North Texas Organizations Recognize Dala Employees’ Leadership

Several Dala team members were recently recognized for their leadership and executive expertise by multiple organizations in North Texas. Read about their achievements below!

Young Professional of the Year Award –For more than 14 years, Dala Communications President Leah Williams has served as a mentor and PR counselor for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Lone Star Greater Dallas. BBBS matches at-risk children with mentors who help children navigate life successfully. The organization named Leah as its Young Professional of the Year in May 2019, recognizing her dedication and leadership to the cause.

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Revered PR Pioneer Shares Expertise with Businesswomen – This season, agency chairman Cynthia Pharr-Lee was selected to speak at the Freeman+Leonard series about gender diversity in the boardroom. An eager crowd of more than 50 senior-level marketing and public relations women attended this event to seek Cynthia’s counsel and tips for joining a corporate board. Having served on five corporate boards herself, Cynthia has been shattering the glass ceiling, inspiring businesswomen for more than 20 years.

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Exclusive Leadership Program Kicks Off in Dallas – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) – Dallas chapter – this year launched its inaugural leadership development program designed to expand leadership confidence and competence within the chapter and the workplace. Aimed at young professionals who are active members in the chapter, Dala’s senior account executive Nelli Tokleh was one of the first 15 people selected to participate in the year-long program. Her dedication to volunteering with PRSA Dallas for the past decade afforded her this exciting opportunity to learn new skills and strategies that can be applied in her future chapter service and professional endeavors.

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Way to go, ladies! Check out our Instagram page and LinkedIn page for more of our team’s stories and of course, client news. #DalaDoesLeadership

Leah EkmarkComment
5 Tips to Help You Become a Rockstar Intern

As a college student, beginning a new internship is an exciting opportunity. I wrapped up my internship at Dala Communications right before graduating from SMU in May 2019. Working at Dala gave me valuable, hands-on experience, and I can truly say I’ve learned more PR basics here than with any other internship I’ve had in the last four years. If you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of this industry, I highly recommend Dala’s internship program!

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If you’re starting a new internship, check out my five tips on how to be a rockstar intern.

 

1.      Take initiative.

Speak up. Let your team know what types of projects you’re interested in. Personally, I was interested in honing my writing skills, so the Dala team gave me some great assignments like drafting pitches to media, social media posts and media advisories for a variety of clients. The more you practice writing for different audiences, the better you’ll become!

 

2.      Pay attention to detail.

Details can make all the difference between a good internship and a great internship! A few ways to make you and your work standout include: proofreading your work to look for typos and other mistakes; slowing down and carefully following directions for every project; and making a to-do list every day to help you meet your deadlines. Remember, it’s better to take your time to complete a task correctly than to rush through it and make mistakes. (You’ve got this!)

 

3.      Ask questions.

Curiosity is one of the best traits a PR professional can embrace. Don’t be shy to ask a lot of questions; it shows that you’re interested in doing the best job possible. One of Dala’s long-time clients, McCarthy Building Companies, is in construction – an industry I wasn’t familiar prior to my internship. I asked my team lots of questions about the client and their industry throughout my internship and it helped me feel more confident when tackling their assignments. Now, you can call me a surface-level expert! Here’s an example of a successful Facebook post I wrote for McCarthy: 

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4.      Have a positive attitude.

With a can-do attitude, doors will be opened for you. It is very important to show your team and clients that you’re interested in learning from your internship and taking on new challenges. By keeping an open mind and positive attitude at your internship, you’ll be able to accomplish so much more than you ever imagined.

 

5.      Find shadowing opportunities.

Take advantage of shadowing opportunities, both inside and outside of the office.

One of the most memorable parts of my internship, was shadowing Dala’s account executive, Elizabeth LaMonte, for a  live TV shoot with KDFW/FOX 4 at Trinity Christian Academy (TCA). Not only did I shadow Elizabeth as the PR liaison that day, I was a part of the entire process from start to finish. I was tasked with writing a pitch and finding a reporter for an event happening at TCA. I soon secured FOX 4 reporter Brandon Todd for the live segment, which was booked for FOX 4’s morning show, “Good Day Dallas.” Seeing how a story/event goes from pitch idea to a live news segment was an exciting experience.     

