When we launched Brandpoint’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2020, we knew that we wanted to focus on our company’s corporate social responsibility in the long run. Many businesses were inspired to action in the wake of the George Floyd murder and subsequent protests, and we were, too, but we also realize that devoting time to D&I efforts means putting in the work on a regular basis. Nothing about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives are a one-and-done action — they all build up, little by little, into big change.
As we make our way into our third year of this committee, we wanted to give an update of what we’ve accomplished in 2021, as well as an overview of our plans for 2022.
Diversity & Inclusion at Brandpoint in 2021
To no one’s surprise, 2021 was just as up-and-down as 2020 was. Plans were made, in-person events were organized, hybrid work models were discussed, and then Delta and now Omicron had other ideas. As we planned our ideas into actions, our committee respected each of our members’ capacity and time constraints, as well as the safety of our team as a whole.
Here are some of the initiatives we’re most proud of from last year:
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day is now an official Brandpoint holiday. This policy change went into effect on January 17, 2022, and we provided our staff with educational materials and information on local events.
- Involvement in Metro State’s Career Exploration program. We virtually hosted a group of college students for the day, teaching them how our agency works and what it’s like to enter the workforce. See more at the MN PRSA website here.
- We raised almost $1,000 for the Girl Scouts ConnectZ program. Eating cookies, raising money and supporting a group that empowers young girls of color and from underserved communities to become leaders … sounds like a good deal to me!
- Hosted multiple “coffee chat” conversations. These virtual convos were all led by members of our committee, each with a theme and related readings. Last year’s themes included Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the importance of D&I to jobseekers, and women in the workplace.
- Several topical and timely email communications were sent out by the D&I Committee and by senior leaders regarding situations like the Daunte Wright murder and the Derek Chauvin trial, as well as education and resources surrounding AAPI support and including pronouns in email signatures.
Brandpoint D&I Plans for 2022
As we’ve found our footing on what we want to accomplish as a committee, we’ve been able to start leveling up our actions. 2022 is all about continuing to grow and adapt to our staff’s interests, as well as branch out into our community and find more ways to participate outside of Microsoft Teams.
- Updated Lunch and Learn meetings. This year, we plan to invite members of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro community to present on their diversity and inclusion efforts, whether it be a nonprofit organization or related to events in the Twin Cities. Our first guest in February will be Amanda Moua, the Executive Director of the Page Education Foundation, a local organization Brandpoint sponsors.
- Our first book club! In quarter one, we’re launching our inaugural book club. Our first novel is The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett in honor of Black History Month.
- Fundraisers & sponsorships. We will continue to showcase different volunteer or fundraising opportunities for our staff and choose to focus on programs that help uplift and support underserved groups in our area.
- Continued education moments. The Diversity & Inclusion Committee pledges to send out educational and topical email communication as events arise, such as Lunar New Year. Keeping D&I efforts top of mind to staff will help us incorporate these values every step of the way.
2022 Progress & Updates
As part of our commitment to accountability, we plan to update this post quarterly with notes on what we’ve accomplished in each quarter. An unofficial motto at Brandpoint is “progress, not perfection,” and it’s a concept that can be applied to this committee as well. Here’s what we’ve done so far this year!
Q1 2022 D&I Initiatives
- First book club in the books! Our team provided copies of Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half to interested employees and we met twice to discuss our thoughts on the themes brought up in the novel. Our Q2 book club has just launched, and this quarter we’re reading The Sentence by Louise Erdrich.
- Our second Metro State Career Exploration day was a success. We virtually hosted students for two panel discussions which focused on career path advice and networking insights. See an article that one of the students wrote for the MN PRSA blog here.
- Two company-wide education meetings were held. We hosted Amanda Moua from the Page Education Foundation to teach us about the organization, as well as invite us to participate in volunteer opportunities, such as mentoring and reviewing grant applications. We also held an open discussion about pronouns and inclusive language surrounding gender.
- Charter updates. “Progress, not perfection” applies here as well, and the chair of the committee and our HR advisor tweaked our committee charter to include language on approval process and focus and scope of our efforts.
Our Mission is to Evolve, Learn and Grow
Creating lasting change is a long process and it might be overwhelming to think about what impact you’re making on a day-to-day basis. (Trust me, I feel this.) But, all you can do is keep moving forward and keep your eyes open for growth and learning experiences. Like I mentioned earlier, big changes are made up of a million little ones.
If your company is dedicating time to growing your diversity and inclusion or other corporate social responsibility efforts, I urge you to step back and reflect on everything you’ve already accomplished. Looking back on past achievements is a great way to start planning. What was successful? What could be improved? How do you build on what you’ve already started?
Here’s to 2022!