Porter Novelli has won the Best PR Firm Community Initiative Award in the first annual “Diversity Distinction in PR Awards” supported by the Council of PR Firms in association with PRWeek .

The Diversity Distinction in PR Awards were developed to honor excellence in promoting ethnic diversity within the public relations industry and to strengthen diversity inclusion practices across PR. The awards also aim to support and inspire professionals of diverse backgrounds.

Porter Novelli won the award for its work with the TORCH Program. TORCH, which stands for Together Our Resources Can Help, provides underserved New York City public high school students with intensive exposure to career training and opportunities in communications and the arts, all while facilitating a meaningful way of increasing the diversity of the workforce in those industries.  Porter Novelli developed TORCH’s first PR curriculum, offers internships, mentoring and a Shadow Week at the agency for students, and has donated logistical and media relations support for several fund-raising initiatives.

This award recognizes an agency project to promote careers in PR, encourage diversity, fight discrimination, or work toward the empowerment of a local community.One judge noted in the story, “The initiative was groundbreaking. The holistic approach, combining training, internships, and PR support with strong participation from the Porter Novelli team is a winning formula.”

“I am delighted that Porter Novelli has received this award, and am especially proud of all of our team members who work so closely with the TORCH students,” said Anthony Viceroy, global president and chief financial officer at the agency and executive sponsor of its diversity efforts and a board member of TORCH. “TORCH is offering students real-world exposure and hands-on training in the communications and arts fields, which they may not otherwise have had.  We are very pleased to help build their curriculum and give the students a window into our industry.

“Our support of TORCH truly embodies our perspective on diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” Viceroy continued. “For us to make a significant and measurable impact on our clients’ businesses, our team really needs to understand the global marketplace and bring a variety of points of view, experiences and cultures to the table. This is a business imperative for Porter Novelli and for the entire industry.”

Porter Novelli’s partnership with TORCH is one program within their overall diversity initiative. The agency’s National Diversity Council, led by SVP and Director of Hispanic Marketing Sonia Sroka, has chapters in seven U.S. offices and is populated by approximately 50 mid- and junior-level executives who are responsible for executing diversity initiatives in their local markets.  Porter Novelli also has helped to create a PR educational track for students at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, which is part of a larger program sponsored by the agency’s parent company, Omnicom, to provide opportunities for students at the college.

“This award is a testament to not just our commitment to diversity and inclusion, but also to the hard work our team devotes to this very important issue,” said Sroka.  “We are delighted to be helping to develop the next generation of marketing and communications professionals who will offer their clients a well-rounded perspective on their business.”

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