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With these tips, you’ll shine as a PR intern!

Natasha was the spring 2019 Dala intern. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Leah EkmarkComment
April is APR Month

April is APR Month at PRSA (Public Relations Society of America). As many of us in the PR field come to know, the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential has many benefits. The credential builds on the foundation of your education and helps certify your career, distinguishes you from industry peers and positions you as a leader in the field. Further, the APR is a great way to stay updated on industry best practices as the communications/PR field continues to evolve.

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Dala Communications President Leah Williams shares why she pursed the APR:

“I wanted to be taken seriously by the C-suite and other industry colleagues – having my APR has afforded me this opportunity. Becoming accredited sets PR practitioners on the road to success, helping them stand out from their peers. When it comes to business development, I have found that it can be a challenge for those unfamiliar with our industry to identify best-in-class PR practitioners to serve as a valued partner to ‘help move the needle’ in their business; however, having my APR certification has provided me additional credibility when I'm talking to business prospects. And, earning my APR is also a value-add for current clients and my agency because it has helped me be more thoughtful and strategic in my approach.”

For more backround on the APR and information on how to get started with the certication process, click here.

Leah EkmarkComment
We're hiring a summer PR intern!

Are you a self-proclaimed “grammar nerd” and a stickler for AP Style? Do you enjoy getting the latest scoop from local and national news? Are you a self-starter and a team player? If you said “yes” to all of these questions, then consider applying for the Dala Communications summer 2019 internship program!

At Dala, we consider our interns to be a valuable part of the team. We encourage our interns to provide input and share ideas throughout the length of their internship.

Our interns get hands-on experience in a wide range of public relations and marketing activities that include, but are not limited to:

  • Attending client meetings to learn how we execute and manage strategic PR plans

  • Writing, editing and distributing press materials

  • Developing and pitching stories to the media

  • Attending print, radio, web and TV news interviews

  • Tracking and reporting media coverage

  • Learning how to plan, manage and track the success of an event

  • Creating content for Dala’s social media channels

  • Writing for The Dala Daily (our blog)

  • Attending occasional PR industry events and participating in seminars, webinars and other professional training

  • Working within a client-focused team setting, interacting with all disciplines to get real-world experience and understanding of the collaborative nature of the agency environment

Our PR firm handles a variety of accounts in industries ranging from commercial real estate and construction services to education and corporate social responsibility. We consider our team tiny but mighty, and therefor need an intern willing to work hard and contribute along the way. A successful Dala intern is detail-oriented and a resourceful self-starter with a positive attitude. An understanding of media relations, social media and AP Style, along with strong written and verbal communication skills, are required.

The summer internship typically runs late May through August. Hours are flexible with a minimum of 12 hours a week at our office. If you’re looking to get hands-on experience in the PR field, send your resume, cover letter, two writing samples and three professional references to Nelli@DalaCommunications.com by April 12. Please no phone calls. Applicants will be contacted directly.

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Leah EkmarkComment
WFAA Barks Up Social Media Tree

I love dogs. I have two mutts I’m crazy about and for as long as I can remember I’ve been an advocate for rescue animals. A couple of years ago, I decided to use my expertise in public relations to help raise awareness for animal adoption and found a volunteer PR position with Dallas Pets Alive, a volunteer-driven, nonprofit animal rescue group with the goal of making Dallas a “no-kill” city.

Dala gives each full-time employee the opportunity to use one work day as a volunteer day. I feel very grateful to work at a company that allows its employees to not only volunteer as a group once each quarter but gives each employee a day to give back to the community on their own.

Jenny Lyons, producer at WFAA, David Schechter and Tiffany Liou, reporter with Bonesy. Photo via  Instagram .

Jenny Lyons, producer at WFAA, David Schechter and Tiffany Liou, reporter with Bonesy. Photo via Instagram.

Through my volunteer position as director of PR at Dallas Pets Alive, I recently got the chance work with WFAA to help raise awareness of the need for fosters. WFAA’s David Schechter reached out to me to find out what Dallas Pets Alive is doing to make Dallas “no-kill” and if the organization would consider being on a panel for a Facebook Live video on the need for fosters in Dallas.

