November 19, 2021In DE&I In Action on
With over 20 years of high tech and business to business expertise in global public relations, digital communication, analysts relations, and social media, Jolene Peixoto talks about how to make an impact through communications for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality Initiatives.
What has been the most challenging obstacle you’ve had to overcome by working in global public relations, digital communications, analysts relations, and social media?
My forte has always been PR primarily. It’s the part I love the most, and I feel like that has changed the most since I started my career. My first internship at a PR agency was right after 9/11, and it was really hard to find a job after graduation that year because there were no jobs around. But the PR industry was so different then, and a lot of it was really driven by the press release and the traditional news avenues. Now it’s all truly about relationship building. They care less about brand new technology or new offices that just opened. It’s more about finding the right relationships, cultivating them, and being a resource for that they’re going to want to come back to over and over again.
What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you?
It means that everyone should have a voice and be heard. I feel that there are so many people that I met at my company that did not feel heard, and they had a unique perspective or a story to tell that normally wouldn’t have been told. Maybe they wanted to share their own coming out story and be a voice to someone who may be struggling with coming out. Maybe they’ve grown up, or lived their life with a child with major disabilities and wanted to share how they have dealt with that throughout their life. Learning and really seeing that there’s so many other perspectives out there, and to understand that perspective, is why everyone’s voice should be heard and embraced.
Why do you believe it is important to be an engaged member in DEI initiatives?
I think it makes you more empathetic. It makes you understand others’ perspectives a lot better and realize there are a lot of other perspectives – some you may agree with, some you may not. It’s important to educate yourself and get involved by asking questions and learning.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone who is looking to get involved with DEI initiatives? And how did you originally get involved with DEI initiatives?
Just raise your hand. I did. I knew we were going to be launching a Diversity Council, and I wanted to get involved. They were identifying people from different teams to join and have a different role, and they needed somebody from marketing. I joined to tell the story externally on social media, on our website, and I helped create a diversity report, which we’ve never done before. Ask if your company has a Diversity Council, and if they don’t have one, start doing
something similar by getting a group of people together that are just as passionate about it. If they are passionate about DEI, you can build it from a grassroots effort, which is what I started, and it grew from there.
What is some advice that you can give to empower women in the workplace or others who are underrepresented?
Finding a mentor at your company or place of work is really important, and have that person not be on the same team or department that you are so you can get a different perspective and learn from them. It’s a great way of getting involved. Also, raising your hand for different projects outside of your own role or team is the best way to get visibility and exposure to different people and leaders. Get involved in different groups that are either local here in Boston, or virtually. There’s so much more out there than ever before for women and for underrepresented groups.
Interviewer: Audrey Tumbarello