Have you wondered how you can put your PR expertise to work in light of the growing Black Lives Matter movement? A group of PR professionals have voluntarily put together the PR Mentoring Network to help young Black and Indigenous people, and any People of Color, who want to get into the PR field connect with a career mentor.
There is no charge for participation and PR professionals–especially those who are white and are looking for a way to have a positive impact on Black lives–are encouraged to commit to one hour per month for the next two years or more to help their mentees leapfrog into the industry. This volunteer effort is simply a series of online materials, forms, and manual matchmaking emails to help mentors and mentees connect. The rest is up to the pairs to both get value from their tie and mentoring relationship.
Though mentees will largely be students, you do not need to be a student to request a mentor; being pre-career or early in your PR practice is another good reason to find a mentor through the program. All mentors are vetted through a review of their LinkedIn profiles. White mentors are asked to review anti-racism materials before their first mentoring session. The program provides written expectations for both mentors and mentees and mentoring tips for first-time mentors.
In addition, the PR Mentoring Network is seeking partners at universities, trade groups, and other non-profit organizations who work with Black and Indigenous youth and young People of Color that are interested in pursuing careers in PR and who would likely want a career mentor. Organizations who would like to partner in this way can find out more here.
To become a mentor, complete this form.
To become a mentee, complete this form.
Background on the PR Mentoring Network
The PR Mentoring Network was spearheaded by a 17-person PR firm called rock paper scissors, headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana.
“For a while now, we noticed that the hiring pool for our open positions included few Black people and People of Color,” explains Dmitri Vietze, rock paper scissors’ CEO and founder. “We’ve wanted to launch a mentoring program like this for a while, but the recent George Floyd murder and public awareness of systemic racism’s continued harm spurred us to stop waiting for a better time. And we thought, if we can do this, we could partner with PR professionals and trade groups nationwide to make a bigger difference in the lives of young professionals whose talents can strengthen the field if given the opportunity.”
“When it comes to racism, police brutality is the tip of the iceberg,” Vietze says. “Obstacles to education, internships, interviews, jobs, network-building, and access to entrepreneurial knowledge are part of the context that creates unnecessary challenges for Black people. The easiest thing to combat racism is to connect people across cultures, regardless of skin color. Since it is not happening organically as much as it should, the PR Mentoring Network is a framework that makes it easy to initiate these relationships and start tearing down walls.”