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Article

FH4Inclusion Joins National Minority Supplier Development Council in its 50-Year-Long Fight for Racial and Economic Equity

October 31, 2022
By Chavonne Jones

When the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) recognized its 50th anniversary could be an opportunity to revitalize and broaden awareness of its brand in 2022, it turned to FleishmanHillard, who took on the project as part of it’s FH4Inclusion pro bono work to make it happen.

FleishmanHillard  joined fellow Omnicom agencies to support NMSDC, which included Omnicom Media Group’s Diverse Creators Network (DCN) certification initiative and BBDO’s pro-bono, award-wining creative services. Our collective work with NMSDC is one of Omnicom’s largest diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts externally to date.

NMSDC is the longest-operating business growth engine for systemically excluded communities of color. It supports and certifies their businesses and corrects their unequal access to wealth-building opportunities. For a sense of its sheer scale and impact, the certified minority business enterprise (MBE) network generated over $261 billion in revenue last year alone, created ~$400 billion in economic output and supported 1.75 million jobs. NMSDC has an aspirational goal of achieving $1 trillion in certified MBE annual revenue generation.

And the organization doesn’t only work with mom-and-pop shops. It’s been able to grow small start-ups into multi-billion-dollar enterprises over time.

NMSDC CEO and president, Ying McGuire has an awe-inspiring story of her own: Arriving to the United States from China with only a suitcase and $1,000 to her name, Ying did not have an easy path to the American Dream. She built a successful career as a tech executive, then found herself at a crossroads after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Ying felt compelled to be a part of the growing social justice movement and, as fate would have it, she was approached to fill the top spot at NMSDC shortly thereafter. She quit her tech role and literally changed her entire life to serve MBEs and help close the racial and economic wealth gap in communities of color. Ying says it’s her calling, not simply a job.

FleishmanHillard’s mission was to tell NMSDC’s narrative to the world and introduce Ying as its first Asian American leader in its 50-year history. In addition, we were tasked with generating buzz around two key conferences – its inaugural Minority Business Economic Forum in May (kicking off its goal of generating $1 trillion in certified MBE annual revenue) and its 50th Anniversary Conference & Exchange taking place this month.

The agency quickly went to work and secured a Bloomberg Quicktake segment for Ying where she talked about NMSDC and its impact, a New York Times story that highlights the rise and success of one of NMSDC’s member companies, a Black Enterprise story that quoted Ying in a recap of NMSDC’s Economic Forum and a byline in Bizwomen spotlighting Ying and her work.

And with the help of our network, ABC Chicago attended NMSDC’s May Economic Forum.

We’re now supporting NMSDC’s conference this week and continuing executive visibility efforts on behalf of Ying. We will also be bringing together FleishmanHillard employees from across our offices to participate in an Hour of Service to support NMSDC.

A big shout out to the entire FH4Inclusion team and supporting partners for all of their amazing work on this project. We are all so honored to have the opportunity to work with NMSDC in their fight for racial and economic equity.

“FleishmanHilliard has been an invaluable partner as we celebrate NMSDC’s 50th anniversary and take the necessary steps to accelerate minority business enterprise (MBE) growth over the next 50 years towards the ultimate goal of ending the racial wealth gap once and for all,” said NMSDC CEO and President, Ying McGuire.

NMSDC is one of the many organizations helping FH4Inclusion reach its goal of providing $7.5 million worth of pro bono services by the end of 2022.

Article

FleishmanHillard’s Caleb Dawkins Named on ADCOLOR FUTURES Class of 2022 List

August 26, 2022

Caleb Dawkins, art director at FleishmanHillard Chicago, has been named to the ADCOLOR FUTURES Class of 2022 list.  

As an honoree, Dawkins will receive a sponsorship to attend the ADCOLOR Conference & Awards, career training through ADCOLOR University, mentorships and more. 

