Working Remotely: Taboo or Totally Awesome?

It has been about four months since I transitioned to being a remote employee, working from my home office in Northern California with the closest office about two and a half hours away. As a part of my company’s workplace transformation efforts, our CEO would like to see 50% of his workforce remote by 2020. Why? Because according to our workplace website:

Flexibility is a key aspect of Dell’s business strategy that enables us to compete for the best talent…As part of our People Strategy, Dell flexible work options encourages employees to find new ways to work, and focuses on driving business results rather than looking at where work is done.

For me, being able to contribute as a remote employee is empowering. When life changes came my way, in this case moving out of Silicon Valley for a more affordable life, my company supported me through the ability to work from my new home. Our Chief HR Officer recently wrote an article for Forbes about “How A Flexible Work Culture Works for Everyone.” Within this article, he says “Flexible work is the new norm in the workplace, and it’s not going away anytime soon. By providing your teams with flexible work options that encourage collaboration, optimize productivity and allow them to follow their preferred work style, your organization will boost its competitive edge.” However, the question still remains: If companies are adopting these programs, why is this so taboo?

Allow me to be real for a moment. If I had a dollar for every person I’ve encountered that believed working from home is “hardly working”, boring, or lonely, I might have myself a good side hustle. My inspiration for this blog came from these conversations, and I thought it might be interesting to address some FAQs that I’ve received from my friends on social media to see what I can demystify about my own experience working from home.

Q: Since you don’t work in an office what do you do to make your space your own? I love this question! Before we moved, I knew that finding a space with an extra room would be a priority. Since then, I’ve been transforming our second room into my own ideal work space. It’s equipped with natural light, a standing desk, and my personal touches of inspiration. Here are a few photos of my office!

Q: Do you find it hard to stay productive while you’re at home? This question makes me chuckle. I think this question was asked so many times because one of the most stereotypical views of employees that work form home is that they do not do their work and lie around watching TV in their PJs. As you can imagine, this is neither professional nor ideal for someone that works from home. We’re busy. We have important jobs and projects to be completed. For me, being in corporate communications, I am always on the phone or chatting back and forth with co-workers. Like everyone (even those in an office), we all have our days where we don’t get enough sleep the night before, have back to back meetings for hours, hit a lull, or moment of inspiration that increases or decreases our productivity. While I do not need to throw on a dress and heels every day, I can promise you that I am still just as productive as the next person!

Q: Do you change the scenery from time to time and go somewhere else to work? Honestly, for the most part I stay in my office when I’m working. However, if I wanted to I could. I actually find that sometimes coffee shops are even more loud and distracting than your average office space would be.

Q: What is the work life balance like? Do you stop paying attention to emails at a certain time? Living and working in the same space makes being strict with your work-life balance very important. In my field, supporting an executive means there’s a possibility of a fire drill (a project popping up quickly) at any time. Here are a few ways that I personally take a healthy approach to living and working in the same place:

  • Take breaks: I like to go for a walk or out to lunch if my schedule allows.
  • Shut down on the weekend: I do not like to spend additional hours working on emails or projects on Saturday/Sunday.
  • Go to the gym: Once I’m done for the day, I’ll drive to the gym or run errands.
  • No emails on phone: Some of you may be surprised to hear this, but I don’t have my work email on my phone (GASP!) Because I am by my computer 24/5 there’s no need for it to be included on my personal device.

Q: What is your average day like? The average day fluctuates depending on how many meetings I have, who they’re with, when they begin, and what kind of deadlines I’m working with. From previous blog posts you’ve learned that I like to be aware of the sacrifices that others are making to meet with me – if they’re staying late or starting early, depending on their time zone. In response to the actual work, I find myself working on many projects at once – sometimes up to 20+ different actions a week.

Overall, as you can imagine, I do enjoy the perks that working from home allows for – a zero minute commute, my own tea/coffee, the ability to adjust the temperature, and so on. I will also say that I am not naive, and I know this type of set up will not work for every profession, but I am truly lucky it works for my own!

Thanks for taking a peek into my life as a full time remote employee. Let’s continue this conversation – feel free to comment below or message me separately!



