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OPEN DOORS - Answering The Call: Getting Diversity Off The Ground In A New Region

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 10, 2018

The new Chairs of the PGA Diversity West were recently contacted by Katy Garrity of the new PGA Capital region with questions about creating a Diversity Committee for their region. For insight Lisa Kors and Dan Halperin turned to their predecessors, Deb Calla and Charles Howard. We recorded the conversation and have included excerpts below; we think it provides some insights into how the PGA develops its programming in this area.


Katy Garrity: Hi. I’m Katy Garrity, new Chair of the PGA’s Capital region. Our senior level members want to know how to incorporate diverse voices into their programming, and our diverse members who are just starting out want to learn more about how to chart their career paths. What can our region do to embrace diversity?

Charles Howard: You could start by organizing some panel discussions where you get two or three diversity experts or reps from networks or organizations to talk about how they do outreach, how they go about staffing or programming with diversity in mind. In D.C. you could reach out to local organizations like National Geographic or PBS and see if they have a diversity exec who might talk about their policies and practices. And you may be able to find someone from the NAACP or the Urban League.

Katy: We have two members who have stepped up to program diversity. They’re thinking about doing something on HR and how people are making diversity a part of their hiring process. We haven’t reached out to NAACP or the Urban League, so that’s a good idea.

Deb Calla: Those groups, along with NALIP and Asian-American organizations, always have members who are interested in getting into the biz and would love to learn about the paths to starting a career, whether in feature films, commercials, TV, games, whatever. Also the Maryland Film Commission is a very active, eager group. They may be able to provide resources like facilities, refreshments or promotional materials.        

Charles: Local universities want to get involved too. You could reach out to someone at Howard University and say, “We’d love to do a diversity panel. Can we use one of your multipurpose rooms on the campus?” And then ask to have a diversity-fluent professor on the panel or someone from their school of communications. Maybe you invite students so they can learn about the Guild and future career opportunities.        

Katy: That’s a good idea. We have a lot of Howard alumni among our members. That should be an easy lift. Thank you. This has been really informative and helpful.

Charles: We’re here to help, Katy. Bottom line—I suggest that over the first two to three years you figure out what your objectives are, begin with smaller programming and build up to bigger initiatives once you have a core group of members who are willing to commit time, energy and effort. On the West Coast, we’ve needed a solid, dependable core group of committed members to make it happen. That’s the key. Without them many of our programs would have fallen apart. When you’re in a small chapter, you have to start small and build that consensus of committed people, and you grow from there.

Katy: I’m glad to know that we’re not alone, that there’s an open door to communication between committees from the different PGA regions and that you’re willing to help us grow. 

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