PR Needs Long-Term Commitment to Diverse Hiring and a Culture of Retention, WE’s DEI Head Says

ElizabethHerrera SmithEVP & Head, DEIWE Communications

[Editor’s Note: Female-led WE Communications has an enviable track record on gender diversity. Last week it named 20-year WE veteran Elizabeth Herrera Smith EVP and head of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). We asked about ways PR can bolster its ethnic diversity and how small and mid-size communication shops can kickstart DEI.]

PRNEWS: PR in the US is about 80 percent Caucasian. How can the industry better reflect the makeup of the country?

Elizabeth Herrera Smith: The type of change needed is going to require a collective, focused effort across the industry. The fact that the ethnic makeup of PR professionals has remained relatively unchanged for several decades is a wake-up call for organizations to examine systems…that may be standing in the way of progress. Recruiting diverse candidates is really step one.

PRNEWS: And step two?

Herrera Smith: Company culture. Those of us in this industry must create a place where diverse talent can thrive and grow, and where people can safely bring diverse thinking to the organization. It feels like there is widespread determination to make change happen.

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