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New Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Announced by PRSA-NY
[November 14, 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 (News - Alert), 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 (News - Alert).

* The effor 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 (News - Alert), 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, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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