The Role of the Communication Professional During Times of Change

It has been fifteen months since the acquisition of my company occurred. The amount of change has been inexorable – some positive and some negative, depending on the lens through which you see your life. Without giving everything away, this has been a year of sticking it out, seeing through the change, and making it work. It still surprises me when I look back to joining the company over three years ago, and assess where we I am today. Sometimes I think ‘who would have thought?’

Through the many types of changes I experienced this year I have seen strong and transparent communications become a priority. In addition, understanding the team member needs has been of the upmost importance as well. One of the first things that our new company did was to survey both pre-acquisition companies to understand their culture, and identify what values were the most important to them. How cool is that to be a part of the company that values their team members!

During this time, I have been reflecting on why having a communication professional on your team is so important during such times. Our team members have been going through a consistent and non-stop amount of change – new processes, new teams, new leaderships, new technology…the list goes on and on. I find communication professionals are vital to the success of the business: driving internal team member engagement, creating key messaging, supporting executives and their teams, and being an approachable, listening ear through times of change.

There are two important and specific ways that communication professionals can support their teams and executives through times of change. The first is through creating messages and making decisions that are audience-centric. The strategies you design and the campaigns you plan should be targeted at addressing the needs of the person reading, watching, and participating in your communication efforts. How can you do this and become more aware of your audience’s wants and needs? Here are a few ways:

  1. Ask them! Create an annual communication survey to receive valuable feedback that shapes your plans and programs.
  2. Create regular touch points. Meet and consult with stakeholders from your business regularly to have a dialogue about upcoming communications, share best practices, and most importantly listen to what is going on within their teams.
  3. Build relationships. Become a presence within your organization – one that has an open door policy, loves creative ideas, and has empathy.

The second role that a communication professional should play is to be a strategic advisor to your executives and teams. Being a strategic advisor means that you use your experience mastering the art of communication to advise your stakeholders on the best ways to communicate, whether that be how to create a vision deck for the year, how to host an engaging all-hands meeting, or how to plan and promote an event. Some of the key ways to do this are through creating a strong portfolio of work, building a relationship of trust, and by being yourself!

I count myself very lucky to love what I do, and I hope that some of these ideas are relevant to other communicators and business professionals alike. I’d love to hear from you!

IG Inspiration: My Current Favorites

Until 2017, Instagram (IG) was just one of many apps I had downloaded on my iPhone – I followed my friends and posted about something interesting every once in a while. Just recently I’ve begun to embrace this media in a new way and I’ve found Instagram is full of inspiring people who love their craft, exude love, and support each other. 

In the past I’ve talked about Twitter and my personal Top 8 Accounts to Follow, and I had so much fun thinking about how I would do the same for Instagram accounts. During this process, I realized how different the content was that I follow for IG compared to Twitter – I don’t use it as a source of news or for work, so much as for my interests like travel, food, and daily doses of encouragement. Based on this, here are some of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow, by category!


  • @travelandleisure: How can you go wrong following an IG account that features unique spaces and places from around the world on their feed!
  • @boston: Being born and raised in Massachusetts but living in California means I miss Boston a lot, but thankfully this amazing account has gorgeous pictures of the city and surrounding areas every day.
  • @parisinfourmonths: A few years back when gearing up for my European backpacking trip, I stumbled upon Carin Olsson’s Instagram when preparing for Paris. I love her consistent posts about travel, fashion, photography and living in Paris! Dream life much?!

Food & Health:

  • @cookieandkate & @pinchofyum are two of my absolute favorite healthy food handles, not to mention their feeds feature beautiful photography of their creations!
  • @oneloveorganics is my ride or die face cleansing line. I’ve been using their products for years now, and I love their IG because it features great blogs and healthy skin tips each day.
  • @holistichabits: For recommendations and tips on new healthy products, I love referencing Holistic Habits and her YouTube channel!


  • @girlboss: Girlboss Media is redefining what it means for women to be successful, on our own terms. This is definitely an account to follow for some inspiration.
  • I couldn’t get by without a little help from my girlfriends! @tiffanyvon, @daniella.nuu, @stefanierosemonroe. These girls, along with so many other people on IG, inspire, encourage, and push me to be the best version of myself. Definitely worth a follow!

