Donelley Center invites new Diversity Officer


Political Science Senior Rana Thabata gives a talk to the Donnelley Center staff about the truth about Thankgiving during their meeting on Nov. 13, 2019. Thabata was reelected as Diversity and Inclusion officer this semester. Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Zia Sampson

In an effort to foster an ever-growing discussion of diversity in the workplace, the Donnelley Center has announced a new Diversity and Inclusion officer position, which will begin in the spring semester.

Political science senior Rana Thabata served in the position this fall in an inaugural trial run and was elected into the position officially to begin in the spring.

“Having her repeat that position again and seeing it through for another semester, we can really solidify it as a program so that, when she does graduate, we will have a solid foundation for that position,” assistant director of the center Chelsie Degner said.

The Donnelley Center is a student-run communications and public relations firm that works with non-profits in New Orleans on marketing, design and advertising.

The diversity officer position was created in order to invite larger staff communications about the center’s work culture, as well as broaden the perspectives of those working in the center, Denger said.

“In every aspect of the Donnelley Center, in our office environment, in our work and in our communications with each other, we’re always trying to be aware of diversity,” Degner said.

One of the ways the center is focusing on creating an inclusive environment is through biweekly programs put on by Thabata, Degner said. Those programs will focus on things such as microaggressions, pronoun usage and sexual harrassment trainings.

Another initiative is bringing speakers into the office to speak with the staff about new perspectives, Degner said.

This semester, the office invited Heather Malveaux, university minister for social justice and immersion, to speak.

As diversity officer, Thabata will focus on bringing those initiatives into the marketing and communications the center does with clients.

“She is doing such an amazing job, she is a social justice warrior,” Degner said.

Thabata said she hopes the center can become more representative of the diversity on campus and not seen as exclusively for mass communication students. Thabata said diversity in the staff will create a better work environment in the center.

“A lot of people view the Donelley Center as a bubble in the School of Mass Communication, but we’re open to all majors. I’m not even a Mass Comm major,” Thabata said.