2016 Diversity & Inclusion Awards: Diversity & Inclusion Campaign

Winner: Burson-Marsteller - Together Being More

Greater diversity has been an ideal in the PR discipline for decades, yet like many ideals, it has remained frustratingly out of reach. While progress has been made, many would say that progress has been slow. Burson-Marsteller vowed to make a great leap forward on this front. The directive came straight from the top; as the company’s worldwide chair and CEO Don Baer put it to Kim Hunter, president and CEO of The LAGRANT Foundation: “I have worked in several industries, and this is the least diverse sector I have ever known. I want to help change that.” Baer’s charge was to make real change happen by increasing not only minority hiring but also engagement and retention by creating a supportive and collegial environment in which all employees feel valued and respected.

The agency launched “Together Being More”, a nod to Burson-Marsteller's “Being More” brand slogan. This program involved initiatives and partnerships that addressed the company’s diversity challenges from three angles: attracting diverse talent to the organization, creating an inclusive environment that supports employees and helps foster their success and elevating agency PR in the minds of ethnically diverse talent. As a result, the agency has made more diverse hires in the past six months than during any other six-month window in its history, and the pace of that change is accelerating. Seventeen diverse new hires joined Burson-Marsteller from the mid- to senior-level in the last year. On top of this, the agency’s newest clients have espoused the program’s value. An Ivy League university that was had issues with race relations on campus recently hired the agency because of its ability to bring a truly diverse team to the table.