ADCOLOR FUTURES is dedicated to identifying and advancing young leaders in the advertising, marketing, media and public relations industries. Their mission is reflected in their motto, “Rise up, reach back,” and demonstrated by their commitment to helping individuals and organizations grow while inspiring leaders to uplift and champion others deserving of recognition.  

View the full ADCOLOR FUTURES Class of 2022 here.

Article

Viva Las Vegas: Takeaways from the 2022 NABJ x NAHJ Convention

August 18, 2022
By Fran Weems and Daniela Velazquez

What happens when 5,000 journalists and communicators of color descend on Caesars Palace in Las Vegas? Magic.

From August 3 through 7, Las Vegas was home to the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) Convention and Career Fair. Professionals from across the nation came together for a week of learning and networking, united under the 2022 convention theme, “Changing the Game/Rompiendo Barreras.”

We were there, too. For the first time ever, FleishmanHillard sponsored the premier multiday conference for journalism and communications professionals to explore media education, career development and advancement, and networking and industry innovation.

And for this occasion, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. Here were our highlights:

Discussing “How Journalists and PR Pros Can Work Together to Catalyze Equity and Change” at our panel

Francesca “Fran” Weems, senior vice president, director of diversity, equity and inclusion and global lead of the Race & Culture team (an offering of True MOSAIC, our DE&I communications practice), moderated the discussion with our esteemed panel, which included: Daniela Velázquez, vice president, Corporate Reputation and a leader on both the True MOSAIC and Race & Culture teams at FleishmanHillard; Russell Contreras, Race and Justice reporter at Axios; Erin Texeira, senior editor, Local Journalism Initiative at FRONTLINE; and Jared Council, senior editor at For(bes) The Culture.

The panel explored the role organizations play as changemakers. As we’ve seen in our True MOSAIC practice counseling clients, consumers are still frustrated with the lack of social progress and looking for company “receipts” around justice and equity. Journalists have the role of telling these stories, but as PR practitioners who center on DE&I, we know that there is an opportunity to work together to evolve the conversation, push for greater transparency and create lasting transformation.

Recruiting and Retaining the Best Diverse Talent

As FleishmanHillard continues its journey to become the most inclusive agency in the world, we know it’s important to follow the wisdom of the hip-hop artist Migos and “walk it like I talk it.” We must not just speak about the importance of DE&I but invest ourselves and our resources to integrate DE&I into the nervous system of our business and make it intrinsic to our work.

To reach our ambition, we have to recruit, grow and retain diverse talent. That’s exactly why Kelly Cheung, senior recruiting specialist, and Janel O’Brien, talent development manager, were on-site at our FleishmanHillard booth. They shared more about our commitment to DE&I, our client work on True MOSAIC, as well as our internship and Alfred Fleishman Diversity Fellowship opportunities.

Uncovering What DE&I Reporters are Thinking

  • Newsrooms are grappling with calling out companies/governments while dealing with their own DE&I issues. Reporters who cover the race/culture beats in newsrooms and who are working to hold other organizations and governments accountable also grapple with knowing their newsrooms are battling the same issues.
  • Communicators have a real opportunity to make the world more equitable. For both journalists and PR professionals, there was a clear focus on catalyzing change by reaching internal and external audiences. There is a shared resentment that newsrooms and agencies have been too slow to diversify while knowing that to be able to tell impactful stories, you have to have teams that look more like the world in which we live and operate.
  • You cannot hire your way out of DE&I issues. You have to create a culture of inclusion to retain and grow top talent.
  • Race should be a basic competency for all journalists and communications pros. We must all understand the role of race and ethnicity in order to inform more nuanced and inclusive storytelling.
  • Ensure you are making DE&I a movement vs. a marketing moment: Some reporters have found that there are more efforts tied to marketing DE&I than actually making real investments. For example, a company may give $50,000 to an HBCU, but spend $500,000 on marketing it. So, that begs the question are they there for change or credit? Reporters want to know about the issues, the roadblocks and if companies are willing to fall on swords in terms of their lack of progress given so many companies are not where they need to be. Reporters aren’t here to celebrate wins but to spotlight items that are working that may be scaled across various industries.
  • Gen Z is looking for levels of authenticity never seen before. Gen Z is aware of their power and have a voice. They are calling out companies for their lack of authenticity and holding them accountable on social media as it relates to racial and social injustice. This is forcing companies to reconsider how they operate and speak out on issues (see related info in FleishmanHillard’s 2021 Authenticity Gap).

