The PR Council (PRC) announced the winners of the eighth annual Diversity Distinction in PR Awards today at its annual member dinner. The awards, sponsored by the PR Council in partnership with PRWeek, recognize and reward organizations and individuals who play a key role in promoting and strengthening diversity and inclusion within the communications sector.
“These awards pay tribute to the remarkable work that happens when leaders and environments are both diverse and inclusive,” said Kim Sample, President, PR Council. “For those who are not taking action, we hope the evening serves as an inspiring wake-up call for what is possible.”
“We’ve now wrapped up our eighth year with this awards program and it continues to inspire me how committed the PR industry is to advancing diversity and inclusion,” said Gideon Fidelzeid, managing editor, PRWeek. “All entries this year were immensely impressive. This evening and these awards truly epitomize the hard work and commitment of these organizations and individuals.”
2018 Diversity Distinction in PR Award Winners:
Honorable Mention: Best PR Firm Diversity Initiative – $100 million or more
Burson Cohn & Wolfe: Together Being More 2.0
Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) launched their comprehensive “Together Being More” program to create a truly diverse and inclusive workforce. Since winning PRWeek’s “Best PR Firm Diversity Initiative” award in 2017, BCW launched their “Together Being More 2.0” initiative which builds on prior achievements, accelerates their focus and embeds D&I into everything they do. Their goals for Together Being More 2.0 were to increase recruitment of diverse talent, improve diversity at the senior ranks, facilitate career growth and improve retention. Future initiatives include new partnerships, additional learning opportunities such as “Courageous Conversations about Race,” event sponsorships, discussion forums and career advice.
Winner: Best PR Firm Diversity Initiative – $100 Million or More
Porter Novelli: You Are Welcome Here
The aim of Porter Novelli Perspectives is to integrate diversity and inclusion into everything they do. Today, women make up more than 50 percent of their senior ranks and maintain gender pay parity. Women also make up more than half of their Executive Committee and represent more than half of their managing directors among owned offices. More broadly, 40 percent of their Executive Committee includes those from underrepresented groups, with 20 percent identifying as from the LGBT community and 20 percent as people of color. During the remainder of 2018, they plan to roll out an anti-hate initiative across their organization that includes co-creating curriculum to tackle implicit bias, encouraging acts of kindness, and convening clients/leaders to affect change.
Honorable Mention: Best PR Firm Diversity Initiative – Less Than $100 Million in Annual Revenue
Carmichael Lynch Relate: Diversity Inclusion Action League (DIAL)
Carmichael Lynch Relate created the Diversity Inclusion Action League (DIAL) Committee in 2011 to formally recognize and celebrate the unique gifts found in the individuals, the clients and the culture of the agency. The mission of the DIAL Committee is to offer the opportunity to discover the vast collage of cultures, experiences and abilities of their employees and to achieve multicultural hiring practices and training. Their goal is to develop and foster this environment for the continued success of their company, their clients, their culture, their fellow employees and their future coworkers. The DIAL Committee has grown from six to 88 employees (over a third of their entire agency) in eight years. Overall agency participation in and at various D&I events and training holds steady at 95% or above for three years running.
Winner: Best PR Firm Diversity Initiative – Less Than $100 Million in Annual Revenue
Finn Partners: Actions Speak Louder Program
The objective of the Actions Speak Louder program was to drive the fast lane past much of the diversity rhetoric espoused by organizations and show results. In the seven years since Finn Partners launched in 2011, the agency has become one of the most diverse independent PR firms in the world, with 22% of their U.S. employees from minority backgrounds. Finn Partners’ steady progress in increasing agency diversity is a result of their Actions Speak Louder program, launched in January 2016. Program pillars are: recruitment and retention, mentorship and education and thought leadership. They partner with institutions like The City College of New York and George Washington University, while supporting the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies, The LAGRANT Foundation, Futures and Options and the Emma Bowen Foundation. They plan to continue to expand the Actions Speak Louder program by furthering their strategic partnerships and alliances with organizations in education and professional and community development.
