Maeve DuVally | The Innovator 25 North America 2020

Maeve DuVally 

Managing Director, Corporate Communications

Goldman Sachs  
New York

“Now that I have discovered my true, authentic self, I constantly am thinking about how I can use my experience to help others.”

Maeve DuVally, managing director of corporate communications at Goldman Sachs, for the first time brought her authentic self to work last summer, when she came out to colleagues as a transgender woman — after living a double life as a man at work and as a woman in her personal life since coming out to friends and family the year before. “Before I came out, I wasn’t a very happy person. After I came out in the workplace and discerned my true self. I found that I was a lot happier. That had a positive impact on the people around me. It made me more productive. It made people around me more productive.” Since coming out, DuVally has become an advocate and inspiration talking about how organizations can empower employees to bring their whole selves to work, especially those from marginalized groups.

Where is the most urgent need for innovation within the PR/communications industry? 
Closely aligning media relations strategy to social media and marketing.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation compared to other marketing disciplines? About the same as other marketing disciplines

How have the events of 2020 impacted the the industry's innovation? Please elaborate on your response. 
More innovative. Corporations have had to be aggressive and creative to get messages out to stakeholders amid covid. 

Where is the PR industry's greatest opportunity for taking the lead on innovation? Content creation

What is the ideal working scenario for innovation?
As a result of Covid, our industry will move to a hybrid work remotely/in-office collaboration model. Once people adjust to the new reality, flexibility and efficiency will both rise.

Has 2020 changed the way you define/approach innovation? How?
Good storytelling remains key. Choosing the right medium for the story is more important than ever.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen this year?
At Goldman Sachs, we have held a number of ad-hoc virtual conferences to help various stakeholders make sense out of a complex situation.
What is the most important lesson you've learned this year?
I already knew this, but the consequences of making poor business decisions and having those play out in the media are higher than they have ever been.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider innovative.
In the immediate aftermath of realizing I was transgender in 2018, I was able to channel the excitement and creative force into my professional relationships and become both more empathic and effective at work.

Any habit/activity that you have added to your life during Covid-19 that you hope to carry with you when the pandemic subsides? In order to break the isolation of home quarantining earlier this year, I stepped up my phone outreach to family, friends and colleagues, setting a goal of at least five calls a day. I want to continue as it is beneficial to all parties.

How can the PR industry make real progress in diversity, inclusion and equity? What is the biggest roadblock standing in the way? It is imperative that the industry hunt for diverse talent before the interview process begins and be innovative in this search process. That is the only way to get a more diverse talent pool in the door.

What are you thinking about most these days? Now that I have discovered my true, authentic self, I constantly am thinking about how I can use my experience to help others.

Bold prediction for 2021
All the tumult in 2020 will lead to a more harmonious and giving world next year.