By Alyssa Badalamenti, Diversity & Inclusion Chair
The last 12 months have highlighted diversity and inclusion in such a powerful way that it makes my role as Diversity and Inclusion Chair only a microscopic piece of a much larger initiative in our lifetime.
As a public relations professional (and an ethical and moral human being), I have been encouraged by the power of voice in the last few months, albeit the horror stories we’ve read across headlines. Because let’s admit it: this isn’t just about the recent sexual harassment allegations. This is about shifting the longstanding choice to look away or avoid change from what we’ve always known to be. The brunt of the Harvey Weinstein acts coming to light may have given buoyancy to a louder and more diverse voice. The response has even become a movement for greater awareness, listening, and action.
When we think about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we may have always ignored the fact that there were no women keynote speakers planned at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. We may have always ignored that although H&M communicates to a diverse audience, their recent misstep seemed to disregard an entire part of that audience. We may have always been uncomfortable with asking the right questions to gain knowledge about how to become more inclusive and diverse in our own organization, or in our own SELF!
What this movement teaches us is to embrace our differences and work together to understand each other so we can improve our skills in collaboration.
PRSA defines diversity and inclusion as follows:
“To champion diversity of thought, cultures, disciplines, ideals, gender, disabilities, sexual orientation and age in order to develop an inclusive society. By reaching and involving members who represent a broad spectrum of differences, we will encourage and educate members about the benefits of a diverse profession by providing professional development, knowledge and support to help them succeed in public relations.”
Champion is more than following; it’s being the one to make the difference and take the action.
Reaching other members and involving those who represent differences will educate ourselves and others to better our profession and help us succeed.
This is our time to use the momentum of truth and voice; to encourage diversity and make an impact so that we can support each other and be inclusive in all aspects of PR—our messaging, our teams, our audiences, and our thoughts.
Even in my “microscopic” role, I am empowered to be a part of the larger initiative with a loud voice and a strong collaboration among all those who will join me in becoming an agent of diversity and inclusion.