Broom Center leads the next generation of PR professionals to implement, practice DEI

The Center Lecture panel shares how they navigate a world that is not designed for their success.

April 21, 2023
Broom Center Lecture

SAN DIEGO– Diversity, equity and inclusion has been an uphill battle in the media industry but that is starting to change. On April 6 more than 100 media professionals and students joined the fight to push the status quo at the 6th annual Allen H. Center Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations.

The Broom Center shed light on diverse experiences in PR by providing a panel of top industry leaders to speak on their experiences in the industry. The panel encouraged Gen Z to build their own table anywhere they go. 

“Make yourself indispensable and hard to ignore,” advised Claudia Vargas, a vice president at Allison+Partners when asked how to succeed in a predominantly white industry as a person of color. She expressed all sides of being a Mexican, bilingual woman. She calls this her “superpower.”

Vargas’ advice, along with that from Dr. Jonathan Wosen and Allix Wright, sparked conversation with the audience. The audience’s discussion emphasized the importance of understanding the issues that impact one another and speaking up when something doesn’t feel right. 

Wright explained that it can be difficult to stand up for not only yourself but your whole community. Simultaneously, Wright vulnerably shared that she continues to feel the pressure of being one of the only advocates for her entire community. 

“One panelist that really spoke out to me was (Wright). When she discussed her company was about to launch a campaign that was not appropriate and decided to speak up even though she was only a year into her career was a huge takeaway for me,” said SDSU PR student Lilly Mullooly. “She really knew her audience when speaking. Half the room was college students who are about to enter the workforce so I found her to be very inspirational.”

This is why everyone should be able to have a seat at the table. Voices like those of the panelists are necessary for companies if they want to be sure no one is being excluded.

A team of nine students worked with the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations to collectively put in more than 1,000 hours of research, planning and implementation for this necessary conversation amongst individuals in the industry and future ones. 

In addition to the DEI panel, attendees walked away with branded swag items and had networking opportunities with other attendees and the panelists. When evaluating the success of the event, research was able to discern that of the 103 attendees, 34% of the guests were from traditionally-marginalized communities making up one-third of the audience. 

The event got the stamp of approval from Dr. Betty Broom, Broom Center co-founder and wife of the late Dr. Glen Broom. She said, “My husband spent his career building up the profession of PR and those who practice it. Tonight's event really encapsulates how new practitioners can positively influence and continue the practice.”

About Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations:         

The Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations is dedicated to advancing the public relations industry through education, research and outreach. Named after the renowned public relations scholar and educator, Dr. Glen M. Broom, the Center is committed to promoting excellence in public relations practice and providing students and professionals with the resources necessary to succeed in the profession. Dr. Broom wrote Cutlip & Center’s Effective Public Relations, which is the most-used PR textbook and defined the industry. Founded in 2012, the Broom Center is housed in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University. 

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