Honorable Mention: Best In-House Diversity Initiative
Bank of America: Count me In! Campaign
In December 2017, Bank of America’s communications team partnered with their Global D&I organization on a campaign called “Count Me In!” to encourage U.S. employees to update self-disclosed diversity characteristics (military status, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability status) in their HR data management system in an effort to have an accurate view of their company’s diversity. The campaign helped demonstrate leadership support for employees to bring their whole selves to work, and helped employees understand why they should update their personal information. More than 87,000 U.S. employees participated by visiting Workday to review and update their personal information ― a 2,310% increase in participation over 2016 representing 49% of the target population. This more complete picture of Bank of America’s diversity allows them to assess their programs and resources to ensure they are supporting employees in every way possible and helps Bank of America continue to attract diverse talent.
Winner: Best In-House Diversity Initiative
HP: Reinvent Mindsets
To drive awareness around D&I, HP launched a series dedicated to identifying unconscious bias towards women and underrepresented groups, “Reinvent Mindsets.” The initiative has an explicit call to action around the message “HP is hiring, and talent is the only criteria” to recruit, retain and promote diverse talent to HP. Under the leadership of Dion Weisler (CEO), Antonio Lucio (CMO), and HP’s Board of Directors, HP has become one of the top tech companies with women and underrepresented in executive positions. When HP created Reinvent Mindsets, it challenged itself to increase the number of women and minorities in creative and leadership positions to better represent its key audiences. In the US, women now account for 50% of the new external leadership hires in Marketing. Women currently hold approximately 55% of the leadership positions within Marketing in the US, which represents a +7.5% increase over the past two years. In that same time span, HP demonstrated diversity worldwide with women accounting for 50% of internal promotions to director and above levels in Marketing. Through the Reinvent Mindsets campaign, HP is actively trying to spark meaningful change in how job candidates are perceived and treated in the tech industry.
Honorable Mention: Best Campaign by a Diverse and Inclusive Team
Weber Shandwick: Weber Shandwick Los Angeles and the LA LGBT Center-F*ck w/out Fear Campaign
The F*ck w/out Fear campaign team consisted of Weber Shandwick and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The campaign promoted Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) which is a once-daily pill that reduces the risk of HIV infection by up to 99%. F*ck w/out Fear uses authentic language that breaks through the clutter of other prevention messages and commands attention—and sparks a real, thoughtful conversation about PrEP amongst the LGBT community and those most at-risk for HIV. More importantly, F*ck w/out Fear is a sex-positive campaign that directly addressed the benefit of taking PrEP. Informed by extensive research, the tone and content were designed for audiences to take one action: Set up a PrEP appointment at the Center.
Winner: Best Campaign by a Diverse and Inclusive Team
P&G, Egami Group, and BBDO: My Black Is Beautiful “THE TALK” – Creating a National Movement to End “The Talk
Formed at P&G in 2007 by a group of visionary black women, My Black is Beautiful (MBIB) is a community-building program consisting of nearly 3 million women. Leading up to the 10-year anniversary of MBIB, EGAMI GROUP and BBDO were engaged to collaborate and provide counsel on how to re-launch the platform in a way that would drive awareness and relevance. Working closely with lead advertising agency partner BBDO, EGAMI’s insights were developed into a 2-minute film entitled, “The Talk”. It culminates with a call for society as a whole to be part of a larger conversation about racial bias, so that one day, black families no longer need to have “The Talk.”
Honorable Mention: Outstanding Young PR Professional
Rodney Pruitt (Weber Shandwick)
Diversity is an evident passion of Rodney Pruitt’s, and a foundational value that he brings to his client work and to the agency. He embraces different perspectives and works to make his campaigns and his office environment more inclusive. Rodney is also a key member of the St. Louis office’s Diversity Committee, supporting recruitment efforts and committee activities. Most notably, Rodney was instrumental in identifying an outside speaker to lead a D&I session for the entire office. The session provided perspective on how each of us can better embrace these values, and understand the impact that diversity has on our business.
