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 Melody Lynch, based in the IABC Saskatoon chapter. With 12 years of experience in the field, Melody is the co-founder and co-president of SymmetryPR and publisher and managing partner at Eagle Feather News.
Here, Melody discusses the Gold Quill Award-winning project that made her feel valued as a communicator, plus she shares her best professional resources and advice for fellow perfectionists. Read more and connect with Melody on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
What is the most exciting aspect of your role as a communicator?
What really makes me tingle with excitement is being in the thick of the action and helping to make stories come to life through press conferences, events, connecting with people and collaborating on stories and campaigns. And then of course the incredible wins we realize when we successfully build trust and relationships that lead to lasting impact.
Tell us about a situation or project that made you feel valued as a communicator.
I’ve rarely felt more valued as a communicator than when my business partner and I worked on a civic election campaign with local candidate Nick Sackville. Not only did he express full trust in our expertise and recommendations throughout his election run, but he worked equally hard alongside us and gave us the creative freedom to deliver a Gold Quill Award of Excellence winning communications and marketing campaign.
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?
To make these collaborations successful, one needs to lay the groundwork, incrementally every day, to build trust. This looks like actions matching words, and showing a genuine interest in and respect for your colleagues.
When you do begin a project with another department, you must first establish clear, shared goals and expectations as well as regular check-ins with these stakeholders to maintain alignment and accountability throughout the process.
A few years ago, I was leading an organization-wide brand rollout. From the outset, my team engaged with the other departments to create a project plan and communication strategy that would engage our people across the organization and equip them to be brand ambassadors. Throughout the process, we held a number of interactive workshops, games and lively presentations at pre-existing employee events to engage our people, build hype and get their buy-in. Gaining buy-in from all department leads from the very beginning and close collaboration to determine our strategies, tactics, channels and messaging for each employee group was key to our success.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it?
Being a perfectionist (I’m reforming — it’s a work in progress!) who tends to agonize over every little detail of my work and did not consider failure as an option, the best advice I’ve received (as cliché as it is) is that you have to fail to grow. If you’re not failing, you’re not taking risks, and you can’t have innovation without risk.
Tell us about a favorite resource that helps you stay connected and informed in the industry.
In terms of a general writing resource, I remain ever faithful to Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” since my university days. In terms of resources to stay connected and informed, I rely on resources through IABC’s The Hub. I also follow a number of industry podcasts, such as Hanson and Hunt, the Talking Points Podcast and the PRovoke Podcast.
Interested in joining the IABC community to collaborate with professionals like Melody? Become a member of our global network today.
IABC Staff, Featuring Melody Lynch