Be the change you want to see

Back in February Jackie Cooper and I chaired our first meeting of the PRCA Diversity Committee.

If you want to go to the ball; tackle diversity, argues Rana Reeves
If you want to go to the ball; tackle diversity, argues Rana Reeves
I’ll be honest, I was incredibly nervous. I’ve never wanted to be one of the running-a-committee sorts of people and I wasn’t sure if anyone would care – did the PR industry think about diversity? Would anyone agree there was a need for change?

The answer was a resounding yes. We had a great turnout from across the spectrum – everyone from the major players, like Edelman and Weber Shandwick, through to PRWeek and different interest groups.

It was very heartening. The turnout proved that diversity is an issue the industry wants to face – and act on. 

It proved that agencies acknowledge more needs to be done to combat misinformation and barriers to entry – be they implied racism, sexism, classism etc. or pure economic barriers, or even PR just not being seen as a viable career.

This year both PRWeek and the PRCA Awards have taken one step further – highlighting that diversity is an issue that agencies need to be addressing, with specific questions in the agency awards submissions exploring agency commitment to diversity.

It’s important that as an industry prone to hyperbole we don’t just talk a good talk – something we’ve all seen when we’ve judged the agency submissions. 

It’s important that we act. In 2015 there is really no excuse for not having a diverse workforce and an ethos to embrace diversity – from flexible working to taking interns from a wide range of backgrounds.

A big thank you for this goes to Alex Benady and the PRWeek team for focusing on this issue both editorially and via the Awards. 

Many people are surprised that in 2015 these conversations are still being had. Alex and the team are doing something about it.

So if you are applying this year for one of the agency trophies, I hope that you have diversity somewhere front of mind. 

If not you won’t be wearing that new frock/suit to the ball.

The next session will be in the summer. It would be great to see you there or feel free to contact the PRCA to find out how to get involved.

Rana Reeves is the founder of John Doe Communications 

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