October is Diversity Awareness Month, a time each year when we celebrate diversity of all kinds, seek to understand the personal experiences of those different than us, and reflect on the life lessons we’ve learned and can share with others.
Now more than ever, corporate Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) efforts are at the center of many public discussions. Communities, consumers and employees demand change in light of so many injustices against Black bodies. The arrest and murder of George Floyd and the violent deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery this year left many leaders scrambling to respond to calls for statements as well as concrete action to promote racial justice. In organizations and companies small and large, C-suites and their D&I strategies are under the microscope.
The need to audit, examine and update the traditional approach to diversity and inclusion is critical, now more than ever. PRSA Detroit’s D&I committee seized the opportunity to review and revise our current strategy to ensure it tracks with our present needs and goals.
We used the following questions to guide our work:
- How can we engage and retain our diverse membership?
- How can we ensure our programs and events reflect and support our entire membership?
- How can we demonstrate PRSA’s national D&I strategy within the content and speakers of our events?
To reflect best practices in all of PRSA Detroit’s programs and initiatives, we looked at D&I initiatives in terms of four categories:
- Audience appeal
Using the PRSA D&I Handbook and our chapter’s current D&I goals, we created a checklist to steer our D&I efforts in all of our work and programming across all committees. This helps us engage and retain our current and future members and ensured we offer “something for everyone” when it comes to our programs. We also seek to promote and support diversity beyond race, gender, ethnic, religious or sexual and gender identity: we also need to develop programs and events that support professionals at every level of their career, as independent practitioners, entry level, seasoned professionals and senior level executives.
While the checklist is just one tool to help us meet our ongoing D&I needs, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. We will never be perfect, but we can guarantee our commitment to programs and initiatives that reflect and serve PRSA Detroit’s diverse membership.