WASHINGTON: The Change Agencies, a national network of independent multicultural and LGBTQ-owned and operated PR and communications agencies, has added five firms to its membership repertoire in its first class.
Siarza, headed by Kristelle Siarza; Avila Creative, headed by John Avila; Davis Communications, headed by Bernadette Davis; Athena Communications, headed by Tammy Belton-Davis; and Zaid Communications, headed by Sonia Diaz, join three existing member agencies led by managing partners Ben Finzel of RENEWPR, LaTricia Woods of Mahogany Xan Communications and Tanya Churchmuch of MuchPR.
Finzel and Churchmuch were included in PRWeek’s 2022 Pride in PR list.
The Change Agencies now comprises eight agencies operating in 10 markets across the United States. According to the network, every agency owner is either African American, Asian American, Hispanic, and/or LGBTQ. Six of the eight member agency leaders are women.
Launched in June 2019, The Change Agencies is a national collective of PR firms offering inclusive communications advice, counsel and outreach to effectively represent, engage and connect with African American, Asian American, Hispanic and LGBTQ communities, the agency said in a statement.
Member agencies and their leaders were identified or recommended to managing principals Finzel, Woods and Churchmuch, and underwent an interview process before joining the network.
Services offered by the member firms include consumer marketing, public affairs and policy communications, issues management, community relations, influencer outreach, target market research, crisis communications, annual DE&I and ESG reports, and message development. The agencies also provide two programs used to analyze, evaluate and better communicate their services: The CHANGE Audit and It’s Not Pie.
“To go in with a team that is broadly diverse, and to be able to apply those life experiences and the expertise of these teams is a very powerful position for us to be in,” said Davis.
The Change Agencies’ member firms have worked with a wide range of clients and organizations from Fortune 500 companies to advocacy nonprofits in sectors including consumer, travel and tourism, healthcare and ageing services, the arts, retail, telecommunications, automotive, technology, financial services, education and government and public affairs.
“I feel great to be able to tap into this network of really strong professionals because I feel that when we come together these are topics that are going to be personal to all of us, and it's going to be impactful work,” Diaz said. “I'm just happy to have this group that I can bring in these things and know that we can have some sort of mobilization or be able to do something good.”
The network is supported by an Advisory Council of external, diverse industry leaders, including three of the original agency member leaders, with significant multicultural and/or LGBTQ experience and expertise, according to the agency.
“We talk about these terms, but they have real world implications,” Finzel said. “Simply saying the right thing is no longer enough for companies or organizations. They have to do the right thing. Understanding that consumers and customers are asking for it, employees are demanding it, that's why there's a need for the work we're doing and that's why we're growing.”
All member agencies were unanimously selected last fall. The network hopes to announce one more class throughout this calendar year.