Winner: Outstanding Young PR Professional
Amber Arnold (MWWPR)
Amber Micala Arnold is a corporate communications manager at MWWPR specializing in media relations, strategic planning, executive positioning and diversity & inclusion. She is the founder and co-chair of MWWPR’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, which provides support, insights and actionable solutions to executive leadership on Diversity and Inclusion issues. Since its launch earlier this year, the Council, under Amber’s leadership, has introduced the MWWPR D&I Digest intended to bring awareness to D&I-related issues, news and trends that may impact the lives and work of MWWPR’s people and clients. The group also facilitated unconscious bias training for all employees. She is a member of ColorComm where she serves as MWWPR’s ambassador, and of the Forbes Communications Council, where she shares insights on unique communications strategies.
Honorable Mention: Diversity Champion – PR Agency
Judith Harrison (Weber Shandwick)
At Weber Shandwick, Judith leads the firm’s efforts in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and is a key member of the agency’s global leadership team. She works to activate programs designed to build a multicultural workforce, an environment of inclusivity and a collaborative culture that is a magnet for the best minds in the business. Judith drives DEI programs nationally and also leads creative talent outreach initiatives to build strong pipelines of potential staff. She also partners with DEI leadership development and professional organizations outside of Weber Shandwick to cultivate the agency’s multicultural talent and increase awareness of the firm’s diversity commitment. Outside of Weber Shandwick, Judith is president of the PRSA Foundation, president-elect of New York Women in Communications and sits on the advisory board of the Ron Brown Scholars Program and ColorComm.
Winner: Diversity Champion – PR Agency
Soon Mee Kim (Porter Novelli)
Soon Mee Kim is executive vice president and Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader for Porter Novelli. In 2017, Soon Mee worked as part of the E3 Task Force, a group of PR agency representatives, to host listening sessions across the U.S. to uncover barriers to advancement among women of color in communications. When Soon Mee assumed the Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader role at Porter Novelli, she architected a program that integrates diversity and inclusion into all that Porter Novelli does. Within this construct, Soon Mee defined diversity and inclusion as both a moral and business imperative, reached agreement on top priorities, and set guiding principles and ambitious goals. She developed Porter Novelli’s diversity champions network to establish local-office programming throughout the organization in support of Black History Month, International Women’s Day, PRIDE and more.
Honorable Mention: Diversity Champion – In-House
Rochelle Ford (Elon University)
In a career spanning more than two decades, Rochelle L. Ford consistently fosters greater diversity and inclusion across the public relations industry. As Chair of the Public Relations Department (PRL) at the Newhouse School of Syracuse University, Dr. Ford built a diverse team committed to D&I and developed her team members’ skills to meet students’ needs for understanding diversity and inclusion issues in the communications industry. In the past year alone, Dr. Ford developed a lecture and series of materials for Newhouse adjuncts to introduce D&I topics related to writing. In addition, her department established a fellowship for a Latino, Native American or African American student; developed domestic and global diversity rubrics to assess students’ abilities; required student ePortfolios to include a set of diversity, inclusion and ethics statements; and produced three LAGRANT foundation scholarship students to increase ethnic minorities in communications.
Winner: Diversity Champion – In-House
Carlos Orta (Carnival Corporation)
Carlos F. Orta is the Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Carnival Corporation & plc and an award-winning corporate executive with more than 20 years of experience leading Fortune 500 corporations in the areas of diversity and inclusion, government affairs, community relations, and philanthropy. Orta’s D&I expertise led Carnival to task him with leading the company’s D&I outreach, highlight its diverse workforce and create and establish new D&I partnerships, as part HR’s recruitment and retention strategy. From 2006 to 2014, Orta was the President and CEO of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR). Through his work, HACR blossomed into one of the most influential nonprofit advocacy organizations, significantly growing Hispanic representation in Corporate America. As a D&I champion, Orta lends his expertise by volunteering and serving on the boards of dozens of nonprofits, such as the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Leadership Florida, the Human Rights Campaign’s Foundation’s Business Advisory Council, and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, where he serves as chairman.