Q&A with Margaret Fogarty

    By Mallory Feeney, PRSA Colorado Communications Committee Member, Marketing Coordinator at Visit Aurora

    In recognition of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Month, we interviewed Margaret Fogarty, an active PRSA Colorado volunteer who currently serves on the D&I and Programs committees. Fogarty has been involved with PRSA for more than fifteen years and is a past board member and recipient of the Chapter Service Award. As a seasoned corporate communications professional and communications consultant, Fogarty is diligent about keeping diversity and inclusion at the forefront of all aspects of her personal and professional life. Fogarty discussed a few considerations and recommendations for communications professionals to create more inclusive and diverse organizations.

    Q: What do diversity and inclusion look like to you?

    A: Diversity and inclusion is multidimensional, and it is important to mention that diversity and inclusion are two different things. The most common and visible aspects of D&I relate to race, ethnicity and gender, but there are countless aspects. Some are more obvious than others, and some people go to great lengths to hide various dimensions of diversity, particularly when they are not part of an inclusive workplace or organization.

    It has always been important to me in all aspects of my life to consider other perspectives and actively seek out different points of view. I try to identify people that who do not have a seat at the table, share their perspectives, and work to make the decision-making process more inclusive. As a communications professional, I am always looking for an angle that highlights some aspect of diversity and inclusion, and aligns with the organization’s business objectives.

    Q: How do diversity and inclusion translate into the workplace?

    A: As an independent consultant, I work with a variety of organizations that are invested in diversity and inclusion. As a corporate communications professional for more than a decade, at least part of my role focused on advancing the principles of diversity and inclusion, including serving on a D&I committee, supporting multicultural communications and creating D&I focused content strategies.

    Many people think diversity and inclusion are out of reach, however, communications professionals have a tremendous opportunity to advance D&I principles for their clients and within their organizations, both formally and informally. Be curious about perspectives that are different than your own and seek them out. Identify stories that highlight the organization’s mission, culture, employees and partners that bring forward aspects of diversity and inclusion, and build those into your content plan. Small steps accumulate quickly and can have a tremendous impact on the organization’s culture and reputation, while creating a more inclusive business environment. 

    Q: How would you suggest others get their entire company—including the leadership team—on board with diversity and inclusion initiatives?

    A: Start by asking questions. Does your organization have a formal D&I program? A lot of the time it starts in the human resources department as a hiring initiative or the creation of affinity groups, which are groups of people linked by a common interest or purpose. Smaller organizations and startups may not have a formal D&I program, but they might be open to developing one if you ask. Step up, raise your hand! Do some research and bring it back to the leadership team. The Thomson Reuters Diversity and Inclusion Index is a good resource to research companies that are advancing D&I principles as a business strategy. Initiate conversations about D&I within your organization and carve out a role for yourself.

    Do not be afraid to get involved. Diversity and inclusion programs require the interest of people who bring privilege to the table to drive change because so often those are the decision makers.

    Q: Anything else you would like to add?

    A: Insist that any organization or institution that you are involved in prioritize diversity and inclusion. In an economy where an organization’s reputation is currency, D&I is not only good for business, it is essential. Communications and PR professionals are in a unique position to be champions of diversity and inclusion, but as we learned from Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility.” It is more common than ever for organizations to take a reputation hit because of their D&I blind spots. No one can bring the full complement of D&I knowledge to the table, however, be mindful of who is in the room, and whether your big idea has been sufficiently vetted from a D&I standpoint before it goes into production.

    Get involved with the D&I program your organization offers, and if you are not sure where to start look to PRSA for D&I resources, case studies and networking opportunities. The PRSA Colorado D&I Committee is actively seeking new members. Reach out and get involved today!

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