As a music critic who launched her own online radio station, Deborah Hinds knows how important it is to strike the right note. As a communications professional, she believes that company leaders also need to pay attention to the tone of their messages, in order to create organizational harmony.
“I always try to put myself in the place of employees and ask myself: how is this message going to make them feel? How is it going to help them do their job?”
Such empathy, Deb explained, comes from experience. For 15 years she has worked in human resources, public relations, employee communications, the music industry and education. She began her career at William M. Mercer, where she worked on benefits communication with clients that included Lockheed Martin, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Stanford Health Services, Nestlé, Southern California Gas Company and others. Later she spent nearly four years at PeopleSoft, where she helped the company shift its HR materials from print to digital, redesign its intranet and governance policies, wrote and edited web content and facilitated cultural orientation for new hires.
Applying her skills to another longtime passion, Deb next worked in the music industry as a public relations and website administrator for Grass Roots Entertainment/Tony Toni Toné productions. Building on this experience, she later launched PlanetSoul.com, a critically acclaimed soul music website with streaming radio, reviews, interviews, blogs and ecommerce.
Subsequently, she returned to school and became an elementary school teacher, in Florida. “I think to be a successful teacher, you need to be a great project manager – highly organized, flexible, enthusiastic, and able to juggle a lot of balls simultaneously.” she said. Given the emphasis on standardized testing and the associated teacher accountability, the metrics of success were rigorous, she added. “There is often a lot of pressure to prepare for the tests, but I loved working with children and helping them succeed.”
Returning to the Bay Area and to the communications field, Deb joined ROI Communication in 2011. “I really like the nuts-and-bolts of writing and editing and improving communications, whether that’s an email, a web page or an executive communication,” she said. “I also appreciate the value it brings to employees, especially in times of change. It’s so important to make employees feel informed, valued and empowered.”
Deb earned a BA in Communication from Santa Clara University, and her teaching certificate from the Educator Preparation Institute at Hillsborough Community College, in Tampa, Florida. When she’s not working, Deb stays busy raising two children, trying new restaurants and reading Scandinavian crime novels.