My friends at The Council of PR Firms and PRWeek presented the winners of the second annual Diversity Distinction in PR Awards at Inside Park at St Bart’s restaurant in New York a few days ago. The award program was created to “honor excellence in leadership and to promote ethnic diversity within the PR sector. In just its second year, the awards are shining a light on the best practices taking place in our industry,” according to Kathy Cripps, president of CPRF. In reporting the event, PRWeek said, “The Council and PRWeek are committed to these awards and the cause. As the program evolves annually, judges will look for the type of excellent work highlighted here, but will also cast a strong eye on firms and in-house arms that not only get involved with diverse groups, but who parlay those relationships into greater representation among their own employee base.”
Congratulations to those who earned the awards this year: Best PR Firm Diversity Initiative (more than $10 million in revenue)- Weber Shandwick; Best PR Firm Diversity Initiative (less than $10 million in revenue) – Widmeyer Communications; Best Community Initiative – PR Firms –Weber Shandwick, “Mentoring with The Social Circle” ; Best Community Initiative – In-House – The American Cancer Society, Eastern Division “Amate a Ti Misma/Love Yourself”; and Diversity Champion – Harold Burson.
I was honored to be among an esteemed group of judges for the second year of the award. We all learned from the entries, and were pleased to contribute to this effort based on our passion for the areas of diversity and inclusionn as it applies to our profession.
2012 judging panel (clockwise from top left) Alvaro Cabal, multicultural comms manager, Ford; Mike Paul, president of MGP & Associates PR; Jaya Bohlmann, founder, chief consultant at Designing Communication and former VP of PR at Sodexo; Rochelle Ford, associate dean, research and academic affairs at Howard University; Mike Fernandez, corporate VP, corporate affairs, Cargill; and Latraviette Smith, former VP, global diversity and inclusion, American Express.
PRWeek and The Council intend to grow this award in the coming years, as diversity and inclusion continue to be a crucial part of the business imperative and success differentiator for agencies, corporations, and leaders. As PR Week says, “Campaign quality will remain paramount, of course, but how those efforts directly impact the organizations’ diversity objectives will also be top of mind. Going forward, the hope is that the work with existing community programs will lead to even more customized efforts that are specific, original, and sustainable