Media and Journalism Student Reflects on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in PR Industry Following National Summit
Public relations major Kristyn Hibbett, ‘23, recently earned a scholarship to attend a national summit on diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations in Chicago.
The 2022 Plank Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit and Milestones in Mentoring Gala took place on Nov. 3, 2022, and Hibbett was one of 18 scholarship recipients from across the country who attended.
There, she got to network with public relations corporations, companies and executives. She also attended four sessions that focused on the progression of public relations and how far the industry has come in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Hibbett said she learned many things at the summit, but one of her main takeaways was the reminder to always be an advocate for herself in all aspects: as a woman, as an African American, as a human being. She stressed the importance of advocating for others as well.
“It means nothing if you get somebody of minority or somebody of color in a job, but you're not taking into consideration what they have to say,” she said. “This is a reminder to continue to be a voice in the positions that I’m in, and to speak up for those who really don’t feel as if they can speak up for themselves.”
Hibbett shared that her own cultural identity includes being a woman, African American, a member of Gen Z, a Christian and more. Over the summer, she completed an internship at Adidas’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., and found that she was able to contribute ideas in brainstorming sessions, “because I was able to fully show up and be confident in who I am as an individual.”
She would one day like to be a director of communications for an NBA team, and by doing that, break glass ceilings and be a role model and representation for females and African Americans.
“There are so many different brands in the world, when it comes to public relations, you can’t cater to the brand one type of way... because there's such a diverse background in people, brands, and organizations, you need diversity within the public relations,” Hibbett said. “It can be hard to relate to a company or relate to a brand or a person if you don't have something in common.”