We often see a piecemeal approach to understanding and nurturing the social capital - the People Power - of organizations. Relationship building is siloed. Various departments deal with internal and external stakeholders, HR, marketing, PR, social media, and community relations, for example. We know stakeholder interaction and communication are more powerful when unified by a cohesive commitment and strategy, especially in today's world of employee, public, and media scrutiny. And we believe that strategy is best based on an ethic of social responsibility. Plus, it streamlines internal decision making. And unleashes the power of stakeholders as allies and problem solvers.
Read about us in the Public Relations Society of America's social purpose issue:
Bojinka Bishop, M.S.
During her 20 + years of experience in organizational communication, public participation, and public relations, Bojinka was often struck by how there was so much attention to messages going out - but not as much for messages coming in. Surveys, focus groups, community meetings, etc., were carefully developed to be narrow, and intended for persuasion more than relationship building. Today's world is different. Stakeholder attitudes and support count. Social capital counts.
Also, communication and engagement decisions were often made department by department, without much coordination, making for discrepancies at worst, and diffusing the message at best. Dealing with people, engaging them, communicating with them, seemed to be considered more of a burden than an opportunity.
But Bojinka saw things differently from the mainstream. She saw the need for a more participative, two-way approach, as did some others. So she studied Alternative Dispute Resolution at University College (University of Denver) and became active in the International Association for Public Participation. Things were beginning to come together.
Then Bojinka was given a rare opportunity - to become the Sloan Professor of Public Relations at the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. That gave her the opportunity to look at the big picture, analyze the role of communication in organizations and in the society. It also exposed her to some of the finest public relations and communication minds in the world. And it gave her the opportunity to conduct research, leading to the development of the Principles of Authentic Communication and her course in Corporate Social Responsibility.
She realized something was missing - a focus on social responsibility to people. Recycling, philanthropy, energy sustainability, operational efficiencies are not enough - communication can and should be socially responsible too. So she founded Sage Works LLC to help organizations meet the demands of increasingly connected stakeholders and to help organizations increase their social capital.
Bojinka is active in the Colorado Chapter of Conscious Capitalism, is a member of the International Association for Public Participation, and regularly attends sessions at the Institute for Enterprise Ethics at the University of Denver.
Melissa Stanford, MPA
Colleague on Call located in central Ohio, Melissa Stanford, MPA, brings to Sage Works her extensive leadership, communication, stakeholder relations, consumer advocacy, and policy development experience from the public sector.
Her experience in state government includes management positions in the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Ohio Department of Development, and progressively responsible positions in the Ohio Office of the Consumers’ Counsel. She has also conducted research on the regulation and performance of water and wastewater utilities for the National Regulatory Research Institute and served on several national advisory boards.
Committed to performance improvement, she’s also profitably managed three small businesses.
Melissa brings wisdom and key insights to Sage Works LLC.
Logan Dent, M.S.
HR executive with extensive experience both nationally and internationally with Schlumberger and its subsidiaries, Logan is on call for his business acumen and his knowledge of achieving business results from the inside. His keen awareness of the driving forces of organizational culture and the interface between people, process, and profit are especially useful to clients focusing on internal communication.
Josep Rota, Ph.D.
Sage Works is indebted to Dr. Josep Rota, expert in international affairs and communication and Professor Emeritus who taught research methods at Ohio University for many years. His long-time support and research assistance is invaluable to our work. And his review of and improvements to our diagnostic tool brought it to a new level of validity and precision.
Sage Works calls in other professionals, for example, facilitators, or those with experience in certain social, public, or business sectors as needed.
Michele Haley, Ph.D.
Former Executive and Corporate Board Member
Associate Director, major international professional/trade association.