After more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be hard to quantify the ways in which we have changed. Our pandemic coverage helps us understand the industry impact, and it seems unlikely that any of our content has been untouched by the unique circumstances that have taken root since the start of 2020.
But so much of that change has occurred at a human level, where many of the lessons emerge from the various conversations and anecdotes that underpin our stories and events. To better showcase these learnings, and provide a measure of insight into how the global PR industry is responding to such a transformative era, this series asks people what they have learned, according to three specific areas.
In the latest installment in our series, we hear from OkCupid’s global head of communications Michael Kaye who shares his lessons learned.
Three things I’ve learned…
I learned the power and value of bringing empathy and vulnerability into our work, for our colleagues and our customers. The past two years brought us a global pandemic, the biggest civil rights movement of our generation, a tumultuous presidential election, attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. People often felt alone, overwhelmed, and scared. But we had the ability to unite people across borders, cultures, identities, languages, races, and religions with our actions and words. We got to humanize our work, more than ever before. The impact of communications was evident during this period, and I believe C-suite executives are beginning to understand the value of PR.
In college I originally planned on majoring in business. After struggling through accounting and other finance-related courses I switched to communications, believing “I’m not a numbers person.” It’s a common story to hear from other communicators. But we ARE numbers people. We HAVE to be. Today, numbers are at the forefront of my work. I’ve learned to quantify the impact of my PR efforts through measurement and analysis. And at OkCupid we match people based on what matters to them through in-app questions that power our algorithm. These questions have been answered more than 335 million times in 2022 alone, and nearly 9 ½ billion times since we launched. Analyzing this data is what drives my storytelling efforts across the nation, and around the world.
I’ve always dealt with imposter syndrome. It comes from three decades of not seeing myself reflected in the media and pop culture, in government, in corporate leadership. I recently posted a poll on LinkedIn. Among 110+ respondents, 37% said they have never worked at a company where there was an LGBTQ+ person in the C-suite and 21% said they were not sure if they had. Today, I lead global communications for one of the biggest dating apps in the world, managing PR across North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Still, there are times I look around the room or table and wonder if I belong. But I know I deserve this seat. I earned it. And it’s my responsibility to not only make my voice heard, but to also open the door for LGBTQ+ communicators who will come after me.
If you’d like to share your three lessons, please let us know.