Member Spotlight

NCPRSA has launched an initiative to get to know our members better. On this page, you can find member profiles that feature a mix of fun and professional questions and answers.

Our goal is to share the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and personalities that form the NCPRSA membership. We are proud of our members and hope this resource allows you to tap into our community of members who have so much to offer.

Darcy Dye Bowers

Darcy Dye Bowers

Darcy Dye Bowers, September 2020

Tell us a bit about yourself/your career journey.

I studied English and have worked in marketing, communications, and PR throughout my career. I particularly like writing content that is short, specific, and factual.

What’s your current professional focus?

I’m a Jill-of-all-trades. I write, copyedit, oversee our website, and collaborate on creative solutions across my organization’s service lines.

What attracted you to NCPRSA?

My initial interest was in professional development, but I have grown to appreciate all the friends I’ve made and support I’ve gained. NCPRSA continues to provide me with leadership opportunities and relevant content.

What’s your favorite aspect of working in your professional area?

The variety and learning, especially new processes and platforms.

In what ways have you seen communication reduce barriers at your company or elsewhere?

People crave information, and they’ll fill in the blanks if not provided timely and accurate information. There are many avenues of communication these days and I think we need to ensure that those voice-to-voice channels, be it Zoom or around the proverbial water cooler, remain in the forefront.

If we could shadow you, what would be surprising to us?

You’d find that I proofread everything, whether invited to or not. Billboards, social media posts, menus…

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

The means to keep everyone’s bellies full.

Anything you are reading or binging right now?

The only show I’ve ever binge-watched is Ozark, likely due to all the dark twists and possibly because of Jason Bateman, if you know what I mean! I love to read and, these days, I typically have several books underway simultaneously: a non-fiction to stretch my brain, a mystery, and a trashy novel to escape.

Favorite line from a book or a movie?

“I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.” – Scarlett O’Hara, courtesy of Margaret Mitchell

What else would you like us to know about you?

I love to brainstorm and explore various angles of a situation. If you’re in need of a new perspective for project discussion or review, please reach out!

Darcy Dye Bowers is a Sr. Communications & Public Relations Manager at Transitions LifeCare and can be reached at darcydye@bellsouth.net

Kristy Fair Ballentine

Kristy Fair Ballentine, October 2020

Tell us a bit about yourself/your career journey.

I am the director of global communications at Lenovo. I love the variety of my work, which ranges from creating strategic communications programs to managing crises and issues in the media, launching some of the company’s most important products, and helping build the brand and company’s reputation.

Before moving to a corporate career, I was a television reporter and was fortunate to go to many interesting places – riding in a hot air balloon – covering impactful events – reporting during Hurricane Isabel – and to some life changing stories – the exoneration of a death row inmate. I also returned to my alma mater to earn my MBA. (Go Heels!)

What’s your current professional focus?

As director of global communications at Lenovo, I help the company build and protect its reputation. I lead Lenovo’s global efforts under our Workplace team, positioning Lenovo as a destination employer, and driving the business to advance its Diversity and Inclusion work. I focus on Tier 1 media coverage of our c-suite leaders to tell Lenovo’s service-led transformation story, particularly focusing on our Commercial Internet of Things Business. I also lead our corporate narrative development and storytelling program.

What attracted you to NCPRSA?

I’m lucky to have found a profession where I get paid to be continually curious. Is there a better way? Are we being holistic and strategic in our thinking? What outcomes did we drive? I became accredited in public relations early in my career and have found the insights from PRSA valuable in keeping me up-to-date on the latest industry trends and news. Now with NCPRSA, I’d like to become more involved in the local network of communicators.

What’s your favorite aspect of working in your professional area?

The breadth of projects I get to work on – from defining my team’s agile structure that uses data and insights to inform our workstreams to running integrated communications programs and managing the variety of issues relevant to our business around the world. I work with people from across the business at all levels and locations. It’s exhilarating and a benefit of working for a global organization like Lenovo.

In what ways have you seen communication reduce barriers at your company or elsewhere?