To end on the best note, I encourage you to follow Instagram accounts that inspire you based on your interests. One of my favorite things about Instagram is that it allows me to explore Global Pathways. All of you know this is my true passion and purpose in life. I love this big, colorful, diverse world of ours. Although I still haven’t found that full-time job that allows me and my husband to spend months abroad whenever we want (call me if you have), I find such a joy in connecting with followers on IG from anywhere from London to Hong Kong to St. Petersburg. When you explore, I explore. When you learn, I learn. Isn’t there something powerful in that? I certainly think so.



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5 Ways To Be A More Collaborative Professional

The value of successful collaboration within a team is invaluable. During my time as a post-graduate I have realized how sincerely I enjoy working with others who have a “team player” mentality, as it is easy in business to become solely focused on your own goals. I came across a quote recently by Vince Lombardi, American NFL player, coach, and executive that resonated with my perspective on the importance of teamwork:

“Individual commitment to a group effort: that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

When a team collaborates well, everyone feels like they are contributing to a part of the whole without hesitation or confusion. For me, I think there are ways that each of us as professionals can actively pursue becoming a better team member, which includes collaborating effectively.

Being a team player means actively taking steps to collaborate with your team.

Here are five ways that you can become a more collaborative professional:

  1. Embody positive team attributes. There are many qualities that, when combined, exemplify a team player. These traits can include, but are certainly not limited to being empathetic, inclusive, encouraging, honest, and reliable. Forbes Magazine expands on these character attributes, many of them leading to team success.  Be self aware here – look at these traits and assess if there are areas of your professional (or personal!) life that you can take active steps to improve.
  2. Meet with professionals in similar roles, and share best practices. I’ve personally gained so much by reaching out to people within my company who are internal/executive communicators like myself. Most often than not, these relationships can serve you in the future by coming full circle and offering further opportunities for partnership and collaboration.
  3. Use the tools your company or group provides. Does your company have an intranet? Bookmark your team page and actively contribute. Does your small group at school have a group text? Be engaging and responsive there. Many of my colleagues have heard me say “An engaged team is a strong team” and I stand by that phrase whole heartedly because I have seen what a collaborative team can accomplish!
  4. Be well versed in interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. Let’s be real, even the most well functioning teams experience conflict whether that be a miscommunicated email or a failed deadline. Knowing how to communicate and collaborate through the conflict shows a level of professionalism that is appreciated and respected by your colleagues.
  5. Raise your hand to lead and be a part of exciting projects and opportunities that come your way. Working in new settings with new people presents you with a great chance to collaborate and experience new growth as a professional.


By becoming a better collaborator you can ultimately help yourself. You help yourself with future team projects, opportunities that come your way, conflicts you will have to deal with, and so many more interpersonal interactions. Let’s make a promise to ourselves to take these steps together, and become the best professionals we can be not only for ourselves but for our teams.

Have No Fear, Communication Studies Majors!

Last month a staff member from the Biola University career center gave me a call, looking to ask me about what life was like post-graduation as a Communication Studies major. I remember exploring multiple majors in college – from Political Science, to Sociology, and finally to Communication Studies. When I landed in this department during the second semester of my Sophomore year, I recall loving that this major could take me anywhere. However, for some students the ambiguity can feel overwhelming. What can I do with a communication major? Where will interpersonal, organizational, theatrical, or rhetorical communication get me? Would you ever think that a Liberal Arts degree could lead you to the Technology Industry?


Not too long ago I read an excellent article titled, “Liberal Arts in the Data Age” from the Harvard Business Review, and I remember connecting with some of the main points that the author makes:

  • People are beginning to realize that to effectively tackle today’s biggest social and technological challenges, we need to think critically about their human context—something humanities graduates happen to be well trained to do.
  • If we want to prepare students to solve large-scale human problems, we must push them to widen, not narrow, their education and interests.
  • The CEOs of YouTube, Slack, and AirBnb all have liberal arts degrees.

It has been so exciting to see the industries that my classmates have entered – Entertainment, Action Sports, Fashion, Non-Profit, Education, Photography, and let’s not forget Technology. Students who pursue a Liberal Arts degree should keep their minds open to the possibilities that follow after graduation, including reacting to opportunities outside of their norms. For me, it was accepting a job at a technology company. I remember writing my first ever blog post here about being a “Communication Girl in an Engineering World”and shaking my head at where I’d landed after graduation thinking, “could this industry be any more opposite than me?” Fast forward to three years later and I have grown and progressed professionally more than I could have imagined.

