Ever since IBM Digital Experience Manager Brandi Boatner spoke with the PRSSA at LSU Chapter regarding the true meaning of diversity, the Chapter’s idea and understanding of the topic immediately changed and has been affected ever since. Boatner opened the eyes of members to the value of diversity and how it can ultimately shape a group of people.
If an individual were to look at the 2014 LSU Bateman Team, they would simply see five Caucasian women. Most people would think that our team had no diversity based on outer appearances such as race or ethnicity, but this narrow-minded view of diversity can ultimately be hindering.
The PRSSA at LSU Chapter learned from Boatner that diversity actually means different. A group can be diverse based on the following characteristics: culture, gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, morals, values, disabilities and so much more.
Going into the Bateman Competition, I along with the rest of the LSU Bateman Team knew that we were a diverse group based on our varying opinions, former experiences and skillsets. Our team utilized its difference to effectively create a campaign that would best suit the client’s needs. For instance, Anna Long was very skilled and had a great understanding of event planning, Allison Sage and Erin Kenna were experienced in creative and design and Elise Bernard grasped the non-profit sector of public relations. All of these skillsets and experiences were necessary to create a positive campaign, and the differences each team member possessed made our team quite a diverse group.
If our team was in an opposite situation and if we all had similar experiences, opinions and skills, the outcome of the campaign would have been entirely different. Although the overall experience may have been easier if we had similar attitudes and characteristics, the campaign wouldn’t have been designed as strategically or in such a well-rounded way.
This is not to say that the our team didn’t work well together, however. Our team members may have all had various experiences, but all of us understood the differences of one another and made sure to communicate effectively to ensure we were all on the same page at the same time.
Although the diversity of the 2014 LSU Bateman Team may not have been visible, we definitely knew the differences that existed among our group. We played up diverse strengths and created a lasting impression on the LSU campus and our client. On April 14, we will find out if our diversity truly made a difference in the eyes of both the PRSSA judging panel and the 2014 Bateman Competition client; regardless of the outcome, we as know that our campaign created during the competition fell nothing short of successful.
Post written by: Emily Beck, Public Relations senior at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. Previously serving as the PRSSA at LSU diversity committee head, Beck believes expounding on the differences of others is a top priority in any group.