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Platforming Intersectionality: Confronting Race and Gender Bias as a Creative

June 30, 2021
By Caleb Dawkins

Growing up as a young Black man, I am no stranger to “The Talk.” This is a conversation shared between a parent or guardian and their Black or non-white child on how they are to conduct themselves in certain situations in order to increase their chances of safety and survival. A sober warning that discrimination based on your skin color is alive and well. However, this conversation often ignores the complexities associated with being from multiple diverse communities, such as being Black and queer. Both identities are discriminated against in their own ways by society.

To ignore this duality is to ignore the daily struggles of entire populations of people. This intersectionality, a term coined by lawyer and Civil Rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw, reminds us of the heart-wrenching reality that when racial and gender biases are combined, they create multiple layers of prejudice.

In order to effect change, we must understand and accept these truths:

  1. Integrating intersectionality into creative work is no longer a “nice to have.” It’s a necessity in order to connect with wider audiences.
  2. Identities like race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender are traditionally discussed separately. We now understand that they cross traditional boundaries and are made up of varying diasporas.
  3. In DE&I work, while there isn’t a set list of “best practices,” what proves best is providing moments for education and advocacy on a frequent basis.

As PR professionals working with some of the biggest brands and companies in the world, we are often speaking to Gen Z and Millennial audiences. As outlined in FleishmanHillard’s Power of Authenticity study, these audiences “demand accountability, not the appearance of it.” Consumers want brands to have a point of view and represent it truthfully and fully with meaningful actions.

To authentically combat bias in our work, organizations should consider the following:

  • Understand the Diaspora: Understand the impact varying diasporas have on culture and its contribution to underrepresentation. For that reason, it is simply not enough to put a diverse influencer or celebrity in your campaign and expect them to represent everyone in that identity.
  • Take A Well-Informed Stance: The power that brands have in influencing and shaping culture is undeniable. Be aware of that power and harness it for good.
  • Get Specific on Your Messaging: What message are you trying to send? Create campaigns that solve a problem, not just check a box.
  • Involve the Person or Community: Whenever possible, involve the community or person that the project is about. And no, it doesn’t mean handing it over to them to do all the labor; it means continuing to work collaboratively.

If we aren’t thinking about how distinct aspects of our identities lead to compounded types of discrimination, we leave people behind. This presents an opportunity for us all to create work that goes beyond the surface level of “representation” to show that people and their identities are multi-dimensional.

Working in coalition forces us to look for both the obvious and non-obvious relationships of discrimination, helping us to realize that no form of discrimination truly stands alone.



FleishmanHillard to Partner with PRWeek’s Crisis Communications Conference

June 28, 2021

The annual PRWeek Crisis Communications conference returns on Wednesday 30th June, bringing together PR and communications leaders to discuss how to respond to the challenges of the past eighteen months and beyond. […]

The post FleishmanHillard to Partner with PRWeek’s Crisis Communications Conference appeared first on United Kingdom.


Erin Husband and Ines Schumacher Celebrated as “Top Women in PR” by PRNews

June 25, 2021

ST. LOUIS, June 25, 2021 – FleishmanHillard’s Erin Husband, senior vice president and partner in St. Louis, and Ines Schumacher, senior vice president in Detroit, have both been named Top Women in PR 2021 by PRNews.

Each year, PRNews selects women in the PR field to be recognized for their industry involvement and career accomplishments. Husband received the Changemaker award, recognizing women who’ve steered their companies into new markets, new opportunities, new audiences, and strong, measurable growth. Schumacher was celebrated with the Rising Star award, highlighting women on the rise and making their mark within the first 10 years of their PR careers.

Last year, FleishmanHillard’s Isabel Abislaiman and Paula Conhain were named to the 2020 PRNews Top Women in PR list.

Read more about the award on PRNews here.


Crisis Management: What To Do When You Know it’s Going To Be Bad News

By Hannah Cambridge

I hate to admit it, but comms alone can’t fix a really bad business issue. You’ll know the kind — when it would be fair for a regulator to come down hard, when you’re completely going against the popular opinion or when you were just in the wrong. We help our clients navigate all types of issues, including crisis management. […]

The post Crisis Management: What to Do When You Know it’s Going to Be Bad News appeared first on United Kingdom.


The Changing Face of Influence and the Faces Changing It: Panel Wrap-Up at Cannes Can Diversity Collective’s Inkwell Beach

June 24, 2021
By Lauren Winter and Christina Peach

Did you know:   

  • 15% – 20% of the world’s population have a disability (around 14 million people), representing the largest minority group in the world. 
  • 650,000 people have Vitiligo (white patches on the skin caused by lack of melanin).   
  • Eight million women in the UK have experienced Alopecia or hair loss.   

If you didn’t know these stats and the number of people included, it wouldn’t surprise me. Research shows that people with disabilities make up only 0.06% of those featured in advertising; in fashion and beauty, this drops even lower to 0.01%.   

