New York counselor Mike Paul will begin a two-day fast Feb. 12 to draw attention to what he sees as a lack of diversity among large PR firms, ad agencies and corporate communications departments.
He’s tired of “all the lip service” paid to the issue, believing it’s a “time of action.”
Paul told O’Dwyer’s that he’s increasingly approached by well qualified minority executives who can’t get a shot at a job in the communications sector.
His fast is aimed at highlighting the lack of people of color in top positions, beginning at the senior VP level at PR firms.
Paul’s not overly impressed by firms that establish internship programs for non-whites. To him, those are dead-end jobs as the young staffer departs in two or three years because there are “no senior-level people who look like them.”
Paul wants firms to “open their books” and disclose the number of non-white people in the executive ranks. He wants major firms to “hire dozens of executives of color” over the next year or two.
Before opening Reputation Doctor LLC, Paul did stints at MCI Communications, Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Burson-Marsteller.
Mike Paul, the Reputation DoctorŽ (Feb. 12, 2014): Joe:
I respectfully disagree. No one is asking for a quota or a hand out here. There are hundreds of well qualified executives of color who have never been given the opportunity to be an SVP or above in a global PR or advertising firm. There are also well qualified executives of color who were never given the op. to be a CCO or #2 in a national or global corporation as well. Everything I am talking about is well qualified. Sadly, racism is alive and been around a long time in our porfession because racism is also alive in our nation and in our world. The numbers regarding diversity for executives of color at the highest level in our industry are an abomination. To be frank, to imply just hard work will open doors for executives of color to get an equal opportunity to lead is just not accurate.
For example, the number of GMs of offices, executives runnning global or national practices at national and global PR and advertising firms and or being named CEO or COO is almost nonexistent in all categories at the top. In corporations, CCOs of color can be counted on your hands for the Fortune 500 overall. That is not because there are no highly qualified executive candidates of color.
Thanks for your comments also about my career, but hard work is not only what got me where I am today. I did work hard, have helped hundreds of clients and also had terrific mentors. But still with all of that, quite frankly, I had to kick down many doors to get where I am today and speak up for injustice and racism quite often over the years. And I continue to do so today for other.
Joe Honick, GMA International Ltd (Feb. 12, 2014): Mike, your personal and professional standing and success belie your argument, one that I doubt you would make for NBA or NFL teams where so many talented Black athletes have achieved not only fame but financial success simply because they, like you, earned that success. More effective might be your urging talented young men and women to see the potential if they work for it the same as you have.
jofo in DC (Feb. 10, 2014): Bold statement and probably overdue. The amount of spin that the PR industry does on itself is embarrassing and quire transparent.