I’ll be honest with you. Before last year, I hadn’t thought a lot about diversity, and I should have. I received a minority scholarship when I went to college, and after graduation it was always part of each of my career opportunities and organizational service, but it wasn’t until I attended the 2010 PRSA National Leadership Assembly that I saw what a difference it makes. While there, we saw a presentation where Chapters around the U.S. were really taking diversity to the next level.
We all come from different backgrounds, and we each have a different motivation when it comes to incorporating diversity. Even as a “card-carrying” minority (full disclosure I’m half-Mexican), I haven’t taken the time to do a full investigation on my ethnicity. What I’m learning is that diversity hides in different places. Typically, when I thought of diversity it extended to ethnic background, but what about gender, physical or mental disability or even age? These are levels of diversity and worthy of being recognized.
You might be asking, “So what?” The truth is I see diversity as more than something a company or organization uses to ensure they have a full mosaic background. We all grew up in different places, went to different schools and have different professional experience. In addition, there are different upbringings and life experiences associated with our diversity that we should not only recognize but celebrate. Together these pieces are like one big puzzle and when assembled they can show off one amazing picture.
Maybe you’re thinking that you have all these pieces, but instead of having a well-balanced photo you have something that is only half or one quarter of what it could be. Maybe you’re a pioneer and your organization is doing amazing things with diversity. Perhaps even you’re somewhere in the middle and you’re stuck in neutral. No matter what, we want to help you. PRSA’s Diversity Committee has put together a full Web page of resources that can help you no matter your level of implementation.
In addition, the PRSA Greater Kansas City Chapter is hosting the first of what we hope will be an annual event celebrating diversity: PRSA After Hours: Diverse KC. On Aug. 11, you are invited to hear from three speakers on diversity who will spend a few minutes helping us celebrate our diverse backgrounds. This mixer (complete with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres) is designed to transcend profession and we’re hoping individuals from public relations, advertising, marketing, freelancing, social media, communications, e-commerce, internet technology and more will join us.
If you would like to attend, please visit our Web page and register. We would love to have you there, and you don’t need to be a member of PRSA to attend. If you have any questions about the event or how you can implement diversity in your organization, please contact Marc Vasquez, vice president of communications at KCPRSA.
Marc Vasquez is the vice president of communications for the Greater Kansas City PRSA Chapter and a senior account executive at grey healthcare group. He works chiefly on public relations efforts for the Hill’s Pet Nutrition account including media relations, communications to the veterinary business channel, media event planning, social media initiatives and sponsorship opportunities, as well as on external communications for ghg-KC. Marc received a Bachelor of Science in public relations from Northwest Missouri State University.
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