🏦 Internal Communications Introductions: Meet Sara Glick
Senior Director, Internal Communications and Engagement - U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Sara Glick is a creative communicator and strategic advisor. She’s always had a knack for connecting with audiences and discovered her love for storytelling during her days as a dancer and choreographer.
Sara is currently the senior director of internal communications and engagement at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—the world’s largest advocacy organization for business. She is using her innovative spirit to help the team serve its members through content and channels that inform, engage, and inspire.
Before joining the Chamber, Sara was on the global communications team at Discovery, Inc. taking on progressively challenging roles in internal communications and experiential events. She had the opportunity to support well-loved brands like Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, and Investigation Discovery, creating buzz and strengthening alliances from employees to press to superfans.
Sara received an MA in Public Communications from American University and a BA in Political Science from the University of Florida. She spins on her Peloton (favorite instructor=Cody Rigsby), bakes with her kids, binge watches everything with her husband from post-apocalyptic shows to Ted Lasso, and sometimes throws on her tap shoes to jam.
What sparked your professional path into Internal Communications?
I started out as a dancer, so I have always been interested in storytelling. When I began to think about what I wanted to do with my life beyond the dance world, the field of communications came into my view. But it wasn’t until I began my corporate communications career that I considered internal communications.
I thought it was a challenging and sometimes magical way to help colleagues feel excited about and understand the impact of their work.
How do you describe internal communications to others?
It’s my job to wake up every morning and think about what our people need to help them align with our purpose and ensure they are best prepared to act on behalf of our organization. I help people make sense of what’s happening at their organization in a way that feels authentic and relatable to them.
To do this, I use a mix of marketing and communications tools that reflects how they prefer to receive information outside of work. Whether producing a Town Hall, implementing a digital signage campaign, activating competitions, or launching a podcast, I am focused on creating the right mix of touch points to ensure they can be informed, engaged, and inspired.
What is one project you are particularly proud to have accomplished?
When I first started at the US Chamber of Commerce, I began working on a communications project focused on the restoration of our historic headquarters. Built in the early 1900s, it’s in Lafayette Square, which is just across the street from the White House in downtown D.C.
It was going to be disruptive to our team. My job was to bring the team on a journey using rich storytelling to underscore the importance of our building while also explaining when and where they might be affected by the construction.
I focused on making it a joyful and meaningful experience. Working cross-functionally, I worked with a team to launch a campaign called “House Proud.” We turned the original architect of the building, Cass Gilbert, into a characterture to help explain the intention of his design and how the restoration was going to restore it to his original plans.
This campaign helped us to develop a holistic internal communications program. For instance, I launched a weekly newsletter called House Proud News. It started as a way to share restoration updates, and we slowly incorporated other organizational-wide information and news. Now it’s one of our most important tools for communicating with our team.
We also wove in storytelling from our own team about why they were proud to work at the Chamber. I created a series of employee spotlights to help us showcase our talented people and their dedication to building the Chamber of the future, both through our restoration and in their commitment to our mission. While many of us weren’t in the building during the pandemic, we kept people updated on the project’s progress. And when it wrapped in April 2021, we made sure to celebrate it during a virtual Town Hall.
What has it been like to build the Internal Communications program from the bottom up?
I spent a lot of time listening for the first three months. I spent time just hearing from people and learning about the Chamber’s culture. I was able to bring my expertise to the Chamber while ensuring my ideas and strategies complemented behaviors and values of the organization’s leadership and people.
What are the skills that are most important for someone to succeed in Internal Communications?
Empathy! Being successful in this role requires you to be able to put yourself in somebody else's shoes. Ask yourself: if I were reading or hearing this message, what would I want my leaders to say.
In addition to being a strong writer and strategic thinker, it’s important to be a swiss-army knife. I have used a lot of my past event production experiences to design successful Town Halls. My media experience helps me to develop creative and compelling content.
Also, it’s about having fun! You need to understand that we are all people with our own experiences. That approach can really go a long way.
How do you continue learning about the field of Internal Communications?
I think it’s great to have conversations with people on LinkedIn and learn how other organizations are talking about different topics. Internal communications is about people, how we approach topics and how we get to a consensus. I spend a lot of time doing research on organizational styles. I just read Think Again by Adam Grant.
Reading about organizational design and behavioral sciences helps me with that.
In addition, good ideas can come from anywhere. I am inspired everyday by listening to others. It helps me think about what people need to be successful, not only at work but in their personal lives, too.