Cultural Competency: Understanding Context in Communications

Problem Statement

All of our voices play a collective role in building a diverse and inclusive community. What is your organization saying, and how can you improve the way it represents our changing population?

Intersectional. Diverse. Inclusive. Politically correct. Woke. There are many buzzwords to describe the ways that communication and media are evolving to reflect our changing population. But these are more than passing trends. What do these words mean for your organization’s brand?

In the moment, it may seem like we’re just choosing a pretty picture or catchy phrase. We may not realize until it’s too late that the representation we created perpetuates a hardship that a marginalized community has faced or continues to face in society. It takes a conscious effort to achieve cultural competency. How can we prevent these oversights and become responsible arbitrators of our media?

In this session, we’ll discuss:

  • The power communicators have to change the landscape of representation
  • Identifying your bias
  • Choosing images that celebrate all kinds of people
  • What to do if you’ve made a mistake

The demographics and culture of our population are changing rapidly. Understanding how and why to portray people of marginalized groups respectfully is crucial to the success of your organization’s brand. Let’s do better together.

Charrosé King
American Psychiatric Association
Senior Social Media Specialist
Charrosé is a graphic designer and communications specialist. She earned a bachelor's degree from Parsons the New School for Design in Communication Design and a master's degree from Georgetown University in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. She is currently the Senior Social Media Specialist at the American Psychiatric Association. She uses her design and communication skills to support social justice issues. She enjoys learning, books, and being a mentor with College Bound in Washington, DC. Charrosé will be a presenter at the 2017 Nonprofit Technology for a session called 'Cultural Competency: Understanding Context in Communications.'

KC Sledd
Atlantic Media Strategies
Senior Manager of Strategy
KC is the Senior Manager of Strategy at Atlantic Media Strategies (AMS), the digital consultancy of The Atlantic. Here, she develops insights and communications plans for mission-driven clients, ranging from Fortune 100 companies to global foundations. Prior to joining AMS, she developed public/private partnerships in Ogilvy Public Relations’ Social Change practice, raised money for DC’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and supported GlobalGiving’s mission through social media and corporate partnerships. She is also the VP of Communications for the Washington, DC chapter of Net Impact. KC earned her B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and her M.P.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two cats.

Anthony Flowe
Engagement and Communications Associate
Anthony is a communications professional with experience in editorial and online communications. He is also an artist, racial and gender equality advocate, and mentor. He has previously held executive board positions for a cultural organization at George Mason University, leading outreach initiatives to promote cultural awareness in the Northern Virginia and DC area. Professionally, he has assisted in the development of company-wide newsletters, led trainings on social media and Microsoft Office techniques, participated in a gender task force to integrate gender empowerment into international programs, established a marketing department for an international school, and managed social media accounts for a global health program. Anthony specializes in layout design, internal and external messaging, campaign management and promotion, social media, and branding. In his spare time, he has volunteered as an advisor to George Mason University's Korean-American Student Association, taught English as a Second Language (ESL) to non-English speaking adults, and currently mentors a student with College Bound, Inc.