Last year's winners of the inaugural Diversity Distinction in PR Awards set an extremely high bar for others to follow.
The awards, set up by PRWeek in conjunction with the Council of PR Firms, address the issue of attracting and developing a more ethnically diverse workforce at all levels of the PR profession, especially in the agency world - and especially in the senior levels of agencies.
APCO Worldwide won the award for Best PR Firm Diversity initiative by initiating a diversity and inclusion program aimed at making the Margery Kraus-helmed agency the “best place for diverse talent to work in the communications industry.”
Through a mixture of internal and external measures, APCO achieved a 19% boost in the number of minorities in client-facing roles. More than one in five people hired in a 12-month period were from minorities and 51 employees participated in its mentoring programs. The initiative went way beyond lip service and produced real, measurable results that the firm continues to build upon.
This year, the category has been split into two parts, one for agencies with revenues under $10 million, the other for agencies above $10 million.
Porter Novelli took the Best PR Firm Community Initiative through a partnership with a nonprofit called Together Our Resources Can Help (TORCH) that exposed high-school students to the PR industry and presented it as an “exciting and viable career option.” Porter educated more than 40 students and hired one full-time staffer from the program. Formerly only open to agencies, this year the Community Initiative category has been extended to include corporations as well.
Last year's Diversity Champion Kim Hunter will also be a tough act to follow, but there are many other impressive candidates out there doing great work who deserve to be honored.
The awards are free to enter, and they will be judged by a stellar group of experts in the field, including Verizon's Torod Neptune, Cargill's Mike Fernandez, Ford's Alvaro Cabal, Howard University's Rochelle Ford, American Express' Latraviette Smith, and The Reputation Doctor Mike Paul.
The winners will be presented with their prizes at a dinner preceding the Council of PR Firms' Critical Issues Forum. The deadline for this year's awards is Thursday June 21, so do make sure you are working on your entries or nominations in good time for that.