Communications

Celebrating Success

Effective communications are as critical for ecosystems’ success as engaged partners. In a conversation series, Pressing Topics, three ecosystem leaders share ideas for connecting with any audience.

The statewide New Jersey STEM Pathways Network is lucky to call Kim Case its managing partner. Case works for a communications firm on top of her role at the Research & Development Council of New Jersey and her former life as a lawyer. With a diverse set of skills, Case has the entire state talking about STEM.

“We were able to expand an existing program’s NJ STEM Week into a whole Month. March is officially NJ STEM Month by gubernatorial proclamation,” Case shares. “By offering mini grants to partners throughout the state and using free communication platforms like Twitter, the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network leveraged work that was already happening in the state as an opportunity for communities to get excited about STEM. It’s a win-win for everyone. Community-based organizations are able to highlight their work, families are notified of existing (often times free) programs in their areas and it makes legislators look great.”

Listen to the Discussion | View the Webinar

Panelists

  • Kim Case, executive director, Research and Development Council of New Jersey; New Jersey STEM Pathways Network
  • Heddy Clark, Director, STEM Learning Cooperative, University of North Carolina Wilmington; STEM SENC
  • LaTrenda Leonard Sherrill, lead, Remake Learning, CS for PGH; Pittsburgh Regional STEM Learning Ecosystem

Key Takeways

Be Consistent.

Plan.

Concentrate on channels that work for you.

Press releases and op-eds effective vehicles for raising public awareness and creating
opportunities.

Highlight existing work.

Reuse and repurpose content.

Highlighting the Work of Regional Partners Builds Trust and Boosts Your Communications Efforts in Ways One Organization Can’t Do Alone

“Our goal is to amplify the voices of all network members,” says Remake Learning Lead LaTrenda Leonard Sherrill. “We are always asking our Ecosystem members to submit information on various channels. Remake Learning uses the home page of our website as the main connection point for all members. Our blog and other pages discuss all of the work going on, including events hosted by other partners and member profile pages.”

Leonard Sherrill also speaks candidly about learning from failures. “By relying on partners to generate content, we realized the partners with more resources were able to contribute more. We had to take a step back from communications to look at our work through an equity lens. Using our equity pillars, we were able to leverage Remake’s communications resources to highlight work with our rural students, girls and students of color.”

In the Beginning, When you Have Fewer Resources and Voices, It is Important to Diversify Your Communication Mediums From Social Media to Press Releases, Websites to Op-Eds, There are So Many Ways to Deliver Your Messaging in Ways that Keep It Interesting

With fewer resources, Cohort 4 Ecosystem Lead Heddy Clark shares how STEM SENC keeps the message interesting. “As a newer Ecosystem, we are still pulling things together as we go along. Right now, our content is mostly made up of relevant information I pull from the different listservs and distribution lists I am on to create a PDF newsletter.”

“I am also finding opportunities to speak at conferences and forums to spread the word. I recently spoke at a conference with
many legislators in attendance. Even just five minutes on the agenda gets STEM SENC included in the follow-up minutes posted to their website. That creates a domino effect.” Clark continues, “I have even written an Op Ed, which has worked really well in our favor. I was even able to secure a little bit of funding through these methods!”