Diversity Month is a month dedicated to celebrating and embracing diversity within PRSA and PRSSA.
In an effort to understand more about the role of diversity in organizations, I contacted Dr. Cheryl Jenkins, associate professor and graduate coordinator at the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at The University of Southern Mississippi and co-author of ”Race and Media: Critical Perspectives.”
“When Chapters are starting to diversify membership, there must first be a true definition of diversity,” said Jenkins. “A lot of times organizations are not clear on what diversity means. It is not just about how a person looks but also about ideas, cultural values and can include a regional aspect. It’s not linear but encompasses a lot of different things.”
Jenkins said that a lot of times the diversity committee will have wonderful ideas but lack the funding or support from the group as a whole to execute the ideas.
Chapters must also be inclusive. Chapter leaders should listen to diverse individuals and incorporate diverse ideas into the Chapter’s plans.
“If you have individuals with unique ideas and you’re not utilizing those ideas, then you’re still not encouraging and supporting diversity,” Jenkins said. “You do not want to just have the title of being diverse you want the ideas that go with it.”
A Chapter’s success depends on its ability to understand and embrace the role of diversity. As Chapter leaders and members, we must define what diversity is, incorporate diverse ideas and have assistance to execute plans. As a reminder about the importance of diversity, I would like to leave you with this analogy, “PRSSA is vital to PRSA as diversity is vital to successful Chapters.”
Kaisha Brown is a student at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) pursuing a degree in mass communications. She is vice president for the USM PRSSA Chapter. Kaisha loves to meet and interact with new people, so follow her on Twitter @mcjkaisha.