If you are a communications professional, or a student wondering where to use your communication studies education, the options are endless and the technology industry has a place for you. Let’s keep this conversation going – message me on LinkedIn or tweet at me and I’d be happy to chat.

Why Culture Always Wins

During my three years at Dell EMC, we have consistently achieved “Best Place to Work” status, and recently Dell Technologies has been named one of LinkedIn’s Top Companies of 2017. For me, the driving factor in this success is our emphasis on company culture. As a new company, I credit the efforts that our leadership and transformation teams have placed on creating a foundational culture code.

One of the best articles that I’ve read about Dell’s “Culture Code” is What Makes a Company Great? Culture is Key by Dell’s Chief HR Officer, Steve Price.

“As a company that recently closed one of the biggest tech mergers in history with EMC, we made listening a top priority as we looked to unify our company culture as part of the new Dell Technologies. We turned our collective ears toward team members from both former Dell and EMC to define our corporate culture as the driver of how we run the business, go to market, work effectively together and provide inspirational leadership.”

As both a communicator and a team member at Dell EMC, watching the communications unfold to promote our culture code has been amazing, and our internal communications team has done a great job.

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I’ve really appreciated the way that our culture code is organized because it is easy to embed into the communications I craft for the Chief Technology Officer and his team. For example, at quarterly All Hands meetings we are able to dedicate time to connecting our major wins to our fives values that you see above, which makes the direct connection between the work that people do, and the organizational culture.

In his most recent Direct2Dell article, Steve Price addresses the importance of effective leadership development in the area of supporting and inspiring company culture. He says that it is expected for leaders to embed these values into the way they run their business units, and I couldn’t agree more. In the end, if our leaders and team members are in, our customers are in, and then we all #GoBigWinBig!




What’s New in the Communicationsphere

As many of you know, I’m a big Twitter user. I practically use it every day to learn more about my industry, my peers, and what’s going on in this big world of ours. I’ve found a huge benefit in using Twitter to stay up to date on the pulse of corporate communications, and I often re-tweet articles or blog posts that I find interesting. Allow me to share a few of the golden nuggets I’ve found while scrolling through my feed recently:

“5 Keys to Engaging Corporate Culture” by Jacob Morgan at

The author in this article gives kudos to CEO James White from Jamba Juice, a well known and refreshing chain store just minutes from my office, who has embedded a strong culture within the company that has lasted through tumultuous times. Two of the five key ways that you build a strong culture are communicating from the top down, and actively engaging your community. I believe it is crucial for communicators to have a seat at the leadership table, and I’ve seen a lot of great employee campaigns come to fruition at my company because of this. We even have our culture code listed as an FY’18 objective as a company! I can imagine, however, that there are some companies out there where communicators might not have a seat at the table, and the challenges that they would face as a result of that. From experience, it is SO SO SO important that leadership is onboard with corporate communication strategy. Otherwise, you cannot expect a strong and engaged community.

“How Every Internal Communicator Can Be a Rockstar” by Alison Davis on LinkedIn

In this article written by Davis & Company’s CEO Alison Davis, internal communicators are encouraged to rise above and become rockstars. With a few of her helpful tips, she suggests that you can become a rockstar communicator by:

  • Channeling the characteristics of a rock star.
  • Using evidence to make your case.
  • Sharing best practices.
  • Changing the conversation from tactical to strategic.
  • Focusing on outcomes.
  • Not letting setbacks get you down.
  • Measuring your results.

“The Workplace is the New Corporate Communications Platform”

Intriguing title, wouldn’t you say? This article by WorkDesign Magazine is about eBay, and the gorgeous renovations they’ve completed at their headquarters in California including touchscreen walls, natural light, unique installations, and more. They claim, “These dynamic experiences not only invite guests to engage with the company’s story; they also help transform the eBay workforce into a connected, empowered community.” One of the tips they suggested for starting your own workplace transformation that really made me think was to use your company data to bring your brand to life. Reading this gave me some really great ideas about implementing more data into my own communication programs.

“Communications 2006 v.s. 2016”

If you’re looking for a good laugh, and a trip down memory lane, read this short article and remember the times when social media didn’t exist, there was no such thing as internal communications, and smartphones weren’t a thing!

If you’re interested in more articles like these, give me a follow at @beckyykurtz.