Workshop: Diversity and Conscious Inclusion in Public Affairs

29 Aug, 2019

October 24, 2019
12−4:15 p.m. ET
Reception to Follow
Washington, DC or Virtual

What happens to us and our public affairs teams when we operate with bias or a lack of inclusion, even if it’s unconscious? What perspectives do we miss? This workshop will help you develop the skills to recognize bias and practice conscious inclusion. Through safe and facilitated conversation, we’ll broaden perspectives to help participants get a better view of themselves, their workplace and our society. Participants will learn how organizations can develop policies to enhance appreciation of diversity and leave with tools that can immediately use to build a more inclusive, supportive workplace.

This program is eligible for 2 elective credits toward the Certificate in PAC & Grassroots Management and 2 core credits toward the Certificate in Public Affairs Management.


12:00 p.m.     Diversity and Inclusion: Challenging Assumptions and Deploying Inclusion Nudges

Bias creeps into people’s way of engaging the world through a variety of sources. Without a conscientious exploration of its role in our lives, we are unable to get a full view of how a lack of diversity and inclusion affects us and our work as public affairs professionals. This extended session will contain two educational modules.

1. Challenging Assumptions: an interactive conversation that examines assumptions we make about the people we work with, hire and engage with on a daily basis. This session is designed to raise awareness of biases that may affect our decisions and explore ways to reduce their impact.

2. Inclusion Nudges: a guide to exploring mental pushes and frameworks—both passive and active—to help the brain make more objective decisions, and in turn promote more inclusive behavior.

Upon completing these sessions, participants will have a better understanding of:

  • The ways in which biases affect our conscious and unconscious thoughts
  • Frameworks for limiting the effects of bias on decision-making
  • Ways to integrate diversity of thought and opinion into company dialogue over contentious issues
  • Understanding how to create a welcoming environment for diverse audiences

Jennifer Williams
Director, Global Inclusion and Diversity

2:30 p.m.     Networking Break

2:35 p.m.     Employee Resource Groups’ Role in Inclusive Workplaces

One way to grow an organization’s capacity for and understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion is through the development of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These groups allow employees to grow professional and personally by providing a safe space for difficult discussions, increasing cross-functional awareness and providing mentorship opportunities.

Our expert will cover:

  • How to set up and manage an employee resource group
  • Ways in which ERGs can impact company policy on social issues
  • Avoiding common ERG shortcomings

Chris Baggett
Director, Federal Government Affairs and Political Strategy
Bristol-Myers Squibb

Mohammed S Farshori

Mohammed Farshori
Director of Community Engagement

3:15 p.m.     Networking Break

3:20 p.m.     Associations and Diversity: Leading By Example and Being a Resource

Trade associations have a valuable role to play in advancing a more equitable society. As subject matter experts, associations gather best practices from across industries and organizations in order to assist members. As conveners, associations have the ability to bring together groups to discuss successes, opportunities and challenges in a welcoming environment. In this session we will explore how one association has worked to achieve a more equitable workplace, while sharing the lessons they’ve learned with their members across the nation.

Our expert will discuss how to:

  • Start a DEI program for internal and external use
  • Determine the diversity needs of membership
  • Develop and execute educational programming and materials for firms of varying sizes and geographic locations

Heather Whitpan
Senior Manager, Government Affairs
Solar Energy Industry Association

4:15 p.m.     Networking Reception on the Public Affairs Council Rooftop

Enjoy Rooftop views, complimentary appetizers and drinks.

6:15 p.m.     Adjourn

Event Location

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Public Affairs Council
2121 K Street, NW
Suite 900
Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 202.787.5950

*Participants joining the program virtually will receive an email one week beforehand with instructions for logging on to our web-based platform. On the platform, they will be able to listen and participate through any computer or internet-enabled device, see a video of the speakers, and ask questions and participate in the discussion via a chat box.


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Register Online

  • Members: $250
  • Non-Members: $250

The Public Affairs Council is honored to offer discounted registration to this workshop thanks to a generous contribution from AT&T as part of its participation in the Council’s Leadership Circle.

Questions? Contact us at 202.787.5950.


Nick Desarno
Director of Digital and Policy Communications
202.787.5971 | email