Member Spotlight – Lysa Rigo

On a continuous basis, IABC Nashville spotlights its diverse members through a Q&A feature. We are pleased to showcase Lysa Rigo, Director, HR & Creative Services at Ingram Barge Company. Lysa and her team recently won their first Music City Gold Pen Award of Excellence for Internal Communications.

Lysa RigoIABC: What is your background? How did you get started in this business?

Rigo: After earning a master’s degree in English at Northern Illinois University, I taught Composition and Business Writing (that’s where I found my passion) for five years. Following that, I gained experience as a technical writer for a mathematical and engineering software firm, and used some of those years to start a small business writing for other businesses who couldn’t afford a writer on staff.

In the mid-1990s, my family moved to Brazil, so I used the opportunity to teach English as a foreign language. When we returned to the States in 2000, I found a job teaching English to students who came to the US solely to improve their English. That enriching experience gained me friends from all over the world, and that’s where I was on 9/11, helping a large group of frightened foreigners try to make sense of something none of us could wrap our minds around.

In the mid-2000s, we moved to Tennessee for my husband’s job. A series of situations led me into a career in human resources where I had to quickly learn how to hire, fire, do payroll and worker’s comp in a plant that was scheduled to shut its doors in nine months. On the last day, I stood alone with the plant manager in an empty building and was faced with the decision of accepting the HR job I was offered or the Communications Specialist role? Communications tugged at my heart, and here I am today.

IABC: What is your current position and business affiliation? How long have you been in this role?

Rigo: I came to Ingram Barge Company 10 years ago to build a Communications department. Today, I am Director, HR & Creative Services. My team does all Corporate Communications and all things creative: web, social, magazines, photos, videos, and many random projects.

IABC: What makes your business/organization stand out?

Rigo: Barging is a silent industry so it doesn’t necessarily stand out, but Ingram does all things with excellence so we’re looked to as the standard on the inland river system; we’re the ones to imitate, the company to work for.

IABC: If you could describe yourself in three (3) words, what would they be?

Rigo: Empathetic, resilient, and instinctive

IABC: Tell something about yourself people would be surprised to learn.

Rigo: Probably not surprising, but I became fluent in Portuguese while living in Brazil.

IABC: What lesson(s) have you learned along the way that you believe has made you a better communications professional? What makes an effective communications leader?

Rigo:

  • What I’ve been working on the past year is that it’s OK not to be perfect; none of us are. Details are critical in communications, but it’s so important to let go and let the message shine more loudly than the form.
  • When there are mistakes, don’t beat yourself up over them. Fix them, if needed, and walk proudly forward. So what if the whole organization sees your daily work? Most people will give you grace, so don’t listen to the few who find joy in the “got-yas.”
  • You need to learn from the younger professionals in the field. They may not know all there is in the politics, strategy or big picture, but they know what they want to hear so they will have good ideas for connecting with others like them.

IABC: What do you feel is the greatest benefit of IABC? What prompted you to join IABC?

Rigo: After developing our Creative Services department, I spent a seven-year hiatus with a focus more on HR than communications, A few years ago, I got a new boss and a reshuffling of duties, and Creative Services became my major focus again. I needed to connect with communications professionals, and Google led me to IABC. I walked into my first meeting and knew I was in the right place. These people get me, and I get them. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

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Member Spotlight – Paul Lindsley

On a continuous basis, IABC Nashville spotlights its diverse members through a Q&A feature. We are pleased to showcase Paul Lindsley, ABC, director of public relations at Phase 3 Marketing and Communications in Nashville. Paul currently serves as a vice president-at-large for IABC Nashville and serves on the IABC’s Southern Regional Board of Directors as their vice president of chapter relations.

Paul Lindsley head shotIABC: What is your background?

LINDSLEY: After earning a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, I began my career in TV news working as a photographer, reporter, producer and assignment manager at WAAY TV in Huntsville, Ala., and then assignment manager at Fox 13 in Memphis, Tenn.. After more than eight years in TV news, I decided to transition to public relations.

I started my PR career at Opryland Hotels/Gaylord Entertainment as their senior manager of communications promoting the Nashville property, as well as pre-opening PR efforts for Gaylord Hotels in Florida, Texas and Washington D.C. I then went on to Saint Thomas Hospital where I served as the director of communications for 10 years. In September 2011, I began working at HealthStream in Nashville as their communications manager, but after 14 months, I was recruited by Sullivan Branding to start a PR division in their Nashville agency office.

I received my Master of Arts in Corporate Communication from Austin Peay State University and have been an Adjunct Professor for Austin Peay State University since 2009.

