latest news and notes from dovetail


making community investment a year-round focus

By Rachell Buell, Client Services

As we dive head-first into the holiday season, it is common to see an outpouring of generosity, volunteering and support from individuals and organizations within the community. This time of year is also known as the season of giving – a time to help those less fortunate than ourselves as a sign of good will toward men (and women). A study by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative shows that more than half of surveyed charities reported receiving between 25 to 50 percent or more of their annual contributions in the last three months of the year. But what if there was a way to impact our communities at times other than just this season? What if there was a way to positively affect our communities in ways besides those of monetary donations? There is.

Community nonprofits and charities are year-round operations that must rely heavily on a 3-month chunk of time that inspires volunteers and supporters to get involved. But on January 1, there are still bellies needing food, people needing healthcare and animals needing rescue. If collectively as a community, we made a conscious effort to support these causes and the organizations that address them throughout the year, what kind of changes would we see on their impact within their realms of influence as well as the state of our own communities? I would argue this change would be tremendous and noticeable. So, how can you or your business embrace the spirit of giving throughout the year? Here are a few tips to make it happen.

  1. Identify Your Passion
    Of course, we all can agree that children, the homeless and veterans need our support. Still, the most impactful community investment comes from a deep and personal connection to the organization or group it serves. What the passion element adds to your community investment efforts is a natural motivation to participate, which will boost your involvement and therefore have a greater impact on the organization. If everyone were to support the organizations that speak to their passions, just imagine the powerful influence that would materialize on the community.  
  2. Give What You Have 
    Not everyone has wads of discretionary cash lying around to donate generously to the organizations they wish to support. Does this mean that you can’t help in a meaningful way? Absolutely not. Charitable community organizations are in constant need of volunteers and non-monetary donations to support their efforts. In fact, by giving of non-monetary support (pro bono professional services, volunteering or unused item donation), you are likely to see a more visible, immediate impact from your contributions. Much like selecting an organization that speaks to your passions, this will also have a significant effect on your motivation to participate, and may inspire you to participate even more. 
  3. Make it a Priority
    Similar to adopting any new habit, if you’re not already conditioned to do regular community investment, at first the effort must be a bit more prescribed. By blocking off a certain amount of time each month to devote to your community investment efforts, you’ll get on the right track to cementing the good habit. Once you’ve established the habit of regular community investment, making time for the effort will become second nature and you’ll become not only a greater resource for the cause or organization you serve but also more likely to recruit others to join you.  

from working girl to working mom

As I gear up for my maternity leave and reflect on the past nine months, I realize what a unique experience pregnancy is in the workplace. I wanted to take some time to share a few tricks I’ve learned along the way. Here are my top 10 tips for a productive pregnancy and smooth transition into maternity leave:

  1. In today’s age of social media, be thoughtful about when and how you make the announcement to family, friends and colleagues. The last thing you want is for the office, and especially your boss, to find out your exciting news by reading it online. Out of respect for those in the workplace, use discretion and think through how and when to make the announcement.
  2. Be conscious of the impact on your energy level. I found that maintaining my exercise regimen was not only a great way to ensure a healthy pregnancy, but it dramatically helped to keep me going throughout the workday. If you feel the all-too-common symptom of fatigue coming on, go for a quick walk during your lunch break.
  3. Be strategic about your doctor visits. Sometimes it may feel like keeping up with all of the medical appointments and tests is a full-time job of its own. Your doctor will be a key partner for you during this journey, so find an office that has flexible hours and is willing to accommodate your schedule as much as possible. By scheduling the first appointment in the mornings, the doctor is less likely to be running behind. You can also use the time in the waiting room to check emails and focus on light work. 
  4. Remember to take care of yourself. In the midst of deadlines and client work, it can be easy to forget that you also have a responsibility to your health. If you need support from colleagues at times, ask for it! They would much prefer helping you out now than having you suffer from any serious medical concerns and needing to take extended time out of the office.
  5. Copy, copy, copy! In the weeks leading up to your maternity leave, make sure all relevant team members are copied on every email you send out. As much as we try to plan ahead, the baby’s arrival may come at an unexpected time. Make sure that no item goes unseen and unfulfilled simply because you were the only one in the office aware of it.
  6. As your maternity leave draws near, be realistic about the number of projects you can finish and spend the remainder of your time planning closely with your team members to ensure a smooth transition. Your team will appreciate that unfinished work does not have to be handed off, and you won’t be rushing to finish items at the last minute.
  7. Prepare a maternity leave handbook for your team members to reference while you’re away. I created a document containing all of my client and internal responsibilities, and provided background, recommended next steps and any other necessary information for each. Not only will this make the transition into my maternity leave easier on my teammates, but it also was a good way for me to keep organized and think through all of the information I needed to share prior to my departure.
  8. Plan ahead for your time away and your return. There may be times that the office needs to ask for information while you’re on maternity leave. Discuss upfront how they should communicate with you during this time so that they can receive a timely response. Also discuss what the arrangements will look like when you return to work. This will help alleviate any stress you may feel as your leave winds down, and will set you up to be as productive as possible for the team as you ramp back up. 
  9. Remember that while this may be a hectic time for you…the business world stops for no woman (or baby). While this doesn’t mean that your colleagues and clients aren’t excited for you, it’s not fair to them to have to pick up your slack if you let your personal adjustments interfere with your work performance.
  10. Most importantly…don’t forget to say “thank you!” Many women, unfortunately, do not have the luxury of enjoying maternity leave. For those fortunate few of us, remember that this special time with your family is a generous gift, and others in the workplace are making sacrifices and taking on extra work so that you can benefit from it. Be gracious as you go out on maternity leave, and make a gracious return by reminding the team how appreciative you are of their support. A simple word of thanks can go a long way!