As an agency, we look forward to continuing to support organizations that advocate for diverse communicators and grow our commitment to, and investment in, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Article

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity Through the Lens of Cannes Can: Diversity Collective Ambassadors

July 13, 2022
By Adrianne Smith, Fran Weems and Mubashira Farooqi

While the South of France is known for its expansive sandy beaches lining the French Riviera and celebrity visits during the Cannes Film Festival, it’s also the site of one the largest gatherings for the advertising and creative communications industries: The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Every year through the Lion Awards, Cannes Lions explores the value of creativity in branded communication, from product and service development to creative strategy, execution and impact. Work that wins represents the year’s most exceptional campaigns and standard-setting benchmarks for businesses, while celebrating ideas that are shaping the next wave of creativity.  

However, despite its title of “international,” those who’ve attended the event in previous years can attest to the fact that it is far less representative of diverse perspectives than it should be. Adrianne C. Smith, senior vice president, senior partner and chief diversity and inclusion officer, sought to change this and launched the Cannes Can: Diversity Collective (CC:DC) in 2017 to provide young people of color and underrepresented communities with access and opportunity to attend and participate at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.  

This year, the festival took place June 20-24 in Cannes, France, and Francesca “Fran” Weems, senior vice president, director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and global lead of the Race & Culture Media + Platforms team, and Mubashira Farooqi, senior consultant and True MOSAIC project manager at FleishmanHillard HighRoad, had the opportunity to join a group of over 20 diverse, young professionals from across the world to attend as ambassadors for the CC:DC. The cohort is heralded as the industry’s future leaders and the goal is that this team will bring back learnings to create a larger impact. 

Smith created a spot that is welcoming with her activation at Cannes called “Inkwell Beach,” named as a historical tribute to the infamous beach in Martha’s Vineyard, which was a place of solace for Black people during segregation. CC:DC’s Inkwell Beach at Cannes is the first stand-alone activation specifically focused on elevating the conversation of DE&I in the history of the Cannes Lions Festival. As such, Smith ensured Inkwell Beach at Cannes is open to everyone requiring no badges for entry. She also made sure people felt the southern hospitality by providing a free soul food lunch prepared by Chef James Rose from Alabama to participants daily.  

Throughout the week, Cannes Lions hosted a multitude of panel discussions and speeches on topics ranging from creativity and sustainability to talent-making and data technology. Weems and Farooqi had the opportunity to hear from industry leaders from tech, auto, consumer, sports/lifestyle and more. Some of the highest-impact sessions were held on Inkwell Beach and featured speakers including Hall of Fame CMO Bozoma Saint John, Founder of the Me Too movement Tarana Burke and Supermodel and Businesswoman Naomi Campbell. Farooqi also had the opportunity to speak  about the black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) employee experience on a panel with fellow Omnicom colleagues, organized by Emily Graham, Omnicom’s chief equity and impact officer. Meanwhile Weems participated on a panel with Smith focused on how “Creativity Starts with Diversity.” You can watch it here

Throughout Cannes Lions, the networking and learning opportunities were endless. Some key takeaways include: 

  • The importance of talent-making vs. hiring 
  • Creating moments of impact rather than just conversation 
  • How leaders need to prioritize humanness, empathy and authenticity to be successful 
  • How greater focus on innovation happens when we are making ourselves uncomfortable 
  • In order to really provide sponsorship, we need to invest our time as much as our money into the success of others  

This experience provided ambassadors with a first-hand understanding of the barriers that exist for people of color on these international stages, but it also inspired participants to be confident and work together to encourage and create more spaces, like Inkwell Beach, to shine and showcase their talents. 

