How Curiosity Can Make You a Better Communicator

By Cathy Petersen, Director of Digital Marketing and Media Relations Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau and PRSA’s 2019 Communicator of the Year

So often, the words “honor” and “privilege” are associated with the receiving of awards. I could place those words as flashing lights on a giant billboard and I still don’t think the act would convey how truly grateful and humbled I am to be named the PRSA Communicator of the Year.  As I look back at past recipients, I am honored to be included among such an esteemed group of professionals… many of whom have influenced and inspired me professionally and personally. We are so fortunate to have an organization such as PRSA that brings us together for the common goal of developing and nurturing communications and marketing professionals.

As communications professionals, our roles are critical to keeping our internal and/or external audiences informed, educated and inspired. The focus must always be on fulfilling the mission of the organization by focusing on the greater good of those we serve. That focus was essential in my role as Director of Communications for Montgomery County and now in a similar role with the Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau. I am also proud to serve as Vice-President of the Vandalia-Butler Foundation where I have been able to give back to the community that I care so deeply about. Throughout my career and in my personal life, I always ask, “What more can I do?” 

I have been so incredibly fortunate in my career and personal life to be surrounded by individuals who are truly inspirational, passionate and uplifting. I honestly don’t know how I’ve gotten so lucky and there isn’t enough space to list them all. I will say that any success I have professionally and personally is a result of others willing to share their knowledge, experience, and advice. Throughout my career in television news, County government or at the Dayton CVB, it’s those around me who inspire and influence me to “do better and be better.” 

I truly believe that listening is the key to success in any profession, but especially in communications. In order to deliver an effective message or execute a successful marketing campaign, you must first tap into the knowledge-base around you. Get involved in organizations such as PRSA and network with others who face similar challenges and learn from their successes and failures. Always be curious and ask questions.

Improving our industry is something we should all strive for each day by developing the next generation of communications professionals, sharing ideas through networking and always being curious about new and emerging trends and technology.

A resident of Butler Township, Cathy Petersen joined the Bureau in the Fall of 2018. She served as Director of Communications for 10 years in Montgomery County where she also served as an ex-officio member of the CVB Executive Committee and Board. Prior to working at Montgomery County, she was a news reporter and anchor for WHIO-TV, the local CBS affiliate.

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