At Commtract, our community of experts are the lifeblood of our business. One initiative we are taking on is featuring more of our experts to showcase their unique talent, ready to be engaged on our marketplace!
We interviewed NZ-based internal communications expert, Amanda Schaake – keep on reading to find out all about her!
1. What are you famous for?
I specialise in internal communications and stakeholder engagement and – with the exception of a few years branching into wider external comms and PR roles in Europe – I’ve been doing it for 19 years now.
2. What interesting skills and experience do you bring to the table as a contractor?
I’ve been told my CV is pretty fascinating but actually it’s probably just too long and that’s what people say when they get tired of reading. But if someone makes it past the first page, they’d see I was the head of communications for Europe’s largest retail financial integration when I worked at Lloyds Banking Group in London. I’ve been head of internal communications for RSA Insurance Group in the UK and an internal communications consultant for over 10 years.
Besides creating and managing communication campaigns and programmes, probably the skill I use the most is crunching through massive amounts of information. Being able to get under the skin of an organisation or a change really quickly is important and that involves meeting or interviewing a lot of people, taking piles of information and just working through it, finding what’s relevant, distilling it and applying what’s needed.
3. What have been your favourite projects/engagements/roles/clients
Fonterra in NZ has been a favourite. I was the communications lead on some really interesting change programmes and working with some hilarious personalities: really smart, fast moving, high performing, take cr@p from no one type of people – those are the people I love working with.
I think when you’ve got a great team and the support to do what you believe is right, you can achieve great things. I won two PRINZ awards for my work at Fonterra and I know it’s because of the incredible people I was working with that I was able to do that.
4. Any wise observations for clients who are considering engaging contractors?
Treat your contractors like new recruits for at least the first day. Grab a coffee together, show them how to access the networks and introduce them to the team. For those outside the decision making process, a consultant or contractor coming in can seem like an invasion or something secretive and that’s not a healthy vibe for a team to work in.
5. And wise words to share with other professionals in contracting?
I think every contractor’s journey is probably unique so I don’t have advice. But what I have learned from contracting is that each organisation is so different and culture is a huge factor in both my ability to work efficiently and my enjoyment of the role. What makes a contract or a company a good fit for me will be different to someone else. So don’t judge a company or a role based on what you hear or someone else’s experience.
6. You have been in the industry for close to 2 decades – what are some of the major changes you went through, and what further changes do you predict?
I’ve seen social media and digital increase massively as a mechanism for connecting with employees and I’ve seen that tail off. My prediction is that social media and digital channels (unless you have budgets of epic proportions) will move into information dissemination and we’ll see the more face to face, human channels resurfacing for emotional and people-based communication. Which is a good thing. The other thing I predict is the rise of corporate pod casting. Corporate pod casting will be quite different to your traditional entertainment podcasts, but it’s definitely coming.
To find out more about our internal communications services, click here.
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