NEW YORK: Edelman has promoted EVP Trisch Smith to diversity and inclusion MD, a newly created role at the firm.
Smith’s appointment is part of the agency’s plans to establish a diversity and inclusion leadership team. The group will be comprised of about 10 staffers who will set goals and develop strategies for improving diversity within Edelman’s workforce and culture, said Smith.
She started in the role on January 13 and reports to Edelman US COO Julianna Richter. Her direct reports are to be determined.
In her expanded role, Smith will partner with HR as well as leaders across offices and practices to guide Edelman’s organizational strategy and approach to diversity and inclusion. She will also manage diversity training, recruitment, and engagement within the firm.
"We previously had other people involved in diversity and inclusion efforts across Edelman, but now we are formalizing that into a leadership team structure and a more formalized network," Richter explained.
Prior to this, Nzinga Shaw, former SVP, diversity and inclusion officer and head of Southeast and Southwest HR for Edelman, handled some of Smith’s new responsibilities. Shaw left the agency on December 1 to take on a newly created role within the NBA as chief diversity and inclusion officer for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena.
Edelman is also looking to build internal communities that reflect the diversity of its workforce, Smith said.
"There is value in ensuring greater diversity within our workforce because it drives innovation and thinking, which helps us develop better campaigns and creates greater business success," she added.
Smith previously served as EVP and group head, providing counsel to clients on multicultural issues and engagement, which she will continue to do. She used to report to Laura Gordon, GM of Edelman’s federal government services practice, and Rob Rehg, regional president in the Washington, DC, office.
During her 15 years at Edelman, Smith has handled stakeholder outreach, reputation and issues management, and public affairs campaigns for corporations, nonprofits, and associations.