Hundreds have played Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders around the world – and we like to check in with people. Last week, Stephen spoke by video with Rhonda Sciarra, current IABC New Jersey president and an associate director of global external communications at a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey.
Stephen: Hi Rhonda, thanks for agreeing to chat. Before we start, please tell me about your leadership and involvement in IABC.
Rhonda: Thanks. In my nearly 20 years of experience as a communicator, I have found IABC to be a valuable community locally and globally. I appreciate how IABC aligns business communications with organizational goals – and then measuring outcomes. I have worked both in internal and external communications and find IABC to be relevant and contemporary – it is also an organization when you give a little, the returns are immense.
Stephen: Your IABC New Jersey Board helped organize, and you attended, a Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders workshop in New Jersey last summer. What was it like?
Rhonda: When we look for professional development ideas, any experience that is engaging from the start and promotes learning while doing is ideal. Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders did just this. The exercise and workshop promoted some great discussions. By immersing ourselves in the simulated world of Carmen Spinoza and her colleagues, we were able to have detailed discussions and hear from different perspectives. Because we came from different disciplines, not everyone had the same view.
Stephen: What three words would you use to describe the event?
Rhonda: Dynamic, fun, thought-provoking.
Stephen: Tell me about the last. How has the event changed your perspective?
Rhonda: The event reinforced how we should think about leadership in a different way. As communications professionals, we have the chance to think about the big picture and take care to reflect the business strategy in our conversations with teams we work with. That wider perspective and focus on outcomes, versus just outputs, allows us to act more as strategic advisers.
Stephen: We’re in the process of developing an on-line version of the workshop. What do you think is the main thing to keep in mind as we do?
Rhonda: Try to find a way to have some levity and get people active beyond just sitting at a screen. As I mentioned, ‘fun’ is one of the key words for the workshop that I experienced in person, so be sure to keep that when moving the simulation to this new virtual world we are in.
Stephen: That’s a great point. Thank you. In the meantime, tell us about Rhonda outside work? What do you do when you are not working?
Rhonda: Well, I live outside New York City and am really appreciating my Peloton, while trying and get out running when I can – mask on and physically distancing. My puggle is entertaining, and I am keeping in contact with family and friends back in St. Louis and Kansas City.
Stephen: Great, thanks for your time – hope to see you in person sometime soon.
Rhonda: Me too! Take care.
If you want to get to know Rhonda (we recommend it!) follow her on Twitter @Rhonda_Lea or connect with her on LinkedIn