We’re Starting from Within
This summer, NCMPR responded to the George Floyd tragedy and the nation’s call to end systematic racism by issuing a statement of support of all efforts to end hate, racism and injustice in all its forms, as well as a recognition that Black lives matter.
But NCMPR didn’t stop there.
A new NCMPR standing committee was created –Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) –chaired by NCMPR President Juan Gutierrez and Vice President/President-Elect Debra McGaughey, with inclusion of 14 committee members and NCMPR staff. The overarching purpose of this new group is to be more reflective, cognizant, proactive and responsive to the needs of our organization, our membership and the colleges we serve.
Today we want to share the thoughts and ideas we have gleaned from conversations with our committee members and where we’re heading as a committee and organization:
- A concerted effort to be more diverse. We are seeking to increase diversity across race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, ability and experience in both our membership and leadership. NCMPR has always relied on voluntary participation from its members to fill its board of directors and executive committee. That willingness to serve has been a hallmark of the great success of NCMPR for the past 40+ years; people who love it want to be a part of it. But this system has tended to self-perpetuate the status quo. Not everyone, we’ve heard, feels willing to step up to an office-holder position because they don’t see diversity in NCMPR. The DEI committee is drafting a plan to actively recruit members with diverse backgrounds to serve in leadership positions and mentor them. A plan to collect data-driven information to support the need for increased diversity also is being developed.
- A broader, more diverse range of speakers, topics, workshops, exhibitors, vendors and activities at NCMPR national and district events. The DEI committee will be an automatic and integral part of the planning process when formulating NCMPR events, particularly at the national level. As always, NCMPR members will be encouraged to submit workshop ideas. Now, moving forward, we envision that the DEI committee will help review those submissions and recommend finalists, themes and activities as part of its mission. The DEI committee will also reach out and seek presentation submissions to fulfill this diversity requirement for conferences. This will become standard practice with NCMPR.
- A longer-range goal of creating student chapters/encouraging two-year college marketing and communication students to join NCMPR. While DEI is focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, part of its reach will include organizational sustainability. A plan will be developed to create college NCMPR chapters – open to all students of diverse backgrounds – to participate in NCMPR at the district and national level.
In conclusion, NCMPR’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee will help move the organization forward in bold, new ways. We are excited about its important mission and look forward to your support. Here’s one way you can help: Please log on to your member account at ncmpr.org and fill out the demographic information in your profile today. This will help us better understand the makeup of our membership.
Juan Gutierrez and Debra McGaughey
President and Vice-President/President-Elect