As my team focuses on workplace issues, we’re committed to helping foster greater diversity and inclusion at Lenovo. Each year we increase the transparency around the workforce data we share in our Diversity and Inclusion Report, which helps to increase confidence in our employees and other stakeholders that we’re committed to increasing the number of women executives globally and number of U.S. underrepresented executives. Other initiatives have involved creating a Product Diversity Office, and partnering with other leaders in the industry, like Intel, to conduct global research.

We educate the company about our workforce representation and ESG (environment, social, and governance) goals. Using our quarterly reputational data and insights, we are better able to council the business across the four pillars driving our reputation – Innovation, Performance, Workplace, and Citizenship.

If we could shadow you, what would be surprising to us?

The variety of different things that cross my desk, so to speak, that when viewed through a communications lens are actually quite connected and help us tell our service-led transformation story. In global communications, because of the position we sit in, we have a wide purview and are able to make connections that may otherwise not be made.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Getting paid for my thoughts! One day I’ll be able to use AI to harvest and develop all those budding ideas and stray thoughts I map out in my mind while I’m planting in the garden, setting down for the night, or sipping my morning coffee. Idea to implementation at warp speed!

Anything you are reading or binging right now?

I’m reading the Black Swan by Nassim Taleb. It’s about how outlier events, despite being rare and unpredictable, are later rationalized to make it appear less random. You won’t think of the traditional bell curve in the same way again.

Favorite line from a book or a movie?

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

What else would you like us to know about you?

 

While I love my job, there’s more to life than work! In my free time, I spend a lot of time outdoors, riding my horse, hiking, kayaking, and hanging out with my husband and two children.

Kristy Fair Ballentine is Director of Global Communications at Lenovo and can be reached at krisfair@lenovo.com

Joseph Gaitens

Joseph Gaitens, APR, AIGA, November 2020

Tell us a bit about yourself/your career journey.

I was a company man, by design. I worked for the same PR firm for 19 years, and when it shuttered, I wanted to keep working with all the same people who’d become my lifelong friends. So I started freelancing.

What’s your current professional focus?

Right now, I wear four principal hats: Brand development, brand communication strategy (basically, “Who are we and how should we present that to the world?”), copywriting and creative direction.

What attracted you to NCPRSA?

The professionals whom I looked up to most were all members of NCPRSA. They were wicked- smart, uber-ethical, and thoroughly unflappable. I really aspired to that. So I figured the best way to learn from them was to spend more time with them. And every second I’ve spent in NCPRSA since has been well-invested.

What’s your favorite aspect of working in your professional area?

I get to show how “public relations thinking” can shape the world for the better – even if just one task, one project, or one organization at a time.

In what ways have you seen communication reduce barriers at your company or elsewhere?

It’s pretty simple, really. There’s only one thing that can move an army, advance a cause, capture a market, inspire an employee, secure an investment, and even change an entire society. And it ain’t money or fame. It’s strategic communication. That’s the power we can bring to the table.

If we could shadow you, what would be surprising to us?

Ummm, yeah. Don’t do that. You’d risk dying of boredom. But you might have fun looking over my shoulder at all the crazy stuff that brings me daily inspiration – live nature feeds from Explore.org, typography and design trends, AI and VR stuff.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

To delete hate. Love would fill the resulting vacuum.

Anything you are reading or binging right now?

Just finished “Connected” and “Umbrella Academy” on Netlfix; both thoroughly amazing in their own ways. Also just finished Seth Godin’s This is Marketing, which is terrific.

Favorite line from a book or a movie?

There’s so much good writing in so many media, that I wouldn’t know where to begin (“This is Spinal Tap,” for instance, has dozens of personal favorites just on its own). My favorite subhead in a book – from Luke Sullivan’s copywriter’s bible Hey Whipple, Squeeze This – is “First, say it straight. Then say it great.” I come back to that rhyme when I have writer’s block (which is to say, I come back to it daily).

What else would you like us to know about you?

I’m grateful for NCPRSA. If I ever feel our profession is wobbling a bit, I can scroll through the NCPRSA Facebook feed and find the ballast. We are blessed to have incredible professionals doing incredible work in the best interests of our profession and society. And that’s no small thing.

Joseph Gaitens, APR, AIGA can be reached at joseph.gaitens@nc.rr.com