Q: Tell us about your background in DE&I and communications. How have you melded the two to create impactful work?
A: Although I’ve always embedded DE&I in the work I do, I would say that my work in DE&I and communications really collided during my time with the Natick Public Schools when I served as the director of communications. In that role, I participated in the inaugural cohort for a fellowship through the state focused on developing equitable leaders in school districts. I think the biggest takeaway for me as a communications practitioner, especially as I sharpened my DE&I lens, is realizing that it’s not enough to write for a general audience. I had to learn to understand my audiences, and help meet needs that they might not realize they had or couldn’t vocalize.
Q: Is there are project or initiative that you are particularly proud of?
A: When COVID struck, our school district was one of the first districts hit with cases and also one of the first to make the decision to close. I sat in the situation room meetings analyzing the impacts of closure, and how it would affect kids and families. Our biggest challenge was figuring out how to feed kids when we couldn’t let them in the building and also couldn’t get too close, safely (keeping in mind this was during the start of the pandemic when we had no clue about infection transmission.) School meals are all too often the only meal some kids get each day, so cutting it off without a plan means kids will go hungry. Through some strong relationships and experience, we were able to safely get food to kids by creating a mobile meal pickup at the high school and made people aware through robust communications (email, phone calls, and a HUGE variable message sign.)
Q: This is PRSA’s 75th anniversary and Boston’s theme is Communication Evolution. What changes/growth have you seen in the industry?
A: I’ve seen the industry evolve tremendously since I decided this was going to be my career path. We’re now seeing communications leaders play more central roles in all parts of messaging, not solely liaising with the press. Many of us lead the charge during crisis, helping establish a strong, consistent message in dire times for organizations. And even most importantly, our roles are valued as the way society interacts has become increasingly connected through digital and social media. This is the future we’ve always known was coming.
Q: What’s on your playlist and what have you binged watched lately?
A: My play list is full of Encanto songs that I sing with my 2-year-old, and I just finished binging ‘Proof” a true crime podcast.