As more and more Americans get news online and via social media, WFAA has adapted by running Facebook Live interviews either separately or in conjunction with a broadcast segment. A recent survey from Kagan U.S. Consumer Insights states that approximately half (49%) of internet adults watch local TV news programs and 40% acquire news online.

What started out as a request to be part of a Facebook Live panel on WFAA’s Facebook page, quickly snowballed into an incredible opportunity for Dallas Pets Alive. The organization was featured in three separate broadcast stories about Dallas Pets Alive’s mission, a before/after of a rescue cat named Bob Marley and a feature on a foster family. This broadcast coverage reached a total potential audience of 350,154 people and had a calculated publicity value of $123,150. The Facebook Live video also had more than 18,000 views.

Dallas Pets Alive received $11,000 in donations and 21 applications to adopt or foster an animal as a result of the broadcast coverage and Facebook Live video.

Here’s how this opportunity went from a Facebook Live video request to multiple broadcast segments, planned social shares and an in-studio phone bank.

David Schechter has a segment on WFAA called, “Verify” where he takes questions from viewers and brings them along on his quest for the answer. One viewer, Anissa Perez, asked if euthanizing animals for space at Dallas Animal Services was still necessary.

David took Anissa to Dallas Animal Services to take a tour and talk with them to find out why Dallas is still euthanizing animals for space in the city’s shelter. After they toured the Dallas shelter, David and Anissa went to Austin, the largest U.S. city to ban euthanasia as a means of reducing overcrowding. They met with leaders at Austin Animal Center, who explained that they were able to get Austin to “no-kill” status with the help of their community partners like Austin Pets Alive.

Leslie Sans, executive director for Dallas Pets Alive, Ed Jamison, director of Dallas Animal Services and David Schechter before the Facebook Live video started.

Leslie Sans, executive director for Dallas Pets Alive, Ed Jamison, director of Dallas Animal Services and David Schechter before the Facebook Live video started.

When David got back from Austin, he contacted Dallas Pets Alive to find out what the organization is doing to get Dallas to “no-kill” status. After learning that Dallas Pets Alive’s fosters and supporters played a key role in helping Dallas Animal Services increase their live-release rate from less than 50 percent in 2012 to 81.5 percent in September of 2017, David wanted to know what his viewers could do to help.

Over the course of a few phone calls with WFAA, we planned three separate stories about Dallas Pets Alive that would air on Nov. 14 on the 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. broadcasts leading up to the Verify segment during the 10 p.m. broadcast; an in-studio phone bank where viewers could call in with questions, foster applications and donations for Dallas Pets Alive; brought adoptable dogs to the studio to promote the need for fosters, volunteers and donations; had volunteers make videos that WFAA could edit and share on social throughout the day; and planned a Facebook Live video that would run directly after the Verify segment with Leslie Sans, executive director of Dallas Pets Alive, Ed Jamison, director of Dallas Animal Services and David Schechter.

Leading up to the air-date, I helped WFAA get interviews/b-roll for the three separate stories on Dallas Pets Alive; managed the volunteer videos for WFAA to use on social; created a document with key messages and prepared answers to questions that phone bank volunteers might get asked; and prepped the executive director with a briefing book for the Facebook Live interview.

On Nov. 14, I went to WFAA to help staff the phone bank, manage logistics and help manage questions from the Facebook Live video. After each segment aired and they cut to the phone bank, our phones rang non-stop for 30 minutes or so. It was a great to see the immediate positive response from viewers who called in to help Dallas Pets Alive.

This post was written by Krystal Morris

Here I am, front and center, ready to staff the phone bank.

Here I am, front and center, ready to staff the phone bank.

Four Key Takeaways from the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Young Professionals Summit

The Dala team recently attended the Dallas Regional Chamber’s fifth annual Young Professionals (YP) Summit at The Statler Dallas. We enjoyed a day of networking and engaging in thought-provoking discussions with leaders in industries ranging from finance to retail. We discussed a variety advocating for change, avoiding workplace burnout, giving back to the community, leading when you’re not in charge and managing your personal finances.

