Black History Month is a special time of the year when we take time to acknowledge and celebrate the many accomplishments achieved by African Americans. We also see it as a time to reflect on the value that African Americans and other minority groups bring to the PR industry, as well as to the business world. Let’s face it: the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion is incomparable and paramount to the success of any PR firm or business. 

Take a look at the statistics below which confirm and prove this point: 

  • The ethnic makeup of the PR industry in the U.S. is 84.2% white, 7.8% African American, 6.6% Asian American, and 14.2% Hispanic American. (Bureau of Labor Statistics) 
  • 69% of executives rate diversity and inclusion as an important issue. (Glassdoor 
  • 58% of white Americans have the necessary education to access good jobs (defined as median earnings of $65,000 in 2016) compared to only 37% of Hispanic Americans and 41% of Black Americans. (U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics) 
  • Corporations identified as more diverse and inclusive are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. (McKinsey) 
  • Diverse companies are 70% more likely to capture new markets. (Harvard Business Review 
  • Diverse management teams lead to 19% higher revenue. (Boston Consulting Group) 
  • 8.8% of all Fortune 500 companies have women as their CEOs. (Women Business Collaborative) 
  • The GDP could increase 26% by equally diversifying the workforce. (McKinsey 
  • 74% of millennial employees believe their organization is more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion, and 47% actively look for diversity and inclusion when sizing up potential employers. (Deloitte 

It goes without saying that having a sense of belonging is a key factor in diversity, equity, and inclusion. It starts at the core of your PR firm or business, with your employees. A focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion creates an inclusive culture where everyone feels like they belong. The true value of diversity, equity, and inclusion fosters belonging and focuses on inclusion, not exclusion. Today’s PR firms and businesses should focus on issues related to inclusion, such as age discrimination, accommodating people with disabilities, and addressing socioeconomic disparities in the workplace. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in today’s business world should not be treated as a buzzword or a fading trend. Instead, it should be embraced as a program that accepts and celebrates the differences (historical, psychological, physical, and social) that occur among any and all individuals. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion programs are essential elements of building engaged employees who feel a sense of belonging. PR firms and businesses need diversity, equity, and inclusion to foster and invest in diverse people, by fostering relationships with colleges to build a pipeline of experienced talent. This diverse talent can take PR firms or businesses to higher heights. To reach these higher heights, PR firms and businesses must reflect the kind of diversity they see in their clients and customers. 

As companies in the U.S. are investing more in diversity and inclusion, PR agencies must be in a position to keep up. To prosper and grow, this starts with implanting diversity and inclusion into their own values. Leading corporations and organizations soliciting requests for proposals (RFPs) are mandating more diversity and inclusion on their accounts. Consequently, PR firms and businesses must be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of their diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

As we recognize and celebrate Black History Month, let’s take time to reflect on the value that African Americans and other minority groups bring to the PR industry, as well as to the business world. To achieve success, we must be aware of our history and progress. We must be reminded that the true value of diversity, equity, and inclusion fosters a sense of belonging and focuses on inclusion, not exclusion.

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Bernadette Morris

Bernadette Morris, MPA is the Founder,
President, and CEO of Sonshine Communications and Black PR Wire.

Tanisha Coleman

Tanisha Coleman, MBA is the Marketing Director
at Sonshine Communications.

Sonshine Communications is a full-service public relations, marketing, and advertising agency. Black PR Wire is the nation’s first online Black news distribution company.

Sonshine Communications and Black PR Wire

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