Taking a Stand: Inclusion + Social Purpose + Black Lives Matter How organizations and individuals can take a meaningful stance on advancing racial justice and help create change

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What You’ll Learn:: 

Brands across the nation are making their voices heard in response to the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing demonstrations. They’re speaking up to condemn racial violence and support those demanding justice. Your organization might have already been one of them.

But your brand has more than just a voice—it has the power and platform to advance the dialogue around racial justice and enact real change in society. As a communicator, you play a pivotal role in helping yourself and your organization show true solidarity, craft authentic messaging on this issue, and interact with your audiences and peers in a way of true unity and progress. Join Ragan for a discussion on how brands and individuals can serve as allies in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, craft meaningful statements regarding the events unfolding daily and make a commitment to equality in their workplace, industry and country.

Your friends, colleagues, employees and customers are watching you and your organization’s response—or lack thereof. Ensure you’re making your genuine purpose clear in your words and actions.

Learn how to:

  • Craft authentic, informed messaging around racial justice and address your organization’s own shortcomings
  • Understand what being a true ally entails and ensure you and your organization are taking the right steps forward
  • Support and listen to Black employees during a time of stress and trauma and make their concerns heard and addressed
  • Avoid empty statements or unclear promises in your communications to employees and the public
  • Use your role as a communicator to advocate for concrete change within your organization and outside it
  • Listen to feedback from your audience, learn from your mistakes and respond thoughtfully to criticism
  • Do your own research to better understand the roots of inequality and how you can foster inclusion as an individual and organization
June 2020

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Presenter bio: 

Brandi Boatner is social and influencer communications lead for global markets for IBM‘s Global Technology Services in New York. She oversees a holistic digital ecosystem across platforms (including websites, blogs, social media sites and mobile devices) and people globally. Boatner’s responsibilities include developing and driving digital communications and content that supports the way IBM engages external audiences and enterprise IT professionals on topics such as hybrid cloud, enterprise mobility and business continuity. She is a former national president of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and is a social media co-chair for the PRSA Technology Section.

Mike Paul is president of Reputation Doctor® LLC. He is a top, strategic, public relations, reputation, corporate communications, crisis management and litigation-support PR expert known worldwide by the registered brand name, the Reputation Doctor®. With over 25 years’ experience in public relations, Mike helps build, maintain and repair the leading reputations and brands of global and national corporations, governments, NGOs, as well as famous people & public leaders in both good times and bad. He is listed among the world’s top crisis PR experts by PRWeek Magazine, called “the Master of Disaster” by Business Week, “Mr. Fixit” by Sports Illustrated and named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior in the U.S. in both 2012 and 2013 by Trust Across America™.

A founding partner of Russell Herder. Develops and guides growth strategies across the spectrum for brands in the healthcare, hospitality, building products and professional services industries, among others. Holds a master’s degree in Communications Management and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Executive Program, Carlson School of Management.

For more than 25 years, Ayanna Robinson has been at the forefront of delivering global, high-impact, award-winning campaigns for brands seeking to promote and protect their reputation. She credits much of her success to building and cultivating diverse, high-performing teams. Ayanna serves as a coach, mentor and advocate for future leaders in the PR industry, particularly for professionals of color who are less represented in the industry. A recipient of the Top Women in Public Relations award, Ayanna’s work has been the subject of several journal articles and has been recognized with more than 20 industry awards. Ayanna serves on the Junior Achievement of Georgia Board and is the First Lady of Nimno African Methodist Episcopal Church near Athens, Georgia.

Jim Ylisela, co-founder of Ragan Consulting Group, is an award-winning veteran Chicago journalist and a former publisher of Ragan.com. He brings more than 30 years of experience in writing, editing, communications research and consulting. Ylisela has designed and organized newsrooms for many organizations, including Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he served as a faculty member and co-director of Medill News Service from 1988 to 2001. He works with communicators to create brand journalism news sites, organize and train writers and editors and restore reporting (and creative storytelling) to internal and external communications.