CC:DC ambassadorships are only possible  with the support of sponsors, known as “The Collective.”

Below are a few more shots of our incredible experience at Cannes Lions.

(From left to right)
Image 1: Gena Pemberton, chief DE&I officer, Omnicom Health Group; Ro Kalonaros, global director, content and culture, Omnicom Group; Tony Hobley, chief DE&I officer, Omnicom Precision Marketing Group; Mubashira Farooqi, senior consultant, True MOSAIC project manager, FleishmanHillard HighRoad; Lionel Carreon, executive director of global creative recruiting, TBWA Worldwide and Justin Thomas-Copeland, president and CEO, DDB North America
Image 2: Brian Melarkey, director and head of creative strategy, FleishmanHillard; Bia Assevero, vice president, FleishmanHillard; Fran Weems, senior vice president, director of DE&I and global lead of the Race & Culture Media + Platforms team, FleishmanHillard; Paige Graham, account supervisor, FleishmanHillard; Adrianne C. Smith, senior vice president and senior partner, chief diversity and inclusion officer, FleishmanHillard and Mubashira Farooqi
Image 3: Fran Weems, Adrianne C. Smith and Mubashira Farooqi
Image 4: Fran Weems, Brian Melarkey, Jim Donaldson, CEO of UK and Middle East, FleishmanHillard, and Mubashira Farooqi
Image 5: CC:DC Ambassadors
(From left to right)
Image 1: Naomi Campbell and Fran Weems
Image 2: Adrianne C. Smith and Fran Weems
Image 3: Malala Yousafzai and Mubashira Farooqi
Image 4: Fran Weems, Emily Graham, chief equity and impact officer, Omnicom, and Mubashira Farooqi
Image 5: Fran Weems and Bozoma Saint John, Hall of Fame CMO
Article

Authentic beauty: Visibility and representation

July 7, 2022
By Phillippa Solway

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we know that across the world attitudes are changing as perceptions of the ‘visual norm’ evolve. Research from Kantar reveals, 65% of consumers say that it’s important that the companies they buy from actively promote diversity across society. And we are seeing brands rapidly adapt to […]

The post Authentic beauty: Visibility and representation appeared first on United Kingdom.

Article

The Workplace Is No Longer a Singular Location

July 6, 2022

From the “Giving Care to the Caregivers” series

The workplace as a singular location is no longer, especially for caregivers as they have unique physical and emotional needs. As we continue to live with the pandemic, the concept of physically coming into a workplace just to do the work only to spend significant amounts of time commuting back home seems outdated and inefficient to many people. For some, work can be done anywhere, as the pandemic has illuminated. Now, as we inch toward an endemic stage, a virtual and hybrid workplace presents an opportunity for employers to innovate and connect, evolving beyond a traditional physical location with mandatory physical attendance for the singular purpose of being present.

One-Size-Fits-All Is No Longer

One of the most important things managers should keep in mind is that the workforce is not a monolith. Not all people within the same demographics feel the same way about the best ways to work, and that underscores the need for flexibility.

For example, working from home has had mixed effects on work-life balance. Around half of participants report spending more time working each week, but at the same time, freedom from commuting has allowed for more time to spend on things other than work (approximately 80% of participants agree). This is especially true among the caregiver population, of whom 9-in-10 agree.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Working from Home

  • The advantages of working from home were more strongly recognized than the disadvantages, across all respondents.
  • Forty-eight percent of employees value benefits related to not commuting, with 46% valuing saving money on commuting costs specifically.
  • Thirty-seven percent value schedule flexibility, 33% like removing the logistics of showing up in person, like getting dressed, 30% appreciate spending more time with family and 27% value cost savings on snacks/food.

The millions of people who make up workforces around the world all have different needs. This is especially true for caregivers. Flexibility and open mindedness about the way we work may be some of the gifts that have come from these rough pandemic years. Let’s give these ideas a try and see what we can learn about new, improved and more effective ways to work.

