Meet the Sponsor: One of our Rock Star Sponsors & Presenters at the upcoming Social Media for Utilities Conference in Chicago
Q: Name, title, company?
A: Dana Yeganian, Senior Vice President, Global Strategy Group
Q: Family, hometown, where you live?
A: I’m married with two daughters, ages 10 and 6. I lived in North Carolina for most of my life, but two years ago, we packed up and moved to New York. We currently live in lower Manhattan.
Q: What product or service does your company provide for the utility industry?
A: Global Strategy Group is a communications, public affairs, and research firm. Most of our clients – whether they are utilities or in another sector – are highly regulated, and we help clients navigate and communicate through regulatory and legislative challenges with public relations, messaging research, social and digital media, and grassroots campaigns. In recent years, we’ve started working with our utility clients more on how to communicate directly with customers – what do customers want to know? What do they know already? What are the best channels to communicate with them? We uncover that information through research, including surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews, and then we use what we discover to tailor messaging, identify the best channels, and implement the communications plan.
Q: What is your experience working with utilities?
A: I have worked with utility clients for more than 15 years – both on the agency side and in-house. My first utility client was Carolina Power & Light, which became Progress Energy, which then became a part of Duke Energy. I also worked in-house for Progress Energy, leading environmental and policy communications – and working on my fair share of hurricanes, ice storms and other natural disasters! I’ve also worked with clients including Con Edison, Ameren Missouri, AGL Resources, Eversource Energy, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, the New York Independent System Operator, and Edison Electric Institute, among many others. GSG’s collective energy and utility experience is even broader, consisting of a wide range of clients including National Grid, California Water Co., Connecticut Water, BNE Energy, General Electric, PowerOptions, Utilidata, Sun Energy, and Summit Natural Gas, among others.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working? Hobbies?
A: When I’m not working, I try to spend as much time as I can with my family. We wander around the city, seeing what new parks or art museums we can find. I also read a lot – I’m currently working on three different books. I can never seem to stick with just one.
Q: When working with utilities, what is your biggest challenge?
A: One of the biggest communications challenges facing utilities is helping customers understand the complexity of the industry – and all the challenges that are happening thanks to distributed energy resources, more demand for renewables, and a changing fuel mix. As everyone who attends this conference knows, most customers only think about their utility when they pay their bill or when they have an outage or service interruption. Our challenge is to help make that connection between customer expectations and the complex realities facing the industry, in a way that is relevant and engaging.
Q: If you weren’t in this role, what would your dream job be?
A: I would own a little bookstore or cafe somewhere in a small New England coastal town.
Q: What do you love about the Social Media for Utilities conference?
A: I love seeing all of the new ideas that utilities are using to communicate on social media, and I love meeting all of the people across the country who are all addressing similar challenges.
Q: Since this conference is being held at the Hard Rock Hotel, who is your favorite band/musician/group?
A: Picking one is impossible because my music tastes are a bit eclectic. Here are just a few: Dixie Chicks, Jay Z, Gary Clark Jr., Rilo Kiley, Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine, Counting Crows. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Anderson .Paak.