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Diverse perspectives build strength

It’s 2021, and there is a lot of work to do to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Although there was attention paid and much performance in diversity commitments, this is the year to make progress on real action.

The truth is that change will not happen overnight and many organizations are starting with changes at the bottom of organizations versus the top. In the meantime, Communication, HR and even DEI professionals today are not very diverse. What’s the goal? That the make-up of executive and professional ranks reflect the make-up of staff diversity at the front-line of the organization OR reflect the diversity of the communities where they operate. Again, we know it will take time for strategy, recruitment and retention to get us there.

In the meantime, there are ways to benefit from diverse perspectives while building more diversity. Listening is the most important thing you can do this year – to your employees, customers, suppliers. communities & to diverse professionals in our fields who can give us insights into the real issues and opportunities.

Here are the top five podcasts that I have personally added to my diverse listening list.

  1. Calm Edged Rebels: UK coaches and communication professionals Advita Patel, Trudy Lewis and Jenni Field brought us this podcast focused on helping listeners make a real impact. They explore subjects including productivity, procrastination & imposter syndrome, each bringing unique perspectives and personalities to the conversations. It’s like listening in on three friends having a chat. In fact, in a few short months, they have been shortlisted as a finalist for the #PBFAwards2021 in the category: Best New Podcast.
  2. Blackbelt Voices: The US-based Blackbelt Voices podcast propagates the richness of Black Southern culture by telling the stories of Black folks down South. Through first-person narratives and in-depth conversations, hosts Adena J. White, Kara Wilkins, and Katrina Dupins share the experiences of Black Southerners living in, loving, and reconciling with the region. Even more exciting, Blackbelt Voices was highlighted by Oprah Magazine as one of the 15 Best Educational Podcasts to Expand Your Mind.
  3. ColourmePR : I was thrilled to be the first guest on the inaugural ColourmePR podcast by Canadian-based Mubashira Nusrat Farooqi. A young, recently graduated professional in Toronto, Mubashira was the recipient of the IABC/Toronto 2020 Student-of-the-Year award. Her podcast aims to be a place of recognition for the phenomenal and diverse women in communications that break the ceiling and lend a Canadian voice and perspective to diversity discussions. A great start and a new voice in Communication that I am confident will get louder.
  4. The Elephant in the Room: Knowing how nervous UK-based Sudha Singh was to make her dream of being a podcast host to life, this podcast has been one of my favourites of 2020. Sudha brings us voices, names and perspectives that are new and deep in their content and diversity. She gives each interviewee a chance to share their stories from a position of strength. There are many insights I can relate too, yet many new ways of thinking I am introduced to.
  5. The Will to Change: For this podcast, I looked for spaces where those whom I followed (because of their important first-person perspectives on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) were guests. I discovered this wonderful podcast by US-based Jennifer Brown. In this podcast, Jennifer explores intersectionality, allyship and the broad diversity spectrum. Her podcast lends a voice on well-thought-out topics from a variety of diversity and professional experts. Jennifer has been in this space for ten years and is a speaker and author.

A special call out to all those podcast hosts being deliberate about diversity.

  • Internal MisCommunications – This 2020 podcast is brought to you by US-based Erica Goodwin and UK-based Keith Riley . Erica and Keith make an effort to ensure some diversity is reflected in their guests with some great representation from Internal Communication experts around the globe. There is also something endearing about Erica’s southern hospitality and Keith’s British sense of humour.
  • IABC Circle of Fellows – When looking across all episodes, Shel Holtz with the help of Anna Marie Willey try to bring a variety of PR issues and global perspectives to light on a monthly basis. Although there is still work to do to ensure those recognized as Fellows reflect the diversity of our membership and the communities in which they do business, we are starting to see change. These conversations are always fascinating to be a part of or listen in on.

Is there a podcast you are listening to? Have I missed a podcast that reflects diversity or is known for being deliberate in their diversity? Please highlight them here.

I hope we all take the time to understand perspectives, challenges and opportunities. I hope we all lean in to our discomfort so that we can adjust our own biases. What is clear is that we are just beginning to see real change. The question for you is whether you want to be a leader or a follower.

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