Our DEI Commitments: A Year In Review  

Two years ago, Padilla outlined our commitments to do our part to help break the cycle of discrimination, racial injustice, and inequity in our society – more specifically in the communications industry. This includes sharing our progress with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) annually, which includes reporting our employee demographics publicly.

When we first reported our employee demographics in 2020, our total Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) employee based was just shy of 10 percent. As of November 2022, our total BIPOC employees make up 16 percent of our staff and 11 percent of leadership (vice president or above). Women now constitute almost 80 percent of our workforce, with 65 percent at the senior level (vice president and above). Women have made up more than 70 percent of our workforce for a long time.

While we have made progress, we still have work to do. To help move the needle with DEI, our initiatives for the past several years have focused on several key areas:

Specifically related to recruitment and retention, we:

We also continued our commitment to the Twin Cities PR BIPOC Career Explorer program. In 2021, Padilla joined with five other Twin Cities agencies to discuss what additional actions could be taken to address the racial inequities in our industry. The result is an externship program designed for BIPOC college students interested in public relations and communications. The first cohort – which ran from September 2021 to April 2022 – had 32 students from nine colleges and universities, expanding well beyond the Twin Cities. The second cohort, which began this September, has 16 students from 12 colleges and universities, also beyond the Twin Cities.

Each year, during this seven-month program, students:

Some other key DEI highlights from 2022 include the following:

We also expanded work with our DEI Collective, a select group of external advisors who provide insight and guidance to the agency and help ensure our work for Padilla and our clients is inclusive and culturally appropriate. This group augments our internal resources and expertise. We have 11 DEI members and featured several of them on our corporate blog – Poh Lin Khoo, Joan Erakit, Sherene Chou, and Chad Poitra.

One of the largest company-wide DEI initiatives we undertook in 2022 related to Pride Month in June. Along with agency-wide programing for Pride, each of our seven offices developed Pride programming at the local level, which included “lunch and learn sessions” and facilitated conversations. Offices also supported local LGBTQ+ businesses and/or made donations to LGBTQ+ nonprofits, such as SF LGBT Center and SMYAL. Agency-wide programming included a Bubble Break conversation with Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s Chief Communications Officer and Executive Producer of the GLAAD Media Awards. As part of our commitment to agency contact, we posted Pride at Padilla – a Q&A with some of our LGBTQ+ employees and allies – to our corporate blog.

Making progress in diversity, equity, and inclusion is a marathon and not a sprint, and our commitment to DEI will continue. Thank you for your contributions as we continue our journey.

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