Latrese Myers, an account executive in public relations and public affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, joined a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) panel today on improving diversity in the professional and academic workplaces.
Myers, who has worked at EMA for seven years, joined Jennifer Parker of Jackson-Parker Communications and SUNY Buffalo State College Assistant Professor of Communications Jack Karlis at Univera Health in Amherst, N.Y., for the hour-long event. Univera, EMA, PR Newswire and the Buffalo Niagara Chapter of PRSA sponsored the discussion.
“Diversity is not a goal, or a place to reach, it’s a way of life,” Myers said. “Success for any company will depend on how well we understand our clients’ marketplaces, which are increasingly composed of and defined by people of color, women, gays, lesbians and younger people. Just as we must be more technologically adept, for instance, we must commit to hiring, mentoring, promoting and retaining professionals who represent the breadth of our people.”
The program focused on companies’ diversity programs and initiatives, and whether they’ve lived up to their goals. Discussion topics included: Learning about the customs and habits of various cultures, and how to incorporate the knowledge and experiences into communications plans; helping Millennials adapt to the workplace, and learning how Baby Boomers and Traditionalists can adapt to working with them; the preferred media and communications habits of various generations; and establishing the steps needed to remain committed to a diversity initiative.
Panelists agreed that commitment and a systemic approach to diversity is key to expanding opportunities in the public relations profession for everyone. The panel defined diversity as empowerment and inclusion of all people in ways that reflect the markets in which PR professionals work.