A couple of weeks ago I went to Birmingham for the first time ever to attend the Comms2Point0 UnAwards 2016.
UnAwards are not like the usual glitzy Grosvenor House affairs. This was much more casual – held in a cinema with sweets to watch a movie with. It was a pretty full house and it was really clear to see that the comms industry is thriving with some really interesting and innovative campaigns being show cased.
To top it all off, I won the 2016 award for diversity, sponsored by the NUJ.
I was delighted to win. The Taylor Bennett Foundation team works incredibly hard, with very few resources, to deliver amazing results. 83% of our alumni now work in PR – that’s an astonishing achievement. It is always lovely to have that work recognised by the industry itself and this award sits among the others we’ve racked up since we started in 2007.
In 2017 there are a few changes happening at the Foundation. After ten years as Programme Director, I’ve been promoted to Chief Executive. This gives me scope to build on the brilliant work we do, expand our programme reach and build on our external relationships to secure the charity’s future.
So what does that mean? There are three areas we’re going to concentrate on over the next 12 months:
We’ve already launched our new BAME mentoring scheme and there’s going to be a huge focus on that next year – we’ve recruited a Mentoring Manager to run it. It’s a cost effective way for PR agencies and in-house comms teams to support the Foundation and improve their own reach to more diverse entry-level talent. Details of how it works are here.
Having not had huge luck with traditional university careers fairs we’re taking a different approach. Next year we’ll be setting up a series of talks at university societies that have a broad ethnic diverse membership (think Afro Caribbean societies, Islamic societies etc) to raise the profile of PR as a career choice among students who may never have considered it before. We’ll be looking for volunteers from the PR industry to deliver those talks.
Every Penny Helps
We’re asking you, the PR industry, to support us with your pennies. Please ask your HR team to sign you up to it! This is a scheme for employees to donate the pence in their pay. e.g if they get paid £1,500.50 a month the 50p would be donated to the Taylor Bennett Foundation + gift aid. There is a 4% management fee which can either be taken out of the donations or paid by the company. A firm of around 100 people would mean annual donations of around £750. Details of how to sign up to this scheme here.
And as always we’re keen to involve PR firms and individuals to support us in other ways – hosting visits, being a guest speaker, donating cash, sponsoring events/publications and so on.
It is crucial that the PR industry takes ownership of addressing the lack of diversity in the industry and to do that, it needs to support projects that deliver measurable outcomes. The Foundation does that – our impact is incredible.
If you would like to talk to me about the Foundation’s award-winning work and how to get involved, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org