In the 20-plus years I’ve worked in journalism, public relations and human resources, I never imagined that one of the most rewarding aspects of my career would be a project whose name sounds a like a cartoon explosion:
Since 2011, I’ve been coordinating Humana’s efforts with KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving play, to build multigenerational playgrounds around the country. This project is a priority for Humana because it ties in with our emphasis on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and helps us promote lifelong well-being.
My primary role is to serve as Humana’s spokesperson for the Kentucky market (our headquarters is in downtown Louisville, Ky.), and I have now figured out ways to integrate KaBOOM! into my daily work routine. There are logistical challenges sometimes, but also real rewards because CSR is multifaceted. With KaBOOM!, I use every part of my professional self, because executing these playground projects involves writing, networking, strategy, people skills, problem-solving – I even get to take pictures sometimes, and as a former photojournalist, that’s one of my favorite things to do.
Day in the Life
8:30 a.m. – Arrive at the office and look through the day’s schedule and latest emails (though I’ve been monitoring incoming messages on my phone since I left the previous day). In particular, I try to stay on top of media requests and any issues related to KaBOOM! or the Kentucky market. Also review the Wall Street Journal and local media outlets like the Louisville Courier-Journal to check for relevant stories.
9:00 a.m. – Attend a conference call with representatives from KaBOOM! to discuss the state of each of the nine ongoing playground projects. Discuss goals, timelines, potential challenges and determine what Humana can provide to help make each playground a reality. Humana will build more than 50 multigenerational and garden-focused playgrounds over a four-year period, from 2011 through 2014.
10:00 a.m. – Meet with Kentucky Market President to discuss targeted messaging to providers in specific Kentucky markets.
11:30 a.m. – Respond to media interview requests and begin following up on plans made during the morning meetings.
12:30 p.m. – Step away from my desk for a short walk along the Ohio River, which is less than a mile from our corporate headquarters. Grab lunch to-go from a nearby restaurant. Return to my desk and after about three bites of lunch, the phone rings. One of my colleagues in the Midwest market has a KaBOOM! question about the procedure for identifying potential community partners. I respond, and as I pick up my fork an urgent email request comes in from a reporter.
Sometimes it takes me 90 minutes to finish my lunch.
2:00 p.m. – Meet with my counterparts in Marketing and Public Affairs (the area that manages Humana’s government relations) to review communications strategies and discuss current and upcoming projects.
3:00 p.m. – Meet with my Humana Project Management colleague to discuss the nuts-and-bolts (literally) of Humana’s contribution to the construction of the KaBOOM! playgrounds and what we need to do to stay on schedule.
4:00 p.m. – Review social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter and Buzz – Humana’s internal discussion forum), looking for references to KaBOOM! or market-related issues.
4:15 p.m. – Review and edit photos from a recent trip to a KaBOOM! site. Send pictures to Humana’s social media team and to external community partners like the Charlotte (NC) Housing Authority and the Parkland Boys and Girls Club of Louisville.
5:00 p.m. – Plan tomorrow, look ahead to what meetings and deadlines are coming up. Send any last-minute emails. Touch base with my Marketing and Public Affairs colleagues for an informal, end-of-day chat to check for any afternoon updates and make sure we’re on the same page heading into tomorrow.
5:30 p.m. – Look forward to a run in Louisville’s Cherokee Park and to spending the rest of the evening with my kids.