Our company has always supported equity, inclusion, and diversity, in our business and our community. Rooted in our values as the right thing to do, our recent activity has made these priorities more formalized and embedded throughout our culture and procedures.
For more than ten years, we have surveyed our team annually on the quality of our workplace, including asking each person if they are treated fairly regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation, and if they feel safe and comfortable being themselves. Reflective of the public relations profession, we are proud that 77 per cent of our management team is female. We aspire to greater diversity in management and know the diverse members of our overall team are already a source of strength for the company.
As a former Chair of the CPRS Foundation, our CEO has played a leading role in creating two endowed scholarships for Indigenous students pursuing an education in public relations. We have also created the Proof Strategies Scholarship in the Humber College Bachelor of Public Relations program for a student needing support. We have a policy to always pay interns, and our CEO is leading a movement in the industry to ban unpaid internships, because this practice creates obstacles for marginalized and disadvantaged groups to join our profession.
Under our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion commitment in our company, we are:
- Researching and analyzing emerging trends in diversity and equity management;
- Fostering an inclusive environment, including creating a large employee resource group;
- Planning and implementing strategies related to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusivity awareness;
- Tracking and measuring progress towards goals in the area of diversity;
- Providing formal education and training as well as mechanisms for resource sharing;
- Playing an active role in promoting these values within our industry, the community and with business partners.
During 2020, we have joined together with other businesses, community leaders and organizations to address systemic racism and contribute to a truly inclusive society. We know that inaction is not an option. That is why we are working together to listen, learn and take steps toward making real, lasting change within our company and our community. One of these steps has been signing anti-racism pledges with BlackNorth and the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms.
We are redoubling education and other efforts to ensure our inclusive workplace remains a safe and supportive environment for all colleagues. We are identifying and supporting community organizations that advance equity with financial donations and also using our social channels to share and amplify the voices of marginalized communities. We are learning about and providing further educational resources for employees, such as education on how to identify and halt unconscious bias and micro aggression.
We are committed to listening, learning and taking long-term action.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Definitions
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion terms are open to different meanings and interpretations. Common definitions at, and for, Proof Strategies create a culture that connects the workforce and supports the open and active sharing of ideas and diverse perspectives. These definitions set expectations across all levels and reinforce them as integral values to the organization.
The following were created by senior management and our EDI Employee Resource Group, with support from Jodie Glean of REACT Canada. These terms will be collaboratively revisited and revised, and more terms may be added.
Equity: The ongoing intentional and systemic approach to remove historic and current barriers for equity-seeking groups. It requires our organization to apply specific programs, policies and practices to support fair and just access to opportunities and outcomes for all.
Diversity: The different social, cultural and political identities of individuals (e.g. race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, nationality, religion, language, age, body size, socioeconomic status) and their worldviews, practices, experiences and knowledge.
Inclusion: The active and intentional engagement of people in all their identities that fosters a sense of belonging. This engagement is grounded in respect, and all members of the organization are recognized as valued contributors. (Adapted from Humber College EDI Definitions)
Belonging: The sentiments of welcoming and acceptance within an organization. Our interests, motivation, mental health, safety and satisfaction are inextricably tied to the feeling that we belong to a greater community that may share common interests and aspirations.
Accessibility: The degree to which our physical structures and organizational culture are (re)designed to enable the full, meaningful, and equitable engagement of all members of the workforce and the communities the organization serves. It includes and accounts for physical, financial, sensory, social, and language-level access. (Source: University of Alberta Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan)
Intersectionality: The understanding that individuals encompass many identities (race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, nationality, religion, language, age, body size, socioeconomic status) and that these identities do not exist separately or in isolation from each other. Intersectionality focuses on how multiple, interwoven identities shape experiences of social belonging in our work environments. (Source: University of Alberta Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan)