Diversity Thought Leadership

Chapter D&I Liaisons Foster Communication and Understanding

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In October, PRSA celebrates Diversity & Inclusion Month, featuring programs presented by the PRSA D&I Committee. This year’s theme is “Transforming the Landscape.” Please join the #PRDiversity discussion via @PRSADiversity and follow along with our D&I-related blog posts, webinars and Twitter Chats throughout the month.

“Diversity is the mix. Inclusion is making the mix work.” Andres Tapia

PRSA Chapter D&I liaisons, along with Chapter leadership, are responsible for creating and implementing plans to promote diversity and inclusion, they also explain its importance within each Chapter. Liaisons support new and current volunteers of diverse backgrounds.

Chapter D&I liaisons are more significant than ever as we continue to navigate these historically challenging times. However, Chapter D&I liaisons are at the forefront to bring about transformation at the local level. Liaisons are change agents and influencers, both within their respective Chapters and in their broader communities.

Webster’s Dictionary defines liaison as “a linking up or connecting of two or more separate entities … so that they can work together effectively.” During quarterly conference calls, liaisons form new relationships with one another and develop a support system. The calls also provide a space to exchange ideas and share challenges.

Over the past year, we have lost some of the giants who led struggles for civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, rights for the disabled and religious rights — including U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Rev. Joseph Lowery, and U. S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Their absences leave cavernous voids, but these leaders have also left legacies from which D&I liaisons and society can draw lessons and strength.

Regardless of the stages of our careers, it is an honor to lead the D&I strategic vision for our Chapters. As dialogues in town halls, webinars and across social media address complex issues, D&I liaisons are joining those conversations and helping to foster understanding and cooperation.

The efforts of liaisons elevate Chapters, workplaces and communities by establishing new partnerships, educating the public about Chapter initiatives, strengthening relationships with academic institutions and mentoring future PR practitioners. Liaisons also lead celebrations of heritages and accomplishments.

As PRSA wraps up Diversity & Inclusion Month in October, let’s draw from the philosophy of Andres Tapias — a global diversity and inclusion strategist and thought leader at Korn Ferry — and make the mix work all year long.

Marsha R. Pitts-Phillips is the diversity & inclusion liaison for PRSA’s Minnesota Chapter. She is president and founder of MRPP & Associates Communications, LLC.  She is the recipient of PRSA’s 2020 D. Parke Gibson Award, which recognizes a PR professional who has helped expand awareness of public relations within multicultural communities.

[Illustration credit: Melitas]

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Marsha R. Pitts-Phillips

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