From using their voices to champion and navigate a global social reckoning to launching their careers during an unprecedented pandemic, junior communicators have been put through the ringer with challenges that have molded them into the talented professionals they are today.
As the future of our industry, junior communicators hold a deep understanding of the direction we need to create positive and meaningful change — internally within our organizations and across client work. I now work to inspire courage and confidence in new communicators while informing senior communicators of the value of our perspectives.
My Origin Story
As a woman of color and a visible minority, I have spent my educational and professional career bringing awareness to the value of diverse perspectives. I discovered my passion for inclusion while earning my undergraduate degree in diversity and equity from Ryerson University and also working in the health equity department at William Osler Health System.
When I was later introduced to the field of communications, I realized there was an opportunity to combine my skills of speaking and writing with my passion for driving change. My post-graduate capstone focused on developing and implementing a communications plan for a nonprofit aimed at tackling loneliness and isolation among students. The campaign received exceptional results and proved that my work as a communicator could be put to a good cause.
I volunteered with IABC Toronto to launch its first-ever Student Communicators Circle, a group aimed at creating networking and professional development opportunities for communications students and recent graduates. I also launched Colour Me PR Podcast, where I interview women of color in communications to get their perspectives about the industry, the barriers they have faced and how they’ve overcome them.
At the same time, I began my journey as a diversity fellow at FleishmanHillard Highroad, which provided mentorship opportunities from industry leaders and connections with fellows from across the globe. It was during this time that I became exceptionally inspired by the work of my colleagues and decided to share my perspectives on a global scale.
IABC World Conference 2021
This past June, I had the opportunity to address a global audience to show how much value junior communicators bring to the table. I reached out to junior communicators from across the world who are leading positive change and shared their stories at the IABC World Conference.
These talented communicators have been working hard to change our industry from the inside out, with work including:
- Raising awareness and providing counsel for social justice issues
- Breaking down barriers and smashing stigma around mental health based on intercultural insights
- Establishing and leading unparalleled mentorship programs
- Bridging the gap between traditional information sharing and millennial and Gen Z Canadians
- Proving research on the digitization of internal communication to increase employee work motivation
- Empowering the voices of young people and creating positive impact
The Value of Junior Communicators
The value that junior communicators bring to the table is simply awe-inspiring, yet they are often left as an untapped resource that can completely change an organization for the better. It is critically important for senior and executive-level communicators to understand that they hold the power for immense success when they utilize their junior staff in a meaningful way. Here are my top tips to make this happen:
- Recognize your personal bias: Do not assume that junior communicators don’t know enough. Rather, recognize that their understanding for modern nuances can make or break your strategic plans.
- Ask them what they need: Go right to the source and ask them what they are interested in and where they can support your teams in the best possible way.
- Actively create opportunities for them: As senior staff, you have the capability to open doors for your junior team members in ways that can help them truly excel. Take stock of what your organization is currently doing to support the work and development of junior communicators and create a plan for how you can improve on this.
With these tips and tools in hand, senior communicators hold the capacity to empower their junior staff toward their full potential. By valuing your junior staff, you are showing them a level of trust and support that will in turn benefit your own strategic goals as an organization.
At the virtual IABC World Conference 2021, Farooqi participated in the Quick Hit Showcase, where she shared how game-changing junior communicators are ready to change the world. Revisit the presentation by purchasing World Conference recordings or the All-Access Pass on the IABC website.
Mubashira Farooqi is a highly dedicated communications professional with a background in diversity, equity and inclusion and a passion for purpose-driven work. She is currently an account executive at FleishmanHillard Highroad and the founder and host of Colour Me PR Podcast — aimed at amplifying the voices of exceptional women of color in communications. She is an active member of IABC Toronto and currently sits on the executive board as vice president of volunteer services. A graduate of Ryerson University, Farooqi holds an honours bachelor of arts degree in diversity and equity and a graduate certificate in public relations and corporate communications from Centennial College, where she now sits on the Program Advisory Committee. In 2020, Farooqi also received the IABC/Toronto Student of the Year award.