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Mar 10

Encouraging Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Natalie Jones

During the first weekend of February, Harvard Business School’s African American Student Union organized the 44th Annual H. Naylor Fitzhugh Conference. Attendees discussed many ways for organizations to spur important conversations by engaging employees in diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. Here are three identified best practices:

  • Recruit: Set data-driven diversity goals to promote transparency in hiring

    It’s imperative that companies be transparent about where they are and where they’re hoping to go in terms of recruiting a diverse staff. Management (not just the D&I team) should sit down and scrutinize the numbers just as it would any other business opportunity. Once the targets are determined, providing progress updates will demonstrate to interested parties that this is a real business priority and give everyone accountability in seeing the goals accomplished.

  • Retain: Establish employee groups to foster camaraderie

    Employee resource groups provide a setting for employees to convene with people who are passionate about elements of minority identity. Having these affinity groups accessible and active is significant for retaining diverse talent. In order to reap the full benefits of the groups, management should invest in the establishment of signature events and regular programming to bring multiple employee groups together as well as to engage the larger employee population.

  • Recognize: Invest in high-performers to prove commitment to diversity

    In order to help diverse talent thrive, organizations should coordinate workshops or retreats to engage with minority employees and seek their perspectives and candid feedback. In addition to being a tangible investment in high-performing employees, these gatherings bring diverse talent into the conversation about the company’s future success.

Leaders in corporate America have a great opportunity to promote inclusive cultures by engaging employees in efforts to ensure organizational diversity. With employee enthusiasm and involvement, these best practices can help them do so.

Natalie is one of the leaders of Powell Tate’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Perspectives. Her previous post on racial discourse can be found here: “Pushing for Progress on Racial Discourse during #BlackHistoryMonth.”

Nov 3


Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for the BSR Conference 2014: Transparency & Transformation. Our Social Impact team will be sharing insights from the conference on this blog.


This week, members of our Social Impact team are in New York City attending the annual BSR Conference. This year's conference focuses on Transparency & Transformation and will explore how transparent business practices and transformative thinking can help lead the way to a more sustainable future.

 How to Follow Along

  1. Check Out the Storify: We’ll be weaving together the best tweets from the week so you can check out what’s happening at the conference in one stop. Check it out below or follow along here.
  2. Connect on Social: Our team will be sharing insights all week on Twitter @WSSocialImpact Join the conversation on our handle and #BSR14.
  3. Tune in to the Livestream: BSR will broadcast much of the conference, including plenary and I3 speakers and the Take10 and Collaboration in Action sessions. Visit the conference homepage to learn more.

 We're proud to be a sponsor again this year, and to partner with BSR on its strategic communications work. We'll be sharing insights throughout the week, and if you are at #BSR14 be sure to look for EricEmily and Katy.



Mar 17

Mobile Mentoring

Weber Shandwick is the agency partner for Bank of America. 

Mentoring is proven to help women succeed, but what happens when women are too busy to connect during the work day?   Geraldine Laybourne, founder and former CEO of Oxygen Media, grappled with this problem, and she decided to incorporate mentoring into her morning routine.  After she received an overwhelming number of requests for advice and mentorship, Laybourne began inviting young female professionals to join her on her morning walk around the Central Park Reservoir in New York City. The walks quickly became popular and women took it upon themselves to expand them beyond New York to include cities across the United States and around the world.   

On March 8, to coincide with International Women’s Day, Bank of America and Vital Voices came together to bring Global Mentoring Walks to more than 30 countries and three major U.S. cities: San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.  The walks brought established and emerging leaders together for a morning of mentoring as they walked around their cities. Hosted by Vital Voices since 2008, Bank of America helped bring the walks to the global stage for the first time this year. 

At each event, prominent women leaders like Sally Field kicked off the walk and discussed the benefits of supporting emerging women leaders.  A walk also took place in Mexico City, where Bank of America and Vital Voices hosted a Global Ambassadors Program, which is another mentorship opportunity for emerging women leaders in the developing world, where female executives are paired with emerging leaders for a week of intensive mentoring and business training. 


Weber Shandwick is proud to have partnered with the bank and Vital Voices to support this initiative and extend the power of mentoring and the mentoring walks to all women through social media as the bank and Vital Voices drive the conversation around women’s leadership and the power of mentorship.  You can follow Bank of America and Vital Voices on Twitter to follow the conversation, or visit the Global Mentoring Walk website to see more photos.


This post was authored by Sarah Bingol.


Mar 14

Helping a Hiro in the fight to END ALS

Weber Shandwick Japan is currently working with IPG sister group McCann Worldgroup Japan, in a pro-bono joint effort to raise awareness and understanding of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, or MND.

ALS is a terminal disease that is characterised by the gradual weakening and atrophying of the muscles of the entire body, while bodily sensation and cognitive function remain intact. It is a devastating illness that can strike anyone at any time, but the cause and cure remain unknown. The progression of ALS is extremely rapid, with the average life expectancy being three to five years after diagnosis. 

