WeberShandwickDiversity and Inclusion is paramount at Weber Shandwick – it isn’t just a program or initiative, it’s a strategic imperative deeply integrated into the way we do business.

Diversity alone is not enough. Inclusion is essential in unlocking the transformative potential of a diverse staff. We place high value on our team’s wide range of backgrounds, perspectives and thinking styles, leveraging them to generate the ground-breaking ideas our clients expect and to create an inspiring, high-performance workplace that fosters collaboration and attracts the best minds in the business.

We view diversity through multiple lenses – race, gender, sexual orientation/identity, age, religion, physical abilities, socio-economic status – all of the attributes that make us who we are and think the way we do. And we recognize the incredible advantage of building and maintaining a diverse, culturally intelligent and agile workforce to serve the needs of demographically changing stakeholders.

Our diversity and inclusion strategy is a two-pronged effort designed to maximize workforce diversity and create a climate for inclusion: externally, we engage in partnerships with powerful, diversity-focused organizations to deliver talent, grow the pipeline and earn recognition as a D&I thought leader and advocate for people of color and women in business. Internally, we work to provide development and advancement opportunities for diverse employees, drive widespread engagement and education, and elevate the reach of diversity and inclusion to advance a climate that fosters collaboration and drives peak performance.

Employee engagement in national and local programs bolsters shared commitment to inclusion across levels, functions, offices and demographic groups. Our cross-office Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Council brings employees together to share ideas and best practices on increasing our D&I efforts at every level of the business. D&I Council membership continued to grow in 2014 to nearly 120 employees. Weber Shandwick encourages local programs across the network to ensure that diversity & inclusion efforts come alive across offices, including Boston’s “BraveSpace” issues-oriented gatherings that tackle tough issues in the media and the Detroit office’s award-winning Social Circle community outreach program, an outreach and mentoring program created by the office with the goal of teaching vulnerable youth about the many facets of a career in public relations.

Weber Shandwick fosters workforce diversity through recruiting, talent development and meaningful partnerships and board service with leading diversity-focused organizations. We engage with multicultural groups and foundations to further diversity and inclusion within our company and across the communications industry overall. In 2014, Weber Shandwick sponsored the first national conference of ColorComm, the only organization solely for women of color in communications, and brought a larger audience “up close and personal” to the event through a live-streamed show featuring industry leaders including award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien.

The firm connected the Council of Public Relations Firms and PRSA Foundation to the United Negro College Fund to form a partnership aimed at driving diversity in the industry. The result is the PRIME (Public Relations Internship, Mentoring and Education) Program, which is launching in Atlanta this summer with 15 sponsors. Weber Shandwick has also partnered with Ron Brown Scholar program for five years in a row to support its mission to provide academic scholarships for young African-Americans. Weber Shandwick Chairman Jack Leslie chairs the Program’s Board of Trustees and Judith Harrison, Weber Shandwick’s senior vice president of Staffing and Diversity & Inclusion, sits on the Program’s advisory board.

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