I’ve been speaking about diversity and inclusion a lot lately and I think it’s important that we don’t just talk but take action, and also for people to understand why I care so much even as a top PR agency. So this is my first blog on the subject, safe in the knowledge that I’m not just making a pledge that we should do more, but I’ve had the chance to take a few small steps on the long journey ahead we must all take.
My perspective of inclusion has been shaped by two light-bulb moments over the last six months, which has massively shifted my perspective.
#1 When you experience inequality it’s a wake up call
A personal change in my life means I now see that when you’re not part of a mainstream community you see things very differently.
Following the commentary on diversity in June, along with some horrible insights, a simple one really struck me – that all the cards on sale for Father’s Day only had white faces – and of course why would I have ever noticed this before? When we’re looking for things we often only see the things we are looking for. I’ve only ever needed to buy cards with white people on them, why would I even think about whether people from other backgrounds are featured?
Flipping back to earlier this year I felt the same frustration when searching for a card to send to my lovely gal pal. Cards that represent my relationship are not easy to find in shops – but big love to Moonpig who cover every flavour of family life. Now I’m part of a minority I have to make a real effort to find aspects that represent my life, and recognise this is new for me, but others have faced this their whole lives.
This chain of events made me really understand that its hard to relate to the inequality under representative groups face until you stand in their shoes.
#2 How to take action on Blackout Tuesday
On 2 June my team alerted me that we needed to turn our social media black to support Blackout Tuesday – “Is that ok?” – they asked. I’m supposed to say yes, but I wanted to say no. “How does just being seen to be care actually help?” I asked myself – we need to do more. But not joining this action would also seem like the issue of race was passing us by, so of course we posted black squares.
But for me, this was not enough.
So we went beyond this and made a small donation to Taylor Bennett Foundation – a charity that is driving practical action to help the PR industry to be more representative of the community we serve, and we hope we can do more. We’ve started paying to post our jobs up to the Taylor Bennett Foundation jobs board to ensure we’re doing more to reach BAME talent. We then also committed to hosting an Open House event which we staged in August, sharing the stage with CIPR Midlands to maximise the reach of the opportunity to showcase the diversity of people working in PR, as well as diversity of PR itself. This has been a great start for our top PR agency, but there’s more to do.
Going even further
We’re now building on this by supporting the Diversity in PR Conference on 20 October – where a great line up of speakers have been brought together by organisers A Leader Like Me, looking a Diversity from a range of perspectives. I’m looking forward to attending and as sponsor we’re excited to gift our second complimentary ticket to the recipient of our “Bursary Spot” place. I’ll be honest, organised at a bit of a pace and to make it as easy as possible to get involved there is no extensive application process. Simply contact A Leader Like Me and outline in 50 words or less why you should be given the Bursary Spot. All applications will be entered into a draw and the place awarded on Friday 16th October – so please get involved – whatever your background.
Where we go from here
I’ve only just started on this subject and the issue of race has dominated the inclusion narrative, but social mobility, gender and disability need airtime, and of course being proud to be a visible member of LGBTQ+ community means that I hope I can personally help every PR professional from whatever background know that it’s ok to be you – and everyone’s included.