These Media Professionals Built Their Own Table and You Can Too
Allix Wright, Dr. Jonathan Wosen and Claudia Vargas sparked some real inspiration among Gen Z students and other media professionals at the 6th annual Allen H. Center Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations on April 6. They showed vulnerability and shared their real-life experiences on how they built their own table, teaching others to do the same during their panel discussion moderated by Scott Allison.
So, what are ways in which you can build your own table?
Owning your unique perspective
What you can bring to the table in your career is limitless. Every person has gone through different life experiences, giving each a unique perspective. Own that perspective and the idea that you can bring something to the table that others can’t.
During the panel, Wright explained the importance of using your voice to speak up and trust your gut when something is off. As someone with a unique perspective, you may notice something that others don’t. Don’t be afraid of being told no and have confidence in yourself.
Wright said, “Things that raise your antenna up can be difficult to speak to if you are a minority. But I’ve always regretted the moments where I didn’t say something more than the moments when I did say something. That is something that has served me well and I think will serve you well, too, moving forward.”
“I often find myself scared of rejection, or my ideas sounding like I am challenging a colleague or boss. I now understand the importance of different perspectives in the professional world and how my ideas can make a larger impact than I’d expect,” said Bethany Andros, SDSU senior and attendee.
Make the case for why DEI is important
Diversity, equity and inclusion is not just a suggestion. We live in a diverse world, meaning appealing to diverse audiences by including diverse perspectives into your work is necessary to flourish. This can be proven with research and data. Use that to your advantage in the industry.
If you find yourself in the position of needing to make a case for DEI, pull up statistics such as: companies that welcome diversity are 1.7x more innovative, or racially and ethnically diverse companies have a 36% higher likelihood of financially outperforming less diverse companies.
“We have a saying internally which is, insights into action. Research informs what we do and the data is out there,” said Vargas. “If you need to prove to someone that a diverse audience is required, you can go find that data and show it to them.”
Enlist the help of others
Even though you are building your own table, it doesn’t need to be an empty one. Build upon the work from like-minded allies that came before you. You’re not the first one to claim your space and make important changes, so use that to your advantage.
SDSU student and attendee, Lilly Mullooly, explained how listening to what the panelists have done in their careers will give her points to think back on when she’s in the workforce.
“Hearing from these panelists on how they built their own table really inspired me. They gave examples on how they’ve called people out when they were wrong, or politely answered someone’s ignorant question to allow for growth among that individual,” said Mullooly. “Drawing from what seasoned professionals have already begun doing in the industry will definitely guide me in my career.”
These three points are helpful to consider when starting out, but there are multiple aspects that go into building your own table. Soak everything up and use what you learned to go kill it in the professional world. Know your space and claim it.
As Vargas said, “Be hard to ignore and make yourself indispensable.”
If you missed it, you can watch the panel discussion at the 6th annual Allen H. Center Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations on YouTube.