2022 posts

Naomi Rettke

Naomi Rettke is presenting why change management matters on April 21 at IABC’s annual signature event. The presentation will cover change management fundamentals and insight teed up specifically for communications pros.

Naomi Rettke

A communications pro, Naomi earned change management certification with Prosci (pronounced pro-sye). She’s passionate about the role storytelling plays in managing change. She says, “I’m fascinated by the intersections where communication meets change management and how the academic change research flows into real life projects and scenarios. It’s meaty, challenging, and exciting.”

How did Naomi get interested in storytelling and change management? I’m glad you asked. Here’s how it started and how it’s going.

How it started

Naomi grew up surrounded by educators. Her dad and two of her aunts were teachers, her grandpa and her uncle were small town school superintendents. The importance of learning and sharing was nurtured at a young age.

In elementary school, she remembers short story assignments where classmates would write enough to fill one page while she filled seven. From that moment, English officially became her favorite class and writing her passion.

In high school, she wrote whatever she could, from theater scripts with an artist-in-residence to pre-game synopses for the football and wrestling teams; in college she earned degrees in English and Political Science at the University of MN – Morris; and one of her first jobs was working as a journalist for a smalltown newspaper.  

“I love writing, being in the know, and hearing people’s stories,” Naomi said.

Covering the local school system for the paper, however, put her at the crossroads of autonomy and advocacy. The tipping point came when she was assigned to cover the district’s make-or-break levy referendum vote that, if not passed, would have gutted district classrooms and services.

Professionally, she reported evenhandedly. Personally, she rooted for the schools. “I couldn’t help but see it from the angle of the school district,” she said. “I realized that if I’m going to be a journalist, I couldn’t be involved, and I really wanted to be involved.”

Shortly after the election wrapped, she made the leap to public relations for Mound View Public Schools.  

How it’s going  

Since her time on the schoolhouse beat, she’s accrued accolades as a problem solver, community builder, and team leader. Her career spans roles in public relations, marketing, and employee communications. Naomi says, “Without question, employee communication is my favorite. I love  keeping teams engaged.”

Currently, she works at Prime Therapeutics where she serves as Communications Principal, focused on change management, employee engagement, and technology communications.

The best part of her job?

“Helping a subject matter expert who’s deep in the weeds unravel their complex ideas into simple key messages. The rewarding moment is when they see how powerful their messages are, and the impact they are making on their intended audiences. Really fun stuff.”

Naomi’s been involved in IABC since 2018. She appreciates the networking opportunities and says, “Communications can be ‘the loneliest number’. Meaning, at many organizations the communications department can be as few as one person. All human beings need community; having a network to rely on that’s made up of like-minded professionals can bring us the value and depth we crave.”

Sign up today for IABC’s Convergence and attend Naomi’s presentation. <<Paul/Katy what information can we share to direct people to register?>>

A few fun facts:

  • First paying job: Buffet attendant at Ponderosa Steakhouse.
  • Favorite show to stream: Stranger Things – it’s a family event for Naomi, her husband, and two teenagers!
  • Favorite podcast: Smartless, Fresh Air, Heavyweight
  • Vacation – Road trip or fly: Road trip – it’s fun to be in the car together and seek out new things.
  • Who would play you in a movie: Tina Fey

Networking is vital to the success of communications and marketing leaders, whether they are growing their business, making a career transition or moving up the corporate ladder, according to Marcia Ballinger, PhD, and principal and co-founder of Ballinger | Leafblad Inc.  

“Networking is a conversation, an opportunity to learn and benefit from another individual’s wisdom.” she told us. And LinkedIn, the social network powerhouse with 810 million members, can help you expand your network and gain more face-to-face meetings. “If you network even 10 percent more than before, over your career it can make an enormous impact,” Dr. Ballinger said. For example, networking can support a job search or help with finding a board role.

  • Up to 70 percent of all jobs are not published on publicly available job search sites
  • Professionals are 80 percent more likely to attain their jobs through networking
  • A higher percentage of individuals who are board members obtain their board roles through their network

Despite the benefits, many of us avoid networking – perhaps we don’t like to talk about ourselves or we’re fearful of making a poor impression. “By doing more of what makes us feel better during networking and stripping away what causes discomfort, we can be more successful,” she explained.

Good preparation is one of six steps for achieving networking success, according to Dr. Ballinger. Knowing how to set up a networking meeting or choosing the best networking opportunities can make the difference.

Hear about Dr. Ballinger’s six steps for networking success and how to approach networking with comfort and confidence at her 9:15 a.m. session at CONVERGENCE Summit 2022 on Thursday, March 17.

by Irene Connors