Porter Novelli, the strategic communications company, today announced the launch of the Erica Smith Future Leaders Fellowship program. The agency developed this fellowship to honor the life, legacy and light of Erica Smith – a late Porter Novelli colleague. It is designed to inspire, prepare and create career-defining experiences for the next generation of change makers and storytellers in communications, as well as create a more equitable opportunity for diverse professionals beyond a traditional PR internship.
Erica Smith was introduced to the communications industry through The LAGRANT Foundation Scholarship program and was known across the Porter Novelli network and beyond as an influence for good – speaking up for all that was just and right. She was a storyteller and voice of reason and lived her life with a sense of adventure, curiosity and courage. Outside of work, she strived to empower young female communicators and was relentless in her advocacy for equity and social justice. Porter Novelli aims to embody her spirit through this fellowship program.
“Building bridges in allyship requires being uncomfortable,” said Smith, before her passing. “It requires dismantling any selfish tendencies, thoughts or behaviors, putting your ego, guilt and shame aside to do the work.”
The Erica Smith Future Leaders Fellowship is an immersive 3-month fellowship focused on supporting justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) initiatives for the company and our clients. The selected fellow will receive coaching and mentorship from Suzy An, Porter Novelli SVP and JEDI Leader, as well as direct engagement with several other senior leaders based on the fellow’s interests. Furthermore, the fellow will travel to various Porter Novelli offices to experience and engage with JEDI work across the U.S.
“The Erica Smith Future Leaders Fellowship was intentionally designed to support Porter Novelli’s mission to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive organization,” says An. “The launch of this fellowship program underscores our commitment to close our own say-do gap; creating more opportunities for diverse professionals who have tremendous potential.”
For those interested in applying for the program, the application opens August 16 and closes September 9. Applicants must be an early-career professional or 2022 graduate with an undergraduate, graduate or associate degree and have relevant or transferrable volunteer, course work or research experience, with an interest in pursuing a communications career centered around justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Porter Novelli is looking for applicants who have a passion for learning, exploring and creating a culture of belonging; can commit to being an ally to all and a voice for positive change; and can demonstrate leadership and mentorship skills. The fellowship will take place October through December 2022.
“We are inspired by current and former PNers who care deeply about helping our clients do business better,” said Conroy Boxhill, President of Porter Novelli’s U.S. market. “Our late colleague, Erica Smith, was a great example of an authentic champion for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Offering a young professional an opportunity to learn and experience Porter Novelli’s team is exactly what she would expect us to do.”
Source: Porter Novelli