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National Volunteer Week: Growing Our FH4Inclusion Commitment

April 22, 2020
By Janel O'Brien and Alana Reinhardt

In celebration of National Volunteer Week, we’re highlighting the efforts of teams across our network. More than 1,000 FleishmanHillard employees have donated their time as part of FH4Inclusion, our global pro bono initiative launched in 2016. This effort promotes inclusion in the communities where we live and work through our teams’ volunteer work with nonprofit partners.

In 2019, we exceeded our cumulative goal of the equivalent of $4 million provided in time and talent. That total represents more than 20,000 hours working with more than 100 global FH4Inclusion partners. Some of the many highlights to-date include hosting personal branding workshops for up-and-coming professionals in South Africa, providing professional development lessons to seventh-grade students from Marian Middle School in St. Louis, and raising much-needed scholarship funds for women attending the Asian University for Women in Hong Kong.

In honor of National Volunteer Week, we’re featuring two activations in our U.S. offices — our Kansas City office partnered with The BrandLab and in New York, our team collaborated with the Partnership for New York City and the New York City Department of Education.

Having Fearless Conversations in Kansas City

FleishmanHillard in Kansas City has partnered with The BrandLab since 2018 when Kansas City professionals came together to establish the organization in the community. FleishmanHillard’s Kansas City office was a founding partner and since then, the team has taken a hands-on-approach to grow the organization’s presence. Founded in Minneapolis in 2007 with the mission to introduce diverse high school students to creative careers, The BrandLab aims to change the face and voice of the communications and marketing industry.

The BrandLab student interns smile for a photo.

Our Kansas City team hosted junior and senior interns the past two summers, helping them understand what a communications career entails and develop professional skills. The office also hosted Spark Days, where freshman and sophomore students spend a day at our agency and are introduced to the industry. In addition, the team participates in The BrandLab’s Fearless Conversations, an annual event that brings together industry professionals for an open dialogue about race and bias.

Our Kansas City team works to challenge and educate their student partners at a Spark Day event.

This important inclusion work not only benefits the next generation of job seekers and the future of our industry, but it also pushes our teams to create an inclusive professional environment where we all can thrive.

Inspiring the Next Generation of PR Professionals in New York

On February 11, 2020 FleishmanHillard in New York participated in the first-ever Career Discovery Week, an initiative founded by the Partnership for New York City and the New York City Department of Education.

The office hosted 75 tenth-grade students from four New York City public schools with the intention to educate the students on a variety of career opportunities in public relations and marketing.

The day began with presentations by representatives from each New York team, including Technology, Social and Innovation, Corporate, Consumer, New Business Development, Media Relations and Healthcare. Each presenter shared information about their respective team and included a Q&A portion where the students asked thoughtful questions about the speakers’ roles and how their careers had progressed to where they are today.

Equally important was the networking session held after the presentations. For many students, this was the first time at a networking event. They learned more about creating professional relationships through first-hand experience, which — as we all know — is a valuable skill to have on the path to your future career.

After the networking session, FleishmanHillard’s Talent Development team provided tips and information about resume and cover letter building and editing, interviewing and future internship opportunities, and graduate and fellowship programs.

Overall, Career Discovery Day was a great opportunity for students to get a look into the professional world and for FleishmanHillard employees to share their stories and showcase the work they do every day.

Our own Vipan Gill and Angela Anastasi enjoyed networking with Career Discovery Week students.

The importance of advancing inclusion and supporting nonprofit partners is greater than ever. According to Population Reference Bureau’s U.S. 2020 census study, children are at the forefront of racial and ethnic change in the United States, creating a diversity gap among generations. With upcoming generations being more diverse than ever, inclusion efforts will need to improve accordingly. FleishmanHillard will continue to partner with organizations that address growing needs and societal changes.

Janel O’Brien, a member of our Talent Development team in our New York office, and Kristen Ingram, a member of our Healthcare team in our Kansas City, and Alana Reinhardt contributed to this article.