Emile Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Communications for Dun & Bradstreet, Shares Diverse Voices Insights
New York Book Launch: Increasing Diversity in PR
Emile Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Communications for Dun & Bradstreet, is one of 40 extraordinary communicators featured in the new book Diverse Voices. He spoke with Doug Simon, CEO at D S Simon Media, about achieving career success while bringing diversity to an organization. The interview took place during the New York book launch of Diverse Voices which was held at Twitter. The new book from the PRSA Foundation is designed to help communication leaders and professionals better understand the challenges faced by emerging majorities in the field. Emile explains why hiring and retaining diverse individuals is truly becoming a business imperative. To purchase Diverse Voices, visit www.diverseleadership.net
Make sure to check our similar Diverse Voices Interviews:
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Mike Fernandez, LLORENTE & CUENCA
Torod Neptune, Lenovo
Nyree Wright, Porter Novelli
Michael Sneed, Johnson & Johnson
Brenden Lee, Twitter
Yanique Woodall, The Home Depot
Manuel Goncalves, KPMG
DOUG: Hi I’m Doug Simon D S Simon Media. Honored to be with my guest Emile. Thanks so much and congratulations.
EMILE: Oh thank you.
DOUG: Great. Emile, one of the 40 communications professionals of the emerging majority who participated in the book Diverse Voices, and tonight at the New York launch of the book Diverse Voices he shared some of his own experiences and talked about how to turn words into action. So, how do we create action in this diversity area?
EMILE: It’s a great question. I mean, I think first and foremost it really is a mindset shift that we have to make when we look at all the statistics and all the rationale that’s out there: diversity just makes sense. But, as I said in tonight’s evening’s event, when Diversity and Inclusion don’t mix together…you can’t have one without the other. You have to have the inclusion. And so, I think a mindset shift has to happen. This is no longer a nice to do but it’s a business imperative that we must do, because it makes business sense to do so. When you have 40 trillion dollars of spending power devoted to women, when you have 19 percent of the world’s spending power focused on blacks and Hispanics, it’s no longer a nice to do anymore. It’s actually a business imperative, and if you’re ignoring this and if you’re not having diversity inclusion within your business you’re actually missing a growth opportunity for your company.
DOUG: And that’s something that you’re actually doing within your company, as head of global communications for Dun and Bradstree, and you’ve had experience working in Asia working out in the U.S.
DOUG: How important is that experience in informing the need for diversity as the business imperative you speak about.
EMILE: Absolutely. And listen, I was born and raised in Canada. I’m an American citizen today. But I always thought I grew up, you know, kind of in a Korean American Family, if you will. I didn’t realize how American I was brought up, in terms of my culture, until I actually worked and lived in the Asia-Pacific region. Even when I went to Korea and worked there. So, when we look at our experiences, even if we look different here, our thought process is still decidedly American. We have to understand that we live in a global marketplace where a lot of the spend is not just here in the U.S., it is global. So, when I talk about business imperative, it really is that. And so we have to bring this idea that it’s not just about the diversity of what you look like, your gender, and those kinds of things, but it’s actually diversity of thought, of culture, and these intangibles that you can’t actually see. But that make a huge difference in the success of a company.
DOUG: Yeah, and one of the themes that emerged from the different chapters in the book with these different leaders is the importance of self-confidence and putting yourself out there. Now being yourself– that’s an advantage, it’s not a negative
EMILE: One hundred percent. You know, sometimes when we grow up or when I grew up it was kind of like “well, you’re different.” And so sometimes what happens is you kind of take a backseat to where you should be. And what I’ve learned over time, especially with having amazing mentors from across the world, men, women, didn’t matter. Different races, different cultures, and the thing that they continued to say to me was “be yourself”. Bring your best self to work. Sometimes people call it the “whole self” or the “full self” to work. I’ll call it the “best self.” And the idea is your best self is what you bring to the table, your culture, your values, your experiences. It could be because of your gender. It can be experiences based on your race. It could be all these kinds of things. But when you bring your best self forward, you actually have a voice and actually a really constructive voice in terms of what you bring to the table, in terms of ideation, innovation, thought process that actually make– whether it’s from a PR perspective– a campaign better. It sometimes makes a company better. Because you’re bringing these diverse thoughts that maybe people who are within one gender, within one cultural background, might not be able to think about what you’re thinking about: different perspectives that you can bring to the table.
DOUG: And I think that’s why you’ll agree with me on this, that it’s so important that you look at picking up the book Diverse Voices. It’s going to make your best self a better self. Thank you so much for spending time with us and congratulations.
EMILE: Thank you. Absolutely fantastic.
D S Simon Media is proud to donate its services in support of the Diverse Voices Initiative.