IABC’s Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) are a place for members to connect with their global community and develop interests within a specific subject area. The IABC Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) SIG is the latest addition to this community, with the goal of authentically applying these practices to make the greatest impact in the workplace and the world.
SIG leaders Jill Vitiello and Anuja Kale-Agarwal are passionate about DEIB and look forward to facilitating a group of communication professionals who are eager to make positive, lasting change in their organizations. Learn more about this SIG and find out how you can get involved below.
IABC is thrilled to launch SIGs to allow our global community to connect about the topics that interest them most. What inspired you to become a SIG leader?
Jill Vitiello (JV): Two things inspired me — opportunity and passion. I’ve been an IABC member for my entire career. SIGs provide a fabulous opportunity for our entire global community of professional communicators to connect around a topic we want to explore together. SIGs are not bound by geography or ability to travel. All IABC members, regardless of location or seniority, can participate. I believe that business leaders can lead the change we want to see in the workplace and in the world, beginning with robust DEIB programs and inclusive corporate cultures.
Anuja Kale-Agarwal (AKA): I couldn’t agree more with Jill. Becoming part of IABC and as chair of the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, I have had so many opportunities to learn more, explore my own leadership potential and effectively use my voice as a subject matter expert. It has also meant an exponential growth in my network with the ability to confer and discuss with other communication professionals all over the world. As Jill says, it is a world of communication without borders. A SIG helps us crystallize our areas of interest and get together with a group that shares common interests, goals and fulfills a hunger to bring good change.
Based on your professional background, what expertise will you bring to your specific focus area as its leader?
JV: I am thrilled to co-lead the DEIB SIG with Anuja. From my perspective, I bring decades of experience as a woman entrepreneur leading a team of outstanding communication professionals. Together we support numerous DEIB programs at our client companies and within our own organization. Personally, I am passionate about allyship, which I believe is the key to making DEIB change stick.
AKA: It’s great to have the opportunity to partner with Jill on this SIG, as co-leads. For me, it would have to be my global experience. I’ve lived and worked in Asia, Europe, the United States and now Canada. Wherever you are located in the world, the need for more work in the area of DEI, and more specifically in helping create a strong culture of inclusion and belonging, couldn’t be more acute. I’ve led many DEI initiatives in my professional roles at GE, Deutsche Bank and am active at PwC as well. I also currently serve as the chair of the IABC DEI Task Force and see this as an opportunity, a culmination of varied experiences, to collectively talk and raise awareness about issues that are important and need to be addressed.
Why is it important for communication professionals to join a SIG? How can the takeaways from these discussions enhance their day-to-day career?
JV: Joining a SIG gives communication professionals immediate access to a global frame of reference. Learning from our colleagues around the world expands our thinking and gives us the resources and skills we need to be effective in promoting DEIB within our own organizations. IABC is unique in the breadth of its scope and its knowledgeable members, who truly understand that employee experience impacts business success.
My IABC colleagues have been a source of inspiration, learning and enjoyment of our chosen work. Our DEIB SIG will give participants the opportunity to grow in their expertise, share their best practices and deepest concerns, and uplift one another in our efforts to engage employees in DEIB culture change.
AKA: To add to what Jill has said, it’s very easy to get sucked into your day-to-day deliverables and not get a chance to talk to people outside the sphere of your immediate work. COVID-19 and work from home further exacerbated this and have made us even more insular. Being part of an association like IABC and a SIG gives you a chance to find and use your voice to bring change — outside your organization, working alongside other communication professionals, learning best practices and implementing change on a bigger scale.
What is one goal you hope to achieve through the discussions and collaboration with your SIG?
JV: Our intention is to work with the DEIB SIG participants to articulate their goals for participation and formulate a plan to achieve them. We will decide collaboratively where to concentrate our energy and how best to support each other’s growth.
AKA: I am looking forward to co-leading this forum in the hope that it will help us connect and collaborate with other communication professionals to collectively discuss DEI issues across different organizations. It is a chance to identify the biggest roadblocks and work on them as a group. We will come up with ideas or solutions so that it is a fulfilling forum for everyone involved. People will only sign up and stay engaged if they get something meaningful from the group. I’d like to play my part in keeping the discussions in the group challenging and the experience rewarding.
Get involved! Keep up with the IABC DEIB SIG by bookmarking this page on the IABC website.
Jill Vitiello and Anuja Kale-Agarwal
Anuja Kale-Agarwal is an accomplished global communications professional, with extensive experience in the insurance, banking, financial and professional services industry in Asia, U.S. and Canada. She is the National Communications Director at PwC Canada and her prior work experience includes communication leadership roles at Deutsche Bank, GE, Aviva and Veritas. Anuja works closely with senior business leaders and key stakeholders to deliver measurable results and effective change and culture building programs.
Anuja is actively engaged in CSR and DEI initiatives, and has served on several Diversity and Inclusion Councils. She is currently serving as the Chair of the IABC Global DEI Committee. She coaches and mentors graduate students and young executives on building their personal brand and executive presence. She is also a guest speaker and writer on topics such as leadership communication and engagement.
Jill Vitiello is partner & executive vice president of Forty1, a division of The Creative Engagement Group, headquartered in London. Previously, Jill was founder and chief executive officer of Vitiello Communications Group, an employee engagement consultancy, based in the United States. Jill has been an active member of IABC her entire career, most recently serving as director of the International Executive Board of IABC. Jill is passionate about the power of communication to create inclusive workplace cultures.