WASHINGTON: SKDK has appointed Rae Robinson as managing director and the agency’s first chief equity and inclusion officer.
Reporting to CEO Josh Isay, Robinson will be responsible for developing programs, practices and policies that advance diversity, equity and inclusion across the firm.
The creation of the role is part of SKDK’s ongoing dedication to a diverse and inclusive workforce, Isay explained.
“This is about taking the steps necessary to not only have a diverse workforce, but to make sure folks in the company believe that they can bring their full self to work and be recognized, promoted, nurtured and retained,” Isay said. “That’s a job that needs a leader.”
Despite looking externally for a great candidate, Isay knew Robinson would be the perfect fit when she expressed interest in taking up the mantle.
“[Robinson] knows the firm inside and out having been here for five years, and she knows DE&I,” Isay said. “It was a no brainer for us.”
Robinson takes on the new role in addition to her work already leading the firm’s multicultural communications and engagement practice — one of the agency’s fastest growing practice areas.
Robinson said she is dedicated to bringing the same level of commitment to her new role supporting diversity initiatives internally as she does supporting clients.
“My goals around this work include making sure my colleagues and my friends within the office understand that this is a commitment that’s coming from the top, and diversity is not solely an HR function,” Robinson said. “We want an environment where inclusion is expected and welcomed, so everybody feels a true sense of equity and belonging in the firm.”
Robinson expects her role to go beyond being a Black woman who lays down a few suggestions for a better work environment. Diversity and equity doesn’t stop at having a racially diverse workforce, but being inclusive of women, members of the LGBTQ and disabled communities and those from different socioeconomic backgrounds, she said.
“This is an ongoing conversation about how we do things differently,” Robinson added. “What is our commitment to supplier diversity? What has our contribution been to systemic racism and how do we show up into the societies where our people are coming from and do things differently?” Robinson joined SKDK in 2015 from Lucas PR+Media, where she was a consultant. Before that, she worked for the Caraway Group, where she worked her way up to being vice president.