Circle Awards winners highlight opening day of 2019 ColorComm Conference

An octet of industry leaders were honored for changing the face of communications.

The sixth annual conference kicked off yesterday by welcoming 500-plus delegates. (Photo credit: Gideon Fidelzeid)
The sixth annual conference kicked off yesterday by welcoming 500-plus delegates. (Photo credit: Gideon Fidelzeid)

MIAMI: A sold-out delegation of more than 500 descended upon South Florida as ColorComm, the network for women of color in the communications industry founded by Lauren Wesley Wilson eight years ago, kicked off its 2019 conference.

Opening day was highlighted by an evening gala, emceed by Univision’s Emmy Award-winning journalist Maity Interiano, at which eight leaders were presented with ColorComm’s Circle Awards in honor of their career-long efforts to advance diversity in the industry.

The honorees included Rosanna Fiske, SVP of corporate comms at Wells Fargo; Judith Harrison, SVP of diversity and inclusion at Weber Shandwick; Soon Mee Kim, EVP of global diversity and inclusion at Porter Novelli; Michelle Lee, editor-in-chief of Allure; Kimberly Paige, chief operating and branding officer at Sundial Brands; April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks; Dia Simms, president of Combs Enterprises; and Michelle Wong, president of creative shop Dailey.

Fiske and Kim, in 2014 and 2018, respectively, have both been named Diversity Champion as part of the PR Council/PRWeek Diversity Distinction in PR Awards.

Prior to the dinner ceremony, the conference commenced with a series of afternoon sessions.

In Making Brands Matter in Today’s America, presented by Ogilvy, fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail underscored how "the decisions brands make today will have an impact as far down the road as seven generations from now." She added that the "visual language" marcomms pros are creating are a key source of that impact.

During the Culture, Brand, Influence session, Rachel Moreno, VP of brand and culture strategy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, spoke of the need for brands to be nimble. She emphasized how all brands, particularly legacy brands, must always be true to their values, even as they adapt messages and tactics to stay in tune with the latest trends and next generations.

The day’s final session, Digital & Inclusion, brought together leaders from Twitter, Google, Pinterest and Facebook to discuss the particular challenges the tech sector faces in achieving diversity and inclusion among all stakeholders, internal and external.

Candice Morgan, head of inclusion and diversity at Pinterest, shared her company’s ongoing efforts to diversify their default results to ensure all site visitors have an experience that can appeal and be relevant to them.

Dalana Brand, Twitter’s VP of people experience and head of diversity and inclusion, challenged the audience to rethink their remuneration goals.

"It’s not about asking for equal pay," she advised. "It’s about commensurate pay."

If you do more and bring more value to a company, she concluded, be bold and confident enough to ask for what you’re worth, not just what others are paid.

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