Embracing Change: When Cultural Diversity Meets Your Chapter

October 29, 2015

[visit music city]
[visit music city]

This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on the ComPRehension blog during PRSA’s Diversity Month.

For those of us fortunate enough to call Nashville, Tenn., home, we are well aware that our secret is out. As it was dubbed an “it” city in The New York Times, people all across the globe are learning why Music City is consistently ranked among the top places to live, work and play.

Nashville is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, fueled in large part by its Hispanic population, which has increased by 13-fold since 1990. In fact, 12 percent of the city’s population was born outside the United States, and nearly half of the foreign-born population are immigrants who entered the country after 2000.

There is no denying the evolution of Nashville’s cultural diversity in recent years, and the changing demographics prove what our famous Southern hospitality has long assumed: There is a place here for everyone.

As PR practitioners deeply involved with helping our clients and organizations succeed, we recognize Nashville’s progress and accept the opportunity to evolve with it. The PRSA Nashville Chapter values diversity not only in terms of racial and ethnic diversity, but also by type of profession, gender, practitioner age and sexual orientation.

In 2015, we have worked to increase the Chapter’s focus on raising awareness about diversity and attracting more diverse members to the organization. Here’s some of what we’ve achieved so far.

Leveraging social media to educate and connect

We have hosted, for the first time, several free video chats for our members via Google Hangout with top leaders in the areas of multicultural engagement, diversity and inclusion. This series is an online discussion about corporate brands communicating diversity and inclusion through issues and audiences. Viewers have an opportunity for a Q-and-A with the speakers using the hashtag #PRDiversity.

Presenting programs that heighten the awareness of cultural changes

The diversity of our programming and speakers appeals to a variety of unique audiences. Topics range from Nashville’s tourism and hospitality sector, to grassroots public relations, to presentation skills and establishing an authentic personal brand, to working with bloggers and digital news outlets.

Equipping your Chapter with data to plan ahead

Due to Nashville’s booming economy — which has ranked among the fastest growing in the nation in recent years — practitioners are moving to the city and adjusting to a new culture. Our young professionals group is growing, and millennials are engaged and serving in leadership positions within the Chapter.

But, there is more work to be done. Our strategic planning committee is in the process of surveying and assessing the demographics of our membership, which has predominantly been composed of White females. As key influencers, we know we must shift with the changes taking place in our city. We must consider the diversity and inclusion needs of potential and current members.

With growth, there are tremendous opportunities as well as unique challenges.

But that’s what makes Nashville a great example of modern America and the place we are proud to call home.

Laurie Parker, APR
Laurie Parker, APR, is president of PRSA Nashville and corporate communications supervisor for Nashville Electric Service. Prior to NES, Parker worked as a reporter and anchor in Kentucky and Alabama. She is a graduate of Lipscomb University and serves on their Department of Communication & Journalism advisory board.

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