Welcome to the Catalyst Member Spotlight series. Catalyst prioritizes sharing members’ stories to showcase the breadth of the IABC community, connect communicators across the globe and elevate personal stories to inspire fellow members. If you’d like to nominate yourself or a standout colleague to be featured in a spotlight, email the Catalyst editors at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Meet IABC member Megan Thomas, president of the IABC New South Wales (NSW) chapter! With more than 20 years of experience in the field, Megan is currently a change and communication lead in financial services, and director at Buzz Communications. Here, Megan shares how she loves giving a voice to an organization’s people. Plus, she recommends a few of her favorite career-related podcasts. Read more and connect with Megan on LinkedIn.
What is the most exciting aspect of your role as a communicator?
There is never a dull moment in comms! My career has focused on employee communication, and I’ve worked on everything from CEO communication to transformational change programs, restructures, event management, crisis response and culture change. I love having the strategic insight these positions provide, as well as giving a voice to an organization’s most critical resource — its people.
Tell us about a situation or project that made you feel valued as a communicator.
Throughout my career, really meaningful work has come from dealing with the most challenging of circumstances — reputational damage, leadership transitions, technology meltdowns and the recent pandemic. One that particularly stands out was when I worked with an executive team to balance the harsh necessities of cost cutting with trying to keep employees engaged. The communication approach gave employees transparency, choice and input. I was incredibly pleased it resulted in a 6% increase in staff engagement.
Think back on a time when you, as a communicator, collaborated with another department to bring a project to life. What made this process successful?
The pandemic accelerated the need for all departments to have a cooperative, people-centric approach. It was crucial for me to join the dots between leadership communication (strategic response), the health and safety team (wellbeing, practical instructions, case reporting), property (building occupancy, social distancing and signage), IT (distribution and access to urgent comms through new channels) and others. This required a massive team effort, a coordinated crisis response team and for leaders to empower their people to get things done quickly.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it?
A recurring theme has been “Show up with a growth mindset.” Be resourceful, be creative and think about what you can learn from situations. Say yes to trying new things, even if they are a bit scary.
Tell us about a favorite resource that helps you stay connected and informed in the industry.
Well, I am biased about IABC resources, but I’m also a podcast junky on a wide range of topics. I’d recommend “Nudge — Marketing Science Simplified,” “Work Life with Adam Grant,” HBR, “Think Fast, Talk Smart,” “Uncomfortable Conversations” and many others! Poppulo also has some great communication thought leadership and blogs, including some I contributed.
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IABC Staff, Featuring Megan Thomas