Published on June 12, 2023, at 12:36 p.m.
by Kassandra Cabral, Guest Contributor.
Gen Z aren’t like the generations that precede them. Data show while they care about issues like diversity, equity and inclusion in similar ways to millennials, their expectations and approach to DEI are different. Gen Z are unapologetic and committed to creating change.
One reason that Gen Z is dedicated to DEI might be due to the personal impact it has on them. Gen Z are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation and by the end of the decade, they will make up a third of the workforce.
Data show 53% of Gen Z want to see more diversity in corporate leadership. They’re demanding their voices be heard. With their presence imminent, they’re eager to shake up corporate America.
Continuing its work in creating a platform for diverse voices in PR, the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations recently provided the next generation with the tools needed to break down barriers.
The Broom Center’s 6th annual Allen H. Center Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations brought a panel to the stage to discuss the challenges they faced while navigating corporate America and the tools necessary to rise to leadership positions.
This year’s event featured the following panelists:
- Scott Allison as the moderator, CEO of Allison+Partners, former student of Dr. Glen Broom and founding donor of the Broom Center.
- Allix Wright, vice president of Allison+Partners.
- Claudia Vargas, vice president of client service operations at Allison+Partners.
- Dr. Jonathan Wosen, a biotech and life science reporter for STAT News.
Based on their own adversities, the panelists provided knowledge, advice and tools about how Gen Z can build their own table.
The panelists’ key message honed in on how Gen Z should use their power to foster the change they want to see within the industry.
Panelists urged the audience to
- Be bold. Silence may feel safe, said Wright, but boldness creates change. Use your voice to speak up and let your courage be the starting point for a more equitable future.
- Listen. By listening with an open mind and a compassionate heart, we can build bridges of understanding, stated Vargas.
- Put action behind your words. Wright explained that words are powerful, but it is just the beginning. Talking about DEI is not enough. It is time to take action, to commit to change. We need to step up, take risks and make changes to create a more equitable industry for all.
Julissa Muro, a PR major at San Diego State University, was inspired to apply the knowledge from the panelists to her professional life.
“Getting to hear from industry leaders who look like you and relate to your struggles is very inspiring,” says Muro. “After hearing the panelists, it really put into perspective how just finding the courage to use your voice can cause a ripple effect.”
The panelists emphasized that Gen Z is more than capable of making a change. They urged the students to not simply wait around. The panelists said that Gen Z has the power to build their own table where they demand to be heard.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are not just buzzwords,” said Vargas during the panel. “They are the foundation of a thriving, innovative and equitable public relations industry. When we embrace and celebrate our differences, we create a powerful force that drives positive change, builds trust and shapes a better future for all.”
DEI should have been made the norm yesterday. Working to create a more inclusive and equitable world where everyone has an equal chance to thrive remains a vital responsibility. Being able to educate ourselves, challenge our biases and take action to address these issues at every level in society. The Broom Center is not all talk when it comes to DEI; it puts actions behind its words. As a member of the Diversity Action Alliance since its inception, the center’s speakers bureau has helped to bring diverse professionals into PR classrooms as guest speakers.
Much like Glen Broom, the Broom Center provides guidance and support to young professionals to help them succeed. By advocating for diversity, research and mentorship, the Broom Center keeps the legacy of Glen Broom alive through generations of future PR professionals.