As May 25 is an important day of reflection for the remembrance of George Floyd, the Institute for Public Relations is reflecting on the commitments we made and the work we still need to do.

The George Floyd Memorial Foundation has identified May 25 as a Virtual Day of Action, to honor George Floyd’s legacy. To learn more, visit their website www.georgefloydmemorialfoundation.org.

As part of the Virtual Day of Action, IPR is renewing its commitment as a profession-based nonprofit to help improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the public relations industry. We want to be a driver of positive change and fight against the embedded systems of racism that hurt our society globally. Excellent DE&I practices help organizations succeed, which makes our field stronger and better.

Last year, we released the following statement guided by a call-to-action:

“We stand with our Black colleagues and the Black community to say that racism, discrimination, and inequality are wrong. No one should ever live in fear of their safety, feel threatened, or have their voices go unheard. We are speaking up and speaking out to stand against racism and injustice. As a profession-based nonprofit, we know that racism and inequality do not stop on the boundaries between our personal and professional lives. We will use our voice to make change. We will listen. We will be vigilant. We will do better.”

 

To hold ourselves accountable, IPR outlined the actions we have taken over the past year and what we plan to do moving forward.

What We Have Done this Past Year

  • Launched an IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (CDEI) focused on new research.  Dr. Natalie Tindall of Lamar University and Emily Graham of Omnicom are co-directors of this Center of Excellence.
  • Established an advisory committee of 47 members for the IPR CDEI
  • Published 100+ research abstracts of DE&I research on the IPR CDEI Website
  • Held 12 webinars for the Race in the PR Classroom series, in partnership with PRSA Educators Academy, featuring 43 diverse PR professionals
  • Committed to ensuring 50% of our IPR conference speakers are diverse
  • Served on the steering committee of the Diversity Action Alliance 
  • Managed the annual DAA data collection and reporting process
  • Launched 3 surveys related to DE&I research and embedded DE&I in all our industry-related studies  
  • Featured 12 diverse PR pioneers for history and heritage months in the IPR Research Letter, in partnership with The Museum of PR
  • Established the IPR + The LAGRANT Foundation fellowship given to two diverse students annually



 
Our Commitment for the Next Year
 
Historically, IPR has played multiple roles in supporting public relations research. Today, we support research in five ways as an aggregator, grantor, partner, interpreter, and convener.
 
We are committed to advocating for DE&I through these, as well annually:

Aggregator

  • Publish 100+ new research abstracts on the IPR CDEI website
  • Continue to feature research focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion at least once a week in the IPR Research Letter

Grantor

  • Offer 2 grants and mentor diverse students through the IPR + The LAGRANT Foundation Fellowship
  • Continue to seek diversity in candidate applications for IPR Student Awards

Partner

  • Partner with diverse faculty and practitioners on new research projects
  • Continue to publish weekly PR pioneer profiles for each history month in the IPR Research Letter in partnership with The Museum of PR
  • Continue to host the Race in the PR Classroom Series with PRSA Educators Academy

Interpreter

  • Publish at least 5 new signature studies focused on the state of DE&I in the PR industry through the IPR CDEI. Reports in progress include:
    • The language of DE&I in partnership with The Wakeman Agency
    • Pay transparency and equity in the PR field
    • Inclusion and belonging in PR firms (as part of TLF fellowship)
    • Women in leadership
  • Publish a DE&I Teaching Guide through the CDEI
  • Continue to support the Diversity Action Alliance by collecting data, conducting research, and creating benchmarking reports

Convener

  • Increase diversity of the Board by race/ethnicity (our Board is 18% diverse) and gender (our Board is 45% diverse)
  • Continue to commit to 50% diversity among speakers in IPR programming
  • Continue to feature DE&I thought leadership at every IPR event, symposium, or conference
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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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