These astonishing, yet humbling stats were shared by our new partner Zebedee during our 2021 Cannes Can: Diversity Collective’s Inkwell Beach’s Virtual Session panel discussion. Zebedee is a specialist talent agency with a mission to ensure people of various representation in the media.

Our partnership with Zebedee will set the tone and reset mindsets; it will change how brands think, act and behave, to set better industry standards of representation. It’s not a should-do. It’s a must-do for us all to put this into action.   

There is enormous untapped potential, and the power of representation is clear already. One of Zebedee’s star talents, Ellie Goldstein, was featured in a campaign for a global luxury fashion brand. On social, it became the most engaged post in their history, beating the likes of Harry Styles. It shows that not only does this work resonate, it matters. 

Brands are powerful, and when two come together for one meaningful mission, exciting things can happen.  

Partnerships like ours with Zebedee can give a voice to those who have been left behind by society, and ensure they are seen and heard — ultimately disrupting sectors and driving more inclusive work.

In a world where community is the new celebrity, the role of celebrities is changing. It’s a path to navigate for brands to act with bravery so that you’re not part of a ‘trend’; instead, you set the story and move culture forward.  

Throughout the social revolution of the past 12 months, every dimension of DE&I has come into greater focus, and we as communicators with the ability to influence our clients must not leave communities behind. The disability community makes up approximately one billion people globally, and for too long, the community has been overlooked. Organisations like Zebedee and the brands that embrace working with them will experience business and reputational benefits.

Why this is important work and how FleishmanHillard and Zebedee can help brands: 

  1. It is Morally the Right Thing to Do: We all need to work together to create an equitable and inclusive society. 
  2. Language: People and brands are at different points along their DE&I journeys; we can help educate them on how to address people and talk about their various abilities.
  3. Access and Needs: Arming you and your teams with the knowledge of things that people need, including accessible events and how to brief them. It’s all in the detail. 
  4. It’s Not Box-Ticking: We all need to start somewhere — big or small, it matters that you take action.  
  5. Do Better Work: We can work with your teams to develop creative and powerful campaigns for brands that matter to your audiences.

Photo courtesy of Zebedee

Whilst our partnership is new, it is work that we’ve been doing and continuously strive to do better, and this relationship further solidifies our ambitions. We’re hugely committed to working with talent of all backgrounds and abilities to build communities that reflect the world around us. Our commitment will always be to connect our brands to Zebedee, making the space campaigns can afford to take up and representing an authentic view of society.

Watch the ‘Community is the new celebrity — the changing face of influence and the faces changing it’ panel discussion at Cannes Can: Diversity Collective’s Inkwell Beach here.  

The Youth and Culture team and Zebedee will be speaking at Martha’s Vineyard Aug. 10-12. Mark your calendars!  

Contact us here to find out more about how our partnership with Zebedee can help your organisation. 


Juneteenth: Why Honoring Black Culture in the Workplace Is Important

June 17, 2021
By Cartiay McCoy

For so many years, United States holidays and observances were limited to only celebrate white historical events. For instance, our nation and corporations have celebrated and observed Independence Day — commemorating freedom, liberty and independence. However, for Black people in America, freedom was delayed.

Juneteenth (June 19th) commemorates the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the United States. Although technically freed more than two years prior, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were not aware of their freedom. Today, the holiday focuses on Black freedom and achievement and invites reflection, self-development and respect from all cultures.

Recognizing Juneteenth in the workplace is an important step corporations can take to honor the past and practice inclusion now and in the future.

In the past year, many corporations, as part of their efforts to strengthen their support for employees and advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), have begun to formally recognize Juneteenth. However, studies show that despite a nearly 19% increase in awareness of Juneteenth following the tragic murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor in 2020, nearly a quarter of American adults still aren’t familiar with the day or what it means.

For employers, this is an opportunity to inform and educate in ways that support greater understanding and inclusion. If recognizing Juneteenth aligns with your values and connects to your company’s DE&I strategy, consider the following actions to commemorate Juneteenth across your organization:

Create Space for Employees.

Unlike other celebratory observances, for the Black community, Juneteenth represents freedom from one of the most reprehensible times in our nation’s history. Creating space for reflection and healing is the best practice employers can implement. Examples of this may include:

  • Offering the day as a paid holiday
  • Activating optional programming that educates and engages employees
  • Providing resources for continued education, allyship and connection across the company
  • Using employee resource groups (ERGs) as a conduit for engaging discussions and listening sessions

Encourage Leadership to Amplify Black Voices from Within.

While corporate CEOs and leaders are expected to advocate as activists nowadays, Juneteenth presents a great opportunity for leaders to use their influence to amplify voices with lived experience. To avoid appearing performative on employee intranets, all-hands messaging and social media posts, leaders should spark conversations and uplift the proper voices from within after engaging with the individuals personally. Ways to do this include:

  • Sharing joint video messages featuring the CEO and employee resource group lead
  • Giving your DE&I leadership team authorship in your Juneteenth communications
  • Leveraging Black leadership’s expertise across corporate channels
  • Highlighting employee reflections to commemorate the day

Do the Work Internally.

