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Corey DuBrowa came to Google after a brief detour to Salesforce, taking the top comms role at the tech behemoth in 2018. His leap into the technology sector follows a seven-year stint at Starbucks that saw him work closely with Howard Schultz to develop a uniquely progressive brand reputation. He also built a strong corporate culture under Schultz — an experience he can, perhaps, now draw upon for Google.
Heading up comms for Google during the pandemic wasn’t an easy task and he says he couldn’t have imagined the quality of work a comms team could continue to produce from home. He told Provoke Media: ‘Technology helped us bridge the enforced distance from our internal and external stakeholders and forced us to reimagine the way we build culture, within our team and for Google overall.’
DuBrowa has earned multiple industry awards over the past 20 years, including the Individual Achievement Award at the 2020 Innovation SABRE Awards — North America, plus four SABRE Awards, two PRWeek Global awards, three PRSA Silver Anvils, and the University of Oregon Alumni Association’s Jeanne Johnson Service Award. He is currently on the Arthur W. Page Society's Board of Trustees, and serves on the USC Annenberg School's Board of Advisors. He began his comms career in internal comms and sees huge opportunities for the industry to invest in this discipline and raise the profile of internal work. And, lest we forget, he was also a music journalist for two decades, with more than a thousand bylines in publications ranging from Rolling Stone to No Depression to GQ.
Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
At Starbucks, seeing the introduction of our Starbucks College Achievement plan and being able to link it directly to improved unit level business performance.
What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Biggest challenge: maintaining relevance and excitement for a new generation even as we all continue to navigate the Covid reality. Biggest opportunity: drive even more rigor and discipline in measuring the business impact of our work (vs. simply “results” or activity).
What have you most admired about this industry over the past year?
Our resilience as a collective.
What has most disappointed you about this industry over the past year?
Lack of progress on diversity, equity and inclusion.
How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?I'm a runner, a guitar player, and we now have a ranch in Central Oregon with somewhere north of 75+ alpaca on it at any given point in the year. All of these things are useful (and require the kind of focus that “switching off” entails).
Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
TV shows: Stranger Things and Euphoria. Book: The Man Who Broke Capitalism by David Gelles. Podcasts: Pop Culture Mondays... on Thursdays, and That Record Got Me High.
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Doing board service.
Sum up 2022 in one word.
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