Calisha Wright on Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion. One of The Mentor Method’s favorite topics to discuss. One that holds so much importance in our working world and beyond. Today, we hear more from Calisha Wright of GMMB. This time she is going to talk to us about Diversity and Inclusion. She is going to show us both sides of the coin by giving us the inside scoop of what to do as a person in the industry that has hiring privileges and as a young professional looking to start and build their career. Her excellent advice will be sure to make you a more informed person that is ready to challenge antiquated hiring practices. Keep reading to learn more!

Management, make internships more valuable and open to minority students. “It is really important to develop a pipeline of minority students at the internship level that can come on board and learn the ropes of an organization. When they graduate, the company has a pipeline in place to hire quality minority talent that is familiar with the company’s culture, clients and work. This is something that we are looking to leverage in order to diversify our entry-level talent.”

Students, go out and apply now, don’t wait. “At the college level, I have seen a lot of students not take advantage of opportunities that are being offered to them. They don’t visit their college’s career center, attend professional development workshops or information sessions. I’ve seen a lot of students settle for retail jobs or they work at their mom and dad’s restaurant or office to gain work experience. That’s not enough. In this specific industry, we are looking for specific skills to ensure someone’s success in the role”.

Management, go to colleges with strong pools of diversity. “We have done a great job in reaching out to historically black colleges and other diverse communities to apply to some of our openings. We typically participate in Howard University’s communications career fair in the fall. Also, last year, a few of our employees went to the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) career fair in Atlanta. Right now, we have an information session scheduled at Johns Hopkins University SAIS- they have a strong international student presence. In my role, this is something I really want to dive into- I want to expand GMMB’s brand awareness to other schools on the East Coast and ultimately, across the US. We are not just talking to students at HBCUs but our main focus is on diversity recruitment all together”.

Students, use your resources to make you attractive and qualified for the companies coming to recruit. “We like to see students with really strong writing skills. That starts with the resume. If we receive a resume with grammatical errors or the formatting and layout is off, and/or their cover letter does not entail why they are qualified for the job, then this is always a red flag to us. It shows me that the candidate doesn’t have the attention to detail that we look for and that they lack writing skills. Writing is a huge development skill that we like to see in our entry level candidates. Also, being organized and active. Because we are a PR, advertising, and marketing agency, we like to see students who have put the effort into designing a portfolio, writing newspaper articles, or creating a blog. I like to see candidates that think outside the box. Think one step ahead of us and sell your creative chops.”

Management, don’t negate online resources. “There has been a recent push to collaborate with professional groups such as ColorComm. We also invest in social media platforms like Linkedin and Glassdoor in increase our brand awareness and target diverse talent. We find value in showcasing our agency, employees and culture through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Linkedin and Glassdoor”.

Young professionals, don’t constantly jump job to job. “I see a lot students and young adults jumping from job to job, year after year. I get it. Millenials like to change it up but some companies may see it as being unstable and disloyal, which is not a good thing. Job-hopping shows a lack of commitment to a company. Don’t be so quick to jump ship when things don’t go your way and you become disgruntled at having to work long hours and you’re not able to go to Happy Hour or yoga class at 5pm. Take time to master the role you’re in and prove yourself as a competent employee.”

Students, young professionals, and management take this advice! It will help everyone to have more diversity and inclusion which we know leads to better work spaces in innumerable ways. Many, many thanks to Calisha Wright for her wonderful advice and time. We look forward to seeing all of the things you continue to achieve in your fight for diversity and inclusion and a pipeline focused on minority talent’s access to internships.

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