Let’s start with the obvious: 2020 was a disappointing year on many fronts. But like the saying goes, with adversity comes opportunity. And with that, we’re really excited to announce two new initiatives at Simantel — our first ever Diversity and Inclusion Committee and our partnership with Illinois Central College (ICC) to create Simantel’s Diverse Minds Scholarship.

Simantel’s Diverse Minds Scholarship at Illinois Community College

Not only are we committed to educating our staff and recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, but our Diversity and Inclusion Committee has also set out to provide opportunities in our community. We’re starting with our newest partnership with ICC to create an endowed scholarship awarded to African-American students pursuing education in a marketing related field.

Our desire to create a more diverse field right here in our own community goes beyond 2020 or 2021. Simantel will continue to financially contribute to the endowment indefinitely. This also includes coordinating special events internally so all employees can help raise money for the scholarship, as well as providing job shadows to future recipients of the scholarship.

For more details, see the announcement below from ICC’s October 2020 newsletter. The scholarship is now open for candidates to apply using ICC Education Foundation’s webpage.

“The ICC Educational Foundation Board of Directors and staff are proud to announce a new endowed scholarship for those students entering programs in art, communication: general and PR, graphic design, mass communication, multimedia, web developer, or web developer essentials. Simantel has proven itself as a leading industrial consumer-marketing firm; now they seek to be a leader of change by influencing equity within their industry. In an effort to increase diversity within their field, Simantel has chosen to establish the Simantel Scholarship at ICC. This scholarship will be awarded to African American students encouraging them to explore career opportunities in marketing. Scholarship recipients will not only receive a monetary award but will be provided opportunities to job shadow and be mentored by the professionals of Simantel.”

-Excerpt from ICC’s October 2020 Newsletter


About Simantel’s New Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Simantel has been around since 1982 and we are a certified diverse supplier ourselves, so seeing the impact of bringing different perspectives together is not new to us. What is new is a formal group made up of passionate employees from every department at Simantel that will create programs to enhance a culture where everyone feels welcomed, valued and free to bring their full selves. At the end of the day, if we embrace different points of view, respect one another in the workplace and recognize that an inclusive environment furthers creativity, innovation and performance, we all win.

Megan Gibbons is a project planner at Simantel who is helping break down barriers in our industry. At 28 years old, she has completed a master’s degree, is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Bradley University, and has now taken on the responsibility of being a co-chair of Simantel’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. In my conversations with her, it is apparent that she brings such a passion for building a stronger culture through inclusivity.

“I grew up in a really diverse high school and didn’t really appreciate that until I got into my undergrad, where homogeneity was everywhere. My alma mater is a great school, and they have great intentions, but as the Student Government VP, I had access and insight to see exactly how they were unintentionally feeding that homogeneity, even while preaching diversity.” said Megan.

From there, Megan became more passionate about diversity efforts and even worked for the City for a short stint on the Innovation Team before joining Simantel. “Co-chairing this committee seems like the perfect opportunity to not just put efforts toward a principle I stand for, but actually guide the efforts in a way that will be more impactful than I’ve seen exemplified before,” Megan added. “And doing it for a company that is truly interested in exploring how we can further the mission only empowers me to make a difference.”

What Can You Do?

Through the muck of 2020 shines a bright spot, especially when it comes to the new opportunities created. We have made progress and are so proud of our committee already, but there is still much more to do. Because when it comes to truly effective diversity and inclusion, the work is never finished. It will take a village. So, what can you do?

  • Spread the word about Simantel’s Diverse Minds Scholarship, so applicants know it’s available to them.
  • Anyone can contribute to Simantel’s Diverse Minds Scholarship. We are inviting our clients, partners and friends to make a donation. Just call 309-674-7747 or email LetsConnect@simantel.com and we’ll put you in contact with our Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
  • Educate yourself and those around you. Consider asking your workplace, school or organization to start a committee as well. Or look for an existing one in your community to join.

And lastly, just be a good steward. If the options in your community feel limited, you can start by modeling behavior for a fully inclusive, diverse environment and get the conversation started. What we do, how we act and the words we say can change people’s lives. We are so proud of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee and their commitment to making a difference.