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Gainesville, Fla. — The Institute for Public Relations (IPR) through the IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has released a new research report, Collaborators for Change: Research on the Relationship between Communications and Diversity Executives. This study features in-depth interviews with 20 Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) and 20 Chief Communications Officers (CCOs) conducted from March 2023 to August 2023 about the current DEI landscape. 

Sponsored by the Omnicom Group, this research explores how key communication and diversity executives collaborate to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and foster inclusive cultures within their organizations. This report also uncovers valuable insights into the strategies, challenges, and best practices to empower leaders to drive positive change within their organizations by providing actionable insights and practical recommendations.

“Given the ever-changing landscape of DEI over the last year, this report comes at a critical time as organizations across industries grapple with the shifting sentiments regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Anetra Henry, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Institute for Public Relations and the report author. “What sets it apart is the deep dive into the relationship between CCOs and CDOs and how they collaborate in shaping the cultures in which they work.”  

Some key findings include: 

  • Origin of the CDO Role: All of the Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) had prior diversity-related experience predating the increased formalization of the CDO position following George Floyd’s murder in 2020.
  • DEI Prioritization: Following 2020, DEI became a top 10 priority for nearly all organizations that participated in this study.
  • Reporting Structures: Both CDOs and CCOs agree that the CDO role should be a stand-alone executive position, preferably reporting to the CEO, although some organizations opt for reporting to the Chief Human Resources Officer.
  • Optimism Despite Challenges: CDOs face several challenges, including being overworked, having limited resources and DEI fatigue, yet both CDOs and CCOs express cautious optimism about the future of DEI efforts. 
  • The Relationship with the CCO: CDOs and CCOs view each other as allies in communicating the results and impact DEI initiatives have on the organization.  


About IPR: The Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit research foundation dedicated to fostering greater use of research and research-based knowledge in corporate communication and the public relations practice. IPR is dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations.TM IPR provides timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. All research, including a weekly research letter, is available for free at

Media Contact:
Brittany Higginbotham
Communications & Outreach Manager
Institute for Public Relations  

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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