This post is from Diego Marcucci, a Miami PRSSA student.
For Danielle Jones, educating others about the importance of diversity and inclusion is something she’s passionate about. In her current role as an assistant vice president and senior public relations manager at Fifth Third Bank, it’s a part of her job. But, beyond that, it’s been a part of her life. Jones believes everyone has a voice and deserves to be seen and heard. On Feb. 19, more than 150 PRSSA members and communication students packed into Bachelor Hall on Miami’s campus to hear her story.
“It’s important for students to learn more about diversity and inclusion because it opens up their mind to what else is happening in the world,” Jones said. “It gives them background information that will help them be successful in the future.”
To reinforce the importance of these topics, Jones provided statistics about businesses and organizations that have increased or improved their workforce diversity. She said that ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform their peers and if organizations aren’t able to internally manage diversity properly, they’ll get left behind.
“Our students need to hear from people like Danielle who aren’t just talking about diversity, but are living it,” said Shara Clark, APR, faculty advisor for Miami’s PRSSA chapter. “These students are the future leaders in our industry, so their willingness to use their voices for diversity and inclusion will impact our field for years to come.”
Jones shared four important takeaways that students can apply to the field right away:
1) Speak up when you notice that diversity is lacking in marketing and communication materials.
2) Offer a different perspective when you see racial bias in our field.
3) Challenge yourself to see things from a different perspective and consider the standpoint of the audience.
4) Seek local input and guidance from those whose lives are different than yours.
“People can take a few different steps to be more inclusive,” Jones said. “When we place ourselves in the shoes of other people, it helps us understand why someone's walk might be the way that it is.”
The importance of diverse voices is the central theme of Miami’s current Bateman competition campaign, #MUVOICES. They are sharing about the PRSA Foundation’s new book “Diverse Voices” as well as spreading awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion by encouraging others to sign a Diversity Pledge.