consultant,Chris Grindrod PR

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