PR News: PR Needs Commitment to Diverse Hiring and Retention
PR Needs Long-Term Commitment to Diverse Hiring and a Culture of Retention
WE's Head of DEI, Elizabeth Herrera Smith Discusses Diversity in the Workplace
Seth Arenstein, PR News, 03 November 2020
(Photo courtesy of PR News)
Female-led WE Communications has an enviable track record on gender diversity. Recently it named 20-year WE veteran Elizabeth Herrera Smith EVP and head of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). We asked about ways PR can bolster its ethnic diversity and how small and mid-size communication shops can kickstart DEI.
PRNEWS: PR in the US is about 80 percent Caucasian. How can the industry better reflect the makeup of the country?
Elizabeth Herrera Smith: The type of change needed is going to require a collective, focused effort across the industry. The fact that the ethnic makeup of PR professionals has remained relatively unchanged for several decades is a wake-up call for organizations to examine systems…that may be standing in the way of progress. Recruiting diverse candidates is really step one.
PRNEWS: And step two?
Herrera Smith: Company culture. Those of us in this industry must create a place where diverse talent can thrive and grow, and where people can safely bring diverse thinking to the organization. It feels like there is widespread determination to make change happen. What will be critical to success is how we sustain that momentum over time, as it’s going to take a long-term commitment.