IABC: What is your current position and business affiliation? How long have your been in this role?

LINDSLEY: Prior to being named director of public relations at Phase 3 Marketing & Communications in Nashville, I served as vice president of public relations at Sullivan Branding, a full service communications, branding, marketing and public relations agency in Nashville and Memphis for nearly three years. In September 2015, Phase 3 acquired Sullivan Branding Nashville.

IABC: What makes your business/organization stand out?

LINDSLEY: With offices in Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Dallas, and Nashville, Phase 3 Marketing & Communications is a leading provider of marketing services and solutions from IDEATION to EXECUTION to corporations throughout the United States. Instead of companies having multiple vendors for marketing, PR, social media, website development, branding and printing, we provide all of those services representing brands with integrated marketing solutions.

IABC:  If you could describe yourself in three (3) words, what would it be?

LINDSLEY:  Storyteller, Promoter, Experienced

IABC:  Tell something about yourself people would be surprised to learn.

LINDSLEY:  As a reporter in Huntsville, Ala., I had the opportunity to interview the commander of the Space Shuttle Columbia while he was in space.

IABC:  What lesson(s) have you learned along the way that you believe has made you a better communications professional?

  • You don’t know everything, you never will.
  • Be a good listener, it’s essential to getting the whole picture.
  • While I was at Opryland Hotel, we had a service promise mantra which I still use today. When I reply to client’s requests, I state, “Consider it done.” There’s nothing more impactful than keeping a promise.
  • Be kind, always.

IABC:  What makes an effective communications leader?

LINDSLEY:  Someone who listens, helps determine messages and audiences. Leaders promote, protect and publicize other’s good works.

IABC:  What do you feel is the greatest benefit of IABC?

LINDSLEY:  There are many benefits, networking on an international level, education, learning from other’s good efforts, tools to advance your career and a professional standard to live by.

IABC:  What prompted you to join IABC?

LINDSLEY:  In every PR job I have ever had I have been responsible for internal, external, PR, media relations, community relations, reputation management and crisis communication. No other professional organization meets all of my needs as a communications professional. IABC members are often a one-man-band, and the variety of development and leadership opportunities across the communications career field are critical to success.

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Member Spotlight Meet Paul Ladd

Paul-LaddOn a continuous basis, IABC Nashville spotlights one of its diverse members through a Q&A feature. We are pleased to showcase Paul Ladd, senior correspondent for World Christian Broadcasting. Ladd has been an IABC member for 10 years, is a former president of the Nashville Chapter and currently serves on the IABC Southern Region board of directors.

IABC: What is your background? LADD: My hometown is West Chester, PA. I am a graduate of Lenoir Community College in NC and Middle Tennessee State University. My experience has included broadcast and print journalism, advertising and a stint as Communications Director for the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

IABC: How did you get started in this business? LADD: In the 7th grade, I wrote for the school newspaper. My first story was about fire drills and bomb threats. I started in broadcast news at LCC’s student-run station.

IABC: What is your current position and business affiliation? How long have your been in this role? LADD: Senior Correspondent for World Christian Broadcasting. I’ve been with WCB for 9 years.

IABC: What makes your business/organization stand out? LADD: We care about our audience and take the time to make sure we’re providing quality programming.

IABC: If you could describe yourself in three (3) words, what would it be? LADD: Intense. Inquisitive. Loyal.

IABC: Tell something about yourself people would be surprised to learn. LADD: I have gone to Pilates for 14 years.

IABC: What lesson(s) have you learned along the way that you believe has made you a better communications professional?
LADD: 1) My Dad often told me the three rules for a good presentation are “get up, speak up, and shut up.” 2) Jan Stinson, with whom I worked at Armour&Armour Advertising, showed me that it’s possible to keep it short and simple and still be creative. 3) Connie Eckard, an IABC Fellow, said that if you don’t think about who you’re writing for, you’re wasting your time because you won’t be communicating. He also said that we should always be students; in other words, continually learning. 4) Phil Bell, who was a TV news producer at the station where I interned. He told me to read my copy and ask myself if people really talk like that. If the answer is no, it still needs work.

IABC: What makes an effective communications leader? LADD: The ability to be clear and concise. Avoid jargon and babble. As I tell people, “Make it so simple even I can understand it, and you’ll be OK.”

IABC: What do you feel is the greatest benefit of IABC? LADD: Professional development is the greatest. Networking opportunities and the friendships are close behind.

IABC: What prompted you to join IABC? LADD: A non-member friend emailed me about a luncheon and suggested I check it out. I did and met Marty Nord, who introduced me to many of the members and recruited me for a committee. Almost instantly, I felt right at home and the rest is history.

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