Blog Culture/Agency Life

What Martin Luther King Day Means to Our Community

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For a lot of businesses, the past few years have marked a shift for efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion. PAN has always put people first, and we continue to strengthen our existing DEI ideals to build a stronger community for everyone. Now more than 200 employees strong, we are proud of the progress we made in the past year as we drew inspiration from one another and from modern civil rights leaders like Tarana Burke, Alicia Garza and Bryan Stevenson who embody the aspirations and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some of our important milestones from 2022 include:

  • Naming our first official Head of DEI, Brandon Thomas, VP and NYC General Manager
  • Continuing mentorship work with three HBCUs
  • A 47% increase in BIPOC employees
  • Industry expert roundtable focused on meaningful progress in DEI work

Our commitment to inclusivity and equality for all people across all areas of business and society has encouraged us to think about important historic milestones like Martin Luther King Day. Meaningful change cannot be made unless the entire organization is on board – from junior levels all the way up to executives.

We recognize that we still have a journey ahead of us and that dismantling biases and creating a truly equal workforce will take some time and continued commitment.

That’s why we’ve paused and asked our employees the question: What does MLK Day mean to you?

Reflecting on the Meaning of MLK Day

“Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to pause and remember how far we’ve come, and yet how far we still have to go. I hope you will stay with me on this DEI journey – both my own and PAN’s. We know that change takes a collective voice and collective action. Please let’s continue to commit ourselves to listening and learning.” – Phil Nardone, President & CEO

“This year more than ever as I reflect on the impact Martin Luther King had on racial justice and equality, I am inspired! He was a true leader, visionary and he loved unconditionally. If one person could have brought about historical positive reform in our world, think about what we could do if each and every one of us embraced his teachings and worked together to end racism and celebrate everyone. As modern day leaders at PAN, we carry his mission and teachings forward as we lead and execute on our DEI journey together.” – Elizabeth Famiglietti, Executive Vice President

“Remembering the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. means so much to so many people throughout our country and around the world. For me, each Martin Luther King Day serves as a reminder to reflect on how his work and sacrifice has allowed me to continue pursuing my passions. The work for social equity and justice is not done but because of Dr. King, we’re empowered to peacefully stand up for what we know to be right… Equality for everyone.” – Brandon Thomas, VP and General Manager, New York

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day goes beyond just remembering his accomplishments. Every year, this day serves as a reminder that my family could not have existed without Dr. King’s commitment to civil rights and the next generations of activists that his leadership inspired. Unfortunately, this year has proved that we have a long way to go in the battle of systemic racism, until his famous dream becomes a reality in this country. In the spirit of positivity and a fresh start, I’m hoping for a brighter 2021 with the changes ahead!” – Nicole Das, Senior Account Executive, New York

“Martin Luther King Day serves as a chance for every American to look at themselves and assess if their definition of ‘equal’ is the same as their neighbors, and if it isn’t, what steps can be taken to fix that. The day reminds us that the time has never been more critical to stop and listen to the voices of the maligned, rather than act for them.” -Ray Waldron, Senior Account Executive, Boston

“Every year we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in commemoration of one of America’s most influential civil rights leaders. His inspiring work led a generation of activists on the path forward, to end racial segregation and gain equal rights for people of color. This year, I hope that we can all use this time away from work to reflect on the last few years and recognize how much progress there is still to make in the fight for equal rights. Laws may have been changed and on paper we all may be ‘equal,’ but a light has been shone on just how unequal our lives and experiences truly are based on the color of our skin. I hope we each use MLK Jr. day as an opportunity to listen, learn and think critically about what we as individuals can do to put an end to inequality and systemic racism.” – Eva Barry-Murphy, Senior HR Generalist, Boston.

“Content of their character.  I think about that often as we reflect on the progress we have made together to combat social injustice – but also recognize how much more needs to be done.  Unity, equality, acceptance – some of the attributes that resonate the most with me and tie directly back to MLKs purpose nearly 60 years ago.”  — Mark Nardone, Executive Vice President, Boston

We appreciate the time to reflect on the importance of this day and consider the important roles we can all play in realizing Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream for everyone in our communities and our society.

Listen below to learn more about our CEO’s commitment to making the PR industry more diverse and more inclusive.

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