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Commemorating the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 21, 2021

Claire Boussagol, former president of APCO’s Europe region, co-authored this post.

The UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination observed worldwide is Sunday, March 19. As we consider the year behind us, and all that it entailed, Claire Boussagol, president of APCO’s Europe region and Kelly Williamson, president of APCO’s North America region share their thoughts on the events of the past year, and how APCO is working to ensure an inclusive and accessible work environment for all its employees.

From Claire

As a company dedicated to ensuring diversity and inclusivity across its workforce, we’re continuing our commitment to make APCO accessible to all. For example, in Europe, as of October last year, we’re now using a STAR-based interview process, where each candidate applying for the same position is asked one set of questions. This is designed to give all entrants an equal opportunity to showcase their experience, and remove potential bias from the selection process. To ensure candidates’ total anonymity, they were each assigned a number and so all personal information, such as background, remained unknown. Due to the pilot’s success, we’re incredibly excited to have announced the roll-out of this hiring process for all our entry-level roles, to begin in June.

We also take the education of our staff on this extremely seriously, which is why we’re running training and advocacy sessions for all our colleagues. These focus on topics such as anti-racism and intersectionality, along with the LGBTQI community and transgender inclusivity. Alongside these initiatives, we’ve launched online – and will soon be launching in-person – unconscious bias training sessions, which seek to help colleagues understand their own biases, and will focus on understanding micro aggressions and fostering an inclusive leadership team.

From Kelly

There has been a surge of anti-racist activism occurring alongside racially motivated violence and rhetoric. This year’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination comes just days after a horrific shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, that ended in the death of eight people. We cannot look away from these murders and we must support each other.  In my role at APCO I am committed to supporting our employees and helping us evolve as an organization to advance racial equity beyond our four walls. Real change doesn’t happen through wishful thinking or just a few hard conversations – real change is the product of evaluating and modifying our policies and systems . There are an array of roles to play in the solutions to counteract racial discrimination. I remain in awe of the team that’s come together within APCO to drive a strategic shift in how we operate and advocate for racial equity—and am inspired by our clients and other partners who join us in this journey.  We must learn from these tragic crimes and accelerate what’s right.

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