Welcome to the PRmoment Podcast.
On the show today, I’m chatting with one of my favourite people, the wonderful Bieneosa Ebite.
Bieneosa is head of communications and government affairs, inclusion & diversity at GSK.
In this regular format of the PRmoment Podcast with Ben Smith, we’ll be catching up with UK public relations leaders - and our guests will share their, in hindsight, secrets that they wish they'd known when they started their careers!
Bieneosa Ebite joined GSK 18 months ago. Previously, she was at Centrica for eight years. She ran her own agency, Bright Star Public Relations, from 2007 to 2014, but Bieneosa is probably best known as the chair and co-founder of Ignite, which was perhaps the original not-for-profit organisation established to promote the benefits of cultural diversity in public relations. The organisation was formed in 2009 and closed in 2013.
Before we start, we’ve got some huge news - The PRmoment Awards 2024 are now - OPEN!
There are some exciting changes this year; we’ve tweaked the categories, refined the entry form and with no additional entry fee, we’ve launched a regional champions scheme so we can reach the work right across the UK.
Do check out the PRmoment Awards microsite.
Also, thanks so much to the PRmoment Podcast sponsors the PRCA.
Here is a summary of what Bieneosa and PRmoment founder Ben Smith discussed:
2 mins Bieneosa tells us why, "for the first time in my life, work doesn’t feel like work.”
“My purpose as a human being is aligned with what I’m doing professionally.”
“How do we get more people from underrepresented groups into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) sector careers.”
5 mins Improving diversity is a broad remit: Bieneosa talks us through where she tries to make a difference in your current role.
9 mins Does science and, more broadly, STEM have the same diversity issues as public relations?
“One of the things that is missing is representation at the senior level in the public relations sector.”
“When I started in PR, I didn’t feel like I belonged.”
“People have left PR because they don’t feel welcome.”
14 mins Bieneosa and Ben reminisce about how and why Ignite was a trailblazer!
“Having a community is great, but I’m all about campaigning to make change.”
“What I found was that at that time, diversity and inclusion almost was like a fashion for PR…it was in vogue for a time, and then it would go quiet.”
18 mins Here is the link to Ben Smith's interview with Taylor Bennett Foundation alumni Kwaku Aning, Shanice Hoo Mills and Toni Adeola on a recent PRmoment Podcast.
“If you want to see change, you have to agitate. Otherwise, nothing will happen.”
“When it’s something that affects you…ten years is too long…you want change now.”
“If you address things head-on, you stand a better chance of being able to solve issues. If you skirt around it and don’t want to say the word (racism) - nothing will ever change.”
Here is the previous PRmoment Podcast that Ben and Bieneosa refer to, where they had a conversation about the issue of racism in PR. Here is a link to the CIPR’s report in Race in PR: Lived Experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Practitioners in PR (2020).
30 mins Bieneosa talks about why Ignite closed down.
32 mins What would Bieneosa do differently in her career if she had her time again?
“Investing in a mentor or a coach is something I didn’t do early enough.”
34 mins What is the difference between a mentor and a coach?
39 mins Looking back at public relations’ DE&I journey, how does Bieneosa think PR is doing?
“It could be doing a lot better…it’s not been a consistent journey. There are pockets of progress, but there is more that can be done.”
40 mins What KPIs does Bieneosa look for when assessing a sector's progress on DE&I?
“You need to look at seniority and diversity across the piece.”
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