Learning and Evolving: Week 2 @ Deveney, NOLA

Week 2 was overwhelming here at Deveney. Overwhelmingly welcoming.

Everyone is eager to learn from each other, and from me.

The second and third week of the fellowship are filled with me joining Deveney‘s various client projects: sitting in on and actively participating in team meetings, working on client projects with different teams, hosting four workshops (on crisis and measurement), and collaborating to streamline measurement protocol and social media guidelines.


An anatomy of crisis @the first crisis workshop

Deveney‘s expertise lies in life care, life style, and crisis communication. Crisis management is also one of my areas of expertise. So my workshops focused on crisis, consisting of a “best practices on handling crisis,” followed by role playing group activities, and a discussion of emotions (today).

In our hotel gun shooting scenario (role playing workshop), the two teams were pitted against each other as PR vs. Activist Publics. Both teams were thorough in figuring out possible angles to approach a crisis. Side bar: Senior Account Executive Katie (one of our in-house crisis experts) was the best press secretary a company could ask for!


Before role playing @the second crisis workshop

Measurement remains a hot, and sometimes controversial topic. How can we really show to our clients what we did made a difference? What’s the most cost- and time-saving yet effective way of integrating research in our campaigns? How do we explain to clients our measurement matrices? These were just a few of the recurring questions at the measurement workshop last Friday.

I’m impressed by the willingness at Deveney to move away from assessing outputs and integrate evaluating outcomes in their overall project management. Senior Account Executive Erica already hosted a lunch and learn workshop on the Barcelona Principles. She also helped create a measurement reporting system, starting from goals and objectives to evaluation tools.


Reviewing RPIE @ measurement workshop

I am looking forward to my lunch and learn workshop on emotions and crisis today!

Stayed tuned for more to come.

Let's analyze your emotions! ha

Let’s analyze your emotions! Aha



Most Dynamic Team Culture: Week 1 Embedded in Deveney, NOLA

I quickly understood why Deveney was the 2013 PRNews Small Firm of the Year after being here just a week.

Deveney Entrance

Deveney Entrance

It’s the team.

Everyone moves fast. Be it managing a crisis for clients, rebranding a healthcare NGO, or planning events for a hotel. The weekly client debrief meeting reviews all client projects in half an hour. At 8 a.m., these hard-working PR pros get right to business and get it moving. 

Deveney Weekly Debrief

Deveney Weekly Debrief

And everyone is part of the Deveney team, from the associates to John himself. Mentoring is a big part of the Deveney brand. Their associate program trains college students, college graduates, and graduate students, exposing them to all kinds of Deveney projects, including media pitching, media monitoring, crisis management, and the associate project (aka award-winning “holiday gift” project). 


The “Opportunity Door” Holiday Gift


The “Chess King” Holiday Gift

The interns, referred to as “associates,” got to be as creative as they could be, leading the whole “associate project”: from envisioning a symbolic holiday gift to clients, to identifying and contracting artists to produce the gift prototype, and to packaging and sending these custom-made gifts to existing and prospective clients. 

A few current Deveney full-time employees joined the firm straight from the Associate Program. They get to work for different lifecare/lifestyle/crisis clients, alongside with John himself, as long as they want to. While listening to them telling me their experience, I was thinking,”hmm…I need to share this program with my SDSU students and they should be applying!”

The open and collaborative office setting is perfect for teamwork. Anyone can just turn and give a shout out if they need some info on a client. 

The teams sometimes prefer the kitchen area to hash out details for a media training workshop or a website rebranding project. Or they use the Opportunity conference room for weekly team meetings. Or the Zen room (upstairs) for a quick chat about a client crisis. 

Deveney Kitchen

I have also run into folks talking to clients in the garden. 

Deveney Courtyard

As I am falling in love with the Crescent City, I’m most definitely enjoying my fellowship at Deveney, learning everything from messaging, branding, advertising, budgeting to crisis management and social media. 

As they say, the people make the company. Deveney certainly has one of most dynamic teams. 

My next blog will talk about some of these brilliant folks.

Stay tuned.