Inside the Profession

A 2018 Outlook on Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

PRsay is featuring posts by a variety of thought leaders on the year ahead for communicators and the PR profession. These thoughts on diversity and inclusion first appeared in the January issue of Strategies & Tactics.

“An increasing focus on diversity, equity and inclusion — bringing these concepts to life in our corporate cultures, embedding them in our work and embodying them in our responses to challenging, fast-moving events that can impact corporate reputation, brand image, employee engagement, stakeholder trust and marketing outcomes.

With the dramatically changing political, cultural state of play in the United States and 47 percent of millennials believing that CEOs have a responsibility to speak up about important societal issues, it will be more important for companies to articulate their POVs with courage and authenticity.”

–Judith Harrison is senior vice president, Diversity & Inclusion, Weber Shandwick, New York. She is also president of the PRSA Foundation.

“Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) will be embedded in everything we do. It ties to retention and recruitment as well as meeting client expectations and a brand’s social purpose.

Cultural inclusion in the workplace will be a high priority for agencies and clients.

We will see more agencies creating new service offerings based on their clients’ needs to communicate to their stakeholders — primarily, to their employees — on issues relating to D&I in the present political climate. We will see more collaboration on addressing Diversity & Inclusion between industry and academia, and agency and client. This includes defining, measuring, communicating and living D&I. We will realize that D&I involves all of us — not some of us — and that it’s good for business.”

–Angela K. Chitkara, PR Track Director & CUNY Mellon Fellow, The City College of New York

“Companies will continue to search for solid ground at the confluence of intent and action as it pertains to diversity and inclusion. The business case for diversity and inclusion will increase in significance as issues continue to make headlines.

Companies making positive strides will look past the prima facie focus on inclusion cultivation within their organizations to see the possibilities that can be realized in innovation, engagement and performance. They will embrace diversity as more than race, gender and lifestyle to include all aspects that make their employees and customers unique, opening up the creative process and free exchange of ideas.”

–LaTricia Woods, APR, Founder, Mahogany Xan Communications, Chandler, Ariz.

About the author

Judith Harrison, Angela K. Chitkara & LaTricia Woods, APR


  • It seems, to me at least, since the rise of our current president that diversity has become a focal area within society now more than ever. Millennials appear to be pushing the agenda when it comes to business, because in politics it seems hopeless. In fact after the Muslim ban, many CEOs spoke out against it. And again, after the issues with DACA. However, I’m wondering if this kind of focus on diversity and inclusion stems from a new world view? Maybe in part from globalization and more young adults being able to study abroad or go to school outside of the country. I’ve been writing a blog on CSR and one of the posts was about diversity and inclusion. Some corporations have already been implementing initiatives to include others. Walgreens has been hiring people with disabilities since 2007. Maybe its been important to lower level management, but now upper management is starting to care.

  • I am happy to see that diversity & inclusion is slowly but surely gaining prevalence in the public relations workplace and has become a high priority for agencies. As an undergraduate Public Relations major at Western Kentucky University and a member of PRSSA, the importance of not only diversity, but especially inclusion, has been embedded into my mind. In the public relations field, it is important to be able to represent a company through the varying points of views of people from diverse backgrounds. And while diversity is important because it involves hiring underrepresented populations into the workspace, inclusion means actually allowing their voices to be heard. Something I’ve learned through PRSSA, “diversity is inviting someone to the party, but inclusion is asking them to dance.”

  • I enjoyed reading this article! I believe that making diversity and inclusion a priority in public relations will allow practitioners to better achieve communication goals. As a soon-to-be college graduate, it is encouraging to know that companies are making strides to represent and be respectful to all people and opinions. -Darsey Norton, writer/editor for Platform Magazine

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