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The research for the True MOSAIC “Giving Care to the Caregivers” thought leadership series was conducted by FleishmanHillard’s TRUE Global Intelligence, the agency’s in-house research practice. Research for the report is based on a total of 2,076 respondents including a U.S. nationally representative sample (based on gender, age, region) of n=1,056, and an oversample of respondents who self-identified as Disabled (n=278), AAPI (n=250), Hispanic (n=260), Black (n=280), Caregivers (n=272), and Parents (n=274). The survey was conducted between March 15-29, 2022.

This blog post is part of a series focused on caregivers and our new ways of working, exploring what leaders should consider in their return to office plans. The next blog will tackle the role of the DE&I communications practitioner in return-to-work plans.

Article

People are making career choices based on team culture, leadership and values

June 29, 2022

Behind-the-scenes at FleishmanHillard UK: Part Four Team culture and investing in your team In our final part of the series, we interview FleishmanHillard UK and Middle East CEO Jim Donaldson, for insight into what it is like to lead our award-winning team. He also shares some news about the agency’s plans for the future.   With […]

The post People are making career choices based on team culture, leadership and values appeared first on United Kingdom.

Article

New Perspective: My History, My Juneteenth Story

June 28, 2022

Last month, I had the opportunity to return to my maternal ancestral home Thomasville, Georgia, a small town located about 40 minutes outside of Tallahassee, Florida. Thomasville is frequented by college students seeking a day trip and those looking for quaint, southern charm and hospitality.

I visited Thomasville years before as a child, and then again as one of those same college students wanting a change of scenery. I knew that Thomasville was once the home of my grandparents, but on my most recent trip, I had a new awareness of my family history. I learned that in the 1800s, my great-great grandfather Alf Ross was born a slave in Thomasville at a place called Springhill Plantation.

This latest visit to Thomasville was fueled by my hunger for more perspective on my family history. I had the opportunity to visit the Jack Hadley Black History Museum, a small but impactful institution filled with rich artifacts from Black American history. There, I spent time with my parents, aunts,  and uncles soaking in the history of Black people in Thomasville and the plight of my ancestors. I was surprised to see that I even showed up in a picture or two alongside my grandmother.

During the insightful visit, I was able to confirm what I had always known. My great-great grandfather was born a slave on Springhill Plantation and after emancipation, his descendants worked on the plantation as sharecroppers. The next generations decided to leave rural Georgia in pursuit of a better life. My grandfather, Edward Ross, moved to Miami, Florida where my mother was born and where I reside today.

Having this new-found knowledge of my familial history puts Juneteenth into a whole new light for me. I, along with other Black Americans, see Juneteenth as a time to reflect and pay tribute to our enslaved ancestors. It’s a time to mourn their struggle, but also to celebrate their resilience and indomitable spirits.

When Juneteenth was designated a federal holiday last year, a day that was relatively unknown to non-Black Americans had suddenly become an opportunity to market to Black people. Juneteenth should be celebrated and recognized by all. Afterall, Black history is American History.

As we move past Juneteenth, we hope that you reflect on the holiday’s true meaning and use the momentum of the holiday as a reminder to live up to the values of and build the inclusive society we all desire to live in.

Article

Behind-the-scenes at FleishmanHillard UK, Part Three: Diversity and Inclusion

June 20, 2022

A commitment to D&I that spans the whole agency   Christina Peach, associate director and brand and inclusion specialist, joined FleishmanHillard UK seven years ago. She plays a pivotal role in our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Christina is co-chair of OPEN Pride UK + Allies and is the EMEA regional lead for True MOSAIC, our […]

The post Behind-the-scenes at FleishmanHillard UK, Part Three: Diversity and Inclusion appeared first on United Kingdom.

