PMG at UTA’s Diversity and Inclusion Symposium
Last October, I had the awesome opportunity to attend the AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was my first time attending an AIGA conference and after three wonderful days, I came back to Fort Worth incredibly inspired. So much so, that I finally became a supporting member of AIGA. But I knew that wasn’t enough. I wanted to do more. So after reading a post that introduced AIGA DFW’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, I reached out and joined. It was a perfect way to combine my passion for diversity and my love for design, both of which I’ve written about before.
So after months of planning with the committee, March 2nd was a day dedicated to design and diversity at UTA (my alma mater). Not only did we host our first Diversity & Inclusion Panel, but UTA’s Visual Communication Program also hosted a Diversity & Inclusion Symposium with a packed list of incredible speakers. PMG’s WeCollective included.
Towards the beginning of planning both the panel and symposium, the committee had talked about finding local sponsors. With that in mind, I spoke to George, PMG’s President and Founder, and as he heard me talk about my passion for design & diversity, he didn’t even hesitate when I asked him if PMG would be willing to sponsor the event. It was a great opportunity to let the local community know that PMG was having this conversation internally, and a great opportunity to introduce PMG’s WeCollective group externally.
A small group of incredible women from PMG’s WeCollective spent weeks with me researching and putting together a presentation to present to the UTA Design students at the Diversity & Inclusion Symposium.
Katie Friedman, Social Account Manager AND incredible public speaker, presented the first portion of our presentation. We introduced the WeCollective, highlighting our mission statement and the accomplishments that the WeCollective has achieved in the past year, such as increasing paid maternity leave from six to ten weeks and hiring or promoting eleven awesome women to leadership roles.
With a packed room of design students on their way to graduating and heading out to the real world, we hoped that talking about the WeCollective inspires them to create a space of inclusion wherever they go.
Katie continued our presentation by discussing Diversity in Advertising. We’ve seen the negative impact that exclusion and tone-deafness have on a brand. H&M’s recent controversy over an image they had on their website is just one of MANY examples. It’s surprising to see just how often these mistakes are made and just how easy they could have been prevented if a person with a different perspective would have been present in the room.
Katie continued by talking about just how impactful inclusion is for brands. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty dominated the first month of its existence, earning $72 million. With 40 different foundation shades, Rihanna created the successful makeup brand to make sure every woman feels included, regardless of their shade, cultures, and personalities.
We couldn’t talk about the importance of inclusion without mentioning the widely successful Black Panther film. Currently in its fourth week and already passing the $1 billion dollar mark, Black Panther had the biggest global debut ever for a film with a predominately black cast and a black director.
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and Marvel’s Black Panther are just a few examples of just how important and impactful diversity, inclusion, and representation is. Brands, follow suit.
And to end the presentation, I crammed my entire life story into ten minutes. Well, I tried.
I started my portion of the presentation by highlighting what makes me who I am: I’m a woman, Hispanic, Gay, and a DREAMer (an undocumented immigrant). These are all important pieces of my life that shaped me into the person I am today, but the one that had the biggest impact on my journey to PMG was being a DREAMer. I was born in Mexico and brought to the United States by my parents so I could succeed and have a better life than they did.
As an undocumented immigrant, my entire life has been filled with uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. It’s been one hell of a ride. But that uncertainty changed to hope when Obama announced DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in 2012. With DACA, I became the first person in my family to graduate college (shout out to UTA) and had the great opportunity to pursue my career as a Graphic Designer by joining the PMG Creative Team in February of 2016.
The opportunity to present at UTA’s Diversity & Inclusion Symposium was such a pleasure. We were really excited to be able to talk about PMG and share valuable information with future designers that hopefully inspire them to raise their voices and make a difference.
The Symposium and Diversity & Inclusion Panel continued for the rest of the evening with some amazing speakers and designers. I’ll end this blog post with links to all of their work and all the incredible stuff they’re doing.
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Juan Facio – LGBTQ E-Comm Graphic/Web Designer & Art Director
Jacinda Walker – AIGA National Chair for Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and founder of DesignExplorr
Sam Lao – Rapper, Singer, Artist, & Designer
Jeremy Biggers – Painter, Designer, Photographer, & Videographer
Sadie Red Wing – Assistant Director of Native Student Programs at University of Redlands & Advocate for Visual Sovereignty in Indigenous Design
Zipeng Zhu – Chinese born Art Director, Illustrator, & Animator
Gus Granger – CEO at 70kft
Ramsey Ruelas – Independent Motion Designer
Corwin Stone – Global Creative Director at ACTIVE Network
Ping Zhu – Illustrator based in New York