Podcast Culture/Agency Life Public Relations

PRovoke Podcast: Why Diversity Must Become a PR Industry Priority

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Phil NardonePresident & Chief Executive Officer

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Aarti Shah, Chief Product Officer & Executive Editor at PRovoke, to discuss why and how diversity must become a priority in the PR industry. This is a topic that I feel very passionate about, and recognize how my role as a CEO, adjunct professor at Syracuse University and member of the PR Council Board of Directors can impact change across a broader platform.

Throughout the podcast, I share a few actions that PAN has taken to demonstrate our commitment to making our agency more diverse, equitable and inclusive (DEI). Aarti and I were able to discuss how mid-sized agencies like PAN are developing internal task forces to address the lack of diversity in the industry, while also placing our support across our employee base by matching charitable donations dollar for dollar.

But I wanted to also demonstrate how quickly our conversation moved from planning to execution. We won’t shy away from the topic and we are not perfect. We must listen, learn – and listen again. We realize that this is a situation that needs fixing and from our viewpoint – it starts right here at our agency.

Since this podcast was recorded, our team at PAN has made progress in several areas across the firm that I am proud to share on behalf of our leadership teams, such as:

  • We created a detailed six-step DEI plan for our agency, geared towards addressing this significant change across every facet of our business.
  • Our executive team has completed DEI training to better educate ourselves on how to make our workplace more inclusive.
  • PAN assembled its diversity data and will be using these stats as a foundation for progress, reflection and change within our agency.
  • We have begun to approach our recruitment practices through a DEI lens, ensuring that we’re incorporating a percentage of BIPOC candidates in our search. This effort has already resulted in PAN hiring three people of color in the past month.
  • On a personal note, I’m proud to be a guest lecturer throughout the fall semester at NC A&T and NCCU, two HBCUs in North Carolina. As much as I look forward to imparting my years of wisdom on these students, I’m equally as eager to observe and learn from their own perspectives.
  • Next quarter we will be hosting a roundtable with select clients to discuss DEI initiatives, share best practices and learn from one another. We’ll be sharing more about this at a later date.

As we push our return to office date closer to the end of the year, we plan to begin implementing short and long-term DEI goals virtually as an agency. We look forward to updating our clients and peers as we meet these goals and become active allies for all people of color.

If you haven’t had a chance to hear my discussion with Aarti, you can listen in below.

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