The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Taylor Bennett Foundation have launched the PR industry’s first Reverse Mentoring Scheme. Designed to increase awareness of diversity challenges and the need for inclusive cultures, and to drive lasting change in the PR industry, the pilot scheme will run for 10-months.
The scheme pairs senior leaders with Black, Asian and ethnic minority PR and communications professionals to share insights into what it is like to be a minority in the industry, to understand the challenges that are presented, to showcase the importance of allyship and inclusive cultures, and to encourage new ways of thinking in how their organisations approach all aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion.
The CIPR’s Race in PR report, issued last year, found that many PR professionals from ethnic communities face significant barriers to inclusion and career progression with research from PR Week showing that one in five UK PR agencies having no non-white employees at all.
The first participants in the scheme are:
- Frances Abebreseh, Communications Manager, Netflix
- Ashwinder Bedi, Campaign Manager, Babel PR
- Tom Hunt, Senior Associate, Purpose Union
- Melissa Jumbo, Communications Lead, Mouro Capital
- Deepak Kumar, Press Officer, TfL
- Kuldeep Mehmi, PR Manager, Savills
- Hannah Mensah-Kane, Account Manager, Nexus Communications
- Shanil Nayee, Senior Account Manager, Harvard PR
- Emmanuel Ofosu-Appiah, UK PR Manager, Mercer
- Esther Oluga, Regional Communications Manager, Home Office
- Tariq Peters, Senior Account Executive, Four Communications
- Ata Rahman, Digital Content Office, Imperial College London
- Nahidur Rahman, Senior Manager, DWF Group
- Ester Russom, Press Officer, Euronext
- Christine Tama, Communications and PR Freelance
- Matt Appleby, Independent Strategic Communications Consultant
- Shaun Bell, Group Account Director, Stripe Communications
- Juliet Cameron, COO, Launch
- Tim Chatwin, VP Communications and Public Affairs, Google EMEA
- Tom Frackowiak, Managing Director, Cicero
- Daniel Gerrella, Associate Director, Liz Male Consulting
- Susie Hackett, International Head of Corporate Communications
- Susan Kinnear, Director, Centre of Journalism & Public Communication, Cardiff University
- Molly Neal, Director of Communications, Brand & Campaigns, National Grid
- Jo Patterson, CEO, 3 Monkeys Zeno
- Sarah Pinch, Managing Director, Pinchpoint Communications
- Brad Ryan, Senior PR Lead, ARUP
- Kate Smith, Practice Director, Brands2Life
- Vicki Spencer-Francis, Managing Director, Cowshed
- Ben Verinder, Founder and Managing Director, Chalk Street Communications
The PR industry has a diversity problem and at the heart of that challenge is the need to build inclusive cultures. We called on senior leaders to take responsibility for this and many have stepped up but we know that, understandably, there is often a gap in understanding of experiences. We are hopeful that this programme will help to educate, and create conversations and relationships that inform actions and deliver lasting change so that more black, Asian and ethnic minority PRs have the opportunities to join, thrive and build successful careers in the industry.
Avril Lee MCIPR, Chair of the CIPR Diversity and Inclusion Network
The mentors are all excited to be part of this scheme – we see it as a great opportunity to have conversations that perhaps otherwise wouldn’t be had for fear of saying the wrong thing or feeling unsure about how to approach a certain topic. As part of broader industry initiatives, we hope this will help the industry move forward.Melissa Lawrence, CEO of Taylor Bennett Foundation
Reverse mentoring turns the traditional format on its head. In this case, the scheme is matching 15 senior leaders from a white background mentored by PR professionals with 3-10 years experience from an ethnically diverse background.
Mentees were invited to join the scheme and reflect a broad range of agencies, in-house and independent consultants working in a variety of sectors.
The scheme officially is due to complete in June 2022 with the CIPR and Taylor Bennett Foundation committed to taking and sharing learnings from the pilot scheme to inform future initiatives and training in this area.