meet Shannon Hughes, dovetail's newest intern!

Hello, everyone! My name is Shannon and I am the new dovetail solutions intern for Fall 2015. I studied communication studies, marketing and French at the University of Denver as an undergraduate student. Not yet ready to join the “real world,” I decided to pursue my master’s degree in strategic communications, also at the University of Denver. I’ve had other internships in the past that have given me some insight into what PR work might be like, but this is my first time at an agency. I’m excited to learn everything this internship has to offer! 

At my initial interview I just got a good feeling about the company. I could tell people were earnest about the work they did, and that this internship wouldn’t be filled with coffee runs and useless tasks. That was so important for me to know because I wanted an internship where I could learn the ins and outs of PR work and actually gain experience. From my first day, that has proven to be the case. I’ve jumped right into client work and everyone has been incredibly helpful in getting me up to speed on the clients and projects we’re working on. Not only have I liked the work I’m doing, but I’ve also enjoyed getting to know everyone at the office. It’s a fun atmosphere where everyone genuinely enjoys each other’s company. I’ve listened to so many of my friends complain about their jobs and the people they work with, that I can appreciate the environment at dovetail. It’s a great place to be, both for helping me with my career and for showing me that work can be fun! 

Although it’s early on in my internship, there are certain things I hope to achieve. I’m looking forward to becoming even more involved with client work and being able to provide clients with the resources and materials they need to succeed. Any work that I can contribute, no matter how big or small, is invaluable to me. I just want to learn everything there is and how to be the best PR professional that I can be. I know I’m in the right place to learn that, and I can’t wait for this adventure to continue!


dovetail solutions brings you guest blogger Diane Mulligan

Diane Mulligan, President, Mulligan&Co."The Eyes Have It"

When was the last time you had “outside eyes” on your business?

Mulligan&Co. (M&C) was recently chosen for business analysis by students at Metro State University as part of their senior project. You may think these young eyes don’t have the expertise to add to our understanding of the PR business, but “young eyes” that haven’t been clouded by experience with the limiting visions of economic downturns, employee woes or unpredictable clients can re-open our eyes to possibilities. 

One of the most interesting things these students shared with me is that our industry is expected to grow at 2.3 percent in the next year. That figure is close to the expected growth in GDP, meaning ours is a mature industry. With the economy growing, research shows more companies are bringing PR in-house. So as agencies, how do we increase our relevance, flexibility and value? 

One answer I have found is in partnering with other small PR practitioners on larger accounts to bring a high level of expertise, knowledge and economy to clients.

It requires being explicit with the client about what each partner brought to the challenge. Up front communication and a clearly written contract can minimize misunderstandings. This positive collaboration can lead to future partnerships with other experts, with the combined expertise able to provide value on not just local, but also national accounts. 

This leads me to another important point for smaller businesses; understand what drives you. By 2014 I realized I was spreading myself too thin. With the help of my new student friends and their “young clear eyes,” I realized what I love is representing inspiring people, companies and non-profits. 

My eyes are now focused on where I can make a difference with my company. When I open my eyes each morning, I know exactly where M&C is going. I hope you have the opportunity to allow some “outside eyes” to open your eyes to greater more focused possibilities.


from founder and ceo andy boian: investing in the future

The “dovetailing” of a smart relationship development strategy and a highly effective public relations/brand outline is a new concept to the world of public relations. dovetail solutions has made that nexus the essence of our work. However, it only works if a company gives back to its community by providing an example and investing in next generation leadership.   

Interacting with young professionals in a variety of ways, the firm most recently welcomed a student from the University of Colorado into the office as a part of the PRSA Student Shadow Day. The opportunity to mentor a next generation worker was rewarding and enjoyable for all of the dovetail team, as the student was able to sit in on client calls and network with PR professionals.

I have also had the pleasure of visiting various Denver high schools as a part of the PRSA Junior Achievement program, connecting executives to students in the classroom. Following a discussion of the PR profession and my own career, students asked a wide range of questions, many of which pertained to crisis management for clients. I found great value in seeing students take diverse interests in a broad range of topics and clients.  

The internship program at dovetail provides young professionals with hands-on experience in client relations and provides them with exposure to the processes of a thriving and active office space. This real world experience is invaluable to developing future leaders. As we all started out as aspiring professionals, it is an honor to invest in guiding these upcoming leaders on their professional journeys.