Kathleen McCool, employee communications manager at Michigan Medicine, has been elected to the Public Affairs and Marketing Network Steering Committee (PAMN).
McCool joined Michigan Medicine two and half years ago after serving in a similar capacity at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. As a Steering Committee member she will help plan, coordinate and deliver content for PAMN publications and its annual conference.
“You might not think there would be similarities between a large academic medical center like Michigan Medicine and a large hospitality company like Bellagio,” she said. “But it’s been fascinating to recognize the similarities and try to apply my prior experience to my current role.”
McCool works to build and reinforce culture around the patient experience, which she equates to hospitality guest service, as well as driving employee engagement, regardless of the work they do.
“That’s a challenge, especially in such a large and dynamic place, but it’s also one of the things that keeps my job fun, because communications can play a central, strategic role in building an organizational culture,” she said.
McCool wanted to join PAMN’s steering committee after serving as a panelist at the annual meeting in Seattle where she talked about internal communications.
She hopes to continue learning from PAMN colleagues and talking with PAMN members about employee communications.
“I hope my colleagues find tangible and effective ways to strategically integrate it into the broader communications function of their respective organizations,” she said. “After all, employees are your biggest brand ambassadors and should be leveraged as such.”
At Michigan Medicine, McCool recently managed a project to install 180 digital signs across the medical campus and in high employee traffic areas to get global messages to internal audiences. Michigan Medicine soon will place another 90 signs in phase two of the project, including at the Medical School.
“Digital signs are a great tool because you can hit multiple areas at one time with the same exact message, and we are being inclusive to employees who do not have access to a computer at work,” she said.
A U.S. Air Force veteran, where she twice created HR departments for base squadrons, McCool is well-versed in taking on new challenges.
As PAMN’s newest Steering Committee member, she seems ready to do the same.
“I was energized by this year’s conference and the level of commitment from every single person I encountered,” she said. “I was inspired and hope to make a meaningful contribution.”