First PR Summit Session Aims to Transform the D&I Landscape in PRSA Chapters

By Charlene Payne
Diversity & Inclusion Committee Member

It’s a unique time for businesses and organizations committing to a renewed focus on diversity and inclusion. It’s a time where communicators can lead conversations, redirect dialogues, and mitigate the repercussions of unconscious biases to help us discover the real issues and challenges. 

This made Felicia Blow, APR, Co-Chair of the PRSA National Diversity & Inclusion Committee and 2021 National Chair-Elect Nominee, the perfect choice for our first PR Summit session. Felicia challenged attendees to think, act, and make a difference in our communities (through voices and  actions) in her presentation, “Think, Act, Make a Difference: Transforming the PRSA D&I Landscape.” 

We must communicate with others to help them find their voices, and to help them understand the true issues, Felicia said. These themes of equity and inclusion were woven throughout her powerful presentation, which included PRSA’s strategic plan and methods on how to engage current and future professionals.

Diversity & Inclusion Best Practices

Felicia’s recommended steps align themselves with the PRSA Strategic Plan’s objectives. They include:

  • Being an example to other organizations when it comes to diversity and inclusion. We must have representation within our organization by being planted at the table.
  • Showing integrity to other organizations. We have to be an example for other groups with diverse leadership.
  • Establishing one consistent definition for diversity and inclusion,  a separate initiative from affirmative action, EEOC, quotas, etc.
  • Creating pipelines from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to the organization.
  • Partnering with organizations like the National Association of Black Journalists and ColorComm.
  • Reimagining the definition of “new pro” (recent graduate vs. new to the industry).

Implementing Diversity & Inclusion 

Felicia recommends completing the following tasks when implementing diversity and inclusion into your chapter or organization:

  • Read the PRSA D&I Strategic Plan. Share the insights within it to strengthen its execution.
  • Build a D&I Calendar for the remainder of 2020. Begin thinking of your 2021 D&I activity calendar now.
  • Prepare for annual recognition of PRSA’s Diversity and Inclusion Month in October. 
  • Reach out to the National D&I Committee with questions and support.

This first PR Summit session taught us that chapters and organizations can use PRSA’s D&I Strategic Plan to deliver quantifiable results—helping them maintain strong footing in today’s multicultural marketplace, and in the global landscape of the future. If you’re interested in additional strategies on how to include diversity and inclusion in your organization, check outPRSA National’s Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit.

This year’s PR Summit consists of weekly presentations in October featuring topics in recognition of Global Diversity Awareness Month. Every Wednesday, PRSA Pittsburgh will host one or two sessions facilitating hard conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the PR industry. Each presentation will include time for Q&As, so that attendees can participate in these critical discussions. RSVP here

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