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An Open Letter from the Product Development and Management Association

By PDMA Headquarters posted 06-23-2020 15:18


An Open Letter from PDMA

Read time: 1 minute

African American, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and other peoples deal with systemic racism every day of their lives. PDMA is committed to unifying activities that create positive experiences for members and non-members alike, thereby enabling growth and success both individually and collectively.

Today, we live in a world lacking empathy; one dominated by separatist activism and fear mongering.  It is a world that our group does not accept and is actively working to change.

As a profession, product developers and managers are skilled at identifying markets and the spoken and unspoken needs of those markets.  We are in the business of designing products, services and experiences to create empathy between those things and the markets they serve. 

Instead of tearing things down, we can build things up.  Rather than talk about what we at PDMA are going to do, today, we choose to talk about what we’ve already done

In March of this year, 44 years after our founding, the PDMA Board of Directors adopted our first Diversity and Inclusion framework and authorized the creation of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  We recognized that growing things organically is a passive, spectator activity but building something requires active participation on the part of individuals who lend their time, money and talents to make what was once nothing into something; turning words in to action and hopes into dreams.

Recognizing the problem is only the first step.  We are working with our members and other organizations to create an active and inclusive dialogue to identify and implement meaningful change to the way we do business and view the world and impact society on a broader scale.

What can you do?

To join in the conversation, please go to the “Innovators Respond to World Events” section on PDMA’s Knowledge Hub.  We have created a new community in the PDMA Knowledge Hub to discuss how we as product managers and innovation leaders can positively influence the future.

PDMA International Board of Directors

Ernie Harris – Chair
Mark Adkins – Vice-Chair
Susan Penta – Secretary-Treasurer
Gloria Barczak – Director
Karen Dworaczyk – Director
Wayne Fisher – Director
Sudhi Gulur – Director
Michael O’Connor – Director
Suzanne Thompson – Director

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06-24-2020 17:35

Thanks Sue!  I am very proud of the work we're doing in PDMA to make our community inclusive.  As a society, in my opinion, we've spent too long "supporting" things but not enough time "implementing" things.  As the Chair of PDMA, I'm excited to work with the talented men and women within our association and outside as well, to meet the challenges before us head-on.  If anyone has any questions or concerns, or you'd like to volunteer with PDMA, please feel free to contact me directly by emailing me at

06-23-2020 16:09

I've been involved with PDMA for many, many years now.  I'm pleased to see the progress this organization has made.  For quite some time I interacted with mostly Caucasion males with a smattering of caucasion females.  In the last few years, this has changed to include more females and people of color in leadership positions. The attendance at conferences has also shifted and I see a much more diverse audience regarding age, gender, ethnicity.  This open letter from PDMA's board of directors is a significant statement with regards to the intentionality, not passivity, of the organiztion's actions and processes to be inclusive and diverse.  Hats off to PDMA as we move forward in this important way to share innovation to a broader audience, seek and implement opportunities to reach out.  

Please join the discussion, add examples, share your thoughts....