COMMITTEE PROFILE: D&I, Making Sense for PRSA Colorado

    Heather Johnson, chair PRSA Colorado D&I Committee

    COMMITTEE PROFILE: D&I, Making Sense for PRSA Colorado
    By Shannon Robb, PRSA Colorado member

    In 2015, PRSA National announced plans to enact a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiative. According to its website, “diversity is not only about racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation and gender differences, but also about diversity of skill sets, mindsets and cultures at all levels of the organization.”

    By August 2017, more than 50 chapters, including PRSA Colorado, started looking at ways to implement D&I into their local chapters and neighboring communities.

    “Minority groups are the least represented group in PR and even more underrepresented in PR management positions,” says Heather Johnson, board director and chair of the Colorado chapter’s recently launched D&I Committee. “Given that the purchasing power of African Americans and Latinos is north of $1 billion, there’s certainly an economic case for practitioners to broaden their focus and be more inclusive of minority audiences.”   

    Johnson, whose day job is managing PR for the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), further explains that greater inclusivity goes beyond the business case.

    Simply put, greater inclusivity in the PR industry means more voices at the table.

    “It just makes sense to have diverse thoughts and opinions when making decisions,” says Johnson. “We have seen too often the failed marketing decisions and public relations responses that could have been avoided simply by including people of diverse backgrounds into the decision-making.”

    PRSA Colorado’s D&I Committee is still in its infancy, but Johnson and the board have created a plan to better understand and visualize where and how to incorporate D&I into chapter activities. First steps included adding the national D&I statement as well as information and resources to the chapter website. Johnson says while this may seem like a small step, it is important as it lays a foundation for making the local PR industry more diverse.

    In addition, recruiting members will be key to moving forward, establishing strategic goals and making recommendations for diversity and inclusivity integration into the chapter’s programming, professional development and member initiatives.

    To learn more about the D&I Committee, please contact Heather Johnson. If you are interested in joining the committee, please complete the Diversity & Inclusion Committee Volunteer form.

    Stay tuned for information and links to a live stream of the “State of PR Diversity” hosted by the @PRSADiversity Committee during the upcoming PRSA Corporate Communications Conference, June 21, 10–11:30 MST.



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