Planning Director at McCann Erickson Japan, Hiro Fujita, was diagnosed with ALS in 2010 at the age of 31.  Since then, he has established the END ALS Association - with three clear, strong objectives:

1. Help find a cure

2. Build awareness

3. Provide support to ALS patients

To assist in his mission, Hiro has also written a book “99% THANK YOU. Things Even ALS Can't Take Away.” It is a short ‘diary’ that expresses Hiro’s raw thoughts and emotions before and after diagnosis, which he wrote on a computer connected to an eye-tracking system. Describing ALS, he writes:

“I’m writing these words with my eyes…now, the only things I can move are my left index finger and my face… Eventually, I will become a prisoner of my own body and will only be able to move my eyes. But I believe… the eyes can still say a lot”.

Despite the limitations posed by this condition, Hiro continues his work as a Planning Director for McCann Erickson Japan, going to the office once a week and working from home on other days.

Weber Shandwick assists Hiro and the END ALS Association through pro-bono contributions of PR consulting services, media relations and communications support as required. 

An English-language version of Hiro’s book, “99% THANK YOU. Things Even ALS Can't Take Away” is now available in e-book format in select, iTunes and Kobo marketplaces. Proceeds from sales will go toward fulfilling the objectives of the END ALS Association.

More information about the END ALS Association is available via the association’s website, their Facebook page and Hiro’s blog.

Dec 3

Celebrating #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is underway across the world today.  #GivingTuesday is a global day that empowers people to connect to great causes at a time of the year when many are looking for ways to give to charity. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday encourages families, communities and companies to come together to give something more, establishing traditions of generosity.

Now in its second year, Giving Tuesday is inspiring over 8,000 companies, nonprofits and countless individuals to give during the holiday season. The movement has garnered participation and partnership from a number of Weber Shandwick clients ranging from Join My Village and QVC to Unilever and Bank of America.

Weber Shandwick is partnering with the United Nations Foundation to spread the word about organizations doing great work, making 2013 the year of the #UNselfie, and all things #GivingTuesday!  We created the digital tool kit and much of the social content for the campaign.


This post was authored by Mbessin Sonko. 

Nov 7

Three ideas I fell in love with before breakfast

Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for the BSR Conference 2013: The Power of Networks. Our Social Impact team will be sharing insights from the conference here on this blog.


Yesterday I mentioned the importance of focusing your conference take-aways to make the most out of your experience.

This morning’s breakfast presenter at the BSR Conference 2013, The Power of Networks was Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of the Institute for the Future.  Of her many thoughtful and moving comments, these three on education stuck with me.

The world as a classroomMarina spoke of creating a disruptive, socialstructed movement to decentralize education (along with government and the way we work) and expand learning in a way that no organization can do. She shared the example of HyperCities a research and education platform where you can use your phone to travel back in time to explore the history of buildings and city spaces in an interactive environment.

Moving from episodic to continuous learningMaria spoke enthusiastically about how content as a commodity leads to continuous learning and the rise of extreme learners. These are learners that are interested and motivated to soak up all resources available to them at any given time. Shespoke of the rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs), which provide interactive user forums to build communities of extreme learners.

From institutions to learning flows Maria spoke of learning no longer being confined to a place or an institution, but a flow. A river that you can dip in an out of. She referenced leafsnap, a free mobile app where the curious can take photos of leaves and visual recognition software can help identify tree species.  Amazing. No hike will ever be the same.

This idea of open data as a means to move our work, learning and governance from institution-based to citizen-controlled was more breathtaking than the pastry bar. Maria asked the room, what idea have you fallen in love with this week? I think I just found it.

 This post was authored by Megan Torres.

Oct 26

Would Mr. Transparency Please Stand Up?

Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for the BSR Conference 2012: Fast Forward. Our Social Impact team will be sharing insights from the conference here on this blog.

Privacy in the digital age is a widely debated topic these days. Various pieces of legislation have circulated in the U.S. House and Senate. Fortune 500 companies have asserted strong positions for or against regulation and numerous academics have debated the issue in their classrooms. Privacy in the digital era, especially with the emergence of social media outlets, was the topic of Friday’s I3 Presentation by Jeff Jarvis is an Author, Writer, and Professor of Journalism at City University of New York. Jeff has spent countless hours debating this issue with students, colleagues, media professionals and business leaders worldwide.

A few thoughts based on the discussion:

Privacy: There is no doubt that technology is changing the way we interact with one another, the way we consume information and the way we assert our purchasing power. Privacy is, by Jeff’s definition, the ethics of knowing someone else’s information and the responsibility of doing, or not doing, something with it. Companies and individuals should be held responsible for not stealing or abusing the personal information they have, protecting it (think banking and personal identities) and giving someone access and control over their own information.  

Transparency: In the digital age, companies and individuals have countless opportunities to publicly share their thoughts, views, and activities. And, companies and individuals want to share. Sharing in such a public way makes transparency incredibly important.  Companies need to be transparent with the information they are collecting on customers and what they intend to do with it. Transparent relationships between companies and individuals can exist in our era-of-sharing, and can:

  1.  Enable relationships between companies and consumers to be created and improved
  2.  Leads to trust between businesses and individuals
  3. Enables the wisdom of the crowd
  4. Finally, transparency creates collaboration between companies and individuals alike

The takeaway: Jeff is a firm believer in transparency, the power of the internet, and a transparent approach to managing big data.

 by Shelby Watts