Here are our top four takeaways from the conference:

1) “Be curious and always ask questions. Use empathy when communicating with others to create a stronger bond with your colleagues.” - Ashley Sheetz, chief marketing officer, At Home

2) “The better you know your team, the more they’ll want to be in the same room as you and take you seriously. Young professionals should create the opportunity to be seen by others, especially by upper leadership at work.” - Rocky Garza, entrepreneur

3) Elizabeth Morgan from Fidelity Investments suggested young professionals should seek financial guidance from financial experts to help them manage their finances and save for retirement. When asked about protecting yourself from a downturn in the market, she explained that the best way to avoid long-term impact from a recession is to create a plan that caters to you and to stick with it.

4)  Lastly, a panel of local political experts, that was moderated by WFAA’s Jason Whitley, shared their insights on the importance of voting and how best to advocate for positive change.  They also shared resources that are available to help voters make informed decisions on important issues. Check out DallasCountyVotes.org for more information.

To learn more about this year’s YP Summit click here.

Photo credit: Dallas Regional Chamber

Photo credit: Dallas Regional Chamber

Leah EkmarkComment
CALLING ALL GRAMMAR NERDS: WE’RE HIRING A SPRING 2019 PUBLIC RELATIONS INTERN

Are you a self-proclaimed “grammar nerd” and a stickler for AP Style? Do you enjoy multitasking? Are you a self-starter and a team player? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, consider joining the Dala Communications team as our spring 2019 PR intern!

At Dala, we consider our interns to be a valuable part of the team. We encourage our interns to provide input and share ideas throughout the length of their internship.

Our interns get hands-on experience in a wide range of public relations and marketing activities that include, but are not limited to:

·       Attending client meetings to learn how we execute and manage strategic PR plans

·       Writing, editing and distributing press materials

·       Developing and pitching stories to the media

·       Attending print, radio, web and TV news interviews

·       Tracking and reporting media coverage

·       Learning how to plan, manage and track the success of an event

·       Creating content for Dala’s social media channels

·       Writing for The Dala Daily (our blog)

  • Attending occasional PR industry events and participating in seminars, webinars and other professional training

Working within a client-focused team setting, interacting with all disciplines to get real-world experience and understanding of the collaborative nature of the agency environment.

Our intern with a few of the Dala team members at The Dallas Regional Cahmber YP Summit

Our intern with a few of the Dala team members at The Dallas Regional Cahmber YP Summit

Our PR firm handles a variety of accounts in industries ranging from commercial real estate and construction services to education and corporate social responsibility. We consider our team tiny but mighty, and therefor need an intern willing to work hard and contribute along the way. A successful Dala intern is detail-oriented and a resourceful self-starter with a positive attitude. An understanding of media relations, social media and AP Style, along with strong written and verbal communication skills, are required.

The spring internship typically runs January through May. Hours are flexible with a minimum of 12 hours a week at our office. If you’re looking to get hands-on experience in the PR field, send your resume, cover letter, two writing samples and three professional references to Elizabeth@DalaCommunications.com by Nov. 23rd no later than 4 p.m. Please no phone calls. Applicants will be contacted directly.

 

Leah EkmarkComment
Client Success Story: Frontgate

We’re taking a look back at some of our most successful multi-tiered PR campaigns from the last year and here is one of our faves that focused on working with DFW influencers. During the fall of last year, we were tasked with establishing awareness of Frontgate, a well-known, national luxury home retailer with a strong online and catalog customer base, and the opening of its first Texas flagship store in Legacy West. We were charged with developing an integrated communications campaign that would yield media and consumer interest, build awareness with key stakeholders and establish new online influencer relationships in the region, all of which would translate into strong in-store sales.

Our newest case study details our strategy to help Frontgate make a splash in what would be dubbed “the worst year on record” for brick-and-mortar retail. Read on to learn about our influencer marketing strategy that resulted in one of our most memorable events. We were proud to be a part of the team that introduced this well-known retailer to the Dallas market, and we did it with style complete with a champagne saber to toast the opening! Cheers y’all!