In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
How have you benefited from being an IABC St. Louis member?
The monthly lunch meetings are great learning opportunities for me as well as my team members. Also, the CW magazine contains good information I can use to do my job better and I appreciate the online resources IABC offers.
Why did you to enter the communications profession?
I liked to write growing up and did a lot of public speaking through 4-H and church from the age of nine until I left for college. As a double major in mass communications/TV-radio and journalism, I thought I would end up in radio but fell in love with television news. I was hired at KTVI during my TV-radio internship and worked my way up to news producer. After a few years, I accepted a producing position at KMOV, where I ate, breathed and slept television news for nearly two decades until I was recruited by a national charity here in St. Louis to become its director of communications. In 2010, I was hired by BSD as the external communications manager and then promoted to director of communications in 2013.
How would you describe your role at BSD?
I am the spokesperson for the organization so a good portion of time is spent talking to the media. I am on call 24/7. I am responsible for leading internal, external, social media and community outreach communications. I am very lucky to work with a president and CEO who has excellent media skills and that makes my job so much easier! Dianne Williams, our VP of marketing & communications, is a great leader and I have a talented communications team at BSD. Together, we work very hard to make sure our messaging is accurate and consistent. We do whatever it takes to get the job done, and done well. We provide communications support for the BSD enterprises.
What do you like – or find most challenging – about your job?
I love my job. I am passionate about it. I never know if that next call or email will come from the Travel Channel or from a local reporter or a TV reporter in Minneapolis or from a Metro passenger or from a BSD executive. It’s very exciting and similar to television news in that things literally change from minute to minute, and like TV news, you have to be very flexible and good at juggling multiple tasks on tight deadlines.
I enjoy the variety and love telling people about all of the things we do for the region. They are always surprised to find out that in addition to operating Metro public transit for the region, we own and operate the third busiest airport in Illinois, and if you go up in the Gateway Arch, you are buying your ticket from a BSD enterprise. We are involved in several important projects right now like the Regional Freight District.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in communications?
Social media skills and experience are essential for a career in communications or public relations. Never stop learning about what new communications tools are out there.