LONDON — BME PR Pros, the organisation that promotes ethnic diversity in PR and communications, has partnered with Google to create the first leadership scheme for UK-based Black, Asian, mixed race and ethnic minority PR and communications professionals.

The Xec. aims to create the next generation of diverse leaders and to increase boardroom diversity – client and agency-side – through a 10-month practical course.

The programme, developed by BME PR Pros in consultation with the advisory board of The Blueprint diversity mark, will be delivered by creatives, communications directors and agency owners from partners including Google UK, the Guardian, Twitter, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and PRovoke Media.

Agencies that have already achieved The Blueprint or Blueprint Ally status, including Ketchum, Blurred and Manifest, are also supporting the initiative, as are Fanclub PR and Diffusion PR.

There are eight places on the first year of the course, with 14 training days, 14 masterclasses and 10 ‘My Career’ sessions. Course participants will be allocated a BME PR Pros mentor for six months, and will have the opportunity to host a podcast series. They will also be given £5,000 to create a group campaign.

The Xec. runs from September 2021 to June 2022 and is worth 55 CIPR CPD points. As part of the partnership with the CIPR, participants will be invited to judge a CIPR award and will be given complimentary CIPR membership.

Elizabeth Bananuka, the founder and CEO of BME PR Pros and Blueprinted, which runs The Blueprint DE&I mark, said: “BME PR Pros and The Blueprint diversity mark have always been about rooting for talented Black, Asian, mixed race and ethnic minority PR and comms pros to get the careers they deserve. The Xec., kindly supported by Google UK and delivered in partnership with PRovoke Media and the CIPR, is an attempt to smash that thick glass ceiling and create greater diversity at leadership level.

“From running a business to securing new business, nurturing young talent to navigating a business through crisis, through podcasting, leading an industry event and judging an industry award, it aims to provide course participants with the practical knowledge and skills needed to be great comms leaders.

“It is an exceptional course delivered by an incredible array of industry talent all committed to tackling diversity. I believe The Xec. can have a genuine, positive impact on talented BME PR and comms pros and I hope it helps to create tomorrow’s great leaders.”

As part of the course, participants will take part in a day with Google, whose VP, EMEA communications and public affairs Tim Chatwin said: “I'm excited to be supporting The Xec and helping provide practical support and mentorship to the next generation of BME communications leaders.”

Participants will also curate and present a PRovoke Media event, to be broadcast in June 2022. CEO and editor-in-chief Arun Sudhaman said: “Unfortunately, diversity levels among the PR and communications industry’s senior ranks have rarely been afforded the attention they deserve.

“At PRovoke, we believe that change is urgently required, so we are eager to support The Xec. scheme in conjunction with a wonderful range of industry partners. Only through initiatives like these, focused on concrete action rather than talk, can we truly create a more representative industry.”

The Xec. leadership scheme – which is free for participants – runs from September 2021 to June 2022. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 21 April. For terms and to request an application pack go to bmeprpros.co.uk/the-xec.