Vanguard, Cisneros Institute Partner to Diversify PR Workforce

March 8, 2017
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Cisneros Scholars with Gilbert Cisneros, BA ’94, (center) who established the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute with his wife Jacki.

To invest in the future workforce and increase diversity in the communications, public relations and marketing fields, Vanguard Communications is introducing Comunicadores for the Future in partnership with Columbian College’s Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute. Launched in conjunction with Vanguard’s 30th anniversary, the program will fund six- to nine-week paid internships with nonprofit organizations in the D.C. metro area beginning in June 2017.

“We are excited about the potential of Comunicadores for the Future because we know internships give students a competitive advantage when applying for jobs,” said GW alumna Maria Rodriguez, president and founder of Vanguard Communications. “With unpaid internships not an option for many students, this investment begins to level the field, attract more diversity to our profession and hopefully create a pipeline of Latino talent that will lead the PR workforce of the future.”

Participants are Cisneros Scholars, academically talented students at GW who have demonstrated leadership and a commitment to serving the Hispanic community. Selected Comunicadores will be paired with D.C. metro area nonprofit organizations that are working on equity issues such as health, education, civil rights and economic justice.

“There has never been a more critical time for our students to engage in issue campaigns advanced by local nonprofits that are directly affecting the Latino community,” said Elizabeth Vaquera, director of the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute. “We are grateful to Vanguard for their vision, financial support and shared commitment to our mission of creating a comprehensive learning experience that includes academics, leadership, community engagement, mentoring and career development.”

As part of the Comunicadores for the Future program, Vanguard staff—led by Noralisa Leo, vice president of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion practice—will provide one-on-one mentorship to each student participant, as well as develop a series of professional development trainings. Collectively, this support will build understanding and skills regarding important issues in PR, strategic communications and leadership development. Housing assistance will also be provided to the selected students.

Vanguard Communications is a Hispanic woman-owned public relations and social marketing firm. Since 1987, Vanguard has worked in the areas of health, wellness, energy, environment, education, international development and diversity and inclusion in order to foster healthy communities and a thriving planet.

Click here to learn more about GW alumna Maria Rodriguez and her support for the Comunicadores for the Future program.