Through our work with hundreds of clients, The Diversity Movement has connected with thousands of fascinating people who are creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces and communities. For this “Ask the Expert” series, we invite leaders to talk about their DEI journey, lessons they’ve learned, and what inspires them every day.
Bob Osmond, President, Racepoint Global (RPG)
Bob Osmond is president of Racepoint Global, an integrated public relations and communications firm that helps shape conversations that matter for tech-forward brands. Bob’s agency career spans nearly three decades. He is a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE®) and is passionate about telling high-impact stories at the intersection of technology and humanity.
Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share the story of how you came to your current role?
I joined Racepoint Global (RPG) in April 2020, days after we began a period of lockdown and collective trauma due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Before joining RPG, I held various leadership and client service positions at several PR agencies, including Access Brand Communications, Ketchum, Cohn & Wolfe, and Upstart Communications (FleishmanHillard).
How are you working to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in your community?
Unfortunately, the communications profession—and especially the agency business—is well known for its lack of diversity. The technology industry isn’t much better. Addressing the representation gap for those historically excluded from these careers and spaces will take time and commitment.
At Racepoint Global, our core values are authenticity, belonging, and compassion. Our core behaviors are insatiable curiosity, a commitment to service (being part of something bigger than ourselves), and having a growth mindset. These values and behaviors are the essence of how we work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. That means we commit to having necessary and messy (I call them “messessary”) conversations as a way to improve things.
While we continue to diversify our workforce, I believe that creating a culture of belonging and psychological safety and committing to equitable employment practices are essential to get there.
Can you describe a personal experience that fuels your passion?
I’m a cisgender, White, middle-aged male. I am systemically privileged. I grew up in rural Nova Scotia, which was not diverse, but I was raised to embrace community, responsibility, and fairness. My eyes opened to the power of diverse perspectives and experiences when I left the nest and traveled the world a bit. In my early career, I worked in the arts and the music business.
What I know to be true—and the data support this—is that diverse perspectives drive innovation.
We see this with our clients, and we promote diversity in tech in tangible ways. For example, we’ve supported Girls Who Code, whose alumni earn computer science and related degrees at seven times the national average. That helps tech companies with their talent pipeline and, without a doubt, will lead to some world-changing new technologies.
Can you tell us about a DEI win that you are proud of? It doesn’t have to be big, just meaningful for you.
After the murder of George Floyd and the attention that brought to systemic racism, I took to the streets of New York and joined in peaceful protest. I’ve done my share of marches but wanted to do more. Through The Diversity Movement, I took the step to become a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE®). I don’t think that makes me an expert in DEI. I believe it sends our team a clear signal that we take DEI seriously. It's on all leaders—not just HR or diversity officers—to make change.
I know we’re meant to celebrate victories where we can find them. I do feel that progress has been slow. If I had to choose a win it would be that our team at RPG tells us that we have created an equitable culture of belonging and inclusion. And that is an essential step toward creating a more diverse workforce.
Character is so important today in our professional and personal lives. Which character trait do you think has been most helpful in your journey? Can you please share a story or example of that trait in action?
It seems odd to say this about myself, but I suppose it’s that I am empathetic. I feel things in a big way—my family and my team tease me because I tend towards tears. When we have our annual all-agency gathering, I need to bake in “cry time” during my keynote address because I get choked up when I see our team together. At work, I’m driven to try to make things better for others and, probably, the flip side of that is that I aim to support (maybe push?) others to work to their potential.
What does inclusive leadership mean to you?
Inclusive leadership is recognizing the privilege of guiding and nurturing people's talents toward a shared goal. It involves admitting mistakes, taking responsibility, and ensuring everyone feels safe enough to push forward and innovate by questioning assumptions. Inclusion should result in safety, and safety should result in growth—in all its forms.
What strategies do you use to maintain your personal well-being and/or professional resilience?
It took me a long time to figure out that taking care of my physical body—diet, exercise, rest, hydration—was essential to being able to show up for others. Today, I encourage people to focus on their wellness, and I try to model that behavior. In addition, whenever I get to see creative talents in different ways—art, music, sports—I’m inspired to improve myself and my craft.
How can people follow you online or connect with you?
I’m always happy to connect with folks on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/rbosmond/
Check out more expert advice in TDM Library, where you’ll find articles, videos, how-to guides, podcasts, and webinars – all organized by topic so you can quickly find the answers you need about the subjects you care about. When you subscribe to TDM Library, you get access to thousands of award-winning DEI learning resources, so you can start improving your workplace culture right away.