PRSA Hoosier Member Spotlight: Denise Herd

Today’s PR professionals should be fearless according to Denise Herd, President of Herd Strategies and member of PRSA Hoosier’s DEI Committee. “As communicators, we have a responsibility to manage the messaging that occurs within our organizations and in the communities we serve.”

Next up in our PRSA Hoosier Member Spotlight series, we chat with Denise about how her work cultivating relationships as a diversity manager led her to the PR profession and how PR pros can help guide organizations to communicate accurately, ethically, and with boldness.  

Q: What’s your day job?

President of Herd Strategies

Q: How did you get started in PR?

I was working for the Indiana Repertory Theatre as the diversity manager. I was asked to cultivate relationships with minority media outlets on behalf of the theatre. I had no idea how to do this. I had been a corporate trainer prior to joining the IRT. The publicist for the theatre was so generous in teaching me the how-tos of creating a PR plan, writing press releases, and pitching to the media.

Q: What’s something you’re currently working on that you’re excited about?

Everything! I know that sounds wild but I absolutely love everything we’re working on. It’s hard to select just one project or client because everything is so exciting. 

I think if I had to pick something it would probably be the DEIA [diversity, equity, inclusion, and access] communication work we’ve been doing with our clients. There is a sincere intentionality with organizations for the first time in a very long time giving pause to DEIA communications and incorporating strategies into their PR plans and engagement efforts.

Q: How long have you been involved with our chapter of PRSA and what got you started?

A long time. I got involved early in my career because PRSA offered so much to me as a young professional. It was also the place where I could interact with seasoned PR professionals at the luncheons and networking events. As I’ve become more seasoned I find PRSA a great resource for professional development opportunities.

Q: What PRSA Hoosier event would you recommend attending?

I’m torn between Meet the Media and our diversity programming. 

Meet the Media is a great resource and opportunity for building relationships and understanding the changing landscape. 

I also think it is very important that we all shore up our DEIA skills and knowledge. Our employers and clients rely on us for guidance. DEIA is new territory for many practitioners, so we must develop our skills so we can create effective strategies that will yield positive results.

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give those who are new to the PR profession?

Be fearless. As communicators, we have a responsibility to manage the messaging that occurs within our organizations and in the communities we serve. Everything we do is fast-paced and requires a high level of ethicality and accuracy. To do this we have to be fearless — and have a thick skin too.

Q: What do you think makes the Indiana PR community unique? 

Our willingness to collaborate. We are better together than we are apart. Indiana’s PR community has the unique ability to collaborate, refer, and share information and we truly respect and support one another.

Q: In 10 words or less: Favorite thing about PRSA?

Commitment to developing the next generation.

The PRSA Hoosier Member Spotlight series profiles active members in our community. Know an exceptional PR professional worth spotlighting? Send your nominations to the membership committee at membership.prsahoosier@gmail.com.

Interested in joining PRSA Hoosier? Check out our membership benefits and learn how to become a member here.

Author: Anna Julow Roolf, SVP of operations and people, Propel PRM