A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Panel featuring experts in the communications and PR fields dealing with issues of diversity and inclusion from all over the world.
By: Raynor Manley
Meet our Panelists!!
Dr. Natalie Tindall
Gloris Trujillo Montenegro
Dr. Solyee Kim is a Ph.D. candidate studying diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations and media practices. Her research focuses on the experiences of marginalized communities including immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities in the practices and industries of public relations and mass communication
Previously, Solyee worked at a public relations firm in Atlanta and participated in a PRSA award-winning video marketing series. She also interned with a wide range of non-profit organizations including the United Nations Non-Government Liaison Service in New York, the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta, the Korean Federation of UNESCO and the Special Olympics. Prior to working in public relations, she worked as a freelance translator and interpreter traveling to the United States and the Middle East for various companies.
She earned her M.A. in journalism and mass communication with a concentration on public relations at the University of Georgia and her B.A. in German language and literature with a minor in political science and diplomacy from Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea.
Dr. Natalie T. J. Tindall, Ph.D., APR is the Director of the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Texas. Her research focuses on diversity in organizations, specifically the public relations function, participatory culture, the situational theory of public and intersectionality in strategic communication practices
She has authored book chapters and online publications along with peer-reviewed journal articles published in Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Public Relations Journal, Howard Journal of Communications, PRism and the International Journal of Strategic Communication. She is the co-editor of three books in public relations: two on the intersection of participatory culture, fandom and public relations and one on LGBTQ issues in strategic communication. She serves as the co-director for the Institute of Public Relations’ Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and has served as the Head of the Public Relations Division for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the Public Relations Society of America.
Crystal Irene Drake is a senior manager in corporate communications at Delta Air Lines and is an APR-accredited member of PRSA-GA Chapter.
Prior to this role, Crystal served as the senior communications leader supporting the CEO of GE Power. Before joining GE, Crystal served as a vice president and corporate communications manager for Wells Fargo & Co., where she was responsible for internal and external communications in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee.
As the southeast communications director for Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and Disney On Ice, Crystal managed media relations and community engagement efforts in more than 30 markets. Crystal’s experience also includes service with Habitat for Humanity International and as Special Assistant to the First Lady of Georgia, during the administration of Gov. Roy Barnes. Crystal began her career in the press office at The Carter Center, a global non-profit led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.
An Atlanta native, Crystal graduated from Spelman College with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and from Hollins College (now Hollins University) in Roanoke, Virginia with a Master of Arts in English Literature. She has served in volunteer and board roles for Habitat for Humanity North Fulton, Dress for Success Atlanta and Cities in Schools Atlanta. Crystal is currently a member of the board of directors of The American Red Cross Georgia Region and chair of the bio-med (blood donation) committee.
Gloris Trujillo is a Panamanian public relations practitioner in Panama City, Panama. Trujillo graduated from the APR master’s program at The University of Alabama in Spring 2020 where she researched D&I in Public Relations agencies in the United States and served as the co-vice president of diversity and inclusion in UA’s Public Relations Student Society of America. During her year as co-vice president the UA Chapter received the Teahan National Chapter Awards for Chapter Diversity. She is a 2018 Fulbright recipient. She graduated cum laude from Universidad Católica Santa María la Antigua in 2015.
She currently works as a Public Relations consultant. She is also working on research about Crisis communication during Covid-19, producing a podcast about the Panamanian gastronomy scene, producing a online show about entrepreneurship and building an online community for foodies in Panama with her IG page @yoinvitoelpostre (In English: Dessert is on me). You can connect with her through LinkedIn or Twitter as Gloris Trujillo.
Kiara Reynolds-Westry leads public relations and external communications for Randstad USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Randstad N.V., the world’s largest HR services provider. As corporate public relations manager, she is also responsible for thought leadership and executive social media strategy. Kiara is a member of PRSA Georgia and has served on several committees, including sponsorship and the annual conference committee. She currently serves as an executive member of the DE&I committee. Kiara holds a bachelor’s of arts in journalism from Georgia State University and a master’s in Public Relations from Full Sail University.
Advice from panelists:
It is important for students to practice diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom. It can help prepare them for the workplace. It’s important to communicate research with practitioners. Research is key to developing DEI strategies and plans. Teams rely on research and thesis’ because it shows them how they can implement it.
It is important to know how to support people in your organization and feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in the workplace. Be curious while you’re young and don’t be scared. Speak up when something isn’t right because it makes a huge impact.
Curiosity, empathy and respect are the keys to implement. You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Respect is the foundation for a conversation. Demonstrate empathy and assume good intentions. Giving respectful verbal and nonverbal cues can be very powerful.
Students can change the world, there is power in your energy and your fearlessness. You’ve got more learning to do. Go for it. You have more power than you think you do. You have the power to change the industry and ask about the DEI programs in your interviews. You have the power and the courage to stand up and confront people when they are wrong. Don’t be afraid and be gracious with yourself.
Everyone makes mistakes on the DEI path, and it can be challenging. Walk in humility and admit and apologize when you are wrong. Learn how to do better. Be fearless about asking questions. DEI issues are happening all around the world. Look for opportunities to learn more and do more.
Lean into empathy and lean into learning and unlearning what you think you know. Everyone can be changemakers. Be curious on a daily basis. This is not a quick race and DEI is an ongoing thing that never ends because new challenges always pop up. Learn how to navigate different scenarios and build it into your everyday life.
We cannot thank these amazing speakers enough for dedicating some of their time to educate us and prepare us to be better and more inclusive practitioners.