12:00 | 14.11.2017
New Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Announced by PRSA-NY

The New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America
(PRSA-NY) proclaimed a new, results-driven stance on diversity and
inclusion (D & I) at its annual retreat in Manhattan yesterday. Its
central focus was on the development of a series of certification
workshops that will uncover and eradicate unconscious bias and promote
multiculturalism among communications professionals across the New York
metropolitan area–becoming the standard across the nation. The chapter
will look to public relations agencies in the area to provide funding
and support for this effort.

According to Sharon Fenster, president-elect of PRSA-NY and president of
Fenster Communications, “One of the things I cherish most about this
chapter is its diversity. It truly reflects our membership and
friends…we feel it is our obligation to educate our colleagues and
advance the idea of equal opportunity in our field once and for all. And
it is our hope that this series will become a requirement for all
communications folks across the country in years to come.”

In 2018 and beyond, PRSA-NY will work towards the creation of other
supporting efforts that include:

* The development of an advisory board that mirrors the percentage of
diversity in the communities they serve. To date, advisory board members
include Angela Chitkara, director, PRSA-NY, assistant professor, PR
track director, branding + integrated communications (BIC), The City
College of New York (CCNY), Bill Doescher, immediate past president,
PRSA-NY and president, The Doescher Group, Helen Shelton, senior partner
and director of diversity and inclusion at Finn Partners, Mike Paul,
president, Reputation Doctor LLC, Patrice Tanaka, chief joy officer,
Joyful Planet LLC, and Trisch Smith, executive vice president and
managing director of diversity and inclusion, Edelman.

* The effort will also be advanced in-house, at PRSA-NY, through the
formation of a D & I committee. Helen Shelton, who also serves as
vice-president of marketing, PRSA-NY: “As a key player in the launching
of this initiative, I will be working hand-in-hand with Sharon. Together
we will put forth a team of PRSA-NY volunteers who are passionate about
advancing diversity and inclusion in our industry.”

* Use the McKinsey Diversity Study as a strong business reason why a
truly diverse workforce from entry level to C-suite to Board makes a lot
more economic sense–about one third more

* Invite the best D & I experts external to PR to educate all on the
best practices for success to hire and retain the best diverse talent.

* Develop a transparency and accountability portion of the D & I plan to
tie pay, bonuses and public communication of numbers and goals to be
released yearly.

* Follow the lead of corporations like HP, Verizon, General Mills, USAA
and others who have put together D & I programs that are making progress
due to transparency and accountability. Then study them, invite them to
educate us and discuss them publicly.

“I know these are lofty goals. I’m under no illusion that we can snap
our fingers and erase some of the centuries-old problems that have been
in our country since its founding. But I believe we have a
responsibility to try. To lean our shoulders into the wheel of history
and do our best to turn it in the direction of progress,” Fenster said
in conclusion.
The Public Relations Society of America, New York City Chapter is one of
the founding chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, the
world’s largest professional organization for communications
practitioners. Founded in 1947, the chapter serves the interests of
communications professionals working in business and industry,
counseling firms, government, associations, hospitals, schools,
professional service firms and nonprofit organizations. Chapter board
and committee members are volunteers who live and work in the New York
metropolitan area.

For more information, please visit
Follow PRSA-NY on Facebook,
and LinkedIn.

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