DE&I Communications: Driving Change

Date: Tuesday, September 21
Time: 12pm-3pm ET (9am-12am PT)

Just a few short years ago, a company’s sheer willingness to recognize shortcomings around its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts would have been lauded as progress. Well, those days are over. What matters now are tangible results, and today’s employees and consumers are holding brands accountable for delivering them.

As we continue to see time and again, racial and economic injustice is prevalent throughout our society, from the widening wealth gap to inadequate access to healthcare, education, technology, financing and more. And when you look at the workforce, particularly as you get closer to the C-suite, diverse representation is not at all where it should be.

PR is not immune nor exempt. As an industry, there’s still much progress to be made in the DE&I space. As communications professionals, we are uniquely positioned to be change agents and move the needle in a profound way — both among our own ranks and across the business landscape and society as a whole.  

Join us for this special virtual event sponsored by FleishmanHillard and True MOSAIC, its global DE&I practice comprised of counselors with diverse professional expertise and lived experience. From staffing to storytelling, leaders across industries will drill deep and take a 360-degree view of the key role every PR pro can play in advancing DE&I — within their organizations and beyond.


12-12:05pm ET: Opening comments from John Saunders (He/Him), president and CEO, FleishmanHillard

John Saunders (He/Him)

president and CEO

12:05-12:45pm ET: Communicators are change agents

Communicators are not just passively sitting on the sidelines waiting for a good story to tell. They are in the trenches doing the work. From creating action plans, processes, benchmarks and beyond — communications play a pivotal role in fostering a more inclusive and equitable world. Effective communications require equal parts empathy, activism and strategy. This session will explore communicators’ abilities to address complex DE&I topics and use influence as a catalyst for action and change.

Leslie Gordon (She/Her) 

Director, DEI Communications
The Walt Disney Company

View Biography

Soon Mee Kim (She/Her)

Global diversity, equity and inclusion officer
Omnicom Public Relations Group

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Sharon Watson (She/Her)

SVP, brand marketing, communications and corporate relations department

View Biography

Adrianne Smith (She/Her)

SVP and senior partner, chief diversity and inclusion officer

View Biography

12:45-12:50pm ET: Break

12:50-1:30pm ET: Bringing people along for the DE&I journey

Each person is on their own DE&I journey. Thus, it’s important that organizations consider their employees’ varying points of understanding and take a holistic approach to advancing DE&I. This session explores how to coalesce support to drive tangible changes and provides best practices for making every employee feel included as companies pursue their DE&I goals. Participants will also break down which part of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging they are prioritizing in their broader strategies.

Rochelle Ford (She/Her)

Dean of the School of Communications and Professor of Strategic Communications
Elon University

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Rich Ferraro (He/Him)


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Leela Stake (She/Her)

SVP and senior partner, FleishmanHillard
global practice co-lead, True MOSAIC

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Gideon Fidelzeid (He/Him)

Managing editor

1:30-1:35pm ET: Break

1:35-2:15pm ET: The future is now

Younger generations are key drivers for brands’ increased focus on DE&I today. Numerous studies show that younger millennials and Gen-Zers base many of their decisions — from purchases to employment — on a company’s purpose and commitment to DE&I. Seasoned managers clearly point out they have much to learn from their younger colleagues on how to create a more inclusive workplace and society as a whole. In this session, young leaders will share insight into where we go from here and how companies can make real strides toward becoming more reflective of the diverse world in which we all work and live.

Caleb Dawkins (He/Him)

Junior art director

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Daisy Jimenez (She/Her)

assistant manager, diversity, equity & inclusion comms

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Natalie Schmickley (They/Them)

Alfred Fleishman Diversity Fellow

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Adiya Mobley (She/Her)

SVP and partner
True MOSAIC co-lead 

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2:15-2:20pm ET: Break

2:20-2:50pm ET: Fireside chat: Staying the Course

DE&I is daunting work – mentally, emotionally and physically. Resolving systemic inequities that have compounded and festered over the past 400 years plus requires immeasurable time and patience. However, that doesn’t mean organizations shouldn’t feel a sense of urgency to act. Their key constituents – including employees and consumers – expect results now and so it’s incumbent upon leaders to show progress or risk losing them. In this session, you’ll hear about the future of DE&I, our shared responsibility and, most importantly, staying the course.

Lizanne Vaughan (She/Her)

interim chief HR officer
Getty Images

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Keyla Cabret-Lewis (She/Her)

director of diversity, equity and inclusion

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J.J. Carter (He/Him)

global COO; president, Americas

View Biography

2:50-3:00pm ET: Closing comments 



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