“Multicultural Is Now the Mainstream”: Victoria Sánchez De Alba Inspired Students and Veteran Communicators at Scholarship Luncheon
At the SFPRRT’s annual Scholarship Luncheon on April 23, 2019, members welcomed the next generation of public relations practitioners — this year’s scholarship winners — with a practical and inspirational talk on diversity and inclusion in the field by keynote speaker Victoria Sánchez De Alba, who has spent her career at the forefront of the struggle for equality in the workplace.
De Alba, who founded her firm, De Alba Communications, at the turn of the century, spoke about her life’s trajectory — from humble beginnings as a farmworker in Salinas, to an Emmy award-winning journalist, to power PR practitioner, to San Mateo County Assembly District delegate (to the Democratic State Central Committee) — as an example for our diverse cohort of scholarship winners to follow.
“I took the whole package of who I am — Mexican-American farmworker, writer, journalist, PR expert, passionate advocate — and set out to reshape the business landscape,” she said. She would then reshape many companies by encouraging diversity amongst their staff and boards.
Even back in 2003, when De Alba transitioned to PR, there were already companies that wanted to connect to more diverse audiences — but were missing the critical piece of actually employing people from diverse backgrounds, including women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people.
Now, as our state and nation become more diverse, and minority groups’ spending power increases, brands are finally paying more attention to them.
“Multicultural is the mainstream” these days, she said. “By not incorporating multicultural consumers into your work, you are hurting your agency’s growth and your clients’ growth.”
Her advice? Hire diverse experts who reflect the communities you’re targeting. This will bring the authenticity and shared values needed to connect with diverse audiences. — Jay Rooney, D&A Communications & PR Round Table Board Member/Communications Chair
Related: Meet the Scholarship Winners (link to: http://sfprrt.org/meet-our-2019-scholarship-winners/)