Communications Professionals with a Passion for Social Innovation

July 20, 2016

by Randi Tanguay

The definition of social innovation speaks to the development of new strategies, concepts, ideas and organizations that meet a social need. As communications professionals and passionate believers in the need for social innovation and inclusion, FleishmanHillard’s Boston team members – Randi Tanguay, Seth Bloom, and Jordan Lerner – established a growing relationship with Boston-based organization Social Innovation Forum (SIF) to do just that. SIF combines capacity and network-building to create positive social change in greater Boston. The organization connects supporters (funders, investors and volunteers) and practitioners (nonprofit and social business leaders) to build productive relationships focused on growing social impact. So, where does FleishmanHillard fit in the equation?

Our team is constantly looking for opportunities to positively impact our community, as seen through our pro bono account programs with Big Sister of Greater Boston and Food For Free’s Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program. Leveraging a personal connection, we were introduced to SIF in late 2015, and more recently completed a “Communication/PR 101” workshop for current and past ‘social innovators’ associated with SIF. After soliciting feedback from the social innovators via a short survey on their most pressing communications challenges, we tailored a presentation that would be meaningful and relevant to the group. The workshop allowed us to demonstrate our expertise, while focusing on productive discussion and tools, tips and tricks that the 25+ attendees could apply to their respective organizations.

Post-workshop, our team left feeling energized, enthusiastic and even more passionate about our work and ability to help create positive change. We made great connections with the innovators, as well as the SIF staff, and plan to reprise our roles and develop a second workshop later this year. We’ll also extend our services to include a more formal evaluation and revitalization of the organization’s external messaging.

In addition to the workshop, our team graciously accepted the offer to attend the 13th Annual Social Innovator Showcase at the beautiful MIT Media Lab in Cambridge. The showcase, modeled after a venture capital forum, highlighted the eight 2016 Social Innovators for potential investors, and sparked conversations about the best approaches to develop and spread innovation.

Impactful (and emotional) stories were delivered – like that of Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association Executive Director, Sovanna Pouv, who spoke of his journey from Cambodian refugee camps to the U.S., and Chaplain Tina Chéry who bravely spoke about her son’s death and her role in developing the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute to help families that are impacted by homicide and trauma both emotionally and financially.

Hearing these and other stories brought a wave of emotions, but more importantly, one of inspiration and responsibility to help local Boston innovators be heard and share their stories. It is our hope that our office remains inextricably linked to SIF and by extension our community – positively creating the change our city so desperately needs.

In the spirit of FleishmanHillard’s 70th anniversary and the theme of social inclusion, we urge you to get involved and share your time/talents with your community!