Addressing diversity through mentorship and better communication

Communicators can help their organizations have difficult conversations by being facilitators, creating safe forums, and by investing in mentorship programs.

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In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, audiences are looking for signs that this time will be different.

There have been countless messages of support, solidarity and concern on social media and digital platforms. Some businesses have made new pledges to pursue more diversity and inclusion in their ranks. Others have been more reticent—perhaps hoping to avoid an issue that makes them uncomfortable.

The experts argue that such silence is a big mistake.

Courtney Newell, founder and CEO of Crowned Marketing and Communications, says that the first step is owning past missteps. For example, it was important for the National Football League and commissioner Roger Goodell to acknowledge how they have failed to address the issue of racial justice in the past.

“That’s the first step,” Newell says. “And it has to come from the leadership. It has to come from the CEO.”

However, statements aren’t enough.

“There really has to be more of a policy change and a mindset shift within corporations in order to be taken seriously, because the world is watching,” says Newell.

Don’t hedge your language

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