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After five years as Home Depot’s chief communications officer, Stacey Tank returned to Heineken earlier this year as chief corporate affairs and transformation officer. In addition to oversight of public affairs, sustainable development and global communications, Tank’s position also involves support for the brewing giant’s strategic transformation, reflecting the experience she has accumulated across culture and innovation.
Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
Years ago, I remember our PR agency (Edelman) came up with the idea for Dos de Mayo to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Dos Equis. It was a creative and commercial idea that would have typically originated from our marketing or ad firm. It was incredibly energizing for the PR team to be reminded that great ideas can originate from anywhere and if your idea is deemed best, all the other agencies will line up to execute for success. The sales and brand lift impact was palpable and beyond that, the momentum it generated among the cross-functional team paid many dividends thereafter.
What are the comms industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Humans have been through the wringer in 2020. Leaders need to continue to stay close to their employees to ensure they're getting what they need to thrive. That means creative, innovative, transparent and frequent employee engagement will continue to occupy a dominant position on the C-suite agenda. Externally, comms leaders need to continue to ensure that they have an objective view of how their organization is perceived plus a set of values (as a north star) that make it clear when it's the right moment to speak up externally.
What have you most admired about this industry in 2020?
I believe Warren Buffett said, “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” The stars in our industry really shone this year because they were ready to lead their organizations through this terrible storm. Those who had been calling for high-touch leader communication, had experimented with digital platforms to democratize engagement, had crystallized a clear organizational purpose and values – they were well positioned to navigate the uncharted waters.
What has most disappointed you about this industry in 2020?
We can all do more when it comes to diversity and inclusion. I was impressed by the work that Page led on this topic. We need to keep the energy high and ensure we move the needle in 2021 and beyond.
How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness in lockdown?
I've always found a way to do some type of exercise every day and made sure I stuck to that habit during lock-down with a little extra meditation thrown in. My family also worked our way down our list of things we'd always wanted to do, like re-watch all the Harry Potter movies together or learn to make homemade ice cream. Finding the silver linings was key.
Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
I'm just finishing the book The Hate U Give, which a friend recommended after the George Floyd murder. I've found the lock-downs a good time to get more deeply educated about topics I care about and fortify plans to pay things forward.
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
I loved my time running a P&L and am thankful that my current role is a hybrid. My passion for both the art and science of business made P&L leadership a perfect match.
Sum up 2020 in one word.
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