Cheryl Overton
Egami Group

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:  we are so busy, clients are busy, work is busy, it’s all so busy!  That is true: life is busy. But has busy become a badge of sorts, or just another word we use without really thinking about what we mean?  And is busy really informing us, our clients, and the world at large?  Is busy transformative?  Does busy create change?

I don’t think it does. At Egami Group, we can stake our claim to being as busy as the next agency.  We enjoyed  growth this past year.  We moved our offices.  We won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions.  We are busy indeed.

But what we want — and this industry needs — is transformation, and busy doesn’t get you that. In looking out, and looking ahead, and with a glance behind, passion and gratitude are the two things that can be transformative, empowering, and energizing.

PR is hard work.  We know that. We all bring it every day at our agencies.  We bring it to our clients. But busy-ness by itself doesn’t bring change, and change is where we are right now.  When we look at diversity in the industry, we’re not where we need to be. We should be doing more. Instead of the being so busy, we should ask ourselves, “What can we bring to this”?

Applying passion and gratitude to the diversity gap just may be the solution we need.  When Egami won the Grand Lion in 2018, it certainly felt like payoff for a lot of hard work.  It feels good to have hard work recognized and rewarded.  But passion and gratitude are works of a higher order.  Being the first African American female-owned agency to win the Grand Lion was an inflection point.  What followed for all of us at Egami, in our work lives and our non-work lives, is to be grateful, to see the possibilities in front of us — with passion — and to translate this into action.

What more can we do?  Certainly, recruiting diverse young talent is one thing.  And linking arms with allies is another. But what about recruiting diverse mature talent as well?  African-American women over the age of 35 represent one of the most educated, and entrepreneurial, yet underutilized groups in the United States.  Many of these women, unable to get a seat at the table, have decided to make their own table. And more power to them! But we in the PR industry need to look at that and see a pool of opportunity that we should dip into and put into play for our businesses and our clients.

As we wind down this year, it is perhaps tempting to congratulate ourselves on the progress that we’ve made through our hard work and our busy-ness.  But before we do this, let’s spend a minute sitting in gratitude, and thinking about where passion can take us next year.

To hear more, listen to Cheryl Overton’s episode on the Agencies of the Future podcast.