The National Association of Government Communicators is running it's comms school in Louisville, KY May 10 - 12 and as official media partners for the event, we've had the great opportunity to hear from the speakers who will be delivering a selection of amazing sessions.


What is your session for NAGC called?

Lead With Your Brand

Tonya McKenzie


Without giving too much away about your session, what do you hope to cover that is of benefit to attendees of the NAGC comms school?

Thought-leadership and a bold brand makes your social media marketing, advertising, and PR efforts much more effective.

We will examine: What is a brand and why it's important in government communications; How does thought-leadership elevate the brand; Reasons why establishing a bold brand before marketing, PR outreach, and advertising is important

Tell us a little about what you do and how you got there

I empower people through leadership and public relations. I educate people on how to get their target audience to know, like, and trust them by building a bold brand and telling their story in a way that resonates. For civic, nonprofit, and law enforcement organizations, that means the communities that they serve must see them as a brand and they must stay true to their brand values. I have been doing this for over 20 years. I started when I ran a YMCA that had no marketing budget. PR and leadership helped to raise the money and open the new facility that we needed.

What do you love about your job?

I love helping people see public relations and leadership as a solution for problem solvers and people trying to leave a legacy in their personal and professional lives.


What’s the hardest thing about your job?

The toughest part of the job is getting the public to understand what PR and comms is and what it's not.


What are some of the more memorable events you’ve had to deal with in your role and what lessons did you learn?

In my role as the PR and internal communications consultant, I successfully navigated the first Dr. Martin Luther King Jr celebration for the Redondo Beach Police Department. I knew but got to see more in-depth examples of how much civic organizations need public relations. They do great work, just don't know how to tell their stories and why it's important.

What is it about communications, media or crisis comms that interests you so much?

There are so many stories that go untold. Getting to know clients and finding authentic ways to tell their stories. We fill a need. We solve problems that business professionals can not even put in words. Publicity and building brand awareness is my favorite part of the job.

What are your favorite tools you use to do your job more effectively?

I use Grammerly to make sure that all of my writing is done well.


Are there any books, podcasts or any other resources you would recommend for the comms pro?

I AM MY BRAND by Kubi Springer is a great book. My YouTube channel has tons of PR, Comms, and Leadership interviews that can assist any professional and I love keeping up with Pam Perry for media relations conversations. You can check her out here: https://pamperrypr.com/

What would you say to anyone in a leadership role about having a PIO who might not have one?

They need to make sure that their writing is clear, concise and has the right tone. Grammerly is a win.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about, recommend or promote?

I am a Los Angeles County Commissioner on Alcohol and Other Drugs along with being a communications professional. I am uniquely qualified to help people with a combination of PR and leadership. They go hand in hand because leadership is newsworthy.


See the NAGC schedule of events here and find out more about the lineup of speakers and events. Want to book some time with PIOToolkit at NAGC? You can do that here!

Posted 
April 18, 2022
 in 
PIO People
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