Diversity & Inclusion: Looking Ahead to ColorComm

color-comm-2015-800x480I’m excited to attend the 2015 ColorComm Conference (C2) – The New Reality, this week in Key Biscayne, FL. The conference, which draws more than 300 multicultural professional women and men, is held annually and features innovative programs and topics presented by the Communication industry’s top practitioners and thought-leaders.

I was fortunate to attend ColorComm last year and it was a life-changing experience. As a woman of color, the conference was the first time I was among more than 300 women in a professional setting who looked a lot like me! The feeling of belonging and instant connection that was created due to our shared life experiences was palpable. The confidence that I felt in learning from others who have blazed a trail similar to the one I’ve been traveling, and who were willing and eager to pass along pearls of wisdom, was uplifting.

This year, I expect attendees to be enlightened by a plethora of talented women, especially keynote speaker Gloria Steinem, pioneer of the feminist movement. With gender pay parity still an issue, Gloria’s stance of more than 40 years ago remains relevant to today. In addition, attendees will be inspired by Lisa Ling, the award-winning journalist, writer and host of CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling, and legendary  Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and president emerita of Spelman College and Bennett College.

I too will be addressing attendees on a panel titled The Art of Building Powerful Relationships. We all know that success in business is “what you know” and “who you know,” but also important is “who knows you.” When networking is not working, when doors are slow to open and phone calls are seldom returned, it’s time for a change. On our panel, we will address how to develop powerful relationships that can make your efforts more productive. Ideally, every woman needs a “Godmother” — a term I learned at ColorComm to describe a well-connected woman at the top of her game who can help save you 10 years of trying to figure out the culture of your organization, how the culture is brought to life, how decisions are made, and the secret sauce to success. (click-to-tweet)

As Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Ketchum, I’m proud that our agency is a sponsor of the conference this year, and a number of my colleagues will have the opportunity to attend. As I think about our Delegation, I’m thrilled by the community that we are creating and I know we will return to our offices with new inspiration and purpose to share.