Proof Strategies supports equity, diversity and inclusion in our business and community. This commitment means that we must continuously listen, learn, adapt and advocate. It has led to us formalizing and embedding policies and process that bring about real, meaningful change.
Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion commitment is focused on six pillars:
We are committed to researching and adopting best practices in the workplace by engaging expert advice, supporting employees and involving senior management.
- Implemented recommendations from an audit of company policies and processes by Race Equity Advisory Consulting & Training (REACT) Consulting Inc.
- Enhanced our Employee Resource Group to include four sub-committees and over 25 members.
- Planned and delivered events for Pride Week, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Asian Gold Ribbon Day.
- Added a KPI related to EDI to the performance reviews of senior leaders.
We are taking active and deliberate steps to increase team diversity, and leading and supporting industry efforts to attract more diversity to our profession via training and recruitment.
- Over 95% of managers completed training on unconscious bias in recruiting and managing people led by HRx Consulting.
- Hosted two Black high school interns via the Toronto District School Board’s Black Summer Student Internship Program.
- Distributed job postings through the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Service and Code Black Communicators Network.
We are providing training and education and increasing the diversity of guest speakers; encouraging peer-to-peer sharing; and providing financial support and time for employees for independent learning.
- Nine all-staff educational sessions on topics including Antisemitism, Anti-Asian Hate, Anti-Muslim Hate, violence towards LGBTQ2S+ communities, and Indian Residential School Reconciliation.
- 47% of all guest speakers hosted by Proof Strategies in 2021 self-identify as BIPOC.
- Our Employee Resource Group published 20 EDI Resource Guides for employees and launched an EDI Book Club.
- Team members pursued a variety of EDI-related learning opportunities, such as the University of Alberta’s “Indigenous Canada” online course.
We are providing financial support and social media amplification to organizations that advance EDI and are donating to foundations and educational institutions for scholarships targeting BIPOC students and those in financial need who aspire to public relations careers.
- Donated $18,000 via monthly donations to 12 EDI-related charities and causes nominated by employees.
- Sponsored the 2021 Toronto Black Policy Conference.
- Donated a further $18,000 to support or establish scholarships and bursaries at Humber College and the Canadian Public Relations Society Foundation.
We are participating in surveys to establish benchmarks for employee diversity and workplace experience, setting goals for improvement and tracking and reporting progress through our EDI journey.
- 2021 Great Place to Work® survey results include Proof Strategies team members reporting fair treatment regardless of gender (100%), race or ethnicity (99%), age (95%) and sexual orientation (99%).
- Named among the Best Workplaces™ in Canada for Inclusion; for Women; for Mental Wellness; for Giving Back; and for Today’s Youth.
- Participated in survey conducted for the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms by Leger Research, revealing that colleagues who identify as BIPOC agree that “Proof has created an inclusive, positive environment” (95%); “I feel I am a valued member of the team” (100%); “I feel that I am trusted” (89%); “I feel accepted for who I am” (100%).
- Based on survey participation in 2021, approximately 25% of all current Proof Strategies team members in Canada self-identify as BIPOC.
We are advancing EDI within the PR profession through philanthropy, advocacy, thought leadership, and tangible EDI commitments and pledges.
- CEO Bruce MacLellan received the 2021 CPRS Lois Marsh Award, honoring one individual for cumulative contributions and leadership in the industry, including championing EDI.
- Bruce also led a group of PR industry leaders in an open letter opposing unpaid internships, an immoral practice that unfairly hurts racialized and/or economically disadvantaged students.
- Proof Strategies SVP and Code Black Communicators Network co-founder Bunmi Adeoye was published in Strategy Magazine writing on anti-Black racism in the marketing industry, and what must be done to halt complacency.
- Proof Strategies met applicable workplace targets set out in BlackNorth Initiative pledge.
Definitions and Resources
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion terms are open to different meanings and interpretations. Common definitions at, and for, Proof Strategies strive to create a culture that is driven by a shared purpose, understanding, and openness to the active sharing of ideas and diverse perspectives.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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).
The definitions were created by senior management and our EDI Employee Resource Group, with support from Jodie Glean of REACT Consulting. These terms will be collaboratively revisited and revised, and more terms may be added.