PR News 2016 Diversity in PR Awards: Individual

Winner: Kelli Watson, Internal Communications Manager, MillerCoors

Kelli Watson is an innovative communicator and leader. She has a unique skill for driving clarity and simplicity around her company’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy in a way that resonates with constituents while ensuring buy-in.

The results are strategies that have positively influenced employee engagement and helped turn the tides on retention trends. She consistently embeds D&I in her work, bringing the strategy to life across multiple initiatives and platforms, whether it’s events, written or experiential. She effectively coaches senior leaders to demonstrate an authentic commitment to D&I.

The EBONY POWER 100 recognizes the world’s most inspiring African-Americans, and Watson saw the 2015 publication as an opportunity to secure placement for her company’s newly-promoted Chief Human Resources Officer, while celebrating MillerCoors' commitment to diversity in leadership.

Watson’s strong writing skills were successful, but she didn’t stop there. She took the lead to develop a related national advertisement to showcase how MillerCoors’ inclusive workplace continues to make a positive impact on its diverse marketplace—and that their people are taking the time to do so whether they’re on the clock or out in the community.

Watson effectively shared how the company makes an impact by leveraging the work, passion and philanthropic commitments of one of the beer industry’s highest-ranked people of color as a source of inspiration. Watson also drove a related employee communications plan, and partnered with colleagues to plan additional placements.

As a result of her vision and action, MillerCoors will promote its commitment to attract and retain diverse top talent among Ebony’s 10.3 million readers, 33% of whom are millennials and the key consumer for the beverage brand. Importantly, the exposure will help build internal pride around what it means to work for a company that celebrates inclusive leadership.