NEW YORK: Prosek Partners has bumped up Josette Robinson to MD and chair of its diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Robinson’s new role is a formalization of the mentorship and diversity efforts she spearheads daily, she said. She was promoted on October 19 to the New York-based position, in which she reports to partner Caroline Gibson.
"We’ve always believed diversity is core to our brand promise," Robinson said. "You can’t have ‘unboxed thoughts’ without a diverse group of people."
She added that she is speaking to consultants to get ideas about how to execute the program.
"My goal is to educate the group about diversity and what it means for Prosek and making sure everyone gets adequate training so they’re on the same page and the programming is authentic to us," Robinson explained.
Her responsibilities will expand to include helping to grow the agency in terms of business development and operational management, she said.
Robinson also handles several accounts, such as real estate investment groups KBS Realty Advisors and Bridge Investment Group, Edward Jones, and Genworth. She is also a member of the Arthur W. Page Society’s diversity and inclusion committee.
"[Diversity] is certainly something on [clients’] minds given diversity is also such a focus for the financial services industry. For example, Edward Jones has a huge initiative to attract and retain diverse financial advisors," Robinson added, via email.
Prosek conducted a survey of its employees as part of its diversity and inclusion efforts and found, not accounting for gender, that 24% of its staff could be considered diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, Robinson said. The agency employs more than 160 staffers.
"We’re proud of where we are, but we can do better," she added. "We want to be thoughtful about not only recruiting, but also retention."
Robinson said a key aspect of role is "inclusion."
"There was a study recently that said some white men are feeling alienated by the forward movement on diversity efforts at the workplace," she said. "That’s a problem because it’s not just about having diversity, but making people feel included and part of the process."
Robinson’s promotion comes as brands are demanding their agencies diversify their ranks and leadership. For instance, one year after beginning a major diversity initiative, HP said last month that several of its firms, including Edelman, were well short of its minority representation target.
Editor's note: This story originally said Robinson was promoted on October 12. It was amended on October 26, 2017 to reflect the correct promotion date, October 19. PRWeek regrets the error.