The only exception to the ponytail rule is if you're playing a sport or in Gym Class. On Wednesday You Wear Pink! You must wear pink on Wednesdays. Wear either a pink shirt, skirt/shorts, OR a belted pink sundress. ~ Mean Girls
At least, that's what the “Plastics” do. That quote just made me reflect and feel old. Well, not really!
There are many reasons why I wear pink on any day of the week. For starters, I'm a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Skee Wee! Which brings us to Soror Kamala Harris who was speaking at Politics and Prose Bookstore in D.C. a few weeks ago. Several members of the sorority from Howard University, Harris’ Alma Mater, were in attendance. Chelsea James, a journalist covering the event, tweeted “Members of her Howard University sorority are in the room and screeched when she mentions her time there. Did not expect to hear screeches here.” Screech? Are you thinking of Saved by the Bell?
Following the tweet, several people proceeded to drag her. Now, I believe she should have done her research before typing 140 characters. She’s a journalist, right? But I’m not writing this to drag her. I read an article stating the tweet proves why we need more black journalists. I couldn’t agree more, but this isn’t the only reason why. Let me share my experiences with you.
Working in the Communications and Advertising industry for several years, I can tell you diversity is somewhat nonexistent for several reasons which I will discuss later. Most agencies list Diversity and Inclusion as a top priority, but do they really understand the problem or have a strategy?
It was always a top priority for me. I never stopped talking about it or implementing strategies in my office. There was a lot of lip service, some diverse employees were scared to speak on the issue and let's be real most diverse employees got the experience and leveled up! Meaning they found better opportunities.
I’ve seen pitch teams lose new business geared to multicultural audiences because the lacked or had no diversity. I’ve heard many diverse employees in the workplace say they weren’t setup for success, or their counterparts received all the opportunities.
Diverse employees in the industry would reach the point of Senior Account Executive and remain there until they quit. I've witnessed some have the best idea in the room only to be overlooked or the idea reworded by someone else becoming the best idea ever.
From a hiring standpoint, I've had to advocate harder for diverse candidates with good experience to get beyond an “informational” meeting. Now don't get me wrong, I did have a few breakthrough moments. However, in our DE&I meetings there were often small numbers in attendance representing the following groups: LGBT, Black and Hispanic.
There are a lot of great journalists out here. However, from my experience, the communications industry could do a better job embracing diverse candidates and their perspective. The best way to attract diverse employees and have diversity of thought is leading by example starting with the C-suite and senior leadership teams.
Diversity carries with it a tangible number of benefits, but it also entails new challenges and obstacles to overcome. If properly implemented, a diverse workplace will generate more income, productivity, more solutions to problems and a more flexible office environment. Investing in an outside consultant who specializes in organization development and diversity can help solve the challenges with no biases.
PR Week published an article What it’s Like to be black in PR last year during Black History Month sharing the challenges of diverse employees in the communications industry.
What are your thoughts on the lack of diversity in the communications industry? Or in your line of work? What have your experiences been?