Tag Archives: Community

Building Relationships through Community Involvement: Tips from Franco CEO Dan Ponder

Celebrating 30 years with Franco Public Relations Group, our CEO Dan Ponder has cemented himself as a business leader in Detroit. But Franco is far from his only commitment in the region. Ponder is also an active member of the community, serving in leadership positions for organizations throughout the state, including the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, St. John Providence Health System, The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division, Crime Stoppers of Michigan and the United States Army.

As public relations professionals, our careers are based on building strong relationships, whether they are with the media, clients and their audiences or the community as a whole. I sat down with Dan to gain a better understanding of how his leadership positions have shaped his career.

Ponder has selected the organizations that he serves in the community based on topics that he is passionate about: promotion of business in the community, creating a connected regional community for businesses of all sizes and giving a voice to those in need.

With Crime Stoppers and The Salvation Army, Ponder works with other board members to improve services for those in need in Detroit and the surrounding communities. These organizations improve our region by addressing key concerns of crime, safety and poverty in Metro Detroit by providing a support system to those who need it – an objective that Ponder is passionate about addressing.

2012: Franco CEO, Dan Ponder named to the Metropolitan Detroit Advisory Board of The Salvation Army.

2012: Franco CEO, Dan Ponder named to the Metropolitan Detroit Advisory Board of The Salvation Army.

With organizations like the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Ponder works to build relationships between Michigan businesses of all sizes.

“Michigan’s businesses depend on one another to share their skill sets and work toward shared missions,” said Ponder. “It is important that businesses of all sizes get involved in the community to work together and ensure our collective voice is heard by policy-makers and community leaders.”

This regional view of the business community has changed the way that Ponder views the community. The business and community decisions made in Detroit have an important impact throughout the state and region, and through his community involvement, Ponder has applied this knowledge to all aspects of his work, whether that means daily operations at Franco, or his work to build a healthy community in our region.

Dan Ponder’s involvement includes a wide range of organizations working to improve the regional community and business climate.

Dan Ponder’s involvement includes a wide range of organizations working to improve the regional community and business climate.

Ponder also shared his advice for those interested in becoming more involved in their community through leadership roles:

“Make sure the organization is something you’re passionate about that can also tie to your own career and organizational goals. I believe actively participating in all of the organizations I work with, and it helps to engage when the organization is working toward similar goals to your own.”

Ultimately, community involvement is a win-win-win for public relations professionals. Engaging with other leaders in the region leads to an improved community, stronger relationships and increased cooperation between businesses for a strong regional business climate.

Dan Horn is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5008 or horn@franco.com.

Choose your work commitments wisely

The benefits of getting involved with or serving on the board of a professional or community organization are well known. You can expand your network, gain experience, improve professional skills and provide service to others. Check out Laure Cohen’s post on Brazen Careeristabout the career benefits associated with professional involvement and tips on how to land a seat on a board.

Spreading your time too thin with professional organizations may hurt your reputation.

While the benefits of board service are many, make sure you actually have the time to commit, especially if you have a demanding job and/or a busy home life.

I recently joined the College of Arts Science and Letters Alumni Affiliate Board for my alma mater, the University of Michigan-Dearborn. However, prior to making the commitment I reviewed the board requirements. I asked about the frequency of meetings and events. Were there other expectations, such as serving on committees or attending events? I then looked at my lifestyle. My wife and I were expecting our first child so I knew my home life would be changing, and my job often kept me at the office after 5 pm. After carefully considering all my responsibilities, I decided that I had the time to commit to the board. It was the right decision for me.

It is essential that you understand the time commitment. The danger of over committing is that you run late for meetings and events or miss them altogether. Instead of heightening your reputation by serving on a board you damage it. Regardless of how good your work ethic is on the job or at home, your fellow board members only know what they see. If you are overextended, the very net

work and relationships you are trying to develop may hurt your reputation. And social media can spread the word quickly.

We are more connected now than any other time in history, and it’s extremely easy to reach out to others for references through social media sites, namelyLinkedIn. If you are up for a promotion or trying to land your dream job, you definitely don’t want to be the topic of conversation by board members about how you are not meeting the requirements of your board appointment. This is also true if you work in a service industry and are seeking new clients. You may not be considered if one of your fellow board members works for or knows people in that company.

Of course, there are times where circumstances do temporarily impact your time and create challenges meeting commitments. Speaking as a new parent, I can certainly relate to having a ton of new responsibilities at home. If you ever find yourself in the position where you are overcommitted, don’t be too proud to inform your board. Open communication will allow the board to make the appropriate changes, and they will respect your honesty.

Remember, one of the benefits of getting involved is building relationships with key individuals, and as my colleagueSara Bloombergpointed out in her recent blog post about developing relationships, positive relationships are built on trust.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you may have over committed? How did you handle it?

Tim Trunzo is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5090 or trunzo@franco.com. You can also follow him on Twitter@timtrunzo

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