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Mumbai Magic: FleishmanHillard Diversity Fellows Forge New Partnerships with the Land of ‘Festivals and Light’

March 14, 2023

Over 8 thousand miles, or 13 thousand kilometers, separate the U.S. and India, but the FleishmanHillard Diversity Fellows proved once again that forming connections with global colleagues is achievable despite the geographic distance. The Alfred Fleishman Diversity Fellowship, a program for up-and-coming PR leaders in the United States, was founded in 2012 and continues to be a beacon for those passionate about the intersection of diversity, inclusion, brand and reputation. Fellows explore these topics on a global scale with our virtual expatriate experience, the Cross-Cultural Connections Program, launched in 2021. For the 2022 program, the Fellows were asked what office they had interest in learning more about, and were eager to partner with  FleishmanHillard in India, supported by colleagues in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.   

This year’s program participants included:  

We asked this year’s participants to share their “Top Five’s” about the experience. Here’s what they loved the most:  

  1.  Learning about another country’s culture.  
  2.  Networking with new colleagues and coordinating schedules across time zones. 
  3.  Applying a global lens to topics they are passionate about and exploring solutions to global issues. 
  4.  Learning about different markets, clients and campaigns.  
  5.  Presenting to key leaders and developing their project management and presentation skills.  

Unexpected Discoveries  

Fellows and their Mumbai partners bonded over shared hobbies, PR practice areas and the value they place on incorporating DE&I into their work. It didn’t take long for each pair to finalize their project’s focus, where they examined important topics including, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, best practices for partnering with influencers and the importance of bringing the principles of design justice to the virtual world. With topics as varied as these, it is no wonder that there were a few surprises along the way.   

Aaisha and Himani, learned that much of the metaverse has yet to be researched.   

“The metaverse is new enough that it gives the perfect opportunity to right the wrongs of web 2.0 and create a safe and inclusive space for individuals to come together…that is, if companies can create it properly.” Aaisha Shafique  

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Grace and Crystal learned that researching regional practices can yield a multitude of results. Grace shared:

“I did not fully realize how much the business of influencer marketing can differ from country to country.”  

Ron and Arushi used their research to highlight the challenges that face the LGBTQIA+ community, providing examples of why we must become better allies to our team members. Ron stated:

“Although the U.S. is quite progressive in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, there are still many challenges that exist for that community, especially because protections can vary depending on the state you live in.”  

Coming Soon: Cross-Cultural Connections v.3  

We look forward to our next global partnership and the inevitable opportunities it will bring later this year. While the topics and participants may change, the one thing that will not is our firm’s commitment to inclusion and connection. As always, our Diversity Fellows will be ready – to explore new topics and learn new lessons as we all work toward a more inclusive future for the PR industry.   

You can learn more about openings in our Alfred Fleishman Diversity Fellowship program by visiting our careers page here.