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  • Angela Tessitore

5 Takeaways from PPRA’s Implementing DEI in the Workplace Webinar

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

PRSSA members have access to a variety of webinars, and I recently attended Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s webinar on implementing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. I felt that this would be a great opportunity to educate myself as a member of the diversity and inclusion committee since DEI is relevant in student organizations as well.

The webinar featured three panelists: Carmella Glover, the president of the Diversity Action Alliance, Jameel Rush, the vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Liz Semon, the diversity, equity and inclusion lead for Vault Communications.

Here are five takeaways I learned from the panelists about the best practices for implementing DEI.

DEI is critical for organizations to survive in today’s world

After the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020, many organizations took a stand against police brutality. These statements against police brutality came years after countless Black lives were lost by the hands of police, and many organizations acknowledged that they should have taken action sooner. Acknowledging mistakes in the past is the first step to progress and without adequate DEI programs or resources, many organizations will likely fail in today’s world.

Creating spaces for discussion is vital

If employees experience mistreatment based on race, sex, religion or gender, there needs to be clear resources employees can use to report these experiences. A culture needs to be created where employees feel comfortable communicating issues to leadership. If employees feel like they will be fired, demoted or scolded for reporting mistreatment, organizations' DEI efforts will undoubtedly fail.

DEI is more than just bringing people into the room

Individuals feeling represented in the workplace by seeing others that have similar backgrounds is important, but DEI efforts can’t last if groups of people don’t feel valued. For example, an organization may have several Black employees but if these individuals experience instances of racism, no accomplishment has been achieved in DEI. The culture of the workplace must change where every employee feels like they’re being valued and treated equally.

Leadership must acknowledge the importance of DEI

Leaders within organizations and workplaces must create the change and establish the importance of DEI. These leaders have the ability to encourage other employees to participate in DEI efforts. Employees at any level should want to educate themselves through DEI programs, webinars and other resources. If organizations want every employee to feel included and valued, actions from the top of leadership will greatly help.

PR professionals must be familiar with DEI

PR agencies are interacting with more clients who want to improve their DEI efforts as they interact with the public. These clients look to PR professionals for help, so it’s our job to be up to date on correct terminology surrounding conversations about racial, socio-economic, gender and LGTBQ experiences. As professional communicators, we must recognize that DEI enters the public relations world, and we will continue to interact with DEI as the future progresses.

This blog post was written by Angela Tessitore, Treasurer

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