Keep in mind that pay equity is top of mind for Black employees on Juneteenth and similar moments. Are there systemic barriers in place that need to be dismantled within your company? Have tough conversations and communicate with employees openly and honestly — taking a close look at your talent mix, Black representation in leadership and efforts to address imbalances. Consider:

  • Assessing wealth gaps in salary, bonuses and benefits offered to employees
  • Creating a career advancement or development program for current and potential diverse talent
  • Introducing bias training for hiring managers
  • Practicing inclusive language across workstreams

Clarify Community Commitments.

If your organization has designated commitments to the Black community or taken a stance on anti-racism, this Juneteenth plan to provide an update on how you’re tracking. Other ways to support the Black community during Juneteenth include:

  • Considering whether your company will be a catalyst for driving forward causes, such as reparations and voting rights
  • Giving to supportive organizations with corporate or matched donations
  • Hosting a volunteer or fundraising event for a Black organization
  • Providing employees with a list of local Juneteenth events and Black-owned businesses to support

Keep the Momentum Going.

Juneteenth is a moment in time, but employers’ commitment to inclusivity should be viewed as a never-ending imperative. Employers can do so by:

  • Developing an ongoing content series celebrating Black colleagues
  • Offering annual leader cascades with team plans for commemorating Juneteenth each year
  • Providing ongoing resources for continued education, mental health support and allyship across the company

As DE&I work continues beyond Juneteenth, it’s important to aspire to achieve progress rather than perfection.

FleishmanHillard’s Talent + Transformation practice helps employers attract and engage diverse employees and align them with business strategy. This article was written in collaboration with our True MOSAIC practice, a community of expert counselors whose diversity of lived and professional experiences reflects the multidimensional world we live in.  


Does Your Brand Have an Authenticity Problem?

If what a brand does is different from what a brand says, then yes. You have what we call an authenticity gap, or an authenticity problem.[…]

The post Does Your Brand Have an Authenticity Problem? appeared first on United Kingdom.


Jim Brunsden to Join FleishmanHillard EU Office in Brussels

June 15, 2021

FleishmanHillard announced that Jim Brunsden will join its Brussels-European Union (EU) office as a senior vice president, Financial Services, beginning 1st July 2021 after a career reporting on EU Policy for the Financial Times and Bloomberg Brussels. […]

The post Jim Brunsden to Join FleishmanHillard EU Office in Brussels appeared first on European Union.


The Impact of Grassroots Sports Closures on Communities

June 14, 2021

Following the second postponement of sport at all ages, local communities were struggling to keep grassroots sports alive. Participants across the country were left with a sporting void, denying them the chance to exercise, socialise and meet. The impact on local communities was massive, but what can external stakeholders such as brands and organisations do? […]

The post The Impact of Grassroots Sports Closures on Communities appeared first on United Kingdom.


FleishmanHillard Celebrates 2021 PRSA Silver Anvil Awards Recognition

June 11, 2021

ST. LOUIS, June 11, 2021 — FleishmanHillard earned two Silver Anvil Awards from the 2021 Silver Anvil Awards program for client work with Elanco and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Additionally, the agency received Awards of Excellence for work on behalf of Advance Auto Parts, AT&T, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson Vision, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Lowe’s.

Since 1944, the PRSA Silver Anvil Awards program recognizes organizations that navigate business challenges with skill and creativity.

Silver Anvil Awards

  • Elanco, “BUILDING TO LEAD: An Unprecedented Acquisition During Unprecedented Times” (Internal Communications, Business, More Than 10,000 Employees)
  • Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, “Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Brings a New Light to Times Square During Pandemic” (Integrated Communications, Consumer Products, Retail Stores and Restaurants)

Awards of Excellence

  • Advance Auto Parts, “Yippee Ki Yay! #DieHardIsBack at Advance Auto Parts” (Content Marketing, Consumer Services)
  • AT&T, “AT&T: An Essential Service Provider’s Response to the COVID-19 Crisis” (Crisis Communications, COVID-19 Challenges, Business)
  • General Motors (Financial Communications)
  • Johnson & Johnson Vision with FleishmanHillard and Bravely, “Prioritize Your Eyes: Protecting Our Most Precious, But Neglected Sense” (Public Service, Business)
  • Lowe’s with FleishmanHillard and IMG Fashion, “New York Fashion Week Goes Home with Lowe’s” (Integrated Communications, Consumer Products, Retail Stores and Restaurants)
  • Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, “Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Gives Graduates Their ‘Senior Moment’ During Pandemic” (Events and Observances, Seven or Fewer Days, Business – Products)

Winners were announced during a virtual ceremony on June 10. View the complete list of 2021 Silver Anvil Award winners here.

Photo courtesy of PRSA