Article

Returning to Work: Supporting Caregivers While Centering Equity in the Workplace

June 15, 2022

From the True MOSAIC “Giving Care to the Caregivers” thought leadership series

With more than two years of data to support a path forward as leaders make plans for a return to office, many workers with caregiving responsibilities are finding a safe space in hybrid models. However, while hybrid models allow for potential worker flexibility, it also has the potential of creating inequitable workplaces as those who work in-person may have more contact with managers and executives, while those who stay home fall out of sight and out of mind. 

Caregivers have a unique set of needs that should be considered when companies return to the workplace in any form. In True MOSAIC’s latest study, “Giving Care to the Caregivers”, we found:

  • Caregivers are concerned about proximity bias and those concerns should be addressed by workplace managers. 
  • Specifically, 7 in 10 caregivers are concerned about colleagues who choose to work in person getting more credit for their work (71%) and being perceived more favorably (73%).
  • When it comes to the benefits of a hybrid or remote setting, parents were most likely to report more time with family as a benefit of working remotely. 

Although they take the lead on increased work hours (64%), 90% of caregivers who work remotely or in hybrid arrangements agree that freedom from commuting has allowed for more personal time. This personal time can be used to take care of home responsibilities, including looking after others.

The Gift (and Responsibility) of Flexibility

Companies’ return-to-work plans will have a direct impact on people’s day-to-day lives. At a time when organizations are struggling to find and retain talent, they risk losing some of their most valuable contributors – caregivers. 

In the study, we found that mandates to come back to the office full time may lead to tension among employers and employees. If presented with an ultimatum, many employees surveyed would either comply or speak to their supervisor about flexible work arrangements. Nearly a quarter (24%) of employees would look for a new job. The data is striking and is consistent with labor trends that have seen many employees leaving their jobs in recent times. 

Additionally, the cost to replace employees who resign from the company can be expensive. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates it costs $160,000 to replace a position that earns $80,000 per year. At a time when more employees expect flexibility, it simply makes sense to find ways to address the needs of employees. 

For caregivers, especially, flexibility is key. But what does flexibility look like in practice? For some, it means they have the option to choose hours that meets the demands of caretaking, meetings, and other home and work responsibilities. For others, it means the option to work four-day weeks or part time. However, an individual chooses to define it, the definition of flexibility is determined by the employee — not the employer. The data shows that caregivers are split on how they would like to work: 39% prefer in-person work settings while 40% prefer hybrid working arrangements.

Like anything, there’s a responsibility that comes with flexibility. Whether you are an employee or employer, trust is to be earned for flexibility in hybrid models to work. While leaders should look to extend flexibility to employees, employees need to perform their duties and meet expectations in order to earn the trust of their employer. This is also true for colleagues working together on the same team where interpersonal communication and teamwork will help to ensure that trust is instilled in the day-to-day work.

Our study shows that generally, hybrid work is the employee preference and that among respondents who prefer hybrid work, the ideal work schedule consists of two to three days in the workplace per week. Across demographic groups, employees would prefer to ease into returning to the workplace with flexibility as a guiding principle.

While the preferences lean slightly toward hybrid work, it’s important to remember that caregivers are not a monolith. Individual preferences should be considered as employers seek to hire and retain top talent. In the end, if employees feel their job fits their life choices, they will be able to bring their whole selves to work and fully engage in the job long term.

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The research for the True MOSAIC “Giving Care to the Caregivers” thought leadership series was conducted by FleishmanHillard’s TRUE Global Intelligence, the agency’s in-house research practice. Research for the report is based on a total of 2,076 respondents including a U.S. nationally representative sample (based on gender, age, region) of n=1,056, and an oversample of respondents who self-identified as Disabled (n=278), AAPI (n=250), Hispanic (n=260), Black (n=280), Caregivers (n=272), and Parents (n=274). The survey was conducted between March 15-29, 2022.

This blog post is part of a series focused on caregivers and our new ways of working, exploring what leaders should consider in their return to office plans. The next blog in the series will address how hybrid work models bring work-life balance to caregivers.